Isaiah 26 -- A Song of Salvation.
1 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
We have a strong city;
God will appoint salvation for walls and bulwarks.
2 Open the gates,
That the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in.
3 You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
4 Trust in the LORD forever,
For in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength.
5 For He brings down those who dwell on high,
The lofty city;
He lays it low,
He lays it low to the ground,
He brings it down to the dust.
6 The foot shall tread it down—
The feet of the poor
And the steps of the needy.”
7 The way of the just is uprightness;
O Most Upright,
You weigh the path of the just.
8 Yes, in the way of Your judgments,
O LORD, we have waited for You;
The desire of our soul is for Your name
And for the remembrance of You.
9 With my soul I have desired You in the night,
Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early;
For when Your judgments are in the earth,
The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
10 Let grace be shown to the wicked,
Yet he will not learn righteousness;
In the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly,
And will not behold the majesty of the LORD.
11 LORD, when Your hand is lifted up, they will not see.
But they will see and be ashamed
or their envy of people;
Yes, the fire of Your enemies shall devour them.
12 LORD, You will establish peace for us,
For You have also done all our works in us.
13 O LORD our God, masters besides You
Have had dominion over us;
But by You only we make mention of Your name.
14 They are dead, they will not live;
They are deceased, they will not rise.
Therefore You have punished and destroyed them,
And made all their memory to perish.
15 You have increased the nation, O LORD,
You have increased the nation;
You are glorified;
You have expanded all the borders of the land.
16 LORD, in trouble they have visited You,
They poured out a prayer when Your chastening was upon them.
17 As a woman with child
Is in pain and cries out in her pangs,
When she draws near the time of her delivery,
So have we been in Your sight, O LORD.
18 We have been with child, we have been in pain;
We have, as it were, brought forth wind;
We have not accomplished any deliverance in the earth,
Nor have the inhabitants of the world fallen.
19 Your dead shall live;
Together with my dead body they shall arise.
Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust;
For your dew is like the dew of herbs,
And the earth shall cast out the dead.
Chapter 26 continues the praise that started in Chapter 25. That is, in the midst of God's sure judgment is an underpinning of God's benevolent grace. This is where rebellion finds a redeemer and where atrocity finds its atonement. This song of praise is for those that will inhabit the City of God, the refuge for the remnant. Who are the inhabitants of this great city?
1. The righteous. [26:2 Open the gates, that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in. 26:7 The way of the just is uprightness; O Most Upright, you weigh the path of the just.] Yet, there are none righteous of their own accord. It is the righteousness of Christ that opens the gates to His great city. He is the door, the gatekeeper. He is the "truth" that is kept.
2. The blessed. [26:7 The way of the just is uprightness; O Most Upright, you weigh the path of the just. 26:11 Let grace be shown to the wicked, yet he will not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD.] There is no universal redemption. There are not many paths that lead to this great city. The common grace of all becomes the specific grace for the redeemed. The path is either smoothed by the atoning work of Christ on the cross, or the chasm between here and the great city is impassable. It is the blessed of God, the children He chose from the beginning of time, that are carried to the very gates of His great city.
3. Those who long. [26:8 Yes, in the way of Your judgments, O LORD, we have waited for You; the desire of our soul is for Your name and for the remembrance of You. 26:9-11 With my soul I have desired You in the night, yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; for when Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. Let grace be shown to the wicked, yet he will not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD. LORD, when Your hand is lifted up, they will not see. But they will see and be ashamed or their envy of people; yes, the fire of Your enemies shall devour them.] There is a great demarcation in God's judgment, as the righteous learn repentance but the rebellious continue in blind unbelief. This longing is the rallying cry as the ink dried on God's Word. [Rev.22:20 Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.]
Heard 'Round the House:
At times I am overly sensitive. My wife tells me this quite often, which really hurts my feelings. I was truly enamored when I first met Jill's grandmother [Nonnie]. Nonnie was a beautiful lady, and incredibly preserved as the years advanced. Yet, she was probably more known for something else. Nonnie was extremely plain spoken. She didn't necessarily filter things excessively from her brain to her mouth, which I grew to appreciate more and more. She said what she thought, and it was nothing but genuine. You didn't have to analyze what she said, for she said exactly what she meant. Now, you might think this would be difficult for a someone whose wife recklessly claims is overly sensitive. Yet, I can never remember Nonnie saying one thing that rubbed me the wrong way. Oh, I was astonished at times and can remember Jill and I having a good laugh later on at her common sense observations, but never did I feel anything but love and affection for this dear woman. Nonnie wasn't your prim and proper behind the scenes lady. If she saw a task to do, she did it. If she saw a need to be met, she met it. If she had a thought, she said it . . .
Nonnie went to be with our Lord this past weekend at the age of 86. She was one of a kind . . .