289 - Timeless Reminders of God’s Faithfulness (Isaiah 32–39)
The prophet Isaiah reminds us that beyond the struggles, threats, and injustices of this world is the promise of peace and justice under the sovereign Lord in His kingdom. We need not fear anything but rather take courage as we look in faith to the fulfillment of His promises.
Timeless Reminders of God’s Faithfulness
In this portion of our Wisdom Journey, we are going to sail through Isaiah chapters 32 to 39.
Isaiah has been building a case against the nation of Judah for pursuing an alliance with Egypt, rather than trusting in the Lord. For Judah, trusting Egypt is like your child getting scared and running next door to ask the neighbors for protection. Not only does your child not trust you, but what do you think this says to your neighbors? Well, just imagine what the Egyptians must be thinking about the God of Israel.
Isaiah is stepping forward here to warn Judah of their disobedience and lack of faith. But woven into the warnings from Isaiah are some gracious promises of God’s love and mercy.
As chapter 32 opens, we are prophetically taken into the kingdom age of the Messiah. Isaiah writes in verse 1, “Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule in justice.” This king is King Jesus, the Messiah, although Isaiah does not know His name yet.
Now Isaiah turns on the poetry to describe the Lord’s future reign. The prophet describes the Lord’s government in His coming kingdom here in verse 2:
[It] will be like a hiding place from the wind, a shelter from the storm, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.
There has never been a government on earth that can match this wonderful description.
Now with that, Isaiah addresses the rebellious men of his day through their wives. He speaks to these wives who are benefiting from the luxuries provided by their spiritually rebellious husbands. They might have two chariots in the garage and somebody to cut their lawn, but Isaiah has a warning for them:
You women who are at ease, hear my voice; you complacent daughters, give ear to my speech. In little more than a year you will shudder. (verses 9-10)
The coming judgment of God means that “these aristocratic women in Jerusalem [along with their husbands] will soon have to give up not only their luxuries and but their necessities.”
Now in chapter 33 we have a prophecy that is connected to events we have already covered in our Wisdom Journey, back in 2 Kings 18–19. Judah’s King Hezekiah has given Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, treasure from the temple to keep him from attacking Jerusalem. Sennacherib of course takes this protection money, but then he decides to come against Jerusalem anyway.
But Isaiah delivers a prophecy here in chapter 33 that spells the doom of Assyria. He writes these words of judgment in verse 1:
Ah, you destroyer . . . When you have ceased to destroy, you will be destroyed; and when you have finished betraying, they will betray you.
In verse 2, Isaiah reveals that there are some in Judah who are trusting the Lord—they are remaining faithful to the Lord and waiting on Him. They say to the Lord here, “O Lord, be gracious to us: we wait for you. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble.”
That’s a wonderful prayer of faith and a worthy example for us. In fact, you might be praying that same prayer today: “Lord, I’m waiting. I need your arm of strength this morning, but I’m trusting You in Your good time to get me out of trouble.”
Here is little Jerusalem, with not much strength in the arms of its inhabitants. There are thousands upon thousands of Assyrian troops surrounding them. And then when all seems lost, and it appears it is too late for even God to do something, we read here in verse 10: “‘Now I will arise,’ says the Lord, ‘now I will lift myself up; now I will be exalted.’” The Lord is saying, “Your waiting is now over.”
And we know from Isaiah 27 as well as 2 Kings 19, that when the people of Jerusalem woke up the next day, 185,000 enemy soldiers had been killed by the Angel of the Lord the night before. There is no explanation and no visible sign of that angel, just 185,000 Assyrian soldiers who did not wake up the next morning—their lives taken in judgment. The people of Judah break out into celebration.
In chapter 34 Isaiah turns on the fire and brimstone as he preaches about the coming wrath of God against those nations that oppose His covenant people. He writes here in verse 2:
For the Lord is enraged against all the nations, and furious against all their host; he has devoted them to destruction, has given them over for slaughter.
He speaks specifically of the nation of Edom in verses 13-14:
Thorns shall grow over its strongholds, nettles and thistles in its fortresses. It shall be the haunt of jackals, an abode for ostriches. And wild animals shall meet with hyenas.
This doesn’t sound like a neighborhood where anybody would want to buy a house and live.
Following that description of judgment, Isaiah 35 swings back to hope and blessing. It opens with a new creation being “glad” and rejoicing. Why? Because, as verse 2 tells us, “They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.”
In verses 5-6 Isaiah adds:
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
And down in verse 10, we read, “Sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”
This has not happened yet. We still live in a world with plenty of deaf and lame and blind people and plenty of sorrow and sighing. But during the ministry of Jesus, He proved that He has the power to establish this kind of kingdom where no one is blind or lame or deaf—and one day He will!
Then in chapters 36–39, Isaiah records events from King Hezekiah’s reign. In fact, these chapters are nearly identical to 2 Kings 18–20. We will not repeat all this for the sake of space, as we take our Wisdom Journey through the Bible in three years.
But I do want to point out one verse here in chapter 37, where King Hezekiah receives a threatening letter from the Assyrian king. King Sennacherib basically tells Hezekiah that he doesn’t have a prayer—he doesn’t stand a chance against his army.
I love verse 14:
Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it out before the Lord.
It’s as if the king is saying, “Lord, You have to see this. I’m going to spread it out—I’m going to unroll this scroll. Lord, I need You to read this letter. I can’t handle this impossible situation on my own. My back is against the wall; I need You to give me courage and wisdom.”
Maybe there is something in your life right now that you need to spread out before the Lord. You need to say, “Lord, I can’t handle this on my own. I want You to take a look at this desperate situation I am in. I need courage and wisdom for today.”
Then pray this prayer with Hezekiah:
O Lord of hosts . . . you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. Incline your ear [to me], O Lord, and hear.” (verses 16-17)
Well, God heard Hezekiah—and God hears you. He will rise up and exalt Himself at just the right time; and along the way, He will give you courage and wisdom for one day at a time.
 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Comforted (Victor Books, 1992), 83.
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