Even in times of trouble when evil seems to prevail, we can sing the Lord’s praises. He is our strength and our salvation, and we can rejoice that there are glorious days ahead when Jesus will reign in righteousness. This is the message of Isaiah and the promise of God.
A Glimpse of the King and His Coming Kingdom
As we begin our Wisdom Journey today, we recall that the glory of Israel’s coming Messiah has been described by Isaiah in chapter 9. There, verse 6 prophesies:
The government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
A Jewish wedding during Isaiah’s day would have featured that moment when the bridegroom lifted the veil from his bride and then draped it across his shoulder. That signified he was taking responsibility for the provision and protection and care of his bride.
Likewise, our divine Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus, has gathered us who believe in Him into His bridal party. We have left the funeral march of the human race, and we are now members of the wedding party.
Here in the immediate context of Isaiah chapter 9, King Ahaz of Judah is not impressed with the promise of God’s protection. He would rather put his faith in a peace treaty with the Assyrian Empire, and that is going to come back to bite him, so to speak.
With that, here in chapter 10, Isaiah changes his focus from the southern kingdom of Judah to the northern kingdom of Israel. Israel is going to serve as a warning to Judah of the consequences of rebelling against God.
Isaiah warns the rebellious leaders in Israel, “Nothing remains but to crouch among the prisoners or fall among the slain” (verse 4). In other words, God is going to use the brutal Assyrians to defeat Israel and execute the judgment of God.
Now don’t think that just because God uses some godless nation to do His will, that the ungodly are going to get away with their sin. Note the promise in verse 12:
When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, he will punish the speech of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria.
Isaiah further prophesies in verse 33 that God will cut down the Assyrian army like a lumberjack cuts down a forest of trees. He says, “The great in height will be hewn down, and the lofty will be brought low.” This will take place a few years later when God miraculously destroys the Assyrian army, as recorded in 2 Kings 19.
Isaiah then delivers a message of hope for the people of Israel. He continues the analogy of a forest that has been cut down, but he points out a stump of a tree. He says in Isaiah 11:1, “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.” That tree stump is Jesse, David’s father. And that green shoot is the royal line of King David, from whom the Messiah will descend. In Acts 13:23 the apostle Paul identifies Jesus as the fulfillment of this promise of the fruitful branch from the stump of Jesse.
Listen to Isaiah describe the Messiah here in verse 2:
The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
Those are all “capital S”—references to the Holy Spirit. There is a lot I could say here, but I agree with one author who writes, “The church has never sufficiently confessed the influence of the Holy Spirit exerted upon the work of Christ.”
Isaiah is saying that the ministry of the Messiah will be saturated with the divine power of the Spirit of God. Not only will the Messiah be divinely empowered, but as King He will also one day rule with perfect justice.
Now here in verse 6, Isaiah begins to describe this future millennial kingdom over which the Messiah-King will reign when He returns to earth with us, His redeemed.
One of the glorious aspects of the kingdom is the way the Lord is going to take us back, in some ways, to the pristine conditions of the garden of Eden. An obvious change will be in the animal kingdom. Isaiah writes, “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat” (verse 6). Of course, in our experience, a leopard and young goat just do not naturally lie down next to one another, but they will in that future kingdom.
Isaiah continues in verse 6, saying, “The calf and the lion and the fattened calf [shall dwell] together; and a little child shall lead them.” Imagine that! A little child will have a lion as a pet—he’s going to lead that lion around like a dog on a leash.
I must say, I don’t like cats at all and never have, but a lion is one cat I wouldn’t mind having as a pet. My grandson and I have talked about this verse, and we both think it would be pretty amazing.
Now how is this possible? Isaiah tells us in verse 7: “The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.” The Lord is going to change the digestive tracts and eating patterns of the animal kingdom. There will be no more carnivorous animals to fear, for they will return to the way they were originally created in Eden. Beloved, in the kingdom, Jesus the King will begin the process of reversing the curse on the earth, the redeemed human race, and the animal kingdom.
And how is this for more changes? Isaiah writes in verse 8: “The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.” Now I don’t like snakes at all—kingdom or no kingdom—but there will be absolutely nothing to fear. Even a little baby will be able to play alongside the deadliest serpent.
Notice what the Lord says about the kingdom age here in verse 9:
They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
The millennial kingdom will give us just a taste of what life was like in Eden; creation and mankind will be reconciled as it were, once again.
Isaiah now prophesies about the return of Israel to their promised land:
[God] will raise a signal [a rallying point] for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. (verse 12)
Israel will be reunited and joined to their Messiah.
As chapter 11 comes to a close, Isaiah prophesies that the Messiah will rally all the exiled Jews in the world to come back to the land God promised them. Note verse 16:
There will be a highway from Assyria for the remnant that remains of his people, as there was for Israel when they came up from the land of Egypt.
And let me tell you, this highway will look like rush hour as the Jewish people repent and receive their Messiah and flood into their promised land.
Listen beloved, God has not forsaken Israel. The church today has not replaced Israel. @end There’s coming a day when God will literally fulfill all His promises to that nation—and to us.
Now in chapter 12 Isaiah writes a song of thanksgiving, and every believer can sing it. In fact, we should be singing it today. The main stanza says this, here in verse 2:
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”
Beloved, if Jesus is your Messiah and coming King, you can joyfully sing those words today.
 Abraham Kuyper, The Work of the Holy Spirit (Funk & Wagnalls, 1900), 97.