Isaiah 64:5

Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved.

Thou meetest him that rejoiceth,.... Not in a carnal way, nor in a sinful manner, nor in a hypocritical one, or in vain boastings, all such rejoicing is evil: but in the Lord, in the person of Christ; in the greatness, glory, and fullness of his person; at the promise, and in the view, of his coming in the flesh, as Abraham did; in the grace of God displayed in him, and in hope of the glory of God by him; such a frame of spirit is agreeable to the Lord:

and worketh righteousness; a truly gracious soul is not idle, but works; not in his own strength, nor for life, or anything but what is just and right; no man indeed can work out a perfect righteousness, nor should men attempt to work out one for justification before God; but should lay hold by faith on the righteousness of Christ, which is the evangelical and best way of working righteousness; and such do works of righteousness in faith, which is doing them in the best manner, and the course of life of such is righteous; and these are regarded by the Lord, especially such who rejoice to work righteousness, or do it, in a cheerful joyful manner, which perhaps is the sense of the words: now such the Lord "meeteth", or has been used to meet, in former ages, in all generations, even in a way of love, grace, and mercy; and prevents them with the blessings of his goodness; indulges them with communion with himself through his Son, typified by the mercyseat; and at the throne of his grace, and in his house and ordinances. The Jewish commentators understand this phrase in a different manner. R. Jonah and Jarchi interpret it of God's meeting the righteous, and removing them out of the world by death, according to 1 Kings 2:25 and Aben Ezra of his receiving their prayers and intercessions for others, according to Isaiah 47:3. Kimchi joins both senses together,

"the righteous, who were doing thy commandments with joy, are not now in the world, to stand in the gap for us.''

those that remember thee in thy ways; they remember there is a God, and worship him; the perfections of his nature, and adore them; his works of providence, and admire them; and his blessings of grace and goodness, and are thankful for them: they remember him "in his ways"; in the ways of his providence, which are unsearchable, and past finding out; in the ways of his grace and mercy, so the Targum; or "for" or "because" q of these, and praise his name; and in the ways of his commandments, which they observe.

behold, thou art wroth, and we have sinned; or because we have sinned r; as for us, we have sinned, and justly incurred the displeasure of God; and it is no wonder he hides his face from us, and does not meet us, as he has been used to meet his people formerly. The people of God sin, and this is taken notice of by him, and resented; and which is the cause of all their afflictions, in which the Lord appears to be "wroth" with them; not that he is properly so, for afflictions to them are not in vindictive wrath; but he seems to be wroth with them, he carries it towards them as if he was, when he chastises them, and hides his face from them. In those is continuance, and we shall be saved: or "in these we have been of old" s; that is, in these sins; we are old sinners, sinners in Adam, sinners from our birth, and so in these sins is continuance: saints indeed do not continue in a course of sin, yet sin continues in them, and they are continually sinning in thought, word, or deed; yet nevertheless there is salvation from all their sins in Christ, in whom they shall be saved: or there is continuance in works of righteousness, and in the cheerful performance of them; the principle of well doing continues in believers, which is the grace of God, and spiritual strength, by which they do well; and through the grace of Christ they persevere in faith and holiness, and, persevering herein, shall be saved. Or rather there is continuance in the ways of God, in the ways of his grace and mercy; in them there is constancy, perpetuity, and eternity, as the word signifies; his love is an everlasting love; his mercy is from everlasting to everlasting, and endures for ever; he is unchangeable in his grace and promises, and hence his people shall not be consumed in their sins by his wrath, but shall be everlastingly saved; which is entirely owing to his permanent and immutable grace, and not to their works of righteousness, as appears by what follows.

q בדרכיך "propter vias tuas", Piscator. r ונחטא "quia vel nam peccavimus", Vatablus, Grotius, Forerius, Gataker. So some in Munster, ו, "vau", is often causal. s בהם עולם "in his peccatis consenuimus", Tigurine version some in Munster; "in ipsis peccatis semper fuimus", Forerius.