Isaiah 26

Sunday Morning Bible Study

August 1, 1999

Introduction

We have entered a new section of Isaiah known as "Isaiahís Apocalypse". It covers chapters 24-27, and deals with what we know as the "end times". In chapter 24 we saw a picture of the devastation on the earth that will take place during the upcoming Tribulation period. In chapter 25 we took a peek at what heaven will be like. Today weíll take a peek at how the nation of Israel will come through the Great Tribulation.

:1-4 Song of Salvation

:1 In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah

"That day" refers to when Jesus has come back, as weíve read in Is. 25:9. This song will be sung during the Millennial reign of Jesus on earth by the Jews.

:1 salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.

bulwarks Ė walls, ramparts, fortresses

In this new city, instead of building walls to protect the city, God will simply set His salvation as the protection of the city.

Instead of needing any kind of physical protection, it is the fact that God has delivered us and will be our protector that is our safety. One commentator translates this as, "Yahweh makes His help serve as walls"

salvation Ė [email protected]`ah Ė salvation, deliverance

Whatís interesting is that this is a word which is VERY similar to a Hebrew name in the Bible, Joshua. In fact itís identical except for one extra letter at the end which you donít pronounce. The Greek translation of the name Joshua is Jesus.

Since our salvation is based on Jesus anyway, itís not too much of a stretch to see the kind of picture painted here.

Lesson

Let Jesus be your protection.

Illustration

A burglar had been watching a house in Indiana for a few days and was sure that the people were away, so one night he went up to the door, rang the doorbell, and upon getting no response, he picked the lock and let himself in. Once inside, he turned on his flashlight and to his surprise he heard a voice say, "I see you and Jesus sees you!" He turned instantly toward the voice and then he laughed because his flashlight revealed a parrot in a cage who once again said, "I see you and Jesus sees you!". Now relieved, he turned on the light in the room and looking back at the bird, he again became alarmed, because below the cage was a Doberman pincher. And then, the parrot said, "Sick Ďem, Jesus!".

Illustration

Actually, a better picture would be that you are sitting around in your house when you hear the doorbell. You answer the door and thereís Satan standing right there on your front porch glaring and sneering at you. You close the door and yell over your shoulder, "Jesus, itís for You!"

We could never handle Satan in our own power. But we have someone who is far greater, someone who loves to protect His people. Call on Jesus.

:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

keep Ė natsar Ė to guard, watch, watch over, keep. Literally to "guard with a garrison"

perfect peace Ė literally, "shalom, shalom". The doubling of the word is done to show the certainty of this peace and the complete fulness of this peace. It is peace in every aspect of the word Ė peace with God, peace with people, peace in circumstances.

stayed Ė camak Ė to lean, lay, rest, support, put, uphold, lean upon

trusteth Ė batach Ė to trust; to have confidence, be confident

Lesson #1

Peace comes from trusting someone trustworthy.

God offers you His peace. God wants to take all your anxiety and replace it with His incredible peace.

I believe Paul was probably using the principles of this verse as he wrote,

(Phil 4:6-9 NASB) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. {7} And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. {8} Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. {9} The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you.

The act of praying isnít some sort of religious ritual that doesnít really do much. Part of what prayer is all about is that itís the act of taking something out of your own hands and putting it into Godís hands.

And prayer alone here isnít the key to peace, itís prayer "with thanksgiving" that is the key. If you in your prayer can say "thanks" to God, itís only because youíre trusting that Heíll hear you and respond.

Illustration

If you are standing in line to buy your family tickets to Disneyland, and the person in front of you turns around and says, "Hey, I feel generous today, how about if I pay for you and your whole family?" How would you respond? If itís a total stranger, you might look at the guy kind of strange and say something like, "yeah, right", or, "no thanks". But if itís a good friend, someone you know well, someone you trust, someone who loves you, then you just might say "Wow! Thank you!" Your expression of "thanks" is related to whether or not you "trust" the person to come through for you and what you think their motives are.

Iím not saying that we need to somehow talk ourselves into thinking that God is going to answer our prayers exactly as weíre demanding Him to. But I think that thereís a point where we simply put the whole matter into His hands, and however He responds, we know itís going to be the best. Thatís when we can say "thanks" and thatís when we receive His peace.

Lesson #2

Donít focus on your circumstances.

This peace will only come as we rest our thoughts on Him, and not on our circumstances. Our mind has to be "stayed" or resting on the Lord. Itís when we get too focused on our problems that we get all tense and anxious.

"But if I donít worry about my problems, who will?" you say.

Iím not advocating that we donít work on our problems, and Iím not advocating that we ignore our problems.

But there are times when we simply spend too much time focused on our problems, and not enough time focused on our God who is able to handle our problems.

Illustration

There was a time when Jesus told His disciples to row their boat across the Sea of Galilee and somehow Heíd meet them on the other side (Mat. 14:22-31). In the middle of the night there was a great storm and as the disciples were rowing hard, Jesus came near them, walking on the water. Peter was so blown away by all this that he asked Jesus if he could walk with Him. Jesus told Peter to get out of the boat, and for a few minutes, Peter was actually walking on the water! But as Peter began to remember that there was a storm blowing, and he took his eyes off of Jesus and began focusing on the wind and the waves, he began to sink.

Are you sinking or walking? Part of answer depends on whether or not youíve taken your eyes off of Jesus and have been focusing too much on the problems around you.

:4 for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength

LORD JEHOVAH Ė literally, "Yah Yahweh"

everlasting Ė owlam Ė long duration, for ever, everlasting, perpetual

strength Ė tsuwr Ė rock, cliff

This phrase could be translated, "Rock of Ages". In fact, itís partly from this verse that Augustus Toplady (1740-1778) wrote his hymn, "Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me".

:5-11 Crying for help

:5 For he bringeth down them that dwell on high

Lesson

God deals with pride.

God doesnít think too highly of our pride. He will deal with it.

(Prov 16:18 KJV) Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

(Prov 29:23 KJV) A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

:6 The foot shall tread it down, even the feet of the poor

The proud things are brought down and then trampled on not by great, powerful, mighty people, but by the poor and needy.

:8 in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee

judgments Ė mishpat Ė judgment, justice, ordinance.

(Isa 26:8 NIV) Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you;

We often talk about how important it is that we learn to "wait on the Lord". Here, Isaiah gives us an instruction on how to "wait on the Lord".

Lesson

Wait for Him on the road to Obedience.

There are times when we are waiting on the Lord for direction. We donít know which decision to make. We donít know which way to go.

While weíre waiting, we should be careful that we are doing the things Heís already told us to do.

Illustration

Genesis 24

Abraham was in need of a bride for his son, Isaac. Because he himself was getting too old, he sent his most trusted servant, Eleazar, back to Abrahamís homeland to find a suitable bride. Eleazar packed up the camels and headed to Nahor. When he got there, he stopped at a well and prayed for God to help him find the right girl. He asked God to give him a sign by having one of the girls coming to the well not only offering to give him a drink but actually offering to water his thirsty camels as well. When he asked a particular cute girl if she would give him a drink, she responded by also offering to water all the camels. Eleazar wasnít quite sure yet, but when he found out that she came from the right family, and she even offered to take Eleazar home and give him a place to stay for the night, he realized this was the one Ö

(Gen 24:26-27 KJV) And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD. {27} And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master's brethren.

Get in "Godís Way". Get on His highway towards obedience. You will find God leading you to the right things when you are doing things "His way".

You may not know the specific answer to your current question, like which girl youíre supposed to marry. But if you keep yourself in "Godís Way", doing things like reading your Bible, praying, fellowshipping at church, telling others about Jesus, doing the things you read about in the Bible, then you will find God leading you.

You too will be able to say, "While being on Godís path, He led me".

:9 for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

It could be that this is talking about how Godís judgment on the earth will make some people sit up and pay attention to what is right and what is wrong.

I wonder if this isnít saying that when Godís Laws are in the earth, then we will learn righteousness. This is the same word used in verse 8 as "judgments".

:10 Let favour be showed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness

Grace shown to the wicked, but they will not respond.

We like to remember that it is often the kindness of God that can lead us to repentance:

(Rom 2:4 NIV) Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?

But not everyone responds correctly to Godís grace and favor. Some people just continue to take advantage of it and refuse to obey the Lord.

:11 LORD, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see:

When Godís hand of judgment is lifted up, people donít always recognize it as Godís judgment. Sometimes they like to attribute it to "Mother Nature" or chance.

:11 but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people;

envy Ė qin'ah Ė ardour, zeal, jealousy

(Isa 26:11 NASB) ÖThey see Thy zeal for the people and are put to shame Ö

:11 yea, the fire of thine enemies shall devour them.

Though this may be just a general kind of reference to the judgment God will bring on His enemies, it is interesting to note about the "two witnesses" that will be ministering during the Tribulation period:

(Rev 11:5 KJV) And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

:12-19 Resurrection promised

:13 O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us

other lords Ė meaning human tyrants like the Pharoahs, the various Canaanite kings that put Israel into subjection in the book of judges, eventually the Assyrian and Babylonian kings as well as the Greek and Roman ones as well.

:14 They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise

The earthly rulers who opposed Israel will be punished and never rise to power again.

This could also be talking about the end of unbelievers. It does not mean that they will not have a resurrection, they will have a resurrection, but one that ends with eternal punishment.

:16 they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them.

prayer Ė lachash Ė whispering

(Isa 26:16 NIV) LORD, they came to you in their distress; when you disciplined them, they could barely whisper a prayer.

These people are in great distress. They are in the middle of the Great Tribulation. What do they do? They cry out to God.

:17 Like as a woman with child

The picture is of someone who is in great pain, but who has a hope that the pain is going to be worth it because a child will be born. Paul uses the same imagery (1Thes. 5:1-3).

:18 we have as it were brought forth wind

Instead of going through all the difficulty of childbirth and giving birth to a baby, itís as if theyíve gone through all the difficulty and only produced wind. The "wind" is the lack of deliverance. Theyíve labored and tried, but havenít been able to find any solutions to their problems.

:19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body Ö

Both the King James and the New King James have this phrase "with my dead body", though some of the other versions donít. Some commentators have suggested that this is prophetic, as though Jesus was speaking. Itís because of His resurrection that we have a promise of a life after death.

:19 thy dew is as the dew of herbs

Just as the morning dew refreshes the plants and "brings them back to life", God will also raise the dead.

Some would say that the concept of resurrection is unique to the New Testament. Yet it is explicitly taught even in the Old Testament. (Job 19:26; Dan. 12:2)

:20-21 Wait until itís over

:20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers Öuntil the indignation be overpast.

When the Great Tribulation hits planet earth, there will be some believing Jews alive. They will go into hiding. The picture is almost a little like that of the first Passover, where the Jewish nation was to all go indoors that night, covering their doorposts with the blood of the lamb, and then wait as the angel of death passed over them and killed all the firstborn of Egypt. But this is going to be bigger than just the punishment of Egypt.

Lesson

When the going gets tough, the Tough get praying.

I know that this is speaking about the Jewish people who will be around on planet earth during the Great Tribulation. But I think thereís almost a sense where we can apply something here to our lives.

Jesus talked about going into a "closet" or "room" Ė

(Mat 6:6 KJV) But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

There are going to be times that are especially hard. There are times when it seems that Satan is particularly raging mad against the church. And itís at those times that we need to be praying.

A few of us have had a particularly hard week this last week. At one point I kept asking myself, "How much tougher can this get?" There came a point on Wednesday night when I sensed the Lord speaking to my heart, telling me that in tough times like this I have a choice. I can let the circumstances destroy me, or I can cry out to God and let Him show Himself strong on my behalf. Iím choosing the latter.

:21 the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.

When the worldís first murder occurred, and Cain killed his brother Abel, God went looking for Cain to talk to him and asked him where his brother was. Though Cain tried to plead ignorance to the situation, God said that Abelís blood was crying to him from the ground. (Gen. 4:9-10)

Lesson

God will punish all sin, even the hidden ones.

There are some of us who have gone through great pain wondering why a certain person was able to get away with doing some horrible thing. Weíve even wondered why God didnít stop it from happening.

There will be a day when God will make everything right. There will be no hiding from Him.