Isaiah 26:1-11

The praise continues! As with the previous two chapters, Isaiah is looking towards the end of the world and the time of ultimate victory. But even now his inspired words have much to teach us. There are vital principles in this chapter, which are repeated in other parts of the Bible, and they have a relevance to life in this world now.

This is a passage written in the heat of strong spiritual desire (8, 9). There is a deep longing for God’s glory (8b), and for Him to do something in the world to set things right (9b). But the reality we face is that not everyone will be responsive to God (10). The same sun that melts butter hardens clay! Some will ”learn righteousness” and some won’t. There are those who are totally unable to see the seriousness of the situation they are in (11); they are oblivious to the threat of judgment hanging over them.

Here are some things to remember about God that will make your heart sing (1a):

  • He makes strong (1b): But the thing to remember is that this ”city” was not always so. It has come through some bad stuff to get here. If, today, your ‘walls’ are broken down and your life is in ruins, you too can know His salvation.
  • He opens doors (2; Rev.3:7; see also John 10:9)
  • He gives peace (3, 4; see Phil.4:4-9). He keeps people in ”perfect peace” if they have a ”steadfast” mind fixed on Him, at the back of which there is continual ”Trust”. We can know stability in an unstable world because of the ”Rock” – like sturdiness of our God Three times it is emphasised that He is ”the LORD” (4). He’s in total charge of everything!Trust in Him should be an eternal ‘project’ and not just a fleeting thing. To have ‘perfect’ peace, always trust. You keep your mind where it needs to be, and He will keep your heart where it wants (and needs) to be – in this sublime, supernatural tranquility. If you play your part (by His grace of course) then He will do His work. In reality, we will not know the fullness of this perfect peace until we are finally with God forever, but even now we can have a big foretaste. God does not want us to live in anxiety. B. Meyer points out that the Hebrew for ”perfect peace” is ”Peace, peace”, then he makes this most wonderful application: ”As though the soul dwelt in double doors, like some chambers which we have entered, which had double windows against the noise of the street, and a baize door within the ordinary one to deaden the sound of voices from the next apartment. Understand, dear soul, that it is thy privilege to live inside the double doors of God’s loving care. He says to thee, ”Peace, peace.”…We remember how, on the evening of his resurrection, our Lord spoke the double peace. Peace, because of his wounds, the peace of the justified; and peace because He was sending his apostles forth, as the Father had sent Him…We must see to it that our mind is stayed on God…It is through our imaginings that we get perturbed and defiled. We anticipate and fancy so many ogres; we harbour such dark forebodings…Do not imagine, but trust; do not anticipate, but leave God to choose.”
  • He humbles pride (5, 6; see 28:3). We must never forget that ”God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”(James 4:6)
  • He prepares the paths for our feet (7). These are right paths, but they are not necessarily easy ones. Above all, we are called to walk in the way of God’s ”laws” (8). Those who do that in a world hostile to God are asking for a whole lot of trouble, and they will almost certainly get it. But He makes our ways ”level” and ”smooth” in the sense that they are the right and best ways to travel; whereas the path of the wicked leads to ‘‘shame’’ and (Note too that this is how we are to pray: not asking God for stuff while we just do our own thing. Our prayers will be most effective when we wait for God whilst ”walking in the way” of His ”laws”; not pursuing our own will, but His agenda).

Prayer: Help me Lord to live in your ‘Peace, peace’ – closed in behind your double doors.