Wednesday, October 11, 2023

2023.10.11 Hopewell @Home ▫ Isaiah 26:1–19

Read Isaiah 26:1–19

Questions from the Scripture text: When and where will this be song (Isaiah 26:1a)? What do they have (verse 1b)? What is it made of (verse 1c)? Who are permitted into it (Isaiah 26:2)? How did they come to be righteous, and what does the Lord do for them (Isaiah 26:3)? What do those who trust Him have (Isaiah 26:4)? What does He do to whom (Isaiah 26:5)? Who else enters into this victory (Isaiah 26:6)? In what path does the Upright One lead those who are right with Him (Isaiah 26:7)? So, what do they wait for, desire, and desire the remembrance of (Isaiah 26:8)? In what ways do Isaiah 26:9a–b express the intensity of this desire? What truth makes believers sure that the Lord is worth waiting on (verse 9c–d)? What doesn’t common grace do for the wicked (Isaiah 26:10)? What does he refuse to do toward men (verse 10c) and toward God (verse 10d)? What problem do the wicked have in Isaiah 26:11a? What will it be like when they finally do see (verse 11b–d)? What, then, makes the difference in God’s people (Isaiah 26:12)? Whom do they acknowledge as sovereign over lesser magistrates (Isaiah 26:13)? What will the Lord do to wicked ones (Isaiah 26:14)? But what will the Lord Himself do (Isaiah 26:15)? How did the Lord drive His people to Himself (Isaiah 26:16)? How intense was the trouble/chastening (Isaiah 26:17-18a)? But what did had the chastening accomplished (verse 18b–d)? To Whom did these dead belong (Isaiah 26:19a–b, n.b. Isaiah 26:19b reads “My corpses shall arise”)? What do they arise to do (verse 19c–e)?

From where does strength come? Isaiah 26:1–19 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these nineteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that strength comes from the Lord alone. 

The strong city: the city that has GodIsaiah 26:1. The cities of the northern kingdom had hoped in alliances with men, and the cities of the southern kingdom had hoped in their own wit and in pacifying the Assyrians themselves. But true strength is found in neither relationships with others nor our own wits. The remnant from chapters 24–25 are the ones with the strong city (Isaiah 26:1b). Strength comes from God (verse 1c).

Those who enter: the righteousIsaiah 26:2-4. It’s the righteous who enter (Isaiah 26:2). They came to be righteous by way of trusting in YHWH (Isaiah 26:3-4). 

How God delivers them: His strength in men’s weaknessIsaiah 26:5-6. The city that was against God’s people—the lofty city (Isaiah 26:5b)—the Lord brings down (verse 5). Those who win victory are not the wealthy and able, but the poor and the needy (Isaiah 26:6).

What the godly experience: longing for the completion/fullness of blessingIsaiah 26:7-9. Even though they have the Lord and are strong in Him (Isaiah 26:7), the righteous still has to wait upon the Lord (Isaiah 26:8), with longing for the glorious end (Isaiah 26:9). 

What the wicked cannot experience: the knowledge of GodIsaiah 26:10-11. The wicked are unable to learn righteousness (Isaiah 26:10b). Even when the Lord lifts His mighty hand (either in blessing or in curse), they cannot see (Isaiah 26:11a) what they shall see in the last day (verse 11b–d). 

How the righteous got that way: by graceIsaiah 26:12-19. The Lord Himself establishes a believer’s peace and his works (Isaiah 26:12). Other rulers or helps are too small to compare (Isaiah 26:13-14). The final glory of the remnant nation comes only from Him Who gave it its life (Isaiah 26:15). It is the Lord Who hears prayer (Isaiah 26:16) and brings life out of death (Isaiah 26:19). Our own pains (Isaiah 26:17), though useful by His providential mercy and power, do not themselves bring forth salvation (Isaiah 26:18).

God alone gives righteous standing. God alone gives life. God alone brings us into the way. God alone keeps us in the way. The great error of Israel and Judah would end in declaration of the great truth: to our God belongs salvation! This is what they who are saved will sing forever and ever.

In what part of life do you need strength? From where can it come? How can we experience the knowledge of God? How can we be fruitful in our lives? 

Sample prayer: Lord, forgive us for how quickly we are forgetful of grace. Apart from grace, we would not learn righteousness or see Your glory, even when You address us plainly. But You establish peace for us and do all our good works in us. Forgive us our pride and presumption, and grant unto us to remember and sing Your grace forever, through Jesus Christ, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH434 “A Debtor to Mercy Alone” 

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