11/16/2015

Quietness and Confidence Forever (Isaiah 32:9-20)

Isaiah 32:9-20

"The fruit of that righteousness will be peace;
its effect will be quietness and confidence (trust, assurance) forever" (Isa 32:17, NIV).

32:9-14 and 32:15-20 seem unrelated. But they show a consistent train of thought as they address the issue that everything in Isaiah 7-39 ultimately goes back to: Trust and Security. 32:9-14 condemn women who are "complacent" and "secure" (Isa 32:9), apparently because of a good harvest. Isaiah says that their complacency is terribly misplaced, for in only one year, all that will change (Isa 32:10). They should start mourning now (Isa 32:11-12) because of the agricultural disaster about to come on them. "Thorns and briers" (Isa 32:13a) speak not only of a mere physical disaster, but speak also of the spiritual condition of the nation (Isa 5:6; 27:4). "Merriment" and "revelry" will soon cease (Isa 32:13b), and all the places where strength and rule could be expected will be abandoned (Isa 32:14). All the false trusts will have failed. But this does not mean that God has failed.

God's promise prevails even in times of judgment
. As with so many previous times, the prediction of tragedy and defeat is immediately followed with God's promise of hope (32:15-20). If the nation has trusted in all the wrong things and become barren and unproductive, God has something in mind that will make possible true productivity and security, namely, his own "Spirit" (Isa 32:15).

God will reverse the effects of bad leadership. The bad leaders and counselors have exhibited a spirit of confusion, self-service and rebellion, resulting in disaster and profound insecurity. But in the context of the messianic kingdom, God has a solution. He will pour out his Spirit from "on high." Just as rain falls and springs formerly barren earth to life (Isa 32:15), so the Spirit will fall on barren hearts and produce what the covenant requires--justice and righteousness (Isa 32:16).

Self-dependence produces frantic busyness. But those on whom the Spirit falls will be able to live in continual "quietness and confidence (trust)" (Isa 32:17), because they have truly relinquished their lives into God's hands. Their "homes" will be places of peace, security and rest (Isa 32:18). Such rest cannot be disturbed by physical disaster (Isa 32:19-20), unlike the rest and peace of the world (cf. Jn 14:27). Resting in the Spirit of God, they have inner resources of blessing that transcend the changing physical and material world (Phil 4:7). They have "streams" by which to plant the "seed" of their lives and from which to nourish those who depend on them (Isa 32:20; Ps 1:2-3).