Rejoicing and Waiting
From the "Leather Journal" of Pastor Phil Newton of South Woods Baptist Church Memphis, TN. His other ministry works can be found at
“O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; for You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness” (Isaiah 25:1).
In the series of judgments and warnings in previous chapters, a respite to ignite hope and confident trust in the Lord comes in chapters 25–27. No doubt, faith gets challenged when everything around you seems to be unraveling. Isaiah witnessed this period of Israel’s demise at the hands of oppressors. The wicked aggressors seemed to be flourishing with no end in sight to their destructive, godless ways. But Isaiah heard from the Lord. The Assyrians who held the greatest power among the nations would be judged, as would Egypt and Moab and all the nations who forgot that the Lord reigns (maybe better to think in terms of people groups than geo-political states in seeing the far reaching aspects of divine judgment).
After an oracle of judgment (chap. 24) that pictures global judgment, Isaiah pauses to reflect on the peace in the middle of the raging storm. “O Lord, You are my God,” he confesses as an act of trust in the promises of God. At that stage the oppression against God’s people was unrelenting. There seemed no end to trouble in sight. But God had spoken; Isaiah believed Him. With gladness he confessed the sovereign reign of his God. This led to praise: “I will exalt you; I will give thanks to Your name.” The verbs show more than one burst of hallelujah. It’s a progression of praise in which he engages as he contemplates the Lords’ reign and faithfulness to His promises. He anchors his faith and worship in the strong certainty of divine sovereignty in acting with timing and with purposes established before the world existed. “For You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.”
What glory! What hope! Despite an unraveling world, Isaiah saw that everything was on schedule (then and now). God executes His plans with perfect faithfulness. We may see the injustices, oppressiveness, and devastation caused by sin. But the Lord reigns! He manifested the certainty of His unfolding purposes by raising Jesus from the dead. The Son sent by the Father conquered the greatest enemies to God’s people (sin, death, Satan, the world, hopelessness). Isaiah’s vision in these chapters hinges on the work of Jesus Christ. He sees the future, “The Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain. . . . He will swallow up death for all time, and the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces, and He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; for the Lord has spoken” (vv. 6–8).
How did the prophet live with such hope and exulting joy at this devastating period? He believed the Lord. He lived in God’s promises. He declares that after all the struggles the redeemed will encounter, the great day will come when every effect of sin ends. “In that day,” he writes of the corporate confession of all God’s people who will exult, “behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation” (v. 9). Isaiah looked ahead to that future day with a view to what God would do through the Suffering Servant Messiah. We look back. We see the cross. We see the empty tomb. We see the ascended Christ. With joy, we look ahead to His return and the consummation of His mighty judgment and work. And our hope rises, our faith enlarges, for, “Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us.” Rejoice, wait on the Lord, and be glad!
Brought to you by The Inverted Christian at https://www.invertedchristian.com/post/there-shall-be-showers-of-blessing-the-story-behind-the-hymn-3