Isaiah 25

Even amidst awesome and brutal judgment, there is hope, and chapter 25 gives us ultimate hope because it deals with our ultimate enemy, death. No more eloquent and hopeful words are found in all of Scripture than these:

On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare
    a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
    the best of meats and the finest of wines.
On this mountain he will destroy
    the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
    he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears
    from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace
    from all the earth.
The Lord has spoken.

In that day they will say,

“Surely this is our God;
    we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the Lord, we trusted in him;
    let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”

The reference to the mountain of the Lord has covenantal significance. In Genesis 22 we read the story of Abraham being tested, and God asking him to sacrifice his son, his only son, on a mountain in the region of Moriah. When God stays Abraham’s hand, he looks up, sees a ram caught in a thicket, and sacrifices it in place of his son. Abraham knew God could not lie, that he had promised that a great nation would come through Isaac, and so God would provide one way or the other. When he did, he called it, “The Lord will provide,” and the saying became famous among the Hebrews that, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” The focus is completely God and his faithfulness to accomplish what he has promised. And Psalm 48 must be added to our reading when we contemplate God’s Mountain revealed by Isaiah: Our confidence is not in us, but him!

The banquet has another covenantal reference in Exodus 24. God affirms the covenant of works with Israel with a meal after the people responded by saying, “Everything the Lord has said we will do.” What a striking contrast to, “we trusted in him, and he saved us.” The problem with Israel’s determination, and ours, to do “everything the Lord has said,” is they didn’t, nor do we. The whole purpose of the covenant of works is to show us that we can’t do anything the Lord commands, let alone everything. The law will beat us down and crush us if we put our hope in our obedience to curry God’s favor. We will sup with him because of what he did for us, not what we do for him. Whatever good we do flows from the former.

The words in this chapter also echo those in Genesis 22, but here referring to Moses, “He got up early the next morning.” Instead of preparing to sacrifice his son, Moses prepared a sacrifice to confirm the covenant of works, which of course didn’t work. Yet, God celebrates with them. They actually “saw the God of Israel . . .  But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.” This was a feast prepared by the people, while the feast we see in this chapter is prepared by the Lord. Ultimately, we will be guests at his table because of what he did for us, not him at ours because of what we did for him. How many ways can this be said!

And finally it points forward to the wedding supper of the Lamb we read about in Revelation 19. History is inexorably headed toward one of two conclusions: judgment or the wedding of God’s redeemed people. Praise our Savior God that we will be clothed “in that day” with Christ’s righteousness so that we will be prepared for his feast on his mountain. Amen!

 

 

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