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Isaiah 12 is a short song of praise focused on salvation. If we read this chapter with narrowed vision we will see it only as a reference to the restoration of the Jewish exiles to Jerusalem after their years of captivity in Babylon. But there is far more than that here when we look at it from the perspective of the eternal spiritual reality brought into human history by the saving death of Jesus Christ. From this eternal and global perspective we find in this chapter:

Propitiation - the turning away of God’s anger [verse 1].

‘Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me.’

That wrath of God that is upon all humans because of our wickedness and godlessness [Romans 1:18] has been turned away from those who believe in the name of God’s Son, Jesus Christ [John 3:36]. Those who through faith are justified by the death of Christ are saved forever from the wrath of God [Romans 5:9]. Jesus rescues us from the wrath to come [1Thessalonians 1:10], for God has appointed those who believe in Jesus for salvation, not for wrath [1Thessalonians 5:9]. As Isaiah states: ‘Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away’ with the result ‘you have comforted me’. Christians live in the strong comfort and assurance of reconciliation with God. In this state of reconciliation, where sin and judgment have no further power or authority to interfere and to accuse, there is a state of perfect peace between God and man [2Corinthians 5:17-21; Colossians 1:20-22]. There is no more fear of God’s judgment [1John 4:16-18]. There is no more fear of rejection by God.

Salvation – Isaiah knows, and the rest of the Scripture testifies, that God himself is salvation [verse 2].

‘Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.
The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation’

Salvation is not in personal strength or personal merit. Salvation is not in racial or religious heritage or affiliation. God, and God alone, is both the Saviour and the salvation he gives. Moses sang about this, indeed it was his song that Isaiah quotes in this verse [Exodus 15:2]. David knew this when he acknowledged God as his ‘my strength … my rock … my fortress … my deliverer … my shield … the horn of my salvation … my stronghold’ and ‘my light and my salvation’ [Psalm 18:1,2; 27:1]. Jeremiah drew attention to it by the phrase ‘the LORD Our Righteousness’ [Jeremiah 23:6; 33:16]. Paul understood this when he referred to the Lord Jesus Christ as our ‘righteousness, holiness and redemption’ [1Corinthians 1:29]. This salvation is ‘in Christ Jesus’ not something separate from him [2Timothy 2:10]. For this reason ‘he who has the Son has life’ [1John 5:12].

Joy – the truth that God himself is our salvation is the unfailing source of joy [verse 3]:

‘With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.’

It was with this joy that Moses sang to the Lord on the eastern shore of the Red Sea [Exodus 15:18]. It is this joy of the Lord that Nehemiah affirmed is our strength [Nehemiah 8:10]. It is this joy that should characterize all who trust in the name of the Lord [Psalm 5:11] in whose presence is absolute joy [Psalm 16:11]. This joy experienced by those who are redeemed by God is an everlasting and overpowering joy [Isaiah 35:10] that overrides all sorrow and sighing. Indeed, this joy is the very essence of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, dispelling that terrible fear that prior to the Gospel was the only logical response of the sinful human heart in the presence of God [Luke 2:10]. Because the Lord who is its source and on whom it focuses is infinitely indescribable and glorious this joy of the redeemed is also inexpressible and full of glory [1Peter 1:8].

Worldwide praise – this salvation brought to us by the Son of God is too grand and glorious thing to be limited to one nation [Isaiah 49:6]. Isaiah commands that the name of the LORD and the glorious things he has done must be made known all round the world [verses 4 to 6].

This worldwide praise expressing the joy of the redeemed is even now spreading around the world as the Gospel of light and truth invades the darkness, and it is both now and in the final state the reality described in Revelation:

‘After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” … ’ [7:9,10,14].

‘… and they sang the song of Moses … and the song of the Lamb:
“…Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come and worship before you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed”’ [15:3,4]

These are the songs and this is the joy and the praise of those from all the earth who are saved by Jesus.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2014, 2023