After the last few days, you may be feeling overwhelmed at God’s judgment and convicted of your own sin. I think both are very appropriate reactions to the wrath of God! Today, the tide shifts. We see the character of God as the one who will by no means clear the guilty, but also the one who is merciful, gracious, and forgiving (Exodus 34:6-7). We have seen that judgment extends to the entire world, but in our passage today, we see that God makes promises of peace that are available to their entire world as well.
Verses 1-5 comprise a song of victory that God’s people will sing when God judges evil and vindicates the oppressed. While this song could be sung after the remnant returned from exile, it is also a song for us as we reflect on the victory of Jesus.
In verses 6-9, we have one of the great promises of the eschatological kingdom. God’s kingdom will not be exclusively comprised of the people of Judah, but all people who trust God will be welcomed in (Isaiah 25:6). The imagery here is in direct contrast to the desolation of God’s wrath; instead of barrenness, there will be delicious fruitfulness and feasting! More miraculous than what we will enjoy at the sumptuous feast is what God will swallow there: death itself (Isaiah 25:7-8). This is a complete removal of death itself from among God’s people.
And yet the sting of death is still quite real for us today. But one day it will no longer be so. When God finally erases death, all tears from all faces will be dried up. As J.R.R. Tolkien famously wrote, “Everything sad will come untrue.” On that day, we will finally be able to proclaim the taunt of I Corinthians 15:54-55,which draws upon this passage: “Death is swallowed up in victory! O death, where is your victory? O death,where is your sting?”
Believer, take heart as you wait on this great day (Isaiah 25:9). We wait with confidence that the defeat of death is real. Every broken heart will be mended. Come Lord Jesus, bring this day of victory with haste!
Isaiah 25 (ESV):
O Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you; I will praise your name,
for you have done wonderful things,
plans formed of old, faithful and sure.
2 For you have made the city a heap,
the fortified city a ruin;
the foreigners' palace is a city no more;
it will never be rebuilt.
3 Therefore strong peoples will glorify you;
cities of ruthless nations will fear you.
4 For you have been a stronghold to the poor,
a stronghold to the needy in his distress,
a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat;
for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall,
5 like heat in a dry place.
You subdue the noise of the foreigners;
as heat by the shade of a cloud,
so the song of the ruthless is put down.
6 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
7 And he will swallow up on this mountain
the covering that is cast over all peoples,
the veil that is spread over all nations.
8 He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
9 It will be said on that day,
“Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
10 For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain,
and Moab shall be trampled down in his place,
as straw is trampled down in a dunghill.
11 And he will spread out his hands in the midst of it
as a swimmer spreads his hands out to swim,
but the Lord will lay low his pompous pride together with the skill of his hands.
12 And the high fortifications of his walls he will bring down,
lay low, and cast to the ground, to the dust.