Isaiah 25 – The Song of Joy from the Midst of Tribulation
A. Praising God for what He has done.
1. (1) Introduction: For You have done wonderful things.
O LORD, You are my God.
I will exalt You,
I will praise Your name,
For You have done wonderful things;
Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.
a. O LORD, You are my God: Isaiah 24 spoke of the judgment to come upon the world, especially in the Great Tribulation. During that time, those who have come to trust in the LORD will praise Him, even in the midst of His righteous judgment. They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing; for the majesty of the LORD they shall cry aloud from the sea (Isaiah 24:14). This song shows the kind of heart that praises God in the midst of tribulation, even in the midst of the Great Tribulation.
b. O LORD, You are my God: Knowing that the LORD – the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God revealed in and by Jesus Christ – is our God makes us want to praise Him. When someone or something other than the LORD is our God, we are guilty of idolatry.
c. I will exalt You, I will praise Your name: The worshipper here makes a decision to praise God (I will). Worship is never to be just a feeling, even if it is an intense feeling. We are to worship God with a decision.
i. “If I did not praise and bless Christ my Lord, I should deserve to have my tongue torn out by its roots from my mouth. If I did not bless and magnify his name, I should deserve that every stone I tread on in the streets should rise up to curse my ingratitude, for I am a drowned debtor to the mercy of God – over head and ears – to infinite love and boundless compassion I am a debtor. Are you not the same? Then I charge you by the love of Christ, awake, awake your hearts now to magnify his glorious name.” (Spurgeon)
d. For You have done wonderful things: When we think about all the wonderful things the LORD has done, it is pretty easy to make the decision to worship the LORD. God wants our worship to be filled with thought and remembrance of God’s great works, not only an emotional response.
e. Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth: When we remember the greatness and permanence of God’s word, it makes us want to praise Him. What is more reliable, more everlasting, more enduring than the word of God?
2. (2-3) Praising God for His righteous judgment.
For You have made a city a ruin,
A fortified city a ruin,
A palace of foreigners to be a city no more;
It will never be rebuilt.
Therefore the strong people will glorify You;
The city of the terrible nations will fear You.
a. For You have made a city a ruin: We can worship God for His judgment because we have confidence in His fairness. As was the case with Sodom and Gomorrah, God will never make a city a ruin unless the judgment is deserved, and God has made provision for the righteous.
i. Which city is referred to? No specific city, but in reality, every city. “There is a complete lack of any specific national reference, and none of the activities which are pursued within the city differentiate it any special way. It can best be understood, therefore, as a pictorial description of the body of organised human society, a type of ‘Vanity Fair,’ which is to be subjected to the divine judgment. When God asserts his will in judgment he will bring to an end the existing human order, so that in a sense every city will be brought to chaos.” (Clements, cited in Grogan)
b. The strong people will glorify You: The people of the LORD see His work and glorify Him. This is the first of two effects of the judgment of God. Second, the city of the terrible nations will fear You. The unrighteous fear God when they see His righteous judgment.
3. (4-5) Praising God for His goodness to the weak.
For You have been a strength to the poor,
A strength to the needy in his distress,
A refuge from the storm,
A shade from the heat;
For the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.
You will reduce the noise of aliens,
As heat in a dry place;
As heat in the shadow of a cloud,
The song of the terrible ones will be diminished.
a. For You have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy: God is worthy of our praise because He brings strength to the poor and needy.
b. A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat: This is a wonderful reason to praise God, and even the strangers (aliens) are blessed by His goodness. God will even quiet the song of the terrible ones.
B. Praising God for what He will do.
1. (6) A glorious feast for God’s people.
And in this mountain
The LORD of hosts will make for all people
A feast of choice pieces,
A feast of wines on the lees,
Of fat things full of marrow,
Of well-refined wines on the lees.
a. In this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all people a feast: In several places, the Bible speaks of what is sometimes called the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Revelation 19:9 says, blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb! According to Isaiah 25:6, we might say that this great feast takes place on earth, not in heaven.
b. A feast of choice pieces, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of well-refined wines on the lees. For God’s people, this will be the “victory banquet” or the “awards banquet” when the final battle is over. What a feast that will be.
i. Jesus is really looking forward to this banquet. He said to His disciples at the Last Supper, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom (Matthew 26:29). In this, Jesus spoke of His longing expectation for the day when He would take communion with His people at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Jesus is excited about this event; are you?
2. (7-8) The destruction of evil.
And He will destroy on this mountain
The surface of the covering cast over all people,
And the veil that is spread over all nations.
He will swallow up death forever,
And the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces;
The rebuke of His people
He will take away from all the earth;
For the LORD has spoken.
a. The veil that is spread over all nations: This is what the LORD will destroy. The picture is that there is a veil that is spread over all nations that keeps them from seeing God, loving God, and obeying God. In this glorious day, the LORD will destroy that veil.
i. In the New Testament, Paul speaks of Israel being blinded by a veil: But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart (2 Corinthians 3:15). In Isaiah’s day, it was more apparent that the nations were veiled. In Paul’s day, it was more apparent that Israel was veiled. But for both the nations and for Israel, the remedy is the same: Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away (2 Corinthians 3:16).
b. He will swallow up death forever: The LORD will also destroy death. The day will come when death is powerless. Death was introduced by Adam’s rebellion (Genesis 2:16-17) and will one day be completely eliminated by God.
i. Paul knew this and looked forward to this day. He proclaimed in 1 Corinthians 15:54: Death is swallowed up in victory. This will be true for every believer when death is defeated by resurrection. A resurrected body is not a resuscitated corpse. It is a new order of life that will never die again.
ii. Freud was wrong when he said: “And finally there is the painful riddle of death, for which no remedy at all has yet been found, nor probably ever will be.” Compare that sad statement with Isaiah’s triumphant declaration, He will swallow death up forever.
iii. “Ever since death ran through the veins of Jesus Christ, who is life essential, it is destroyed or swallowed up; like as the bee dieth when she hath left her sting in the wound.” (Trapp)
c. And the LORD God will wipe away tears from all faces: This is how glorious the tender mercy of God is. It isn’t just that He takes away the things that made us sad, or even that He gives us a handkerchief to dry our eyes. Instead, He gently and lovingly will wipe away tears from all faces.
d. The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth: Now, we need God’s rebuke of His people. If God did not rebuke and correct us, we could drift further and further from Him. But there will come a day when we are no longer troubled by sin, no longer in a place to rebel. In that glorious day, the rebuke of His people He will take away. We thank God for that coming day, and we also thank God for the faithful rebuke of His people until then.
3. (9) The testimony of God’s people.
And it will be said in that day:
“Behold, this is our God;
We have waited for Him, and He will save us.
This is the LORD;
We have waited for Him;
We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”
a. Behold, this is our God: We will proclaim it then because we have proclaimed it now. We are those who were unafraid to confess Jesus before men on earth, and we will be blessed to hear Him confess us before our Father in heaven (Luke 12:8).
b. We have waited for Him, and He will save us: It is a wonderful thing to wait on the LORD, and to see Him bring His salvation. God sometimes seems distant or cruel when we must wait on Him, but God’s ways really are best, and will be shown to be the best.
c. We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation: If it is our salvation – in the sense of a salvation of our own making, of our own creation, then there is nothing to be glad and rejoice in. But since it is His salvation, there is everything to be glad and rejoice in.
d. And it will be said in that day: Each one of these things – confessing He is our God, the fulfillment of patient waiting, and rejoicing in His salvation – each of these will be ultimately fulfilled in that day. But they can be substantially fulfilled right now! We can praise God for these things right now! And as we do, we bring some of the glory of that day to pass in our lives right now.
i. “To be rapt in praise to God is the highest state of the soul. To receive the mercy for which we praise God for is something; but to be wholly clothed with praise to God for the mercy received is far more. Why, praise is heaven, and heaven is praise! To pray is heaven below, but praise is the essence of heaven above. When you bow in adoration, you are at your very highest.” (Spurgeon)
4. (10-12) The LORD resolves all things.
For on this mountain the hand of the LORD will rest,
And Moab shall be trampled down under Him,
As straw is trampled down for the refuse heap.
And He will spread out His hands in their midst
As a swimmer reaches out to swim,
And He will bring down their pride
Together with the trickery of their hands.
The fortress of the high fort of your walls
He will bring down, lay low,
And bring to the ground, down to the dust.
a. For on this mountain the hand of the LORD will rest: The LORD will settle His hand of favor, power, and glory on Mount Zion. After the Great Tribulation, when Jesus Christ reigns from Jerusalem, the whole creation will know that the hand of the LORD does rest on this mountain.
i. “The powerful and gracious presence of God (which is oft signified in Scripture by God’s hand) shall have its constant and settled abode; it shall not move from place to place, as it did with the tabernacle; nor shall it depart from it, as it did from Jerusalem.” (Poole)
b. And Moab shall be trampled down: In that day, Jesus will rule the nations with all authority and righteousness (Psalm 2:8-12). God will reach out (As a swimmer reaches out to swim) and bring low every proud, rebelling heart. Those who oppose His rule He will bring to the ground, down to the dust.
i. “In a powerful anthropomorphic figure, the prophet pictures the Lord’s hand resting in blessing on Mount Zion and his feet trampling on Moab in judgment.” (Grogan) So, which do we want – the touch of God’s loving hand, or to be under His feet of judgment?
(c) 2021 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – firstname.lastname@example.org