3/29/2015

Trust in the Lord Forever (Isaiah 24-27)

Isaiah 24-27

"You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal" (Isa 26:3-4, NIV). "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock" (Isa 26:3-4, NLT).

Trust in the Lord (Isa 26:4)--which results in perfect peace (Isa 26:3)--is the practical challenge that Isaiah lays down for God's people throughout the entire book (Isa 7:9; 10:20; 12:2; 30:15; 31:1; 32:17; 36:15; 42:17; 50:10; 57:13).
  • "If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all" (Isa 7:9b, NIV).
  • "In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel" (Isa 10:20, NIV).
  • "Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation" (Isa 12:2, NIV).
  • "So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: 'See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic'" (Isa 28:16, NIV).
  • This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it" (Isa 30:15, NIV).
  • "Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the Lord" (Isa 31:1, NIV).
  • "The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever" (Isa 32:17, NIV).
  • "Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the Lord when he says, 'The Lord will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria'" (Isa 36:15).
  • "But those who trust in idols, who say to images, 'You are our gods,' will be turned back in utter shame" (Isa 42:17, NIV).
  • "Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant? Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on their God" (Isa 50:10, NIV).
  • "When you cry out for help, let your collection of idols save you! The wind will carry all of them off, a mere breath will blow them away. But whoever takes refuge [trusts] in me will inherit the land and possess my holy mountain" (Isa 57:13, NIV).
The theme of Isaiah 24-27 is the triumph of God, which is good news (with much singing) because it means that the reign of sin and death is at an end and the kingdom of God has at last come in its fullness.

Isaiah 24-27 is often referred to as "the Little Apocalypse," meaning "unveiling" of the end, which anticipates the better known apocalypse, Revelation. These four chapters constitute the climax of the whole second part of Isaiah (ch. 13-27). They turn our attention from divine judgment on individual nations to a global apocalyptic vision of the end of the whole earth. Particular nations are lost to view as the focus broadens to encompass the whole earth (Isa 24:1). This third and climactic vision is of God ruling the nations in judgment and salvation. Devastating judgment (ch. 24) is followed by song (Isa 25:1-5), feasting (25:6-8), song (25:9-12), more song (ch. 26) and still more song (27:1-11), with the last two verses (Isa 27:12-13) acting as a summary conclusion to the whole. While ch. 13-20 and 21-23 address particular nations, ch. 24-27 foresee the whole world in crisis at the end of history, but with the people of God wonderfully secured in their own city (Isa 24:4; 25:8; 26:19; 27:6). These chapters are thus often called "apocalyptic," since they depict the final conflict and God's victory in vivid images.
  1. The earth laid waste (24:1-23). God's judgment on the whole earth. The wasted city.
    • The city of meaninglessness (1-20).
    • Ultimately ... the King! (21-23).
  2. The great banquet (25:1-12). Salvation and provision: the world on Mount Zion. Wiping tears and swallowing up death forever.
  3. Waiting for the glory that shall be (26:1-21). The strong city. God keeps in perfect peace those who trust in him.
  4. Israel in God's ultimate purpose (27:1-13). The universal Israel. God's merciful dealing with his idolatrous people. The whole world will be fruitful. God destroys evil and brings all his people home. "Leviathan" (Isa 27:1)--an ancient symbol of evil in all its monstrous horror--represents powers—natural or supernatural—raging against God (Job 41:1; Ps 74:14; 104:26). God will cast down such powers "in that day," showing that there is only one true sovereign Lord (Isa 27:1). With the coming of King Jesus and the dawning of his kingdom we find Jesus similarly testifying that he "saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven," cast down by God's authority (Lk 10:18-20).
References:
  1. God's Judgment on the Whole Earth (Isaiah 24). My daily bread Dec 2010.
    • The world order, where sin is exalted, will be completely laid waste (1-6).
    • Worldly joy dries up and withers (7-13). The worldly lifestyle of escapist revelry falls silent.
    • The redeemed sing (14-16): Glory to the Righteous One. The drunken binge of Isa 24:7-11 is replaced with the joyful worship of those redeemed from the world. They humbly admire the majesty of the Lord, giving glory to the covenant Lord, the God of Israel. … the Righteous One who alone rules in justice (Isa 12:1-6; 52:8-9; 65:14; Rev 5:9-10; 15:2-4).
    • Judgment and punishment are acts of God (17-23). Isaiah's brief focus on these voices of joyful praise is quickly replaced by his return to an apocalyptic message. Sin has affected not just one person, not just one people, but all of humanity, of every nation. Under the weight of sin we stagger and, like a drunkard, we fail to distinguish the good from the evil. We have plunged into our own ruin (Hos 4:10-12; Eph 5:18).
  2. Wiping Tears and Swallowing Up Death Forever (Isaiah 25). My daily bread Dec 2010. He Will Swallow Up Death Forever. While the poor (Isa 25:4) may be forgotten and mistreated by society (Isa 25:3, 5), God remains a refuge for them. The redeemed celebrate their liberation by God. The "elders" of Isa 24:23 now sing. To redeem a chosen remnant God will:
    • Overthrow human tyranny and injustice (1-5).
    • Relieve human sorrow (6-8). He will swallow up death forever (Isa 25:6; 1 Cor 15:54; Rev 21:4).
    • Humble human pride (9-12).
  3. God Keeps in Perfect Peace Those Who Trust in Him Forever (Isaiah 26:3-4). My daily bread Dec 2010. God will ordain peace. God achieves for his people their final and complete victory. The time perspective in 26:1-21 shifts between the past, present, and future. Judah's song (ch. 26) praises God and calls the people to be centered on their Lord.
    • Peace, the most desired yet seemingly unattainable and unsustainable human quality, is found perfectly by those who trust in God steadfastly. A kind of peace is found in this world (Jn 14:27), but perfect peace transcends understanding (Phil 4:7), because it is a gift of grace from above (Isa 26:12). Those who know peace yearn for God from their inmost being morning and night (Isa 26:9). In contrast, though God shows favor to the wicked, they have no regard for God (Isa 26:10).
  4. God's Merciful Dealing with His Own Idolatrous People (Isaiah 27). My daily bread Dec 2010.
  5. The Defeat of the Forces of Evil and the Deliverance of the People of God (Isaiah 27:1-13).