THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
Isaiah: Jahweh Is Salvation
Part LXIII: God's Greatness Seen In His Punishing The Wicked And Blessing His People At Christ's Coming
A. There is much injustice today, especially in terms of the persecution believers face from ungodly parties in government, religious or other realms, and we often need encouragement that God cares about our plight.
B. Isaiah 42:10-17 offers encouraging insight into God's emotions regarding such matters as it reveals how God will unleash the expression of those emotions at Christ's Second Coming (as follows):
II. God's Greatness Seen In His Punishing The Wicked And Blessing His People At Christ's Coming.
A. In Isaiah 42:10-12, the prophet of God called for the whole world to sing a new song of praise to the Lord:
1. Anticipating God's performing a new work on the earth, Isaiah called for the singing of a new song of praise to Him throughout the world, Isaiah 42:10a; E. J. Young, The Book of Isaiah, 1974, v. III, p. 125.
2. Specifically, Isaiah called for those who go down to the sea with all of its fullness to sing with those who dwell on the islands of the sea (Isaiah 42:10b), for those in cities of the desert and the courts where the Bedouin's dwell in Kedar along with those in the Rock of Petra in Edom to cry aloud from the top of the mountains of that land, Isaiah 42:11; Ibid., p. 125-126.
3. God will not give His glory to any other false god or idol, so even among the islands of the Gentile world where the idols are now profuse will God's glory be made known, Isaiah 42:12; Ibid., p. 127.
B. The reason for this new song of praise is the Lord's new work as a gibbor, a Mighty Man of War Who stirs up His zeal: He cries, yes, He shouts over His foes as He prevails (yithgabar), Isa. 42:13: Ibid., p. 125, 127-128.
C. This song thus recalls the Song of Moses sung after God worked as a Mighty Man of War to destroy Pharaoh's army in the Red Sea when He delivered Israel after her 400 years of Egyptian bondage, Ex. 15:1-21. In Isaiah 42:10-12, God delivers the righteous worldwide, which calls for the worldwide new song of praise to God!
D. God explains He has been silent for 'olam, for eternity, "the whole period previous to God's sending of the servant." He "has watched man form a kingdom of his own . . . and relegate Yahweh to a position equal with that of the idols. From the beginning God has kept silent; but the time has now arrived when He will hold His peace no longer but will declare war on faithless mankind," Ibid., p. 12; Isaiah 42:14a.
E. Though God had long held His peace and refrained Himself from speaking and acting in response to man's wicked acts of rebellion against Him (Isaiah 42:14a; Ibid., p. 128-129), now He will groan with intensity as would a woman travailing to give birth, now He will pant and gasp as if He can wait no longer for the moment when He steps into action to judge wickedness and reward the righteous, Isa. 42:14b; Ibid., p. 129. Young adds here: "The implication is that it has been difficult for God to hold His peace when He beheld wicked men forming a kingdom with the express purpose of destroying His own kingdom and bringing His purposes to naught. His own loved ones were the objects of the enemies' wrath, and yet God must constrain Himself. Yet He longs to deliver His own, and now shrieks aloud, as though unable to endure longer . . ." (Ibid.)
F. First, in judgment of the wicked, God at Christ's Second Coming will lay waste mountains and hills, drying up their plant life, turning streams into islands and drying up pools, Isaiah 42:15.
G. Second, in blessing the upright, God will cause even the blind to walk in a way they do not know, and paths they do not know will He cause them to tread, and He will place darkness before them as light and make rough places smooth, Isa. 42:16; Ibid., p. 130. The blessings of God's new order for the upright will be very great.
H. In Isaiah 42:17, Isaiah returns to God's work of judgment on sinful man at Christ's Second Coming: the wicked will be turned back, full of shame for their trust in graven images and for saying to the molten image, "You are our gods." "The effect of the destruction is in a backward direction, which suggests the total, utter desolation of the idolaters" (Ibid., p. 130) in stark contrast to their current self-exaltation.
Lesson: We must be assured that God is not only concerned about the exaltation of evil in today's world, but He even scarcely restrains Himself from judging the wicked and delivering and blessing His oppressed people.
Application: (1) May we never think that God is not concerned about the plight of the godly in an oppressive world, but that He is highly motivated to deal out justice and to exalt His Name over false idols that man has extolled in place of Himself. (2) Upon realizing this truth, may we stay faithful to our divine callings that we might enjoy our Lord's blessing and reward at His return! (1 Corinthians 15:58)