This wonderful prophecy of Isaiah concludes on a note of triumph. In the end God will triumph over all His enemies. However, what is a triumph for God and His people will be a tragedy for those who reject Him and worship other gods.
‘’Many may wonder why Isaiah ends his book with such a negative final verse. The reason is simple: it is the true ending for all those who rebel against God. If, after hearing all of Isaiah’s marvellous promises and terrible warnings, one still chooses to rebel against God, let that person know what his end will be. Isaiah’s book is written not so much to make believers happy as to bring unbelievers to repentance. Remember that Jesus Himself quoted Isaiah’s last verse in order to deter people from going to Hell (see Mark 9:47-48). The good news of salvation must always be combined with warnings of judgment; otherwise we will end up preaching only half the truth.’’ Tom Hale: ‘The Applied Old Testament Commentary’, p.1074.
I read a story about a simple Christian man who took a labouring job. Each lunch time he took out a book of Moody’s sermons and read them. One day one of his fellow-workers asked him what he was reading. He told them, and they said, ‘Well read them to us.’ So that was what he did, every lunch time, until one day he forgot his book. ‘Then you’ll have to give us one of your own sermons,’ they laughingly told him. ‘’All right’’, he said. When a friend asked him what he said, he answered, ‘’I told them about ‘ell. They’d never heard about ‘ell.’’
It seems to me that many Evangelicals are going soft on the Bible’s clear and repeated teaching about Hell and Judgment. We have no right to re-write Scripture. A preacher’s job is to say what the Bible says. It is not to re-create the content. This last part of Isaiah is a reminder that there are two ways we can choose, and the way that leads away from God will have eternally disastrous consequences (14b). ‘’Many, oh so many, are under GOD’s sentence of death.’’ The Message. That is something people don’t like to hear and we may feel reluctant to say it. But we didn’t write the script; our job is to deliver the lines. God will bless our preaching if we honour Him and His Word.
In (19-21) Isaiah foresees the day when Jews and Gentiles will be one before God (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11. They will be a ‘’holy priesthood’’ (1 Peter 2:5, 9). He also looks ahead to when all people will ‘’bow down’’ before the Lord (Phil.2:9-11). It is good to know that a day is coming when every knee will bend before Christ and acknowledge His Lordship over the entire universe. They will not all be saved; but they will all ‘’bow’’ and ‘’confess’’.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I thank you for this wonderful book of Isaiah and its timeless message. Help me to never be ashamed of any part of it. Please strengthen me to always say what you say, even though it might be unpopular.