- Exile of the Jews to foreign nations (24:1-12);
- Future preaching of the Gospel by the first converts throughout the world (24:13-16);
- Future judgment on adversaries to the Church and its final triumph (24:16-23);
- Overthrow of those who rejected their faith (25:1-12);
- Establishment of the righteous in lasting peace (26:1-21); and
- Judgment on the beast of evil and cleansing of the Church (27:1-13).
This section feels at first like someone loading successive stacks of bricks on our backs to see how much we can handle before our knees buckle. Unending warning and judgment are hard work.
The feeling is compounded by current events that make us wonder whether the moment of judgment on America is fast approaching.
But upon closer inspection, using the Cycle as a guide, and separating Israel’s historical past from our still-in-progress present, Isaiah gives us powerful cause for hope in true unity with God through faith in the Son of the Holy One of Israel.
For example, of the 23 verses in chapter 24, 21 of them concern unmitigated disaster for Israel. Imagine what it would have been like to see the judgment of God up close and personal! But it would be easy to read right past this prophecy about future Christians:
“They lift up their voices, they sing for joy; over the majesty of the Lord…they shout…Therefore… give glory to the Lord…give glory to the name of the Lord, the God of Israel” (24:14-15, ESV).
Who are “they” to Isaiah? They are the remnant of Judah, from which Jesus will eventually arise.
Chapter 25 almost bounces between the faith of the remnant of Judah and the judgment inflicted on Babylon. Read verses 6 – 9 as an anchor to your soul for restoration in times of trouble, especially:
“He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken” (25:8).
This includes you and me and our family in Jesus all around the world when Jesus returns! But it means at a time that has still not arrived.
Chapter 26 offers us something to ponder if God’s judgment falls on America for its apostasy in turning from God:
“In the path of your judgments, O Lord, we wait for you; your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul…When your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the earth learn righteousness” (26:8-9b).
What will happen to America? Has our moral compass been so badly damaged that God will see our nation as Babylon? Will we choose unity with God or descend further to disunity?
Is a time coming when we might be the remnant? Will we only then hunker down and choose unity with God, no matter what?
Isaiah makes us think – are his prophesies a one-time deal or applicable to all times? Since he addresses a future that has not yet occurred, it is clear he is talking to us as well as ancient Israel. So read Chapter 27 in its entirety, including:
“Come my people…and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by…lay hold of my protection…make peace with me” (26:20; 27:5).
The Lord spoke long ago through Isaiah, but he speaks even today about a joyous ending in unity with God.
Your faith wins whether America returns to God or continues to reject God. Much depends on our leaders today, just as it did with the kings of Israel and Judah.