"This is the resting place, let the weary rest; and this is the place of repose"—

"He stays (restrains) His rough wind in the day of the east wind." Isaiah 27:8

This is a sheltering verse to those who, in a figurative sense, are exposed to the swoop of the hot desert wind. Under one of God's own Palms we can sit and calmly meditate on the blessed promise, here given under expressive imagery, that He will never allow our trials or His discipline to go too far!

"Man is born to trouble." Sorrow is the common heritage of a suffering world. And not only are the "rough wind" and the "east wind" ever and anon racing by, but He does not conceal that it is He who sends them. It is specially spoken of and designated here as "His rough wind." In the blighting of Jonah's gourd, we are told "The Lord prepared a vehement east wind:" and in the bold and sublime language of the Psalmist, He is similarly represented as "walking on the wings of the wind." So too in moral hurricanes. "Who knows not in all these things that the hand of the Lord has wrought this?"

But (and this is the more special truth which claims our attention), if that east wind blows, He will not allow it to sweep too vehemently; and when it receives its mission from Him, He will not allow "the rough wind" to be let loose at the same time from its chambers. He will moderate adversity! "He knows our frame." According to the common proverb, "He will temper the wind to the shorn lamb." He did not make Israel feel at one and the same time lack of bread and lack of water. The manna had been provided when they were suffering from the deprivation of the other priceless boon, water. Look at the first clause of the somewhat enigmatical words which form our motto-verse—"In measure you will contend with it." "In measure!" Or, as in another place, "I will correct you in measure" (Jer. 30:11).

God has no capricious dealings! All will be scrupulously weighed out in the balances of His wisdom and faithfulness. He CONSIDERS the soul in adversity (Ps. 31:7). "When He winnows," as Matthew Henry says, "He sends a gentle gale to blow away the chaff, not to blow away the corn." He will cause us to sing of mercy in the midst of judgment, and fulfill His own promise, "As your day is, so shall your strength be."

Who has not sat under this gracious Elim palm and experienced the truth of the assertion? Is it the hour of bereavement?—the time when, above all others, the east wind may be said to blow, nipping early spring buds, or blighting tender blossoms, or strewing autumn leaves. Who has not then to tell of amazing support?—some sweet solaces which have tended to moderate the sweep of the hurricane, break the cruel blow, and disarm trial of much of its severity. Glimpses appear in the midst of the darkness—blue vistas are seen opening in the storm-wreathed sky!

Is it the hour of sickness and protracted suffering? There truly is the east wind—wearing torture, days of pain, nights of weariness, every nerve a chord of anguish. But here, too, it might have been worse. That sufferer (to take one out of many suppositions,) might have been on a foreign shore—away from friends and home and kindly sympathies, dying in unutterable loneliness, with no gentle hand to smooth his pillow. But when, in the midst of cruel bodily pangs, he looks around on faces beaming with kindness—each member of the loving circle animated with one thought and desire—to alleviate pain by offices of tender affection—you can almost picture that ashen and wasted prisoner clasping his hands and muttering in silent gratitude, 'My case might have been far sadder. Thanks be to that gracious and considerate God who restrains His rough wind in the day of His east wind!'

We believe all can own and trace these tender moderations—the prevention of the two winds from blowing simultaneously—God not allowing the bruised reed to be broken, just because it was bruised—laying on the trial with one hand, comforting and binding up with the other—sending whatever harsh wind is needed to bring to the desired haven, not one blast permitted but what is required. "He will not allow us to be tempted above that we are able to bear, but will, with the temptation, also make a way to escape, that we may be able to bear it" (1 Cor. 10:13).

"Blessed be God," says Chrysostom, "who permitted the tempest; and blessed be God, who has dispersed it and made it a calm." It was not from the lips of one of His own true people, but from a self-outcast and self-exile, that the utterance proceeded, "My punishment is greater than I can bear." His loved and trusting children recognize in Him the Refiner of silver, who sits by the furnace regulating and tempering the fury of the flames. His fires are for purification, not for destruction.

And at death—seated for the last time under the Elim palms, when the tent is about to be struck for pursuing a more mysterious journey—death, the hour that thousands on thousands have shrunk from and dreaded—yes, the hour which none can contemplate without profound emotion; yet when it does come—when the house of the earthly tabernacle rocks and trembles under the blasts of that inexorable 'east wind,'—the 'rough wind' is restrained. The believer feels the rush of the final hurricane, but he rises above it with the glorious compensating supports and comforts then granted. If his eye is dimming to human smiles, there is a Mightier Presence at his side, which the gathering darkness only renders more visible. When those around him can think, perhaps, only of the terribleness of grappling with the tempest which in a few moments is to reduce all to a heap of ruins; with his last breath he rises above the storm, saying in trembling accents—'Hush your fears! I am walking through the dark valley, but HE is giving me dying grace for a dying hour.' "He restrains His rough wind in the day of the east wind!"

We may appropriately conclude with the words of a sacred singer—
"Though the clouds are seen ascending,
Soon the heavens are overcast,
And the weary heart is bending
'Neath affliction's stormy blast.

"Yet the Lord, on high presiding,
Rules the storm with powerful hand;
He the shower of grace is guiding
To the dry and barren land.

"See, at length the clouds are breaking—
Tempests have not passed in vain;
For the soul, revived, awaking,
Bears its fruits and flowers again.

"Love divine has seen and counted
Every tear it caused to fall;
And the storm which love appointed
Was its choicest gift of all."

"You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in distress, a shelter in the storm and a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall."

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