Salvation in Isaiah 25
Isaiah 25 is a welcome relief amidst the serious chapters of doom for many nations under the hand of God’s judgment. God’s people, the Children of Israel, knew how to celebrate when something went right for them!
After the crossing of the red sea and their miraculous escape from Pharaoh and his army, they sang a song – called the song of Moses. It was a song of liberation and a song to the Lord God Jehovah. Exodus 15 has the song.
Isaiah 25 is another such song and refers to the deliverance of God’s people from the global holocaust outlined so far in Isaiah’s prophecy. Some people have called it the Old Testament Magnificat. You will know that the New Testament Magnificat is the song of Mary the mother of Jesus which is a song of praise in which she magnifies the Lord – Luke 1.
1. PRAISE to God. v 1
Isaiah 25 is a song which magnifies the Lord God and extols Him for his miraculous works, His faithfulness and His truth. The judgement that was described at the end of Chapter 24, an earthmoving and terrible judgement coming at the end of time, is followed by this wonderful song. Isaiah projects us to beyond the judgement and suggests that this is what the redeemed sons and daughters of God will be singing – songs of praise. God’s mighty Name is exalted here – and His mighty work is a marvel to His people. Those who had transgressed God’s laws had been dealt with – and even those of God’s people, Judah and Israel, who in unbelief had transgressed His covenant, had also been judged. These laws had been given by the counsel of his own will and according to His eternal purpose, themes that are taken up by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 1 and 3.
All that God had done was in faithfulness and truth, never once letting off the guilty, but in mercy acting according to His true character, and preserving His chosen ones. What a phrase this is to describe the Lord God in the person of His Son the Lord Jesus Christ – faithfulness and truth. Jesus always was faithful to Himself in his character and purpose, and He always acted according to the truth that lived in Him. The apostle Paul said of Jesus in 2 Timothy 2 v 13
If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. He is the God that cannot lie.
How good to be able to trust in such a God! And no wonder we wish to praise Him!
2. Next we see the POWER of God. v 2 – 5
Isaiah cites an un named city as an example of the power of God when He speaks to destroy. It could have been Nineveh, Babylon or Persepolis – or even Jerusalem. God is able to reduce a city to rubble when He moves in solemn judgement. Even fortified cities are no match for God when He chooses to move against a city or even a nation. Remember Sodom, Gomorrah and the other 3 cities of the plain? People in cities believe themselves to be safe. Some cities are built as monuments to the pride and the power of man – Babel was one of them. But where are they now? They lie forgotten and are merely places where archaeologists poke around seeking for artefacts, the remnants of what man once called great! What God brings to an end man cannot build.
V3 – this destruction brings about, in the people, a desire or even a compunction to glorify God – to recognise His hand in the judgement. They recognise the power of Jehovah in what he did in the judgement and are brought to honour and reverence Him, impressed with His power and control over all creation.
My friends what is it going to take today to awaken people of our land to honour and fear God? Is there to be a disaster of some kind? Is there to be an earthquake? A fire like the fire of London? Or 2 aeroplanes crashing into the Houses of Parliament? Have the events of September 11th 2001 done anything to awaken America and Western civilization to honour, reverence and glorify God? One wonders what it will take to bring the reality of the coming catastrophe to the hearts and minds of ordinary people! They really are not interested and they are certainly not afraid! No honour of God, no reverence nor submission to God’s holy word.
V4 – 5. The Lord God knows how to preserve the poor and needy. What wonderful verses these are. We have here another expression of God’s character that encourages honour and reverence in His loving care for the poor and needy. He is a stronghold in the time of distress; he is a place where refugees can find succour and support. A refuge – a shade from the heat.
There is a Bible picture here that is highly descriptive. The blast of the strong wind against the people, who are protected by the Lord, is like a fierce rain driving against a wall. It washes the wall but cannot destroy it.
As the fierce heat in a dry place can be subdued by the passing over of a cloud, so the Lord can silence the noise of foreigners and drive them away.
My friend do you know anything of this Power of God in your experience? Have you stopped to think how this God whom we worship and adore is acting all the time in our best interest?
Under His wings I am safely abiding, Though the night deepens and tempests are wild, Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me, He has redeemed me, and I am His child. Refrain Under His wings, under His wings, Who from His love can sever? Under His wings my soul shall abide, Safely abide forever. Under His wings, what a refuge in sorrow! How the heart yearningly turns to His rest! Often when earth has no balm for my healing, There I find comfort, and there I am blessed. Under His wings, oh, what precious enjoyment! There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er; Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me, Resting in Jesus, I’m safe evermore. William O. Cushing, 1896
3. The PROVISION of God. v 6 – 7
So far we have seen Isaiah’s song of Praise for God and power of God destroying the mighty structures of man; and of His being a stronghold to the poor and needy in distress now Isaiah comes to something else – three things that God provides.
In victory God will prepare a sumptuous feast – a banquet of fine things – food and drink. It is supposed to be in Jerusalem (In this mountain the place where Isaiah delivered his prophecies. Mentioned in 24 v 23)
He will provide for all people – meaning peoples from every tribe and nation.
“Wine upon the lees” is an interesting phrase. When the vintage is gathered and then put into casks it is left to lie still for a long time – to allow it to settle and mature. It is then poured off and strained to provide the best wine possible. Wine on the lees is the best wine produced after this process. What a feast that will be!
There is feast awaiting each believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. We can be reminded of the Lord’s words to His disciples in Matthew 26 v 29
But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.
The Lord Jesus Christ is going to drink wine with us who believe one day in the Kingdom. Will you be there my friend, at the feast? Indeed have you been invited to the feast? True believers feast each week at the table of our Lord Jesus Christ. In fact He himself is the feast for he asks us to partake of bread and wine, symbols of His body and blood. He says to us – “Take eat … Drink ye all of it.”
Verse 7. Isaiah now speaks of a covering likened to a veil. He had in mind a veil that is used in mourning and he has a particular reason for doing so. This veil is a picture of a veil that enshrouds the whole earth, a sheet that covers the nations, all mankind. This veil is a deathly ignorance of the Gospel.
As in Adam all die. 1 Corinthians 15 v 22.
Romans 5 v 12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Later in his prophecy Isaiah has these words –
Isaiah 60 v 1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. 2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. 3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
But here in the song in verse 7 he speaks of the REMOVAL of the covering of death. When in this life a man or woman, boy or girl come to Zion, this mountain, the spiritual Zion (not the real Jerusalem) this veil is removed. Becoming a Christian is an escape from the threat of eternal death. When minds and hearts that are hardened with sin turn to the Lord then the veil is taken away. Every one of us starts life in this way – with black, sinful, hardened hearts! With minds that have a veil over them. Is there a veil on your mind tonight my friend? Are you questioning these things? Are you unable to believe that Jesus Christ died for you and paid the penalty of your sins? If so the veil is still on your mind and you face eternal death! It is as simple as that. If you are not truly trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ having turned from your sins and your own self-centred life, then the veil remains. If you have a hard heart that believes that you have a better way, other than the way of the cross, the way of the scriptures, the way of utter surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ and faith in Him – then you still have the veil. And the majority of the people in the world today have this covering, this veil of ignorance and of hard heartedness towards Almighty God. It is no use such people, in a sophisticated way, suggesting that because Christians are in the minority, and a little extreme and serious about spiritual things, and are therefore to be discounted – that they are not enlightened is foolishness to say the least. As I meet people day after day who would not say that they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, they are under a cloud and they are missing out. Are you one of those this evening? If so – there is no feast for you! There is no removal of the veil.
Verse 8. And one more thing that verse 8 tells us about – the third provision – the provision of the abolition of death! He will swallow up death in victory!
My friends what a marvellous thing this is – God has dealt with death! How did He do it?
He chose for himself a special people which he called by His Name. He carefully guarded, instructed and guided Israel. Through His appointments for worship and through their prophets he prepared them for the One who would come to be born from their people – Immanuel – God with us – God with them. In him would be all blessings, even the swallowing up of death.
But these blessings are expanded in the Gospel age to include all nations. The feast was for all peoples v 6; and the swallowing up of death is for people from every nation. Not every Jew will be saved. Not every Gentile. But some from both categories will be blessed by having removed from them the thing that people dread most – death! The dread of death is a paralysing thing. Many people suffer from anxiety of all kinds that presents itself in a variety of ways. But the root of all anxiety is death.
Are we afraid to die? We may fear the manner of our dying – many would confess to that – but what of death itself? There is no need to fear death if it has been swallowed up! And for the Christian is HAS been swallowed up. The death of the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished the destruction of death for His people.
It is no wonder that another prophet takes up the same theme –
Hosea 13 v 14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.
And Paul and John do the same – Paul in 1 Corinthians and 2 Timothy. –
1 Corinthians 15 v 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
1 Corinthians 15 v 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
2 Timothy 1 v 10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
And John in Revelation brings to us the wonder of the end of death –
Revelation 20 v 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Revelation 21 v 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Robert Burns the Scottish poet said that he could not read Isaiah 25 without weeping for joy for the exquisite beauty of the passage. No more death – what a marvellous thought! And who is responsible for this amazing thing?
The Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ; He has provided this victory over death – and when we believe, repenting of our sins, we enter into the joy of His victory. My friends we who are Christians are alive for ever more! Death cannot touch us! We are living for ever! There is the matter of the transition of our souls into new bodies through physical death – yes that is true. But eternal death – has been abolished for us! How wonderful! No wonder Isaiah began by praising the Lord! Are you able to praise the Lord for these promises of His provision my friend?
Two more thoughts; the first is this from v 9
4. The Personal Appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ in salvation.
We are now waiting for the day to come when Christ shall appear. After the waiting is over we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation. This is what v 9 says. The law has pointed to this day. The prophets have predicted this day. And the faithful believers in the Lord God are waiting for this day. Oh my friend, are you amongst these ones who are waiting? When that day comes this is what the redeemed will sing –
Psalm 118 v 23 This is the LORD’S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. 24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Watch, earnestly watch, The Lord’s approach is nearing, Pray, fervently pray, No man can know the hour; Like as a thief at night is His appearing; He cometh to judge the world in truth and power. Work, joyfully work, All ye who know His chastening, Wait, patiently wait, For your reward is nigh; Lift up your heads, the day of rest is hastening; Rest, glorious rest, with Jesus by and by.
May we all be ready!
5. The Protection of the Lord’s People v 10 – 12
In contrast to the Lord’s own people the people of Moab, a typical enemy of God and His people, is condemned to be trampled on. He tires to swim away – but he will not escape. The Lord will bring low his pride. Moab, like a fortress will be completely demolished to the dust. After the joyful predictions of the earlier verse the prophet brings us back to remind us that we are eternally safe, kept by the Lord God who will destroy all of his enemies.
How interesting that Isaiah is called to use Moab as an example – and how glad we are that there was a woman who escaped from Moab to believe in Jehovah. She was converted and though a member of the Moabites, she was saved. Her name was Ruth and she became an ancestor of the saviour the Lord Jesus Christ. God’s ways are wonderful!
Therefore there is a path of pardon through trust in the blood of the saviour. No one is beyond hope in this life. Now is the day of salvation my friend. Is there a Ruth here tonight who is yet in Moab – who faces death because of sin? My friend you may know the joy of Salvation in Jesus Christ when you come humbly to the cross of Christ and confess your sin and unworthiness with a heart ready to repent. And He has promised that none who earnestly come to Him will ever be turned away. He will lift the veil of ignorance and unbelief. He will abolish death for you and you will live for ever. Will you come tonight?