Roles Reversed

God will restore His people, and He will be with them in their trials as He does.

Comfort and Deliverance: Isaiah 40, 41 (5)

Pray Psalm 72.18, 19.
Blessed bethe LORD God, the God of Israel,
Who only does wondrous things!
And blessed be His glorious name forever!
And let the whole earth be filled with His glory.
Amen and Amen.

Read Isaiah 41.11-20.

1. Two role reversals are indicated in this passage. Can you identify them?

2. How many promises are attached to the word “I” in these verses? 

Isaiah unpacks more of the specifics of what God promised in verse 10, how He will strengthen and help and uphold His people.

First, He will put to shame and destroy all those powerful enemies which now the people fear (vv. 11, 12). He will shame them, disgrace them, make them as nothing, and cause them to be no more. And while those enemies yet exist and bring such hardship on His people, God will hold their hand and help them through it (v. 13). This promise has short-term fulfillment in the destruction of Babylon by the Persians, and the subsequent return of Israel to the land of promise. But its longer-term focus is on the destruction of the enemy of our souls by the cross of Jesus. This passage is pointing toward Isaiah 53, and beyond that to the coming eternal King (Is. 9.1-7).

A great role reversal is indicated in verses 14-16. Those who “threshed” the people of God, the people of God will “thresh” and “winnow” in the days to come. Because this has no direct temporal fulfillment, it can only refer to the time of harvest when the Gospel brings fruit and judgment to the field of the world. This is the second way God intends to help His people, when He has given them the means, through the Gospel, to thresh and winnow the world. He promises that they will rejoice to take up this work, and will glorify God in it (v. 16).

Third, God promises to make those who are now impoverished and destitute rich in the blessings and bounty of His goodness (vv. 17-20). From rags to riches, poverty to prosperity, God will restore His blessings and promises to His people by His “hand” (v. 20). Here again, the time of the Gospel is in view, and all these material blessings stand for the unspeakable riches of blessing and salvation which are ours in Christ because of what God has done.

God’s people are called to “see and know, and consider and understand together” (v. 20), that they might comfort and encourage one another in the precious and very great promises of God.

1. In what ways is the proclamation of the Gospel like threshing and winnowing?

2. How do the promises God made to Israel in these verses apply to us as followers of Jesus? 

3. How should Christians “see and know, and consider and understand together” the precious and very great promises of God?

“I have placed you like a new threshing wagon [sledge] with jagged wheels.” … We can also say that the person of the church is in a new wagon with the jagged wheels of the preaching of the gospel, which cannot be worked at all in the old way of the letter but in the new way of the Spirit, and which wears away the hardest hearts of unbelievers, separating the wheat from the chaff. Jerome (347-420 AD), Commentary on Isaiah 12.4

You have sent me to the world to thresh and winnow, Lord, and promised that You will be with me. So today, help me to…

Pray Psalm 72.

A psalm of David (v. 20) for his son, Solomon (superscription), this psalm anticipates the coming of Christ and His Kingdom. Give thanks for the many Kingdom promises mentioned in this psalm. Commit yourself before the Lord to seeking these promises today.

Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 72 (Martyrdom: Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed)
O give the King Your judgment, Lord, and righteousness Your Son; 
and let Him judge by Your good Word the need of every one. 

Let now the mountains ring with peace, the hills in righteousness.
Let justice rise, oppression cease, and all the needy bless. 

Let nations fear You while the sun and moon endure on high; 
refresh, renew us, every one, like sweet rain falling from the sky. 

Let righteousness abundant be where Jesus’ reign endures; 
Let peace increase from sea to sea ‘til moonlight shall be no more. 

And let the Righteous rule the earth, and let His foes bow low; 
Let nations praise His matchless worth, and all His bidding do. 

The Lord the needy rescues when he cries to Him for grace; 
All they who suffer violence find mercy before His face. 

Let Christ be praised and all the gold of Sheba be His right; 
Let blessings to His Name be told, and prayers made both day and night. 

And let the earth abound with grain, let fields His fame proclaim; 
and may our King forever reign and nations bless His great Name. 

Now bless the God of Israel Who wondrous works performs. 
And bless His Name, His glory tell both now and forever more!

T. M. Moore

Where do the prophets fit with the rest of Scripture? How can I be a better student of God’s Word? Our course, Introduction to Biblical Theology, can help you gain a better approach to and understanding of the Scriptures. Watch this brief preview video, then register at The Ailbe Seminary and enroll in this free online course.

Forward today’s lesson to some friends, and challenge them to study with you through this series on Isaiah. Each week’s lessons will be available as a free PDF download at the end of the week. Get a copy for yourself and send the link for the download to your friends. Plan to meet weekly to study Isaiah’s important message.

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T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

Today's ReVision


Next in order of the works of God is judgment.

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