preacher of national renown and chaplain to the halls of government warned for
years that the nation was ripening for judgment. He was largely ignored. When
the worst came, he might have been tempted to say “I told you so,” but
instead he began immediately to preach messages of comfort and hope.
was the prophet Isaiah, of course. Assyria annexed the kingdom of Israel and threatened
little Judah. Should Judah make an alliance with Egypt for protection? Isaiah
protested. Then Assyria’s Sennacherib invaded and suffered disaster. It seemed
Isaiah’s policy was right, but Judah overreacted and presumed they were charmed.
Bad mistake! Captivity came as the prophet predicted. What now? Now is the time
to lay hold of the promises of a gracious and sovereign God.
national calamity strikes (or personal or family disaster), how do we cope?
course, repentance and return to the Lord are in order. But that done, it does
no good to wallow in the self pity of regret and recrimination. Isaiah’s
message glows with a theology of hope. He calls us to look to the bright glory
of the Lord in spite of the thick darkness that seems to surround us. And he bids
us anticipate life in God’s bright future.
Focus on the Bright Glory of the Lord (vss. 1-3).
glory of the Lord!” Think of it. When the tabernacle in the wilderness was
dedicated “the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” (Ex. 40:34ff).
So impressive was that manifestation of the majestic presence that even Moses
– who talked with God one-to-One at Sinai – even Moses could not enter
the tabernacle for the glory.
glory of God is the very essence of who He is. On this theme, M. R. Gordon said,
“Man’s glory – wealth, reputation, etc. – may be taken from
him, but he is still man; but God cannot be God without his glory.” 1
now says, “the glory of the Lord arises upon you” (vs. 1). The words
must have seemed as mockery at first, but the prophet hastened to acknowledge
that darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples” (vs
2). Isaiah’s prophetic vision saw what was not plain to everyone: “but
the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you” (vs. 2).
Anticipate Life in God’s Bright Future (vss. 4-6).
Judah mourned for the loss of their land, their sons and daughters. Isaiah said,
“Lift up your eyes and look about you” (vs. 4). Can you envision your
sons and daughters coming home to you from distant lands? The captives sulked
with broken hearts. The prophet promised, “your heart will throb and swell
with joy” (vs 5). Penniless slaves were they in a foreign land. Isaiah asked
them to imagine standing on Zion’s hill and looking far to the west. Sailing
ships hasten to their shores with the wealth of nations. Look to the east. Camel
caravans stream from the distant Orient “bearing gold and incense and proclaiming
the praise of the Lord” (vs. 5b-6).
we captive today of our own despondency and pessimism? We want a secure future
for ourselves and for our children, but all we can see is a world dominated by
fanatical terrorism and economic morass. Are the days of world peace and justice
an illusion? Not for those who can still pray, “Thine is the kingdom, and
the power, and the glory forever. Amen!” (Matt. 6:13 AV).
brief provided by: Austin Tucker, a writer and adjunct professor
in Shreveport, LA