THE WIND TEMPERED
"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
"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
"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."