READ: Isaiah 24-26
BACKGROUND: These chapters are a part of Isaiah’s apocalyptic vision. He begins by talking about the judgment of the world and the tribulation that is to come, and moves into a discussion of the peace and justice that will reign with the establishment of God’s Kingdom. Hope is a defining theme of this passage. Hope that justice will be served and that oppression will cease. Hope that one day we’ll live in a world that is so much better than this one – the world God created us for!
24:1-13 – The judgment will affect the entire earth – all people.
14-16 – This is an interesting passage which is driven by hope. Even though believers will suffer the punishments of the tribulation alongside everyone else, they will rejoice because evil is finally being judged and wiped off the face of the planet.
21 – “The host of heaven” likely refers to Satan and the fallen angels in this verse.
23 – Even the moon and sun will pare in comparative glory to the 2nd coming of Jesus.
25:6 – “This mountain” is Mount Zion.
8 – This verse is quoted in Revelation 21:4 & 1Corinthians 15:54. There will be no more need for tears when sin and death are swallowed up and taken away forever.
10 – Moab is simply serving as a representative, here, for all those who oppress God’s people.
26:1 – This is the song that all of God’s people will sing together in praise.
10-11 – This is a strong warning from Isaiah against those who continue to practice evil even after they’ve experienced God’s grace.
14 – Isaiah is not denying the resurrection of the body (see v.19 if you don’t believe me). This is an expression that is basically saying the old oppressors of Israel who’ve died are not coming back to oppress them again.
THINK: In 1773 Augustus Toplady, a pastor from the town of Blogdan, England was traveling through the country when a fierce storm rolled in. Fearing for his safety, Toplady scrambled to a nearby rock gorge called Burrington Combe where he found the perfect space to shelter him from the lighting, the thunder, and the rain. Struck, in that moment, by God’s provision for him, Toplady penned – on the back of a playing card according to legend – the words to the hymn Rock of Ages right there in that small cleft in the rock. The stirring words to this hymn express a profound appreciation for God’s provision in our lives, specifically his provision for our salvation. Rock of Ages became one of the most popular Christian songs for the better part of 2 centuries after Toplady wrote it.
But Augustus Toplady wasn’t the first person to call God the “Rock of Ages.” That language comes from Isaiah. After describing him – poetically in my opinion – as a defense for the helpless, a defense for the needy in their distress, a refuge from the storm, and a shade from the heat in verse 4 of chapter 25, Isaiah goes on to call him the “Everlatsing – or Eternal – Rock” in verse 4 of chapter 26. But the Hebrew phrase he used literally translates: “Rock of Ages.”
It is so encouraging for me to think about God as the Rock of Ages. Amidst all of the pain and the suffering and the frustrations of this life and all of the evil that surrounds us we have a Rock to turn to. No matter what happens, no matter what kind of storms life throws our way – there is a Rock of Ages ready to give us shelter!
ASK: Do I have confidence that God is with me during the storms of my life? What does it mean for me that he is the Rock of Ages?