Who is among you that feareth the Lord?
&c.] Not with a slavish fear of the awful majesty of God, or of his tremendous judgments, or of wrath to come, but with a filial fear, a fear of the Lord, and his goodness, which is an internal principle in the heart, a reverential affection for God, a godly fear of him; is attended with faith in him, and joy of him; which makes holy, and keeps humble, and takes in the whole worship of God: of men of this character there are but few, and especially there were but few among the Jews at this time which the prophecy refers to; the greatest part were rejecters of Christ, before spoken of, and to; and from whom the Lord turns himself, and addresses these few. There are none that naturally fear the Lord, only such who have the grace bestowed on them; their number is but small, but there are always some in the worst of times, and these are taken notice of by the Lord, ( Malachi 3:16 Malachi 3:17 ) ( 4:2 ) , that obeyeth the voice of his servant:
not the prophet, as the Targum adds, and as it is commonly interpreted by the Jewish writers, and others; though some of them say F4 this is "Metatron", a name of the Messiah with them; and indeed he is meant, before spoken of as the Lord's servant, and represented as an obedient one, and afterwards as righteous; see ( Isaiah 49:3 ) ( Isaiah 50:5 Isaiah 50:6 ) ( 53:11 ) and by his "voice" is meant either his Gospel, which is a soul quickening and comforting voice, a charming and alluring one; and which is obeyed, heard, and hearkened to, by his people, externally and internally, when they receive it by faith, and in the love of it; or else his commands, precepts, and ordinances, which love constrains his people to an obedience unto; and where there is the fear of God, there will be hearing of his word, and submission to his ordinances: that walketh in darkness:
not the Lord's servant, but the man that fears the Lord, and obeys his servant's voice, such an one may be in darkness, and walk in it; or "in darknesses" F5, as in the original; not only in affliction and misery, often expressed by darkness in Scripture, but in desertion, under the hidings of God's face; and which may continue for a while: and hath no light?
or "shining" F6: not without the light of nature, nor without the light of grace, but without the light of God's countenance shining upon him; without the light of spiritual joy and comfort shining in his heart; and this must be a very distressing case indeed. Let him trust in the name of the Lord;
not in himself, nor in any creature, but in the Lord himself; in the perfections of his nature, his mercy, grace, and goodness; in the name of the Lord, which is a strong tower, and in whom is salvation; in Christ, in whom the name of the Lord is, and whose name is the Lord our Righteousness; and to trust in him, when in the dark, is a glorious act of faith; this is believing in hope against hope. And stay upon his God;
covenant interest continues in the darkest dispensation; God is the believer's God still; and faith is a staying or leaning upon him, as such; a dependence upon his power to protect, on his wisdom to guide, and on his grace, goodness, and all sufficiency, to supply.
F4 Zohar in Exod. fol. 54. 3.
F6 (hgwn) "splendor", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Vitringa.