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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Isaiah 45:15



Truly, You are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, Savior!

Adam Clarke Commentary

Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself - At present, from the nations of the world.

O God of Israel, the Savior - While thou revealest thyself to the Israelites and savest them.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:15". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself - That is, that hidest thy counsels and plans. The idea is, that the ways of God seems to be dark until the distant event discloses his purpose; that a long series of mysterious events seem to succeed each other, trying to the faith of his people, and where the reason of his doings cannot be seen. The remark here seems to be made by the prophet, in view of the fact, that the dealings of God with his people in their long and painful exile would be to them inscrutable, but that a future glorious manifestation would disclose the nature of his designs, and make his purposes known (see Isaiah 55:8-9): ‹My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways‘ (compare Psalm 44:24; the notes at Isaiah 8:17).

The Saviour - Still the Saviour of his people, though his ways are mysterious and the reasons of his dealings are unknown. The Septuagint renders this, ‹For thou art God, though we did not know it, O God of Israel the Saviour.‘ This verse teaches us that we should not repine or complain under the mysterious allotments of Providence. They may be dark now. But in due time they will be disclosed, and we shall be permitted to see his design, and to witness results so glorious, as shall satisfy us that his ways are all just, and his dealings right.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:15". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Isaiah 45:15

Verily Thou art a God that hidest Thyself

The mystery of God’s ways

Isaiah’s mind is impressed with the fact that if God is “the God of Israel and the Saviour,” He does some things scarcely in apparent consistency with that character. How many times did He abandon His people Israel to their enemies! And how was He about to suffer them to be led captive into Babylon for a long threescore years and ten! And even when His ways to them were evidently merciful and kind, God’s acts of kindness came at times, under circumstances, in ways, by persons, that could not have been looked for; making His very mercies as surprising on the one hand as His judgments might have been on the other. “Verily, Thou art a God that hidest Thyself”--that hidest Thy counsels, Thy purposes, Thy mercies, Thy methods of operation.

2. A reflection of this sort might, with full as much justice, arise from a contemplation of the ways of God towards His spiritual Israel--a people to whom He is attached by still stronger ties than those which bound Him to Israel of old. Precious is His mercy; and yet how severe some of His dealings appear! And His mercies too!--how strangely they come; as though He would choose the unlikeliest of all circumstances, the darkest of all seasons, the most improbable of all means, for communicating them; as though He would make us have mercies when we expect trials, and find out of the darkest cloud there proceeds the brightest sunshine. And He works strange things--things not apparently congruous or reconcilable with His character of covenant friendship and love.

3. Nor is this any peculiarity at all, attaching itself to this part of the ways and administration of God. The same feature of the Divine conduct may be seen wherever else we look, whether at home or taking a wider circle.

1. They give occasion to men of sceptical minds to think and to say hard things; they feed and nourish the enmity of their hearts against God.

2. They give occasion to many painful thoughts in the children of God. (J. H.Hinton, M. A.)

Relief in contemplating the mystery of God’s ways

There are considerations by which the painfulness of such views may be diminished and taken away.

I. TAKING THE CASE AT THE VERY WORST, IT IS NOTHING BUT A CASE OF DIFFICULTY. It is not that the ways of God are in any case such as yield demonstration of ill. It is admitted that these difficulties may, for aught that appears, admit of a wise and happy solution.


1. The mystery which attaches to the ways of God arises in part from physical, from natural causes. In fact, there is an impossibility of its being removed. And this arises out of the great diversity of knowledge and understanding that there is betwixt God and ourselves.

2. Then this mystery arises in part from the unfavourableness of our position even for making use of what faculties we have. We do not stand so in relation to God and His ways as to take the most clear and favourable view of them. We are looking upon the ways of God from the earth; let us wait till we get to a better position.

3. Then we have no reason to complain of this mystery, because God, as the Governor of the world, has a right to work in darkness. The Foreign

Secretary of the English Government works in mystery. How the world would laugh at him if he did not!--if he let all men, friends or foes, know what he was about! And is the Governor of all things to have no mysteries? “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing”; and that He can form designs and work them out, and defy the whole universe to penetrate them, or to know what He means to do till He sees fit to disclose His plan in all its completeness, and lay bare the beauty in the eyes of all--there is His glory as a Governor. And there is not any one of His friendly subjects that will ever complain of this.

4. The provision of God’s government, as respecting ourselves, has a probationary and disciplinary design.


IV. WHEN WE LOOK AT SUCH PARTS OF GOD’S WAYS AS ARE ALREADY FINISHED WE SEE THE MYSTERY DISAPPEAR FROM THEM and however, if they had been looked at in their progress, they would have seemed very mysterious and difficult to be understood, when they are finished they appear wise and kind and good. For some parts of God s ways, though small comparatively, are finished. Look at the history of Joseph, for example, from the time when he provoked the jealousy of his brethren. Look at the case of Job; the apostle notices it in this way--“Ye have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy.” Now from one, judge all the ways of God.

V. THE MYSTERY WHICH NOW ATTACHES TO THE WAYS OF GOD MUST BE EFFECTUALLY AND COMPLETELY DONE AWAY HEREAFTER, because God Himself (if one may speak it reverently) stands as a candidate for the applause of the universe. He is working out His designs in the presence of beings whom He has made capable of understanding them in part; ourselves, for example, and the devils, and the angels in heaven. He is working out His designs in the presence of critical judges. Not that it is of any consequence to God, one may say, what we think of His ways; but yet, inasmuch as God has made us capable of appreciating His ways, and of deriving emotions from understanding them, there can be no question but that God means to stand well in the judgment of creatures whom He has thus made capable of judging. Practical improvement--

1. One may learn hence the infinite importance of a spirit of friendship with God.

2. The friends of God should learn to trust Him with unshaken confidence. We have grounds for confidence--security that God’s character is all that it should be.

3. Let us anticipate with joy the world that is to come. The world to come will be the time (so to speak) for God’s turning towards us the tapestry which He is working. (J. H. Hinton, M. A.)

God hiding Himself

1. God hid Himself when He brought them into the trouble, hid Himself, and was wroth (Isaiah 57:17).

2. He hid Himself when He was bringing them out of the trouble Psalms 77:19). (M. Henry.)

The Lord a God that hideth Himself

When the Holy Scriptures represent the Lord to us, or describe any of the more splendid manifestations of Himself, we find united together the fire and the cloud, light and darkness. It is this union which Isaiah exhibits: “Verily Thou art a God that hidest Thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.” The phrase denotes the incomprehensibility of Providence, the obscurity of God’s ways and dealings with the children of men.

I. GOD, THE SAVIOUR OF ISRAEL, IS A GOD THAT HIDETH HIMSELF. That His dispensations, though wise and merciful, are often mysterious--

1. Would be supposed by reason.

2. Is proved by experience.

II. THOUGH HE HIDETH HIMSELF HE IS ALWAYS THE SAVIOUR OF HIS PEOPLE. Though the dispensations of Providence towards them are inscrutable, they have a certain connection with their salvation. (H. Kollock, D. D.)

The hidden God

In all times and circumstances this tendency of God to hide Himself has been forced upon men. God hid Himself in the burning bush, in the cloud of glory that rested over the tabernacle. He shined forth from Mount Paran, and Sinai, and Seir, but no man beheld Him. Often were the tones of His voice heard, but no form was seen. Often was His glory made manifest, but His face concealed. Men like Enoch and Noah and Elijah walked with God and communed with Him; yet upon the Almighty they gazed not. Often did God speak to men in dreams and visions of the night, but none ever saw the face or distinguished the form of the Eternal. Moses could sing his grand song, but God must put into his mouth, “I will hide My face from them; I will see what their end shall be.” Job inquires--and how pathetic is the question on this man’s lips!--“Wherefore hidest Thou Thy face?” Even Isaiah, who enjoyed a clearer vision of God than most men, makes Him out to be the Great Mystery of all things, and yet says: “I will wait upon the Lord that hideth His face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for Him.” Truly “no man can see God”; no man can see anything that is really great. The invisible things are the greatest, and God is in them all. He is nearer to you than your hands and feet, and closer to you than your breathing; yet you cannot see Him. (G. FelixWilliams.)

God hiding Himself

I. NATURE is a house of concealment for God.

II. PROVIDENCE is also a house of concealment for God.

III. God was hidden IN JESUS CHRIST. (G. Felix Williams.)

God hidden from the sinner

There is a hiding of Himself mentioned in the Scripture--God’s spiritual withdrawal of Himself from our souls, which, far from being His voluntary purpose concerning us, is a dire misfortune which we entail upon ourselves,--a correcting punishment in all cases--a tremendous judgment in some. It is most important, therefore, that we should consider the different instances in which God may be said to be spiritually hidden from us, in order that we may learn how to avoid falling into so heavy a calamity, as well as how best to profit by it when God’s chastening hand so visits us.

1. God is often hidden from us in prayer.

2. He must be hidden from us whenever we presumptuously sin against Him.

3. He is also hidden when we feel a want of reliance on Him, and comfort in Him, under the ordinary trials and sufferings of the present life. (A. Gatty, M. A.)

The hidings of Deity

The inspired writers dwell frequently and earnestly on the inaccessible splendour that surrounds the Creator. “Clouds and darkness are round about Him”; “touching the Almighty, we cannot find Him out”; “He made darkness His secret place; His pavilion round about Him were dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies.” It was a cloud which conducted the wanderings of Israel; it was a cloud which filled the tabernacle of the Lord. The symbols of God’s greatness wear the robes of concealment, and He demands homage, not so much by what He has revealed as by what the revelation itself pronounces obscure. And it should be observed that all this proceeded not from unwillingness to disclose His brightness, but rather from the fact that since this brightness was Divine it could not be endured by human vision. To this He Himself referred when discoursing with Moses as His own friend. “Thou canst not see My face, for there shall no man see Me and live”; and although He “made all His goodness to pass before him,” as being that which the creatures of earth might behold and yet breathe, when the august train of His glory swept by, He hid His servant in the cleft of the rock, lest he should be withered to nothing by the unearthly blaze. (H. Melvill, B. D.)

God hiding Himself

If we pass from the days of ancient Israel to our own, it is to be remarked that we think much and speak much of the mysteries which undeniably exist in the nature of God, and in His operations whether in providence or in grace; but after all, it may be that we scarcely regard those mysteries in their most important point of view,--that we rather consider them as secrets which oppose our ingenuity thanas fields which yield a rich harvest of honour to the Creator and of advantage to ourselves. There is a likelihood of our not regarding these mysteries as necessary portions of the dealings between finite beings and the Infinite; as forced, so to speak, into God’s dispensations by His unmeasured superiority over the work of His own hands. Nay, we are well aware that many go even so far as to denounce and decry revelation altogether, just because it contains truths too big for human comprehension; forgetting or overlooking that, since it is probably essential to the very nature of God that He should hide Himself, their ground of rejection is virtually a ground of belief and acceptance. Thus our text seems to breathe the language of admiration and praise.

I. THAT OF GOD HIDING HIMSELF IN REGARD OF HIS OWN NATURE AND PROPERTIES. In real truth, we know nothing of God in Himself; we know Him only in His attributes, and His attributes only as written in His Word and His works. Let it only be remembered that we are a mystery to ourselves; that every object around us baffles our penetration; that there is not an insect, nor a leaf, nor an atom, which does not master us if we attempt to apprehend its nature and its growth, and we must admit that there is a presumption which outbraves language in expecting that we may ascertain what God is, and how God subsists. Even when God makes announcements of His nature, they are such as quite baffle our reason!

1. Look at the doctrine of the Trinity.

2. So soon as God has been addressed as a “God that hideth Himself” He is addressed as “the Saviour.” And we are free to own, in respect of the scheme of our salvation, that whilst everything is disclosed which has reference to ourselves, there is much hidden which has reference to God. We can form no adequate notion of the Incarnation: how the Godhead could tabernacle in flesh; how Divinity and humanity could coalesce to make a Mediator; how there could be a bearing of sin and yet freedom from sinfulness; the impossibility of being overcome by temptation, and yet such a capacity of being tempted as should ensure sympathy to ourselves. It lies beyond human power, at least with the present amount of revelation, to scan the wonders of the Person, and to unravel the intricacies of the work of redemption. “Verily Thou art a God that hideth Thyself” is what we are forced to exclaim even when contemplating God as “the God of Israel, the Saviour.” But in what tone should we make the exclamation? The points to which we have referred are not points which it concerns men accurately to understand, though it is at their own peril not to believe; and there is nothing by which God is so much honoured, and the soul so much advantaged, as by our taking Him at His word.

3. We observe in reference to the Bible, as before in reference to the Divine nature, that it is the sublimity which produces the obscurity.

4. And if God, when discovering Himself as the Saviour, hide much in regard of the mysteries of redemption, does He not also hide much of its individual application? How secretly the Holy Spirit enters into the heart of man!


1. God conceals much in the dispensations of His providence. He does not lay open the reasons of His appointments; He does not explain why prosperity should be allotted to one man and adversity to another.

2. God hides from His creatures the day of their death.

3. God has hidden muck from us with regard to a future state. (H. Melvill, B. D.)

God a mystery

God is a mystery, unsearchable, unfathomable, inscrutable. So am I so is everything. In his poem, “Flower in the crannied wall,” Tennyson stored one of his profoundest thoughts: If I could explain God He would cease to be God. An infinite subject can never come within the limitations of a finite mind. It matters not whether we surround God with clouds and darkness, or “light inaccessible”--He is equally hidden by either. Since the prophet uttered the text, men have advanced no further into the sanctuary that veils from sight the Deity. Science has made many discoveries, solved many mysteries, but upon one subject sheds no light, and in the presence of God is “dumb with silence.”

I. GOD HIDES HIMSELF IN NATURE. “In Him we live and move and have our being,” yet where is He? Worlds move in their orbits and “stars in their courses,” because an unseen hand upholds and guides. The telescope brings distant worlds in view and reveals everywhere His presence and power, but no telescope is so powerful as to bring God within range of our vision. Study the origin of life, and with aid of the microscope gaze upon the simplest germs fresh from the hand of God, and that hand seems almost in sight, but; still He eludes our sight.

II. THE GOD OF PROVIDENCE HIDES HIMSELF. “Thy way is in the sea, and Thy footsteps are not known.” His providences stagger human reason, and His purposes and ways are past finding out (Psalms 73:1-28.). We look on the wrong side of the pattern, but God is behind the curtain. His hand holds the shuttle, His foot is on the treadle, He will weave the web of our life into a pattern beautiful and glorious according to His Divine design. History is the unfolding of His providence on a large scale, which “almost reveals, but does not quite conceal,” the finger that writes its records.

III. THE GOD OF GRACE HIDES BEHIND HIS PURPOSES OF GRACE. The analogy between nature and grace is very striking.

IV. WILL GOD HIDE HIMSELF IN HEAVEN ALSO OR WILL HE COME FORTH TO VIEW IN THE LIGHT OF ETERNITY? “No man shall see Me and live” seems to imply a possibility after death. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” But do not the pure of earth see God in that sense? In a certain sense we will “see His face,” but in all probability He will even in eternity be a God that hideth Himself, in order that eternity may be a continual revelation more and more of His beauty and glory.

V. GOD HIDES HIMSELF, BUT NOT HIS MERCY. His love shines on every page of the Scriptures, and “His mercy is in the heavens,” above the brightness of the sun. Whatever else may be dark, the way of life is plain. (S. L. Morris, D. D.)

Mysteries in religion





God hides to reveal Himself

If the chapter is examined it will be seen that God’s hiding Himself is regarded but as a preparation of manifestation, and as a means of it. He hid Himself in employing Cyrus, but it was that He might be better known, that His control over men and nations might be recognised. We have then to consider the truth that God’s hiding of Himself is in order that He may be better known, and that His great end in all is that all the ends of the earth may look to Him and be saved.


1. Think of an infinite Being, a perfect and eternal One, and of dependent spirits created and sustained by Him. Should we not have expected that this great and glorious Being would make Himself known to His creatures in some direct, clear, unmistakable way? Instead of such a visible, unmistakable appearance of God we have only a vast expanse of matter. Matter everywhere; God nowhere to be seen. There are great forces moving around us; but they are not God. We cannot see a face. We believe, we feel, we know that behind all a great Will is working, but we cannot see or touch that Will. Matter in its dulness and insensibility hides God. Its crassness and opacity keep the thought of God out of our minds. We lose God in the multitudinousness of the forms He presents to us. Beauty and grandeur even enchain our souls. We are delighted with the picture, and never rise beyond.

2. Yet this matter, so often felt as a concealing of God, is truly a revealing, a manifestation of qualities in God which otherwise would have been hidden from us. How could God’s almighty power have been made plain to us except through matter? The variety, which may seem to hide God, reveals the inexhaustibleness of His resources. Minuteness reveals the greatness of His care. And though God remains hidden, the fact of His existence is made clear and certain to the practical reason of man. The marks of adaptation, purpose, and design are so multiplied, so direct and obvious in some cases, and so elaborate and complex in others, that conviction comes irresistibly on the general mind. The destruction and pain that are found in some parts of nature form a contrast needful to the setting off of the beneficence displayed in the enjoyment that abounds. Would not the beauty of the world be tame and unappreciated if it were confronted with no opposite? The very inexplicabeleness of some parts of the universe, their apparent contradiction to the goodness of God, are part of the lesson, and a most important part. They give us a sense of the mystery of God. They are the very things that waken up certain classes of minds. They serve, above all, to impress us with the thought that nature is no sufficient manifestation of God. They render necessary a lofty faith in God, and make welcome that higher revelation which is its nutriment.

II. IT IS TRUE OF LAW, which is found everywhere in the material universe, that while it seems to hide God it yet manifests Him in a higher way.

1. A system of law everywhere prevails. Each separate existence has its own law, and all are bound together by general laws. The thought of this all-pervading invariable law has something in it pleasing to the intellect of man. It even gives him delight to contemplate the unvarying order, and to trace regularity and harmony where at first there appeared only confusion. But the human heart does not take kindly to this idea of law. It feels as if it were imprisoned, and God put far away and deprived of power to help. It seems even, at times, as if God were put out of the universe, and scarcely even the name of Him left.

2. But it is a groundless alarm. The belief in law neither takes away God, nor deprives Him of His freedom and power to help. To show that God’s working is regular is not to make it less His working. Order is not force. The channel in which power operates is not the power. The existence of law, then, does not really hide God.. It reveals Him in a grand and elevating way. What lessons it teaches of the Divine love for order, of the unity of God’s mind, and His unchangeableness. What an impression it gives of the entire absence of caprice in His nature, and His absolute reliableness. How grandly it shows the subordination of all things, even the minutest, to one vast purpose.

III. IT IS TRUE OF THE MEANS AND AGENTS EMPLOYED BY GOD that in them He hides Himself and vet reveals Himself in a higher way.

1. God’s great channels of power in the moral world are two--truth and men. The truth of God is so perfectly adapted to its purpose that; it seems to be doing all the work. So also is it with the human agency that God employs. The influence of men appears to depend so entirely on the energy they put forth, upon their adaptation to particular classes of men, upon their intellectual and moral incisiveness, upon a certain shining through of conviction, and a contagiousness of nature, that it seems as if it were a thing wholly in the human sphere. God is thoroughly hidden behind man.

2. But look what a grand revelation of Himself God gives by this arrangement. What a regard He shows to the souls He has made in using such an array of truth upon them. It is one of the greatest displays of God that He condescends to win by truth, that He stoops to reason and plead. And what noble qualities God shows in using human agents as He does. Does He not show His desire to bring out of each creature all its capabilities, His desire to give to the children the highest possible honour, to make them dear and honourable to each other, by making them the channels of the very highest blessing?

IV. GOD HIDES HIMSELF BEHIND DELAY AND DISASTER, AND YET REVEALS HIMSELF THROUGH THESE IN A HIGHER WAY. It is an old cause of perplexity to men that one event happens to the evil and the-good, and that God’s work moves with such incredible slowness. And yet, in all this God is revealing Himself. He reveals His grand purpose and determination that men shall walk by faith. Would it be a benefit to men to be freed from the necessity of walking by faith? It would be stopping the channel between us and all God’s blessings. God makes the world so full of contradiction and disaster, makes it so incalculable and mysterious, just because He loves us and does not wish us to stray away from Himself. What wealth of consolation He spreads abroad in hearts through the occasion and opportunity of sorrow. (J. Leckie, D. D.)

The Divine invisibility

We have in us from babyhood an irrepressible desire to know the unknown. The unknown is the awful. And so in heathen religions there is always some mysterious place into which only a high priest enters, some inner sanctuary veiled from mortal eyes where the Divine presence is more perceptible than elsewhere. Even Judaism had it and its veil of the temple was not rent in twain till Christ came. Sacerdotal churches maintain the idea till this day. Idolatry--what is it? What but the effort to make the invisible visible? When Jesus the Christ came into this world’s life, He came to answer the longing of the human heart after some such expression of Deity as should satisfy that desire to make the invisible visible. In our noblest moments it must seem to us that the demand for a full and perfect revelation of Deity is unreasonable, not to use the stronger word, absurd. Reasonable enough is the demand, let us know the heart of Deity. And so, while it is still true that the eternal One is a God that hideth Himself it is also true that the prayer of man’s heart, “Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us,” has been answered. But can we not see that the Divine invisibility has its uses in the development of this nature of ours?

1. One use is to train us to reverence.

2. God’s hiding of Himself is necessary to our freedom. Our great Teacher puts this thought, as is His wont, into the parable of an Eastern lord going into a far country and delivering his goods into the custody of his servants, that, in his absence, they may so use them as to increase them. In order to the development of every human life a certain amount of freedom is necessary. The over-awing sensible presence of God would completely destroy our freedom. It would paralyse our activities.

3. It is necessary to our perfectness of nature. But perfectness in man is not simply a matter of outward condition, it implies internal correspondence with an environment in itself perfect. In order to perfectness of inward condition there must be the ability of faith in a Power outside ourselves, and of faith in all around us, the ability of perpetual hope, the ability of undying love. And it is not possible, so far as we can see, to develop these virtues unless we have room for their growth. The invisibility of God is necessary to their growth. (R. Thomas, D. D.)

Withholding the law of revealing


1. The records of the world before the flood, scanty as they are, show us that it was ever present in that earliest dispensation. Through that darkness we can see man under the dispensation of an incomplete revelation; God, ever present and yet ever hidden, and restraining His manifestation of Himself even as He gives it. What an expression it is, “God looked upon the earth, and behold it was corrupt.” That looking on it, His revelation; that turning aside from it, His hiding of His face, because He could not endure its corruption and its violence.

2. After the flood it is still the same; as to the world at large most evidently so. How soon does the knowledge of God die out, even in the family of Noah! Then the Lord calls Abraham, and reveals Himself to that one chosen witness What a hiding of Himself, even in His revelation, does this imply. Even more remarkable yet is the presence of this law amongst those to whom the light was given. Marvellous communications of Himself were made by God to Abraham. When the three mysterious strangers stood suddenly before him as he sat in his tent-door in the heat of the day, how near he is to the knowledge of the Divine Trinity; and when the men vanish out of his sight, and he is left alone “before the Lord,” how is the Trinity gathered up again into the unity of the Godhead. So again, when the assurance of his own acceptance is vouchsafed to him as the lamp of God moves between the divided pieces of his sacrifice, a horror of great darkness falls upon the spirit of the favoured man. In the revelation of Himself God still hides Himself, even from the opened eye of Abraham. So it continues all along the line.

3. So it was throughout the whole prophetic dispensation. What growing light,--what remaining darkness meet us everywhere.

4. How plainly is the same feature to be traced in the personal ministry of Our Lord Himself! This is everywhere discernible in His conduct to the scribes and Pharisees, and even to the multitude. What else were those charges to one and another not to make known His miraculous works of healing; what else the wrapping up of His words in parables; that “seeing they might see and not perceive, and hearing they might hear and not understand”? And even with His own disciples He acted to a great degree on the same rule. How plainly do their words and acts convey to us the idea of men living under a sense of mystery which they could not fathom.

5. Is not the same law marked even upon the open revelation of the dispensation of the Spirit? God’s sovereignty and man’s free agency; the co-working of His almighty grace and our own personal responsibility; the infinite love and power of God, and the origin and being of evil; who can explain the co-existence of these wonders?

6. Nor is it otherwise, if from these unsolved difficulties of thought we turn to the direct appointments of the Church of Christ. Do not the blessed sacraments of the Gospel at once reveal and hide the Divine Presence?

7. Most signally, too, is this true as to God s dealings with individual souls in the Church of the redeemed.

8. We may trace it in the Church at large. Bright as is the light, where is it without the shadow following it?

II. ITS OBJECT. Here, then, is the dispensation. Why we are put under it the fewest words may safest tell Evidently it is of God’s love for us, and of His pity for our weakness. It is because we cannot now bear more; and that we may be led on to more.

III. ITS CONSEQUENCES. What especially we should learn from His having placed us under such a dispensation seems to be--

1. That if we would know Him we must follow hard after Him.

2. The need of reverence in seeking.

3. The true mode of treating these mysteries is neither to deny their existence nor to fear their presence, still less to let them minister to the production of doubt or unbelief, but to look at them as men look at the clouds which fleck the heavens; which, though for the time they hide the sun, yet do not make it the less present in the firmament, but which may themselves become so full of its light as to give back its radiance with a beauty which, if its burning brightness had not been broken by them into the infinity of light and shade, it could not have possessed. (Bp. S. Wilberforce, D. D.)

The knowledge of a triune God

In this short verse there is contained the description of God in two characters, as known and yet unknown, as revealed and yet a mystery, as showing and yet hiding Himself. This comprehensive idea of God had been gained from experience. The names “God of Israel” and “Saviour” embody the remembrance of the many occasions when He had shown Himself identified with the nation’s life and safety, as He had guided or protected them. And yet, running all through that same history had been the feature of unexpectedness and strangeness in His mode of working; so that at last the people felt that they knew Him and yet did not know Him. Each new proof of His power and presence only introduced a new point at which the mystery of His being and His ways was felt. Our experience cannot be said to be greatly different from the prophet’s. We go over the life of Christ, and each point of it is a revelation of our God; and then we complete our thoughts with an expression of God’s being full of hard thoughts and mystery.

1. Christ as the revelation of God leads to the doctrine of the Trinity. Happy shall we be if we can feel the unity of the two aspects of mystery and revelation as the prophet did, and join them, as he did, without any sense of hostility between them.

2. If men would only see that the doctrine of a Trinity has its first ground in the longing of God to get near to man, it would not so often be pronounced hard, cold, and useless. We should all see how to use it. When life and the world seemed cruel and disappointing, seemed to be discouraging us from any attempt to find God, then we would turn to our doctrine of God and, gathering re-assurance from the announcement that there is in the Godhead not only the power of sitting afar off in mysterious grandeur, but also the power of coming near to each one of us, and being one with us, we should take up our life again with new courage, and go back to the world with new confidence, feeling sure that God is in it, and is not beyond meeting us there.

3. Another characteristic of our search for God is, that we want Him to be like us in character and feeling. If He is not, we do not see how we can form any estimate of Him, and know Him at all. And yet that desire to have Him like us has led to such evil results that men often distrust it. It has so generally resulted in making a man’s God only an unnaturally magnified reflection of his own character that the pictures thus produced have been anything but attractive. They have so often had cruelty, hatred, and narrowness in them that men, rejecting such representations, have said, “We cannot know God, He is so different from us; He is a God that hideth Himself.

4. We turn again to that revealed picture of our God as it is given in the thought of a Trinity, and we find that it contains the very central idea of human life,--mutual feeling and relation. (A. Brooks, D. D.)

God hides Himself

It is supposed by some, that after Cyrus took possession of the city he was shown this prophecy, probably by Daniel, and he was so impressed with it that he resolved still further to fulfil it, by allowing the Jewish captives to return to their own land; and the way in which God would accomplish the work without openly appearing in it led the prophet to exclaim: “Verily Thou art a God that hidest Thyself,” &c. This sentiment is often expressed in God’s Word, and is still more frequently justified by His ways and works.

I. THE FACT HERE STATED, that God hides Himself. This is a fact that none will dispute; for--

1. He is unseen.

2. God hides Himself, in that He has not reavealed Himself to us in such a way as to render doubt and unbelief impossible. He has not left Himself without witnesses. God may be known by His works, not must be. God has revealed Himself in His Word. God Has revealed Himself in His Son. But the incarnation is a concealment of God, as well as a manifestation.

II. REASONS WHY GOD THUS HIDES HIMSELF. There must be some very sufficient reason for this conduct on the part of God. There is a very deep sense in which God hides Himself from us on account of our sins; that is, withdraws from us the sense of His spiritual presence and the tokens of His favour (Isaiah 59:2). But that is not the hiding to which the prophethere refers. He hides Himself because this is necessary for our moral probation and discipline. He was not always visible to our first parents in the garden; for when they heard His voice, after they sinned, they hid themselves. They would scarcely have eaten of the forbidden fruit while conscious that His eye was upon them. In like manner it is necessary for our probation that God should not be seen. He hides Himself--

1. To try our faith. Jesus said to Thomas, “Because thou hast seen thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.” Faith has reason and a sufficient revelation on which to rest; but if a man does not wish to retain the knowledge of God, he may find room for doubt and unbelief even in regions where the pure in heart see God.

2. To test our love. We must have a high and intelligent appreciation of the character of a being, and our love to him must have its roots deep down in our moral nature, if we are to continue to love him during a long absence, even though at one time we have seen him; but how high must be our appreciation of his character and work if we can say of him, “Whom having not seen, we love; in whom, though now we see Him not, yet believing, we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” If we so love Christ when we do not see Him how shall we love Him when we see Him as He is!

3. To test the strength of our principles. A master wishes to know how his servant does when he is absent; a father wishes to know how his son Conducts himself when from home. If he hears that his son is as pure and upright and loving as he ever was when the eyes of his parents were upon him, it fills his heart with satisfaction and delight; so God wishes to know what we will do when we seem to be left to ourselves. It is then that our principles are tested. God hides Himself to see what we will do. He sees us, though we cannot see Him. No dispensation could be better than the one under which we live, to develop our principles and form our character; it is a dispensation of faith, not sight, in which we are being trained to do right because it is right, even though we cannot at the time see the consequences that will follow right or wrong.

4. To test our confidence in His arrangements, whether we will trust Him even when we cannot trace Him. There are many who think that they could bear the ills of life if they were sure that God appointed them, but their trials seem to come so entirely from human sources that it seems to them as though they were just left to be the victims of human caprice. But we must endure as seeing the invisible, and say of man as Jesus said to Pilate: “Thou couldest have no power against Me except it were given thee from above” (John 19:11).

5. In order that we may seek Him. We spare no pains in seeking that which we highly value, and God will be appreciated. He seeks us, but we must also seek Him. Lessons--

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Isaiah 45:15". The Biblical Illustrator. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Verily thou art a God that hideth thyself,.... Who hid himself from the Gentile world for some hundreds of years, who had no knowledge of the true God, lived without him in the world, and whose times of ignorance God overlooked, and suffered them to walk in their own ways; though now he would make himself known by his Gospel sent among them, and blessed for the conversion of them. He is also a God that hides himself from his own people at times, withdraws his gracious presence, and withholds the communication of his love and grace. These seem to be the words of the prophet, speaking his own experience, and that of other saints: or rather of the church, upon the access of the Gentiles to her, declaring what the Lord had been to them in former times; but now had showed himself to them in a way of grace and mercy. Some render it "thou art the hidden God"F26אתה אל מסתתר "tu es Deus absconditus", V. L. Tigurine version; "tu es abditus Deus Israelis", Syr. ; invisible in his nature; incomprehensible in his essence; not to be found out to perfection, nor to be traced in his providential dispensations; his judgments are unsearchable, and his ways past finding out. It may be applied to Christ in his state of humiliation; for though he was God manifest in the flesh, yet the glory of his deity was seen but by a few, being hid in the coarse veil of humanity; he appearing in the form of a servant, who was in the form of God, and equal to him; and to him the following words agree:

O God of Israel, the Saviour; for he is God over all, and the God of his spiritual Israel in an especial manner; and the Saviour of them from sin, wrath, condemnation, and death, by his obedience, sufferings, and death; or if it is to be understood of God the Father, who is the God of Israel, he is the Saviour of them by his Son.

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Gill, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:15". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Verily thou [art] a God that t hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.

(t) By this he exhorts the Jews to patience, though their deliverance is deferred for a time: showing that they would not repent their long patience, but the wicked and idolaters will be destroyed.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:15". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

God that hidest thyself — Horsley, after Jerome, explains this as the confession of Egypt, etc., that God is concealed in human form in the person of Jesus. Rather, connected with Isaiah 45:9, Isaiah 45:10, the prophet, contemplating the wonderful issue of the seemingly dark counsels of God, implies a censure on those who presume to question God‘s dealings (Isaiah 55:8, Isaiah 55:9; Deuteronomy 29:29). Faith still discerns, even under the veil, the covenant-keeping “God of Israel, the Savior” (Isaiah 8:17).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

What follows in Isaiah 45:15 is not a continuation of the words of the Gentiles, but a response of the church to their confession. The nations that have been idolatrous till now, bend in humble spontaneous worship before the church and its God; and at the sight of this, the church, from whose soul the prophet is speaking, bursts out into an exclamation of reverential amazement. “Verily Thou art a mysterious God, Thou God of Israel, Thou Savour.” Literally, a God who hides Himself ( mistattēr : the resemblance to μ υστηρ-ιώδης is quite an accidental one; the is retained in the participle even in pause). The meaning is, a God who guides with marvellous strangeness the history of the nations of the earth, and by secret ways, which human eyes can never discern, conducts all to a glorious issue. The exclamation in Romans 11:33, “O the depth of the riches,” etc., is a similar one.

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Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:15". 1854-1889.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.

Verily — These are the words of the prophet, on contemplation of the various dispensations of God towards his church, and in the world.

Hidest — Thy counsels are deep and incomprehensible, thy ways are past finding out.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:15". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

15.Truly thou art a God that hidest thyself. Isaiah now exclaims, that there is need of long exercise of patience, that we may enjoy the promises of God; for the people might have been prompted to despair, when the wicked had everything to their wish, and when everything adverse befell themselves. I am aware that some expound it differently. The Jewish writers commonly interpret it to mean, that the Lord will hide himself from the Gentiles, but will reveal himself to his people. Christian interpreters bring forward a different sense, but too far-fetched. There is ingenuity, indeed, in what they say, that Christ is a hidden God, because his divinity lies concealed under the infirmity of the flesh. But it does not agree with the Prophet’s meaning; for he calls himself “a hidden God,” because he appears to withdraw, (204) and, in some measure, to conceal himself, when he permits his people to be afflicted and oppressed by various calamities; and, therefore, our hearts ought to be encouraged by hope. Now, as Paul says, (Romans 8:24,) “hope is not directed to those things which are seen;” and in this sense Isaiah calls him “a hidden God,” because those things which he promised are not immediately visible to our eyes.

Thus he intended that we should withdraw our minds from present objects, and raise them above the heavens, which we must do, (205) if we wish to receive and accept of his aid. There is “need of patience,” (Hebrews 10:36,) therefore, that we may continue to direct our desires towards him, when he delays the execution of his promises. He had said, a little before, that unbelievers, though at that time they were blind and stupid, would feel the presence of God; but, because the time of manifestation was not yet at hand, this exclamation is appropriately introduced, that God, before he displays his glory, conceals his power in order to try our faith.

God the Savior of Israel. That the Prophet does not speak of the essence of God, but of his assistance, may be easily inferred from the epithet which is now added, when he calls God “the Savior.” He explains that God “hides himself” in the method which he takes for saving his Church, because he conceals his hand for a time in such a manner as if he had intended totally to abandon them. He wishes that our salvation should remain, as it were, hidden in darkness, that, if we desire to enjoy it, we may know that we must go out of this world, (206) for it will not all at once present itself to us, or become visible to our eyes. We ought, therefore, to look for it with unshaken steadfastness; for it is highly advantageous that in this manner God should try and prove our faith, that, when we shall be oppressed by various afflictions on every hand, we may nevertheless rely on God and on his promises.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:15". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary


‘Thou art a God that hidest Thyself.’

Isaiah 45:15

I. In human nature there is a curious mixture of candour and concealment.—Whilst there is a hiding of ourselves arising from a peculiarity of our nature which we cannot alter, there are concealments for our own ends, not always evil, but often good. Parents do not reveal to their children their plans of discipline, but expect to be relied upon even when not understood.

II. The Scriptures teach us that God asks for our faith.—He hides Himself and bids us trust Him. This finds a reflection in our own hearts, for it is just this we prize in others. How we delight in the trustful love of a child, to whom we know we must be as one that hideth himself! Is there no resemblance of the Divine in this? We may cry with Job, ‘Show me wherefore Thou contendest with me.’ But if no answer comes, let not faith fail. Why does He not stay the devastating flood? Why does He permit His people thus to suffer whilst the wicked flourish like a green bay tree? And softly there comes the answer from the old Book, finding an affirming echo in our hearts—God hides Himself.

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:15". Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Isaiah 45:15 Verily thou [art] a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.

Ver. 15. Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself.] (a) As thou art invisible, and dwellest in light inaccessible; so in thy dispensations thou goest a way by thyself, and thy judgments are unsearchable. "Thou hidest thyself," and standest off a while sometimes from the help of thy poor people, but wilt appear to them and for them in due time. The Septuagint here translate Tu es Deus et nesciebamus, Thou art God, and we knew thee not. And this the fathers interpret concerning Christ; and hence the Jews seem to have drawn that speech of theirs, "Christ when he cometh, no man knoweth whence he is."

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:15". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Isaiah 45:15

We have to consider the truth that God's hiding of Himself is in order that He may be better known, and that His great end in all is that all the ends of the earth may look to Him and be saved.

I. This is true of the material universe. Matter in its dullness and insensibility hides God. Its crassness and opacity keeps the thought of God out of our minds. We lose God in the multitudinousness of the forms He presents to us. We are delighted with the picture, and never rise beyond. In the vastness of nature we often seem to lose ourselves rather than to find God. And yet this matter, so often felt as a concealing of God, is truly a revealing, a manifestation, of qualities in God which otherwise would have been hidden from us. How could God's almighty power have been made plain to us except through matter? Space and bulk and force illustrate power, and illustrate it the more clearly in proportion to the denseness, dullness, crassness of the material acted upon. The variety which may seem to hide God reveals the inexhaustibleness of His resources. Minuteness reveals the greatness of His care.

II. It is true of law, which is found everywhere in the material universe, that while it seems to hide God, it yet manifests Him in a higher way. The existence of law does not really hide God. On the contrary, it reveals Him in a grand and elevating way. What lessons it teaches of the Divine love for order, of the unity of God's mind, and His unchangeableness! What an impression it gives of the entire absence of caprice in His nature, and His absolute reliableness! How grandly it shows the subordination of all things, even the minutest, to one vast purpose! What a glory this universal supremacy of law casts over the moral law! And how gloriously it illustrates and harmonises with the Cross of Christ, which is the great vindication and triumph of law!

III. It is true of the means and agents employed by God that in them He hides Himself, yet reveals Himself in a higher way. God hides Himself behind truth and behind man. Yet what a revealing there is of God in this hiding of Himself, in thus keeping Himself out of sight, that truth may have free play, that souls may be trained and disciplined to the utmost, that men may be put to the highest possible use, and may be great and hallowed to each other!

IV. God hides Himself behind delay and disaster, and yet reveals Himself through these in a higher way.

J. Leckie, Sermons Preached at Ibrox, p. 94.

References: Isaiah 45:15.—S. Baring-Gould, One Hundred Sermon Sketches, p. 75. Isaiah 45:18-25.—C. Short, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xv., p. 120. Isaiah 45:19.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. ix., No. 508; Ibid., Evening by Evening, p. 236.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:15". "Sermon Bible Commentary".

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture



Isaiah 45:15, Isaiah 45:19.

The former of these verses expresses the thoughts of the prophet in contemplating the close of a great work of God’s power which issues in the heathen’s coming to Israel and acknowledging God. He adores the depth of the divine counsels which, by devious ways and after long ages, have led to this bright result. And as he thinks of all the long-stretching preparations, all the apparently hostile forces which have been truly subsidiary, all the generations during which these Egyptian and Ethiopian tribes have been the enemies and oppressors of that Israel whom they at last acknowledge for the dwelling-place of God, and enemies of that Jehovah before whom they finally bow down, he feels that he has no measuring-line to fathom the divine purposes, and bows his face to the ground in reverent contemplation with that word upon his lips: ‘Verily Thou art a God that hidest Thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.’ It is a parallel to the apostolic words, ‘O the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out.’

But such thoughts are but a half truth, and may very easily become in men’s minds a whole error, and therefore they are followed by a marvellous section in which the Lord Himself speaks, and of which the whole burden is-the clearness and fulness with which God makes Himself known to men. True it is that there are depths inaccessible in the divine nature. True it is that there are mysteries unrevealed in the method of the divine procedure, and especially in that of the relation of heathen tribes to His gospel and His love. True it is that there are mysteries opened in the very word of His grace. But notwithstanding all this-it is also true that He makes Himself known to us all, that He declares righteousness, that He calls us to seek Him, and that He wills to be found and known by us.

The collocation of these two passages may be taken, then, as representing the two phases of the Divine Manifestation, the obscurity which must ever be associated with all our finite knowledge of God, and the clear sunlight in which blazes all that we need to know of Him.

I. After all revelation, God is hidden.

There is revelation of His Name in all His works. His action must be all self-manifestation. But after all it is obscure and hidden.

1. Nature hides while it reveals.

Nature’s revelation is unobtrusive.

God is concealed behind second causes.

God is concealed behind regular modes of working {laws}.

Nature’s revelation is partial, disclosing only a fragment of the name.

Nature’s revelation is ambiguous. Dark shadows of death and pain in the sensitive world, of ruin and convulsions, of shivered stars, seem to contradict the faith that all is very good; so that it has been possible for men to drop their plummet in the deep and say, ‘I find no God,’ and for others to fall into Manichaeism or some form or other of dualism.

2. Providence hides while it reveals.

That is the sphere in which men are most familiar with the idea of mystery.

There is much of which we do not see the issue. The process is not completed, and so the end is not visible.

Even when we believe that ‘to Him’ and ‘for good’ are ‘all things,’ we cannot tell how all will come circling round. We are like men looking only at one small segment of an ellipse which is very eccentric.

There is much of which we do not see the consistency with the divine character.

We are confronted with stumbling-blocks in the allotment of earthly conditions; in the long ages and many tribes which are without knowledge of God; in the sore sorrows, national and individual.

We can array a formidable host. But it is to be remembered that revelation actually increases these. It is just because we know so much of God that we feel them so keenly. I suppose the mysteries of the divine government trouble others outside the sphere of revelation but little. The darkness is made visible by the light.

3. Even in ‘grace’ God is hidden while revealed.

The Infinite and Eternal cannot be grasped by man.

The conception of infinity and eternity is given us by revelation, but it is not comprehended so that its contents are fully known. The words are known, but their full meaning is not, and no revelation can make them, known to finite intelligences.

God dwells in light inaccessible, which is darkness.

Revelation opens abysses down which we cannot look. It raises and leaves unsettled as many questions as it solves.

The telescope resolves many nebulae, but only to bring more unresolvable ones into the field of vision.

Now all this is but one side of the truth. There is a tendency in some minds to underrate what is plain because all is not plain. For some minds the obscure has a fascination, apart altogether from its nature, just because it is obscure. It is a noble emulation to press forward and ‘still to be closing up what we know not with what we know.’ But neither in science nor in religion shall we make progress if we do not take heed of the opposing errors of thinking that all is seen, and of thinking that what we have is valueless because there are gaps in it. The constellations are none the less bright nor immortal fires, though there be waste places in heaven where nothing but opaque blackness is seen. In these days it is especially needful to insist both on the incompleteness of all our religious knowledge, and to say that-

II. Notwithstanding all obscurity, God has amply revealed Himself.

Though God hides Himself, still there comes from heaven the voice-’I have not spoken in secret,’ Now these words contain these thoughts-

1. That whatever darkness there may be, there is none due to the manner of the revelation.

God has not spoken in secret, in a corner. There are no arbitrary difficulties made or unnecessary darkness left in His revelation. We have no right to say that He has left difficulties to test our faith. He Himself has never said so. He deals with us in good faith, doing all that can be done to enlighten, regard being had to still loftier considerations, to the freedom of the human will, to the laws which He has Himself imposed on our nature, and the purposes for which we are here. It is very important to grasp this. We have been told as much as can be told. Contrast with such a revelation the cave-muttered oracles of heathenism and their paltering double sense. Be sure that when God speaks, He speaks clearly and to all, and that in Christianity there is no esoteric teaching for a few initiated only, while the multitude are put off with shows.

2. That whatever obscurity there may be, there is none which hides the divine invitation or Him from those who obey it.

‘I have never said . . . seek ye Me in vain.’ Much is obscure if speculative completeness is looked for, but the moral relations of God and man are not obscure.

All which the heart needs is made known. His revelation is clearly His seeking us, and His revelation is His gracious call to us to seek Him. He is ever found by those who seek. They have not to press through obscurities to find Him, but the desire to possess must precede possession in spiritual matters. He is no hidden God, lurking in obscurity and only to be found by painful search. They who ‘seek’ Him know where to find Him, and seek because they know.

3. That whatever may be obscure, the Revelation of righteousness is clear.

We have to face speculative difficulties in plenty, but the great fact remains that in Revelation steady light is focussed on the moral qualities of the divine Nature and especially on His righteousness.

And the revelation of the divine righteousness reaches its greatest brightness, as that of all the divine Nature does, in the Person and work of Jesus. Very significantly the idea of God’s righteousness is fully developed in the immediately subsequent context. There we find that attribute linked in close and harmonious conjunction with what shallower thought is apt to regard as being in antagonism to it. He declares Himself to be ‘a just {righteous} God and a Saviour.’ So then, if we would rightly conceive of His righteousness, we must give it a wider extension than that of retributive justice or cold, inflexible aloofness from sinners. It impels God to be man’s saviour. And with similar enlarging of popular conceptions there follows: ‘In the Lord is righteousness and strength,’ and therefore, ‘In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified {declared and made righteous} and shall glory’-then, the divine Righteousness is communicative.

All these thoughts, germinal in the prophet’s words, are set in fullest light, and certified by the most heart-moving facts, in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. He ‘declares at this time His righteousness, that He might Himself be righteous and the maker righteous of them that have faith in Jesus.’ Whatever is dark, this is clear, that ‘Jehovah our Righteousness’ has come to us in His Son, in whom seeking Him we shall never seek in vain, but ‘be found in Him, not having a righteousness of our own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.’

If the great purpose of revelation is to make us know that God loves us, and has given us His Son that in Him we may know Him and possess His Righteousness, difficulties and obscurities in its form or in its substance take a very different aspect. What need we more than that knowledge and possession? Be not robbed of them.

Many things are not written in the book of the divine Revelation, whether it be that of Nature, of human history, or of our own spirits, or even of the Gospel, but these are written that we may believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and believing, may have life in His name.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:15". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

These are the words of the prophet, drawn from him by the contemplation of the great and various works and dispensations of God towards his church, and in the world.

That hidest thyself, to wit, from thy people for a season. Thy counsels are deep and incomprehensible, thy ways and carriages are past finding out, and full of beautiful variety. Sometimes thou hidest thy face, and withdrawest thy help from thy people, and sometimes thou dost show thyself to be their God and Saviour, as it follows. And therefore it is meet that we should patiently wait for the accomplishment of these glorious things here promised to us. And this admonition is most fitly inserted here, to prevent the mistakes of God’s people, and to intimate that these promises were not to be speedily executed, but that they must expect and prepare for many and sharp afflictions before that time should come, which yet should end in their salvation.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Isaiah 45:15". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The nations that will come to God, or perhaps Isaiah himself or Israel, observed that God hides His acts of salvation so they are not obviously apparent. They become clear to those who carefully observe what He has done, and whom God enlightens, but they do not inevitably impress every single individual. One might say the same thing about Jesus" claims. They could have been clearer, but to those who really considered them, and whose eyes God opened, they were clear. This is essentially a testimony to God"s transcendence (cf. Romans 11:33).

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:15". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Isaiah 45:15. Verily, &c. — These are the words of the prophet, drawn from him by the consideration of the great and various works and dispensations of God toward his church, and in the world; thou art a God that hidest thyself — Namely, from thy people for a season: thy counsels are deep and incomprehensible, and thy ways past finding out; O God of Israel, the Saviour — Who, though thou concealest the grounds and reasons of thy dispensations, and often deferrest to help thy people in the time of distress, yet art still carrying on their deliverance, and the destruction of their enemies, although in a mysterious way. And therefore it is meet that we should patiently wait for the accomplishment of these glorious things here promised us.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:15". Joseph Benson's Commentary. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Saviour. We confess that thou hast delivered the Jews; or rather, we acknowledge that thou, O Christ, art true God under the veils of thy human nature, and Saviour of all. Cyrus was only a feeble representation of thee.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:15". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.

Verily thou (art) a God that hidest thyself. Horsley, after Jerome, explains this as the confession of Egypt, etc., that God is concealed in human form in the person of Jesus. Rather, connected with Isaiah 45:9-10, the prophet, contemplating the wonderful issue of the seemingly dark counsels of God, implies a censure on those who presume to question God's dealings (Isaiah 55:8-9; Deuteronomy 29:29). Faith still discerns, even under the veil, and "waits upon" the covenant-keeping God of Israel the Saviour (Isaiah 8:17).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(15) Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself . . .—The words have been variously taken: (1) as continuing the wondering homage of the heathen; (2) as spoken by the prophet as he surveys the unsearchable ways of God. (Comp. Romans 11:33.) Through the long years of exile He had seemed to hide Himself, to be negligent of His people (Isaiah 8:17; Isaiah 54:8; Psalms 55:1) or unable to help them. Now it would be seen that He had all along been as the Strong one (El) working for their deliverance.

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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:15". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.
a God
8:17; 57:17; Psalms 44:24; 77:19; John 13:7; Romans 11:33,34
O God
17; 12:2; 43:3,11; 46:13; 60:16; Psalms 68:26; Matthew 1:22,23; John 4:22,42; Acts 5:31; 13:23; 2 Peter 3:18

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:15". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary


Isa . Verily Thou art a God that hidest Thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.

In philosophy, facts hold the place which revelation holds in religion. Experience gives the philosopher his facts, and facts bring him to a point where he must confess mystery. Where is the metaphysician that hath ever explained the action of mind upon matter, and the ready movements of flesh and bone at the secret bidding of the mysterious visitant within? And where is the anatomist who hath discovered its origin with his searching knife? No; there is a mystery in it. For a mystery in philosophy is a fact unexplained, as a mystery in religion is a revelation unexplained.

Take another instance. Much has been discovered, and much has been demonstrated, in the science of astronomy. The motions of the heavenly bodies have been made matter of calculation amongst men; the results proving themselves true by periodical returns of infallible observation. But there is a point at which we reach a mystery here. Upon what do all these calculations depend? Upon what do all these motions rest? Upon a quality which Sir Isaac Newton baptized; he gave the mystery a name; he called it "gravitation." Grant gravitation, and we can reason about the solar system. But what is gravitation? Who can explain that?—M‘Neile.

Compare Rom .


1. The doctrine of the Trinity.

2. His revelation of Himself as "the Saviour." What mysteries are involved in the Incarnation and the Atonement!

3. The application of redemption to the individual, by the operations of the Holy Spirit. Regeneration is a fact, but who can explain it to us?

There is nothing that should surprise us in this, if we would but observe how little way our reason can make when labouring amongst things with which we are every day conversant; but we should expect that it would be altogether incompetent to the unravelling the incomprehensible. It will also be evident that we are a mystery to ourselves; that every object around us baffles our penetration; that there is not an insect, a leaf, an atom, which does not master us as we attempt to apprehend its nature and its growth.… If, then, making trial of our powers on the commonest objects by which we are surrounded, we feel ourselves defeated in our philosophy by the worm or the water-drop; can it be rational, when we turn ourselves to the study of God, to expect to find the Almighty a being which we may thoroughly comprehend? It is enough that we observe the most gifted of our fellows applying themselves assiduously to the commonest facts, the most familiar occurrences, and yet able to do nothing more than trace a connection between cause and effect. We ought to be convinced that we possess not the capacity which can allow us to embrace the wonders of the Deity. So that not only the stars in their rushings, and the waters as they flow in their tides, but every sand-grain and every bubble, and every beat of the pulse, and every blade of grass, and every floating insect, all join in preparing us for the fact that the God of Israel must be a God that hideth Himself.—Melvill.

What we would ever maintain in respect to all this concealment of the Deity is, that it should summon forth our thankfulness. It prevents great evils, and secures great blessings:

1. What food would there be to human pride, if reason availed even to the finding out of God!

2. If God did not thus hide Himself, there would be no reason for faith, and consequently none of the glory we render to God when we exercise it, and none of the moral advantage which flows to us from the being required to lean constantly on an invisible staff.

3. We could not then have that conviction that in the Bible we have the Word of the living God which now arises from our perception that the obscurity, of which some complain, is the result of the sublimity of the disclosures there made to us.


1. God conceals much in the dispensations of His Providence; He does not lay open the reasons of His appointments and permissions. But besides the moral discipline that is thus secured for us, will not the ultimate solution of all those mysteries gain more glory for God, than if the whole course of Providence had been made plain from the beginning?

2. God hides from His creatures the day of their death. But this concealment is in many ways a blessing to the individual and to society.

5. God has hidden from us the results of our own actions. But this is palpably to our advantage, for thus we are reminded, as we could not have been in any other way, of our dependence upon God, and the necessity of acknowledging Him in all our ways. Especially is this a blessing in the workings of benevolence. We are thus led to carry on our operations in the best possible spirit, in the consciousness that we are but instruments in the hand of God. Besides, it is this very hiding which enables us to honour God by our performance of duty. It were comparatively nothing to labour with the certainty of success; the trial of obedience lies in the being summoned to labour when we cannot be assured of success: and if we prosecute the enterprise, in spite of all that is disheartening in the hiding of results, we glorify God by that best of all offerings—a simple and unquestioning conformity to His will: our own obedience being of a far higher cast than if we were stimulated by the known amount of success, is nothing less than a fresh proof that we should praise God under His character of "the God that hideth Himself."—H. Melville, A.M., "The British Pulpit," vol. iii. pp. 142-152.

That God is a Saviour is a declaration written in lines of light on every page of the Book of Revelation. What, too, is history, with all its dark passages of horror, its stormy revolutions, its ceaseless conflict, its tears, its groans, its blood, but the chronicle of an ever-widening realm of light, of order, of intelligence, wisdom, truth, and charity? It is a tale of slow, patient, but persistent and victorious progress. Yet there is a destroying power at work in the universe on a scale of enormous magnitude, and to most men the dominant feature in this vast universe seems to be confusion. Shocks and shatterings cause more noise and make more show than the germinations, the uprisings, the upbuildings. The earthquake is long remembered, the soft springing of the corn passes unnoted by. Hence to most men God is hidden. If they believe there is a God, they think of Him merely as the Judge, the Avenger, the Destroyer, not as the Saviour.

But why should God hide Himself? If He has purposes of mercy always before Him, why does He not make them abundantly plain to all mankind? Why leave the world to groan and madden under the terror lest a malignant tormentor should be master and ruler of, at any rate, this lower sphere?

I. The reason lies partly in the essential mystery of the Divine nature—a nature whose judgments must remain unsearchable by man's limited intelligence, and whose ways must be past finding out; His nature and methods we can grasp just as an infant can grasp the thought and purpose of a man (Job ; Rom 11:33).

II. God hides Himself through His patient, deep, and far-reaching method in the government of mankind. He is governing us as free beings on a profound and obscure but benignant method; the aim being to train us to govern ourselves in the light of His truth and love. The only way to govern in freedom is to allow full play to freedom. We are free to try our paths and see where they issue. But when men go astray by the very misery that succeeds their sin (Luk ), God leads them back to Himself and proves that He is the Saviour.

III. The day of the Lord is a long day. His methods work through generations. Consider the years of the right hand of the Most High, and understand how His way must be hidden in each brief generation; while in the generations in which His hand is on the world in judgment, the darkness in which it is buried must be profound indeed.

IV. God hides Himself behind the fatherly chastisement with which He exercises and educates the individual human soul. It is in the nature of chastisement to hide for a moment the wisdom and the love of the hand which administers it (Heb ).

V. There are seasons of darkness in which God seems hidden, which are among the most sacred and salutary experiences of the soul. By them God is drawing out and drawing up its deeper longings and aspirations, exercising its patience, and kindling its hope (H. E. I. 1645-1648, 1656).

VI. God hides, must hide, much of His method, but while the Cross stands as earth's most sacred symbol there can be no utter hiding of His love. He has set the Cross in the midst of us as the sign how much He cares for us. Whatever we suffer, while that Cross abides, we can say, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him"—J. Baldwin Brown, B.A., in the Christian World, September 19th, 1879.

When Divine manifestations are described in Scripture, two symbols are used, fire and cloud, symbolising light and darkness. The import of this is that we may know God in part, but cannot fathom His perfections. As an old philosopher said, "Nothing is at once so known and so concealed as God." This union of the knowable and unknowable in God is set forth in the text.

Looked at in connection with the context, the words express astonishment and admiration at the mode in which God fulfilled His purposes through Cyrus. The obscurity of His ways, the incomprehensibility of Providence, is the subject.

I. The Lord is a God that hideth Himself. His dispensations, though always wise and merciful, are often mysterious. This is in harmony with both reason and experience.

1. From the nature of God, and from the character and situation of man, reason would conclude that the ways of Providence must often be incomprehensible. For God's wisdom is infinite, His ways above our ways. How can mortals comprehend His counsels and purposes? It is the very height of folly, of profane arrogance, for men to summon the All-Wise to their tribunal. We cannot tell the end He has in view, nor assign reasons for His procedure, nor foreknow the effect of His action. If God were not incomprehensible, faith would lose its value.

2. Experience proves that God hides Himself. Why does He suffer wickedness to prosper? Why does He afflict His own children? Why does He cut off the child and the youth? Why do men of eminent usefulness die prematurely, and worthless men live long?

II. Though God hides Himself, He is the Saviour of His people. His inscrutable ways are connected with the salvation of His children.

1. Think of the attributes of God. His love wonderful, His power unlimited, His care incessant, His wisdom infinite. Can He err, or be cruel?

2. Remember His promises. "All things shall work together for good," &c. In times of darkness and suffering the promises apply.

3. Look at experience. Your own. How has God dealt with you? That of others. Reflect on the sufferings of patriarchs, prophets, and saints, and the end thereof.

In conclusion, learn,

1. The guilt and ingratitude of believers when they murmur against God's dealings. They assume to be wiser than He, and are impatient and rebellious.

2. We may well long for heaven. Here there will ever be darkness; there we shall see light in God's light. All mysteries will be solved.—Henry Kollock, D.D.: Sermons, pp. 574-580.

This chapter contains a prophecy respecting the deliverance of Israel from Babylon. God promises to anoint Cyrus to be the saviour of His people, and to do great things to enable him to deliver them from bondage (Isa ). Cyrus was to be thus raised up, not for his glory, but for the sake of Jacob (Isa 45:4). Though he knew not God, he was to be an instrument in God's hands (Isa 45:4-5, Isa 44:28). God can use any instrument He pleases (Dan 2:21; Dan 4:35). Contemplating the predicted deliverance of Israel by such a surprising instrumentality, the prophet is filled with amazement, and exclaims, "Verily Thou art a God that hidest Thyself," &c.

God hides Himself in two ways.—

1. In the mystery of His counsel. Instances: His permitting His people to remain so long in such severe bondage, and in the wonderful means chosen for their deliverance. Many similar instances. No one can say beforehand what are God's purposes in His providences, nor how He will bring them about. History must be their interpreter (Psa ; Psa 79:9; Rom 11:33).

2. In His chastisements. At times He withdraws from His people on account of their sins (Isa ). Then they seem to be left utterly in the power of their foes (Psa 42:9). A period of mystery and painful perplexity (Psa 79:9). But in due time He manifests Himself as "the saviour of Israel." He uses unexpected means for their deliverance, but those means prove abundantly sufficient (Isa 45:17).

I. That the Saviour hides Himself is a thing to be lamented. Grave evils result therefrom. In His Church there is deadness, barrenness, contentions, divisions. Sinners are at ease in Zion. The foes of Zion are arrogant and insolent. God's kingdom makes no advance in the world. Those who love it are disheartened; their work for the salvation of sinners appears to be at a standstill. A cause of great grief to them. The stoppage of any earthly works is not to be compared with it for calamitousness. The stoppage of works which give employment to thousands is a great loss to a country; but a much heavier loss is the stoppage of the work of grace which gives eternal life. What will become of our children, relatives, neighbours, the world at large, should saving operations be at an end? Nothing can revive it but the coming forth of the Saviour.

II. The Saviour does not hide Himself without a cause. His sovereignty is not the cause of His concealment, nor of His withholding comforts from His people; for it is His delight to dwell in their midst and to bless them. The cause will be found in them. From below, and not from above, comes the mist that forms itself into thick clouds and hides the face of the Saviour from us (Isa ; H. E. I. 1644). We see a father sometimes showing his displeasure towards his disobedient child by refusing him his company, and so deals the Lord with His children as long as they continue contented with a low spiritual state, or a state of transgression into which they have fallen (Isa 1:15; Hos 5:15). This is the cause, and this only; not because His people are poor, ignorant, or in trouble.

III. The hiding of the Saviour ought to produce self-humiliation in His people. They ought to inquire into the reasons for their sad and terrible condition, in humble prayer before God (Psa ). They are apt not to do this; prayerlessness is one terrible result of backsliding (Isa 64:7). But until they give themselves earnestly to self-examination, self-reformation, and humble waiting before God, His face will be hidden from them.

IV. The Saviour continues the same though He hides Himself. Though He hid Himself in the days of Isaiah, He was still the "God of Israel, the Saviour." The sun is as full of light and heat when hid behind clouds as it is when seen in all its glory, and so God is as full of grace and mercy when hiding Himself because of the sins of His people, as He is when manifesting Himself in gracious deliverance. In the day of darkness His people may doubt this (Isa ). Nevertheless it is true (Isa 59:1). Let them return to Him in penitence, and they will find it true.

V. The Saviour does not intend to hide for ever. He has graciously made the term of the continuance of His concealment from us to depend on ourselves (Hos ). We are told what will certainly happen if His people turn to Him (Isa 54:7-10).

Let us lay these truths to heart. We greatly need that the Saviour should manifest Himself to us. Let us entreat Him to do so. Model prayers are provided for us in His Word (Jer ). Let us present them with the humble perseverance that is pleasing to Him (Isa 8:17). So doing, ere long He will draw near to us; and when He does so, let us lay hold on Him, saying, "O God, Thou art our God; our souls thirst to see thy power and thy glory, as we have seen Thee in the sanctuary."—William Roberts: Pregethau, pp. 261-268. Translated from the Welsh by the Rev. T. Johns, of Llanelly.

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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:15". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

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