Wednesday, August 02, 2023

2023.08.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ Isaiah 12

Read Isaiah 12

Questions from the Scripture text: What else will happen in the day of Isaiah 11:11 (Isaiah 12:1a, Isaiah 12:4a)? To Whom is this Psalm addressed (Isaiah 12:1b, Isaiah 12:4b, Isaiah 12:5b)? Upon what great work will this song focus (Isaiah 12:1c–d, cf. Revelation 5:9)? What does it call God (Isaiah 12:2a, d)? How personally does it address Him (verse 2c, Isaiah 12:4b, Isaiah 12:5a)? What does the singer do, besides praising (Isaiah 12:2b)? What is the singer of such songs doing (Isaiah 12:3)? Whom does this singer desire that they would do what (Isaiah 12:4b–d, cf. 1 Chronicles 16:8, Psalm 105:1)? What will be known where (Isaiah 12:5c–d)? But what will all the earth be at this time (Isaiah 12:6)? 

What is the end of redemptive history? Isaiah 12 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these six verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that history’s chief end is praise for redemption, in which God’s people rest in Him, are refreshed in Him, revere Him, rejoice over Him, and recognize themselves as His own covenant people. 

Chapters 6–12 form a unit in Isaiah, bracketed by Isaiah’s vision (chapter 6) of the Holy Holy Holy King and now this song (chapter 12) of YHWH Himself being His people’s salvation as “the Holy One of Israel” in their midst. Like redemptive history itself, it ends in praise; specifically, it ends in a song. 

Praise for redemption. “Though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me” (Isaiah 12:1). This is a great theme of our praise, especially when the gospel has gone forth and gathered the remnant from all the nations: “For You were slain and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (cf. Revelation 5:9).

Praise as resting. “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid” (Isaiah 12:2). What rest there is in praise! When we set the Lord directly before us, as the One Who has already delivered us from His own wrath, our fear of Him suffocates and silences the fear of man. “In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (cf. Psalm 56:11).

Praise as refreshment. How quickly our affections dry up and our zeal dries out; how quickly our souls are parched! But praise brings us to the well, that we may slake our thirst upon the shoot from the stump of Jesse. Praise brings us to the living waters of king Jesus. “Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3).

Praise as reverence. Praise is personal. It is obsessed with the glory of Who God is. It is occupied with rightly adoring and lauding His Name. The purpose of declaring His deeds (Isaiah 12:4c) is the praise of the personal Name YHWH upon which we call (v4a) and causing it to be remembered (more literal than “mention”) that His Name is exalted (verse 4d). 

Praise as rejoicing. “Sing to YHWH” (Isaiah 12:5a) is specifically to make melody to Him, to psalm Him. To the reverence of Isaiah 12:4 it adds the note of joy. The declaring of His deeds (Isaiah 12:4c) and excellent doings (Isaiah 12:5b) marries reverence and rejoicing, just as we saw in the rejoicing of Psalm 95:1–5 and the reverence of Psalm 95:6–7.

Praise as recognition. This is a large, widespread congregation. It is “among the peoples” (Isaiah 12:4c) and “in all the earth” (Isaiah 12:5c). But it is also Zion (Isaiah 12:6a) and the Israel in the midst of whom is the Holy One (verse 6b). Zion is that mountain which begins as a little stone but fills the whole earth (cf. Daniel 2:44–45). In the gathered praise of His people, God makes us to recognize ourselves as His own covenant people and to recognize Him as our own covenant God. There is a covenantal connecting, a covenantal recognition, that comes by the way of this praise. How perfectly we will rejoice at last, with all the redeemed, to know that we are His and He is ours! Even in our imperfect rejoicing, we are already recognizing this more and more.

Here is the great blessedness of ultimate and everlasting paradise, and it is given to us already to participate in it. What a great gift has been given to us, dear believer. Let us give our great God His due, especially as He has generously made it such a tremendous blessing to us.

What of the aspects above of the praise of God do you especially need to maintain and approve in your mindset about worship? How might such a mindset change the manner of your participation? How might it change the frequency of your participation?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You and praise You for making Your own praise such a tremendous blessing to us. Forgive us for when our forgetfulness of our redemption is due to neglect of praising You in public worship. Forgive us for when we lack rest, because we are not setting Yourself before us as our trust in worship. Forgive us for when our souls are parched because we let other priorities squeeze out coming to the well of salvation to draw water with joy. Forgive us for when we treat Your Name lightly because of the infrequency of our honoring and reverencing that Name in worship. Forgive us for when our joy and strength wane, because we have not been rejoicing in worship. Forgive us for when we are forgetful that You are ours, or that we are Yours, because we keep missing opportunities to gather to You as Your Zion and Your Israel. Forgive us, and by Your Spirit cleanse us, in Christ we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP98 “O Sing a New Song” or TPH299 “Joy to the World!” 

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