Summary: For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed - This is a wonderful promise that the Lord gave the Israelites in their desperate situation. It is a promise that still holds true for each one of us.
Isaiah 54:10 - For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,” Says the LORD, who has mercy on you.
This is a wonderful promise that the Lord gave the Israelites in their desperate situation. It is a promise that still holds true for each one of us.
To understand the magnitude of this promise better, we need to know the background. The book of Isaiah was written by the prophet Isaiah and relates both to current events during the reigns of Azariah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah (Isa 1:1) and events that were yet to occur even up to new heaven and new earth. During Isaiah’s times, Judah and Jerusalem had backslidden and began to worship foreign Gods (Isaiah 1:3). The divided kingdom of Israel went far away from the Lord and served pagan gods and idols. This brought the wrath of God on the Israelites. Isaiah prophetically foretells the doom of the divided kingdom of Israel.
Isaiah foretells the judgement that the Lord would be bringing on the nation Israel. Assyria will invade the land (Isaiah 8). He also foretells the Babylonian invasion due to the foolish act of Hezekiah (Isaiah 39:5-7). However, amidst these prophetic declarations of Assyrian and Babylonian invasion and Israel’s captivity, God speaks words of hope to his people. These include promise of return from captivity and the eternal redemption through Messiah.
Among these promises of hope, we find this beautiful verse - For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,” Says the LORD, who has mercy on you.
If we break down this promise, we can find that things happened exactly so in the life of the Israelites.
For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed:
Mountains and hills are known for their stability. It is very unlikely that mountains and hills be departed or removed. Likewise, the Israelites had their own strongholds which gave them a great sense of security. They believed in their kings, the false prophets who proclaimed false peace and the neighboring allies. But those mountains and hills were shaken. Their kings in whom they trusted were taken as captives, the words of the false prophets failed, and their trusted allies were of little help to them. The northern kingdom fell into the hands of the Assyrians and the southern kingdom of Judah was taken captive by the Babylonians.
Similarly, in our lives too, there are mountains and hills in which we trust. It have a sense of security in our jobs, in our spouses, our children, our parents or our friends. We believe that would shake us because of them. But there would have been times in our lives when those support systems were shaken. But let us not lose hope.
but My kindness shall not depart from you – The ‘But’ here conveys a lot. Our Lord says that though mountains depart, and the hills be moved… the seemingly impossible strongholds may leave you but His kindness will not depart.
That was a great hope to the Israelites. Amidst hopeless situation, they were assured of the kindness of the Lord. This assured them that the Lord would bring them back from their land of captivity. The same Lord is with you today. He is your restorer.
Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed – Our Lord is a covenant keeping God. He had made a covenant with the Israelites in Exodus 34:6-7 - 'The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.’ Also, in Exodus 23:22, He promised, ‘But if you hearken attentively to his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.’
The Lord kept His promises. When the Israelites repented of their sins and turned their hearts when in captivity, the Lord graciously brought them back to their native land.
Even today, you would have received several promises from the Lord. Be rest assured that the Lord is a covenant keeping God and He will fulfill what He has promised you. We have another wonderful verse in the book of Habakkuk – Habakkuk 2:3 - For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.
The Lord further strengthened this covenant through Jesus who died for us so that we can be at peace in our relationship with God. Jesus says in John 14:27 - Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Paul beautifully describes this peace of God as one that surpasses all human understanding (Phil 4:7). This is a greatest blessing. Winds may blow. A thousand may fall on our sides but the Lord’s peace would surround us. Nothing would disturb you.