A principal purpose of Isaiah’s message was to comfort the Lord’s people with promises of grace and peace in anticipation of the times of trial soon to overtake the nations of Israel and Judah. Trials will come but they will come to an end, too. The treacherous spoiler of the Lord’s people will receive in kind what he has meted out and the people who wait for salvation from God will not be disappointed. This promise has its fullest application in gospel times and in the kingdom of Christ.
A promise old and new
These words are a comfort for every believer at any time who is tried in faith or attacked by spiritual enemies. God shall arise to His people’s defence. Christ will be exalted for His church’s protection and vindication. The Judge of all the earth will do right and no hand raised against the Lord or His people will prosper. Every individual believer may not live to see the full effect of the Lord rising in strength and power yet we may be sure He will. Justice will be done.
Now, now, now
The Lord’s repeated use of ‘now’ in verse 10 gives a sense of impending judgment but also suggests frequent and regular instances of retribution. Christ is an ever-present Judge. We should not think of judgment only in terms of final judgment or the end of the world because our Lord and Saviour goes forth constantly in power and glory ‘conquering, and to conquer’, and thereby bringing to nothing the schemes of our enemies and punishing the wicked for their sin.
Sinners in Zion, beware!
There is a particular condemnation specified against hypocrites and sinners in Zion which may point to false professors in the church who use faith as a tool for self-righteousness and the church as a vehicle for self-promotion. These enemies of God tread underfoot the Son of God and count the blood of Christ an unholy thing. Isaiah warns they will not be spared when God’s judgment falls on the wicked. Hell’s devouring fire and everlasting burning will consume them as dried thorns.
Right in the sight of God
Only those justified in the Lord Jesus Christ will be delivered and shielded from the anger of God against sin. The elect of God are righteous in God’s sight. They alone will be preserved and defended because they are hid in Christ. They shall be provided with living bread and living water, the living bread of Christ and the living water of spiritual grace. Under the care of their Saviour Christ’s people will see their King in all His beauty and the heavenly land He has prepared for them who trust Him.
Behold, the beauty of Christ
There is an encouraging lesson here. God’s people see the beauty of Christ in this life while beholding the land of heaven afar off. God’s elect see the beauties of Christ in time before we enter our eternal rest. We see Christ’s beauties now. Later Isaiah will say of the incarnate Christ, ‘when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him’. However, when grace opens our eyes to the spiritual accomplishments of King Jesus, the ugliness, shamefulness and cursedness of the cross disappear. What remains is the infinite mercy of God and the glorious sacrifice of His dear Son who is altogether lovely.
The perfect Man
The cross of shame becomes the wondrous cross and now believers see the Lord Jesus as they never saw Him before. Now Christ possesses all spiritual beauty. He who was marred is perfect. He who was crushed is exalted. He who stooped to suffer disgrace is risen to reign in everlasting glory. God’s elect own their Saviour as the dear and precious lover of their souls. They say with Zechariah, ‘For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty!’
The glorious LORD
Isaiah highlights numerous features of Christ’s beauty. Christ rises to judge and conquer with sublime majesty and exquisite justice. He reigns in grace and righteousness, dispensing wisdom and granting knowledge of holiness and spiritual truth. He establishes an enduring stability in His kingdom and rules amongst His people as Judge, Lawgiver and King. He heals all who flee to Him for mercy and supplies all who come to Him for help. Such are the beauties of Christ to His Bride in all His covenant offices.
Peter Meney is the Pastor of New Focus Church Online and the Editor of "New Focus Magazine" and publisher of sovereign grace material under the Go Publications imprint. The purpose and aim of the magazine and books is to spread as widely as possible the gospel of Jesus Christ and the message of free, sovereign grace found in the Holy Bible, the Word of God.