Salvation in Isaiah 26 (week 2)
In chapter 26 the song, commenced in chapter 25, continues with a different theme – that of Praise to God in the Song of Two Cities. Verse 1 – 11.
The first city is the City of God. It is a spiritual city and a strong city. The second city, called the lofty city in verse 5 – 6, is the City of Man. The inhabitants of this city are proud and arrogant – but like Moab was pictured in Chapter 25, they will be trodden down like straw in a compost heap or a dunghill.
The first city speaks of heaven and the conditions that prevail in God’s City are PEACE and TRUST.
v 3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. 4 Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:
God’s peace is not merely PEACE – verse 3 says it is PERFECT PEACE. In the original perfect peace is PEACE, PEACE. We notice also the doubling of the name Jehovah in the middle of verse 4 – in the LORD JEHOVAH Isaiah therefore has written Jehovah, even Jehovah! This is the proper name of God the redeemer in the most emphatic form. A double emphasis, not just for literary effect – but to tell you and me that total confidence and security that leads to perfect peace and happiness resides and can only be found in Jehovah even Jesus!
Peace trust and righteousness are the hallmarks of this wondrous city. True believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are citizens in waiting for the gates to open.
From verse 12, and we remain in Chapter 26 because there is so much more to consider, we find a further glorious thought.
God establishes peace for us.
12 LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us.
When we thought about peace last week we saw how in doubling peace, Shalom, Shalom, Isaiah relays God’s message of peace to us His people. How often the Lord God sends us messages of peace. The word ‘ORDAIN’ here is a fairly uncommon Hebrew word which means to establish. In two places in the Old Testament it has to do with putting a pot on a fire to boil. In Ezekiel 24 there is a parable about a boiling pot.
Ezekiel 24 v 1 Again in the ninth year, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, write thee the name of the day, even of this same day: the king of Babylon set himself against Jerusalem this same day. 3 And utter a parable unto the rebellious house, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Set on a pot, set it on, and also pour water into it: 4 Gather the pieces thereof into it, even every good piece, the thigh, and the shoulder; fill it with the choice bones. 5 Take the choice of the flock, and burn also the bones under it, and make it boil well, and let them seethe the bones of it therein. 6 Wherefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the bloody city, to the pot whose scum is therein, and whose scum is not gone out of it! bring it out piece by piece; let no lot fall upon it.
The parable predicts the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Babylonians. The whole city is the pot that is put on, ordained, to boil. God has ordered it, God will oversee it and it will come to pass.
So it is with our peace – God has ordained it!
Another occurrence is in 2 Kings 4 v 38
And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets.
In a simple picture the pot was put on to boil to prepare food. We can get the picture that this Hebrew word gives us – God sees to our peace.
Consider Psalm 29 –
8 The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness; the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh. 9 The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory. 10 The LORD sitteth upon the flood; yea, the LORD sitteth King for ever. 11 The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.
Certainly peace is a blessing to have. Imagine yourself in a thunder storm. The eye of the storm is right overhead. You try to count the interval between the lightning flashes and the thunder – but there is no interval! The rain pours down – the sky is black and the thunder is so loud. Will it ever stop? Such power is displayed – and the wise Christian reminds himself of God’s Omnipotence in the storm – and remembers
The storm may roar without me, My heart may low be laid, BUT GOD is round about me, And can I be dismayed? Anna L. Waring, 1850
After the storm, comes the cool peace and calm. What can the child of God take from the storm? Thoughts of the Almighty who speaks in the storm, who shakes the ground with His voice, will also terrify the enemies of His saints and then give His children PEACE. Peace is positive. It is not just the absence of war or the aftermath of a storm – it is equally as powerful as the crashing of the elements in the storm. Our peace, you see, is rooted in His strength! We can sing in the storms of life and when that final storm of thunder comes and God comes to judge the world at the end of the age – we will be able to sing of peace!
Psalms 29 v 11 The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.
What is this blessing of peace that God ordains?
1. It is peace of conscience.
How do we get peace in the conscience? How do we reflect and review our lives and remember those things that are so wicked and hateful in their law breaking that we shudder to recall them? How can such consciences be pacified? There is only one way – and that is through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. How does this work? What can a sinner who is stricken by a guilty conscience do about it? He cannot work to pay for a peaceful conscience. He can make no sacrifice. He needs to pray – “Lord God Almighty please give me peace of conscience – here is Christ’s blood – He has paid for my sins with that blood.” And the Lord God accepts the exchange. It is the price to pay the debt – God accepts the payment and the receipt that is issued – is PEACE! God declares that the price is paid. The sinner believes it and He has peace. This is what Paul meant in Romans 5
1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
Oh my friend do you have this peace in your conscience? Is everything peaceful between you and your creator? Are there outstanding issues between you and Him – is sin still a barrier so that you know that you do not have peace? Have you heard His voice calling you to receive His grace – but you are holding back – you are not prepared to take the plunge and trust Him fully? You are aware of His offer of mercy and of pardon and of peace – but you have no peace – because that sin, that rebellion, that attitude, that appetite that you will not relinquish and let go through repentance, is still there.
Jesus Christ has shed His precious blood so that sinners might have peace of conscience. You need to realise the power of Christ’s blood to make the foulest person clean!
Jesus said in John 14 v 27
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
2. Peace of heart.
Peace in the heart is a most precious thing to have. Peace accompanies holiness and righteousness in the soul. Peace is like a seed that is sown at conversion and grows and grows as the believer gets nearer to glory in Christian maturity. In Hebrews 12 v 11 we read about God’s dealings with us through trials –
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Righteousness in the believer brings forth fruit. For some it takes a long time to germinate and ripen so that a harvest can be reaped. I cannot understand why that should be so – but God knows. But what the scriptures do teach is this – that it is God’s work to ordain and establish this peace. The Prophet Jeremiah also mentions it in his prophecy –
Jeremiah 33 v 6 Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.
We don’t see so much today the letters RIP on publications or announcements of a death. It stands for rest in peace. Perhaps there is an element of those who survive WISHING that their loved one will rest in peace. The Christian message assures us all that those who die in Christ most definitely rest in peace – because heaven is most peaceful – the Prince of Peace lives there and maintains the peace. There are no battles to fight in heaven! Praise God for this my friends!
Our God ordains peace for us. Do you know His peace?
I read this morning in Luke 24 v 36
And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
After the resurrection the Lord Jesus Christ brought His peace to His disciples! No more talk of judgment – no predictions of disaster – or wars and rumours of wars – just His sweet peace. Oh my dear friends – how it should be that we all had peace in our hearts! May you know his peace today!
Speaking then of Christ and his resurrection let us move for a moment to verse 19
Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
The American Negroes love to sing the story of Ezekiel and his prophecy of the dry bones coming together. Ezekiel had a vision in what was called the Valley of dry bones. These bones lying on the ground were ‘very dry’. At the command of Almighty God Ezekiel issued an order – he was to tell the dry bones to “Hear the word of the Lord.” What happened next was remarkable. The bones clattered and rattled – and then were arranged in order – and miraculously became human bodies. But there was still no life in them – until the breath of the Spirit of God was breathed into them – and they came to life – just as Adam had done. These dry bones became living men – they stood up and made a vast army.
Isaiah 26 v 19 focuses on the same power of God!
19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
God can raise the dead! God can bring to life those who are dead in their trespasses and sins – spiritually dead. Yesterday preachers in the open air preached to spiritually dead people in Barnstaple High Street. But we preached with a view to realising that God’s power can, at His will, bring to life dead souls. Those who live in the dust are commanded to wake up and shout for joy. Dry bones are to hear the word of the Lord and live! And it is only God’s power that will accomplish this. It is God’s Holy Spirit who will breathe into them and give them life through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now Ezekiel considered himself a very weak messenger. But God blesses His message through the workings of His Holy Spirit. Let us not be overcome with feelings of weakness and inadequacy as we seek to preach to dead people – ours is not to measure the value of our outreach by the seeming success of many coming to faith – this is God’s work! Let us be encouraged!
But Isaiah’s message also points to a resurrection. God will one day raise up our physical bodies – all of us that is – yes even those of you who are not converted!
Paul when writing in 1 Corinthians 15 speaks of these poor frail perishable natural bodies being overcome by natural death. But the Lord Jesus Christ speaks in John 5 about all the dead, every single person who has ever lived, will be raised.
John 5 v 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
These are awesome words my friends. So which resurrection will you be raised to? The resurrection of life or the resurrection of damnation?
Let me tell you about these two resurrections.
The resurrection to life is for believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. That is, unto everlasting life, glory, and happiness; only those who by the power of God have been made into good men shall rise to enjoy a happy and glorious life in the eternal presence of the King of kings and Lord of lords. And you can only be made into a good man or a good woman by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, having first turned and repented from your sins.
The Resurrection unto damnation is to everlasting shame and reproach; people who have not trusted Christ shall be condemned by the Judge of the whole earth, and shall be pronounced cursed; they will be ordered to go into everlasting fire, and shall go into everlasting punishment; which will be a punishment both of loss and sense: they will lose the presence of God, and feel his wrath in their consciences.
The day is coming when all will hear God’s voice – to rise!
Those who rise to life will rise by virtue of union to Christ. But the others will rise by his power, they will be commanded to rise and face their judge.
The saints will rise with glorious, powerful, and spiritual bodies; but wicked men, though with immortal bodies, will be vile, and dishonourable.
The one will rise to a life of joy and happiness that will last for ever, and which will be properly life.
The others, though they will rise and live for ever, yet will be in misery and woe, which will be the second, or eternal death.
This is serious my friend! If you do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation tonight then you are even now under the sentence of this death.
Yet Jesus Christ has died for sinners! He died a perfect death having lived a perfect life. Why don’t you think about this saviour? Why don’t you study His word and study His life? Why don’t you look into your soul and see what sin there is lying inside your heart – sin that will condemn you unless Jesus takes it away? Repent of it – turn from it – and seek the Lord with all of your energy. Jesus said (John 11 v 25)
I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
And then he added this question
Believest thou this?