Read Isaiah 26
A Song of Praise
26 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
We have a strong city;
God makes salvation
its walls and ramparts.
2 Open the gates
that the righteous nation may enter,
the nation that keeps faith.
3 You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
4 Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.
5 He humbles those who dwell on high,
he lays the lofty city low;
he levels it to the ground
and casts it down to the dust.
6 Feet trample it down—
the feet of the oppressed,
the footsteps of the poor.
7 The path of the righteous is level;
you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth.
8 Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws,
we wait for you;
your name and renown
are the desire of our hearts.
9 My soul yearns for you in the night;
in the morning my spirit longs for you.
When your judgments come upon the earth,
the people of the world learn righteousness.
10 But when grace is shown to the wicked,
they do not learn righteousness;
even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil
and do not regard the majesty of the Lord.
11 Lord, your hand is lifted high,
but they do not see it.
Let them see your zeal for your people and be put to shame;
let the fire reserved for your enemies consume them.
12 Lord, you establish peace for us;
all that we have accomplished you have done for us.
13 Lord our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us,
but your name alone do we honor.
14 They are now dead, they live no more;
their spirits do not rise.
You punished them and brought them to ruin;
you wiped out all memory of them.
15 You have enlarged the nation, Lord;
you have enlarged the nation.
You have gained glory for yourself;
you have extended all the borders of the land.
16 Lord, they came to you in their distress;
when you disciplined them,
they could barely whisper a prayer.
17 As a pregnant woman about to give birth
writhes and cries out in her pain,
so were we in your presence, Lord.
18 We were with child, we writhed in labor,
but we gave birth to wind.
We have not brought salvation to the earth,
and the people of the world have not come to life.
19 But your dead will live, Lord;
their bodies will rise—
let those who dwell in the dust
wake up and shout for joy—
your dew is like the dew of the morning;
the earth will give birth to her dead.
20 Go, my people, enter your rooms
and shut the doors behind you;
hide yourselves for a little while
until his wrath has passed by.
21 See, the Lord is coming out of his dwelling
to punish the people of the earth for their sins.
The earth will disclose the blood shed on it;
the earth will conceal its slain no longer.
Chapter 26 takes a second to pause from the oracles and judgment to give a beautiful reminder of who God is. While this song describes the ultimate fulfillment when Jesus returns, it is still one that we can sing now, anticipating that day.
Much of the language of this chapter models our attitude to the Messiah. It speaks of our hearts desiring, yearning, and earnestly seeking him. This shows a deep longing for the Lord comes from rightly knowing Him. By increasing our knowledge of who God is, we see Him more clearly. We are reminded that He is steadfast (v. 4), fulfiller of promises (v. 15), has a sovereign plan (v. 5-6), and is just (v. 21). When we are reminded of who He is and what He has done, it puts us in a heart-posture to trust Him.
Verse 3 is the heartbeat of this chapter “You keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” In order to understand the “how-to” of this verse, we have to work through it backwards. When we trust Him, our minds focus on Him. When God is our focal point, we find peace. Tara-Leigh Cobble describes it this way: “The only way to trust and delight in Him is to know Him more and more. In coming to know Him, our peace increases as a byproduct.” This message is one that we can see throughout scripture: our lives are transformed (Romans 12:2), we can have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16, Philippians 2:5), and think about the things above (Colossians 3:2).
The most important thing for us to remember here is the finished work of the cross. The peace that surpasses all understanding is found in the hope of knowing what Christ has already done on the cross for us. We get to walk in freedom and joy because of this truth! He has given us a new way to walk: one that is slow and unhurried. Find rest in knowing that He has already gone before us and we get to walk in His footsteps with Him guiding us the whole way.
- What did you learn about God in this chapter?
- Verse 21 is a shift in language, talking about the Great Tribulation. Why do you think this verse on judgment was included? How do judgment and peace tie together here?
- Read Proverbs 3:5-6. How does this verse relate to the message of Isaiah 26?
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