113-126 Isaiah Chapter 26
Song of Trust in God’s Protection
In the context of chapters 24 and 25, we see a pointing to the time of the Messiah’s triumph, the day when the Messiah reigns over Israel, and the nations of the world. When that day comes there will be joyful singing in the land of Judah.
After the fall of man the cities that had been built were never truly godly, a city of God on the earth. When the Messiah comes the world will see the strength and glory of a true city of God.
Since cities came into being after the fall, man has never known a truly godly city, the City of God on earth. In that day, all will know the strength and glory of the city of God. In the fifth century, Rome was conquered by tribes that came from the north in Europe. Mighty Rome was no longer the world power and many blamed the religion she had embraced for over 100 years, Christianity. During this time of confusion, Augustine wrote the book, “The City of God.” In this book, Augustine tried to explain how the fall of Rome related to the Kingdom of God. Augustine wrote of the contrast between the city of man, Rome and the City of God, God’s Kingdom. He pointed out that the fall of the city of man, as tragic as it was, hastened the coming of the City of God. In these terms, Isaiah is writing about the City of God when he says we have a strong city. The strong city is the City of God, the Kingdom of God, and the city of man is the world system.
In Jesus’ Kingdom here on earth, there will be cities. These cities will be redeemed cities. They will be glorious communities that are organized in the strength and the salvation and the righteousness and the truth of the Lord. When Christ comes to reign on earth the Kingdom of God will be realized in a strong city.
The City of God from beginning to end is about salvation. God’s hedge of protection will be the wall and bulwark of our salvation. This City of God with all is strength and salvation is only for the righteous, those who keep truth. This City of God the New Jerusalem will be a city filled with God’s glory and will exclude the unrighteous. “I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21:22-27)
There is a distinction between the millennial reign of Jesus and the coming of the New Jerusalem. The New Jerusalem comes when the earth has passed away. (Revelation 21:1-2) These two events happen at different times according to God’s plan.
The world cries for peace but cannot obtain it. But in the reign of God, He promises Perfect Peace. Not only perfect peace between man and God, peace between man and men, but having peace in a perfect place. In the Hebrew, language repetition communicates intensity. It is not written peace but peace peace. Meaning perfect peace. There are those who have perfect peace but it is fleeting and it is never kept. Others can be kept in peace but it is not perfect peace. It is the peace of the wicked, the peace of spiritual sleep and ends with ultimate destruction. But the perfect peace is when we are kept by the Lord.
When our mind is kept upon the Lord we are not only in perfect peace but he is the source of our perfect peace. When we stay our minds on the Lord then we can be kept in perfect peace. It is a matter of the state of our mind. We are to love the Lord with all our mind. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37) Keeping our mind on the Lord transforms and renews our mind. (Romans 12:2) We can love in the like-mindedness of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:26) We are not set in the focus of our mind on the things of this world. (Philippians 3:19) We are to keep our minds set upon the things that are above. (Colossians 3:2) The Christian life is not a thoughtless life but a life of thinking. If we are committed to walking with Christ, then we must keep our minds focused on Him.
To live in perfect peace our minds must stay upon the Lord. If we think of ourselves, or on our problems, or the problems of others in our life, or on any other thing we will not have perfect peace. “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:8-11) Satan will try here to keep our minds on anything else. People keep their minds on the things that they trust. When we trust the Lord then we keep our minds fixed upon Him.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
In verse 3 we have this promise that if we keep our minds fixed upon the Lord we will have perfect peace. Therefore the Prophet Isaiah exhorts us to trust in the Lord forever. If we trust in Him, then we will have the blessing of His promise, perfect peace.
If we are called to rely upon the Lord completely with our minds, then we have a rational reason to trust the Lord. We trust in the Lord because of His everlasting strength.
The city of man is lofty and is filled with men who exalt themselves. But the Lord will humble them. The city of man, the world system is nothing to the Lord. “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12)
In the city of man, it is all about power and prestige that is built upon the backs if the weak and poor. When the Lord brings the city of the man down to the dust the weak and the poor shall tread it down. This was expressed by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5) We are not to live in the thinking of the powerful and ones of prestige but to live as citizens of His Kingdom now. (Matthew 20:25-28)
In the Kingdom of God, the people will walk in the way of uprightness. The people of God have a relationship of faith and trust in God and they walk in the way of uprightness. The God they serve is Most Upright and they trust Him. They are declared just by the Lord and they walk in His way. The Lord looks at His righteous ones and evaluates their path. God cares about the walk of His just ones. In the Kingdom of God, His people love Him and His presence is their desire. When there is a desire for someone or something you will wait for them and be glad with hearts filled with anticipation. Desire is known by seeking. When you desire someone or something you seek them both early and at night. The way of the righteous will be vindicated and the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
Even when the common grace is shown to the wicked still they will not learn righteousness. They will not grasp the majesty of the Lord for it brings them shame. And their enemies will devour them.
This verse is closely related to what Paul wrote to the Church in Ephesus. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10) The good works we do for the Kingdom are works that He has done through us.
The humble of heart will repent of past idolatries and rejoice in the new freedom found in the Lord. All idols in this world are dead. The humble of heart will see the folly of worshipping idols. They will see the victory of the Lord over idols. “Obviously this verse does not suggest that the ‘other lords’ had a real existence as deities but simply that they were believed to have and that their rule was sinfully acknowledged by the people in past times.” (Grogan)
The humble of heart knows the futility of working apart from the will and blessing of God. “We have had the torment of a woman in child-bearing, but not the comfort of a living child . . . for we have brought forth nothing but the wind; all our labors and hopes were vain and unsuccessful.” (Poole)
The humble of heart knows it is the Lord who is responsible for the increase of blessing. And the humble of heart relies upon the Lord in times of distress and futility.
The understanding in the Old Testament was shaded in the life to come. It is more revealed to us today because of the appearance of our Lord and Savior. Jesus from the cross abolished death and brought immortal life to us through the light of the gospel. (2 Timothy 1:10) The Christian has a confident expectation of the resurrected life and glory through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Isaiah now speaks for the Lord and prophesizes a time when God’s people are invited to come and find refuge until the time of indignation has passed. God’s refuge and the doors will be shut and secure.
The Lord will come from His place to punish the wicked inhabitants of the earth. This will not be a time of persecution from the wicked but a time of punishment from the Lord. This will not be local punishment but global. The earth will be filled with blood and not be able to cover the slain.
When might be this time when God’s people are carried away, securely hidden from the time of great indignation? It could be the deliverance of the Jewish people from the Antichrist described in Revelation 12:6 and Revelation 12:13-16. More likely the refuge is the safety and security when God’s people are caught up together with the Lord in the air. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) Therefore escaping the horrible indignation the Lord pours out upon the world in the Great Tribulation. (Matthew 24:21-22; Revelation 9:15-21) This is the short time that will precede the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Matthew 24:29-30)
When viewed this way it is a powerful argument for the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. This is when the Lord Jesus will remove His Bride the Church before the time of the Great Tribulation.