Day 11: Isaiah 26:1-15
At that time this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
“We have a strong city!
The Lord’s deliverance, like walls and a rampart, makes it secure.
2 Open the gates so a righteous nation can enter—
one that remains trustworthy.
3 You keep completely safe the people who maintain their faith,
for they trust in you.
4 Trust in the Lord from this time forward,
even in Yah, the Lord, an enduring protector!
5 Indeed, the Lord knocks down those who live in a high place,
he brings down an elevated town;
he brings it down to the ground,
he throws it down to the dust.
6 It is trampled underfoot
by the feet of the oppressed,
by the soles of the poor.”
7 The way of the righteous is level,
the path of the righteous that you make is straight.
8 Yes, as your judgments unfold,
O Lord, we wait for you.
We desire your fame and reputation to grow.
9 I look for you during the night,
my spirit within me seeks you at dawn,
for when your judgments come upon the earth,
those who live in the world learn about justice.
10 If the wicked are shown mercy,
they do not learn about justice.
Even in a land where right is rewarded, they act unjustly;
they do not see the Lord’s majesty revealed.
11 O Lord, you are ready to act,
but they don’t even notice.
They will see and be put to shame by your angry judgment against humankind,
yes, fire will consume your enemies.
12 O Lord, you make us secure,
for even all we have accomplished, you have done for us.
13 O Lord, our God,
masters other than you have ruled us,
but we praise your name alone.
14 The dead do not come back to life,
the spirits of the dead do not rise.
That is because you came in judgment and destroyed them,
you wiped out all memory of them.
15 You have made the nation larger, O Lord,
you have made the nation larger and revealed your splendor,
you have extended all the borders of the land.
As you observe the world around you, do you long for justice?
Today’s reading is a Song of Praise that really focuses on the justice and judgment of God. Many times when we hear the word judgment it carries a negative connotation. We picture a wrathful, vengeful God handing out strict discipline. In the Old Testament, however, the word judgment was a positive thing. It meant that God was going to fix all that was broken. He would restore all that had gone wrong.
Imagine a person on trial for a crime they didn’t commit. The gavel falls and the judge declares that they are innocent. Judgment has taken place, but it is a very positive thing! N.T. Wright puts it this way:
“...throughout the Bible, God’s coming judgment is a good thing–something to be celebrated, longed for, yearned over. It causes people to shout for joy and the trees of the field to clap their hands. In a world of systematic injustice, bullying, violence, arrogance, and oppression, the thought that there might come a day when the wicked are firmly put in their place and the poor and weak are given their due is the best news there can be. Faced with a world in rebellion, a world full of exploitation and wickedness, a good God must be a God of judgment.”
Think about all the injustices you see in the world today. As you ponder this, let’s join with Isaiah in praying for God to come and fix these problems as only He can.
Justin Lewis | Facilities Director/YAMs Pastor, Lima Community Church