THOUGHTS FROM ISAIAH

ON THIS MOUNTAIN …

Isaiah chapters 13 to 34 are filled with devastation as nation after nation, city after city fall under God’s condemnation. It feels as if the end of the world is upon us as sin after sin is avenged and judgement after judgement falls.

But right in the middle of it all is a shaft of brilliant light and peace in the midst of the storm. Here Isaiah gives us a glimpse of the eternal purpose of God:

‘O LORD, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvellous things,
things planned long ago’ [25:1]

Things planned long ago … things planned before the beginning of time … things brought into human space and time by the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, things that will be consummated at his return in power and glory.

Surrounded by descriptions of death and carnage is a picture of joy and life:

‘On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples …
On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
he will swallow up death forever’ [25:6,7].

Already, people from all nations are feasting on the rich salvation freely given to them through the death of Jesus Christ which occurred ‘on this mountain’.

Already, on this mountain, Jesus Christ has died and has risen again, destroying the power of death.

He shared our humanity ‘so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death … and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death’ [Hebrews 2:14,15].

‘… death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ’ [Romans 5:17].

‘… just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’ [Romans 5:21].

‘… through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death’ [Romans 8:2].

‘I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades’ [Revelation 1:18].

Already just as certain, just as sure, but not yet in place, is the final end of death. When Christ returns:

‘… then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory”’ [1Corinthians 15:55].

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away’ [Revelation 21:4].

And so Isaiah wrote:

‘The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces …’ [25:8].

Isaiah did not know what we now understand. Although he wrote of it, he was ignorant of its meaning [Luke 10:23,24; 1Peter 1:10-12]. How much more should we who know Jesus Christ and his saving death, encourage one another with the words of Isaiah:

‘Surely this is our God, we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation’ [25:9].

© Rosemary Bardsley 2014