ISAIAH 25: 1-5
THANKFUL PRAISE FOR DELIVERANCE
Isaiah now describes the situation which will exist when the kingdom of God is established on the earth. Yahweh will win the great victory when He overthrows His enemies and causes all men to fear Him.
Chapter 24 closed with the proclamation of the future gloriously reign of the Lord of Hosts on earth. In Chapter 25 we find it happening as the prophet speaks of the glorious majesty of God’s kingdom (Ps. 145:12), and gives thankful praises for what God will do. The prophet ascribed praise to the Lord for His marvelous future acts of judgment (2-3) and deliverance (vv. 4-5). God will be faithful in caring for and delivering His people (CIT).
I. LONG PLANNED WONDERS, 1.
II. LAYING LOW THE RUTHLESS, 2-3.
III. SAFEGUARDING THE REDEEMED, 4-5.
Speaking in the first person Isaiah describes the great wonders which will occur when the Kingdom is established on the earth. Beginning with verse1, O Lord, You are my God. I will exalt You. I will give thanks to Your name. For You have worked wonders; plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.
The prophet himself determines to praise God. Those who would stir up others to praise God should first stir up themselves. Isaiah thus begins with an intensely personal affirmation that YHWH is his God. He has laid claim to the Lord as his God. Recognizing Yahweh for who He is and personally claiming God as your own provides the desire and motivation to exalt Him.
Isaiah ascribes praise to the Lord’s name (His revealed character) because of His marvelous acts. The Creator God is not bounded by natural law or occurrences when He acts. He is able to act supernaturally and often does to save His covenant people. Wonders are part of His planned action on behalf of His suffering people.
The things God does and will do have been planned from long ago (14:24, 26, 27; 23:8-9). God is not making it up as He goes along. His wonders, His amazing acts, have been given forethought and are part of His overall design. He has a divine purpose and a divine strategy to accomplish His plan especially and specifically when it concerns His people. And when it does, the normal and natural are not barriers to His action on their behalf. What He plans He is not only capable of carrying out, He is perfectly faithful in carrying it out.
Friend, if you are making you own plans with out considering His plan for life and specifically for your life, you need to reconsider. Entrusting your life and your purpose for life to anyone but the LORD God is foolishness and may well lead to folly.
Any other plan but the one the Sovereign Lord has for life will prove worthless to you in the long run. Give Him your life and learn to trust His faithfulness.
Then give thanks to God. Praise Him! Exalt Him!...for His wise purposes and His willing action to carry them out on behalf of His people. For God’s marvelous acts demand a response from God’s people, from all who call Him my God. The awaken redeemed who recognize that it is God who is working out His wise plan upon the inhabitants of His earth respond with love and rejoicing.
II. LAYING LOW THE RUTHLESS, 2-3.
The praising prophet now let’s us look into the future plan of God. Verse 2 states, For You have made a city into a heap, a fortified city into a ruin; a palace of strangers is a city no more. It will never be rebuilt.
God plans to humble all the works (and workers) of human pride and oppression, typified as the fortified city and a palace of strangers. [As in ch. 24 no specific city is identified and seems to represent the place of world leadership. Some say it is "Babylon," which also represents all those opposed to God.] They had strength and human wisdom to fortify what they were trusting in and the worldly wealth to live in royal luxury, but they were strangers to God. Thus all their skill and work will be shattered never to continue into the future.
God will act in miraculous manner in the future for a decisive victory over all who oppose Him. This victory will extend to the permanent destruction of all they have done with their life. God’s triumph has been planned from the beginning. [Oswalt, p 461]
Verse 3 tells the result of this judgment. Therefore a strong people will glorify You. Cities of ruthless nations will revere You.
Why will it take such destruction to cause God to be honored? When people come to recognize no authority or persuasion but power, God will demonstrate He is the most powerful. God’s judgment on the cities, representative of the world’s leadership (24:12-13), will cause peoples from ruthless nations to honor and revere (fear) Him. Those that have been the terror of the world shall tremble before the judgments of God [and call in vain to rocks and mountains to hide them]. He will speak in a way that they will understand and obey.
[?This will fulfill the promise given Abraham that all the world’s nations will be blessed through Israel (Gen. 12:3). The theme of Gentiles knowing and worshiping God in the kingdom is common in the prophets (see, Isa. 2:3; 11:9; 49:7; 56:6; 66:20-21; Zech. 14:16-19; Mal. 1:11). Walvoord, John & Zuck, Roy ; The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL : Victor Books, 1983-1985, S. 1073]
III. SAFEGUARDING THE REDEEMED
BY EXHAUSTING THEIR ENEMIES, 4-5.
Verse 4 continues to expand the reasons for honoring and praising God. For You have been a defense for the helpless, A defense for the needy in his distress, A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a rain storm against a wall.
God is to be honored not only because He destroys the power and plans of the proud, but because He does so for the sake of those the proud oppress.
Isaiah uses two extreme weather conditions of the Near East to symbolize the difficulties from which God plans to defend us. They are the thunderstorm and the unrelenting heat. The ruthless in their harsh treatment of others are like a storm and the oppressive desert heat. Both the sudden intense cloudburst or the steady stifling heat threaten life. Unless one has a stronghold from the flood (Mt. 7:24-27) or the shade of the rock (Isa. ) from the desert heat, there is no hope.
Life is like that. When the mighty and the powerful breath out destruction on us, where can we turn? People of faith turn to the Sovereign who cares for us. He is our source of refuge and hope. The mighty of earth may be great, but God is greater (51:12, 13).
When the Lord establishes His kingdom on the earth, a reversal of fortunes will occur (Isa. 25:4-5). The poor (dal, "feeble, weak, helpless") and the needy (’eyôn, "oppressed") will be defended and the ruthless will be stilled. As God weakens the strong that are proud and secure, so He strengthens the weak that are humble and have focused themselves upon Him. The Lord not only makes them strong, but He Himself is their strength, for in Him they strengthen themselves. [God’s care for the poor and the needy is mentioned many times in the Old and New Testaments. The reversal of fortunes, for those who depend on God and those who depend on themselves is a major theme of Scripture (e.g., 1 Sam. 2:1-10; James 5:1-6).]
God is a defense, a refuge, a shade for the helpless and distressed. These terms are expressions of God being there for His people. God is our refuge and strength (Ps. 46:2). We may suffer because of ruthless oppression, but we can turn to God for help and protection. Rest assured that when perils are most threatening and alarming, God will appear to safeguard His people. He is faithful to His own.
Verse 5 relays the end in store for those who oppress God’s people. Like heat in drought, You subdue the uproar of aliens. Like heat by the shadow of a cloud, the song of the ruthless is silenced.
These natural illustration symbolize how God can silently and persistently sap the strength and vitality of the mighty. God’s judgment on them will be like the scorching heat of summer during a drought that saps them dry of earthly productivity. He will show them where relief can be found but they will never enter it. They will experience exhausting heat and not the cloud that suddenly covers the sun, giving reprieve from its heat.
The proud and insolence were caustic and loud like a bully towards the people of God, but it is the uproar of strangers or aliens who do not know God or walk in the land of the living. They may have carry their point by talking big and bullying those that stand in their way but God will silence them once and for all time.
CONCLUSION / RESPONSE
Human power and pride and human well-being are incompatible. God is committed to human well-being. Just as a cloud slips between the earth and the sun to produce moments of blessed coolness, so God interposes Himself in hopeless situations so that life can go on.
God can be counted on to fulfill His plan and His promises in contrast to the unfaithfulness of worldly leaders (Deut. 32:4; Ps. 33:4; 40:10; 89: 1-50; 98:3: Lam. 3:23). The LORD’s faithfulness means people can trust Him. Those who experience His faithfulness and are aware of His greatness should express their love and gratefulness in heartfelt praise and worship. In the end it will be seen that He will not allow His plan or His people to fail.
God also keeps and will keep His promises to you. He has a plan for your life and will execute it as you follow His lead. As He does, praise and exalt Him for His providence and watch care over your life.
The best correspondents for Life magazine were sent all over the world to ask the question, "What is the meaning of life?" They talked to philosophers and children, taxi drivers and Nile River boatmen. More than 100 premier photographers provided images.
One dramatic photograph of a lighthouse off the Brittany Coast caught my eye. A huge Atlantic storm had sent gigantic waves around the mammoth brick structure, nearly swallowing it up. But on the sheltered side, literally surrounded by frothing, boiling waves, stood the lighthouse keeper. He was looking casually toward shore, his hands stuck nonchalantly in his pockets, as enormous waves crashed around him.
This powerful illustration reminded me of the many fierce storms of trials and testings we face in life. I am grateful for the promise that in God we are as safe as that lighthouse keeper. The words of Isaiah 25:4 are true for every believer. God is our refuge during the storms of physical affliction, emotional turmoil, and spiritual attack. With His protection we can endure any trial with the calm assurance that He who shields us cannot be moved. And that gives us peace no matter how turbulent our circumstances.
Remember, the Lord may calm the storm around you, but more often He’ll calm the storm within you. If you so allow Him to do so, then you may actually be able to enjoy the storm, knowing that He is in control.