The desolation of the land. (1-12) A few shall be preserved. (13-15) God's kingdom advanced by his judgments. (16-23)
Verses 1-12 All whose treasures and happiness are laid up on earth, will soon be brought to want and misery. It is good to apply to ourselves what the Scripture says of the vanity and vexation of spirit which attend all things here below. Sin has turned the earth upside down; the earth is become quite different to man, from what it was when God first made it to be his habitation. It is, at the best, like a flower, which withers in the hands of those that please themselves with it, and lay it in their bosoms. The world we live in is a world of disappointment, a vale of tears; the children of men in it are but of few days, and full of trouble, See the power of God's curse, how it makes all empty, and lays waste all ranks and conditions. Sin brings these calamities upon the earth; it is polluted by the sins of men, therefore it is made desolate by God's judgments. Carnal joy will soon be at end, and the end of it is heaviness. God has many ways to imbitter wine and strong drink to those who love them; distemper of body, anguish of mind, and the ruin of the estate, will make strong drink bitter, and the delights of sense tasteless. Let men learn to mourn for sin, and rejoice in God; then no man, no event, can take their joy from them.
Verses 13-15 There shall be a remnant preserved from the general ruin, and it shall be a devout and pious remnant. These few are dispersed; like the gleanings of the olive tree, hid under the leaves. The Lord knows those that are his; the world does not. When the mirth of carnal worldlings ceases, the joy of the saints is as lively as ever, because the covenant of grace, the fountain of their comforts, and the foundation of their hopes, never fails. Those who rejoice in the Lord can rejoice in tribulation, and by faith may triumph when all about them are in tears. They encourage their fellow-sufferers to do likewise, even those who are in the furnace of affliction. Or, in the valleys, low, dark, miry places. In every fire, even the hottest, in every place, even the remotest, let us keep up our good thoughts of God. If none of these trials move us, then we glorify the Lord in the fires.
Verses 16-23 Believers may be driven into the uttermost parts of the earth; but they are singing, not sighing. Here is terror to sinners; the prophet laments the miseries he saw breaking in like a torrent; and the small number of believers. He foresees that sin would abound. The meaning is plain, that evil pursues sinners. Unsteady, uncertain are all these things. Worldly men think to dwell in the earth as in a palace, as in a castle; but it shall be removed like a cottage, like a lodge put up for the night. It shall fall and not rise again; but there shall be new heavens and a new earth, in which shall dwell nothing but righteousness. Sin is a burden to the whole creation; it is a heavy burden, under which it groans now, and will sink at last. The high ones, that are puffed up with their grandeur, that think themselves out of the reach of danger, God will visit for their pride and cruelty. Let us judge nothing before the time, though some shall be visited. None in this world should be secure, though their condition be ever so prosperous; nor need any despair, though their condition be ever so deplorable. God will be glorified in all this. But the mystery of Providence is not yet finished. The ruin of the Redeemer's enemies must make way for his kingdom, and then the Sun of Righteousness will appear in full glory. Happy are those who take warning by the sentence against others; every impenitent sinner will sink under his transgression, and rise no more, while believers enjoy everlasting bliss.
This chapter contains a prophecy of calamities that should come upon the whole world, and the inhabitants of it, for their sins; of the preservation of a remnant; of the visitation of the kings of the earth; and of the appearance of Christ in his glory and majesty. The miserable condition of the world, and its inhabitants, especially all within the Romish jurisdiction, is set forth by various phrases, Isa 24:1-4 the causes of which are the transgression and mutation of the laws and ordinances of Christ, Isa 24:5 the effects of which are the cursing and burning of the inhabitants, Isa 24:6 cessation of all joy among them, Isa 24:7-9 and the destruction of their chief city, Rome, Isa 24:10-12 then follows a prophecy of a remnant that shall escape, and be brought into a very comfortable condition, and sing for joy, and glorify God in the midst of the earth, and in the uttermost parts of it, Isa 24:13-16 but it is intimated it shall go ill with others for their perfidy and treachery; fear and danger shall attend them everywhere, Isa 24:16-18 yea, in the issue, the world shall be shaken, and moved and removed, and be utterly dissolved, fall and not rise more, Isa 24:19,20 when the kings and great ones of the earth shall be taken prisoners, and punished by the Lord, Isa 24:21,22 and then Christ shall take to himself his great power, and reign with his people gloriously in the New Jerusalem state, Isa 24:23.