Summary: The ultimate triumph of the gospel.
THINGS PLANNED LONG AGO.
The first song is a solo, “You are my God” (Isaiah 25:1) and begins with praise to the LORD for “the wonderful things” that He has done: His “plans formed of old, faithful and sure.” These plans no doubt include His acts of righteous judgment (cf. Isaiah 24:17-18), as well as His acts of grace and deliverance.
The “city” (Isaiah 25:2) represents man organised against God (cf. Babel, Genesis 11:4). Although Moab is later named (Isaiah 25:10), it could just as easily be (in the wider Biblical context) Sodom or Egypt, Assyria or Babylon, Tyre or Rome. The destruction described (Isaiah 25:2) is not vindictiveness on the part of God, but measured judgment, designed not only to punish (Isaiah 25:5; cf. Isaiah 24:21), but to bring the nations to the fear (reverence) of God (Isaiah 25:3), and to deliver the poor and needy (Isaiah 25:4).
Now the poor and needy are brought to a free feast (Isaiah 25:6; cf. Isaiah 55:1). “In this mountain” speaks of Mount Zion, Jerusalem (cf. Isaiah 24:23). The junction between heaven and earth. The place where the LORD meets with man. Here the LORD Himself is setting a table for a mighty feast. It is “a feast of fat things, of well-aged wines, of marrow with the fat, of well-aged wines well refined” (I believe it sounds almost as poetic in English as it does in the Hebrew). And “all people” are invited.
It is here in this mountain, at this feast, that the LORD promises to cast away a shroud (Isaiah 25:7-8).
1. First, there is the shroud in which Jesus was wrapped at His death.
In the death of Jesus, God “destroyed” what the shroud represents (i.e., Death), and “swallowed up” Death forever. It is, first and foremost, in the Resurrection of Jesus that ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’ (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:54).
2. Second, the veil over the hearts of “all people” is removed (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:15-16).
4. And fourthly, “reproach” - i.e., ‘condemnation’ - is removed (cf. Romans 8:1).
Paul also builds on this passage in 1 Corinthians 15:54-57, adding in the taunt song of Hosea 13:14. Because of the death of Death in the death of Christ, Death has lost its sting for all who believe. Because He has indeed risen, we too shall rise and go to be ‘forever with the Lord’ (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
In the second song the whole congregation of God’s people rejoice in the LORD, the God of our salvation. “Lo, this is our God” (Isaiah 25:9). This is our hope.
1. On one hand, the death and resurrection of Christ, and their consequences - the forgiveness of sin, and a right relationship with God (cf. Romans 4:25; 2 Corinthians 5:21) - are already realised in the life of the Christian. We are already ‘seated in the heavenly places in Christ’ (cf. Ephesians 2:6).
2. On the other hand, we have not yet ‘shuffled off this mortal coil’ and must live yet in this body. The text calls us to “wait” for the fulness of our salvation (cf. Romans 8:23), which will be fully manifested when Jesus returns (cf. Titus 2:13).