A Covenant of Peace: Isaiah 54, 55 (6)
Pray Psalm 97.1.
The LORD reigns;
Let the earth rejoice;
Let the multitude of isles be glad!
Read Isaiah 55.12, 13.
1. How does creation respond to the coming salvation of the Lord? Why?
2. What do the joy and peace of God’s people symbolize (cf. Rom. 14.17, 18)?
The people of Judah and Jerusalem are shortly to go out to captivity in Babylon. It will be a time of great sorrow and suffering, but not of despair.
A day of joy is coming, and that day will begin with Cyrus’ returning the people of God to Jerusalem after 70 years of captivity. But the full prospering of God’s Word (v. 11) will only begin when the very Word Himself goes forth from God to accomplish His good pleasure. And His pleasure is that His people should know righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit – the reality of the Kingdom of God (Rom. 14.17, 18).
When the Servant by His suffering accomplishes the salvation of God’s people, then their salvation will begin to be realized. God will save them in righteousness, and He will give them His Spirit unto peace and joy. The effects of this great salvation will reach even to the creation, which will cease groaning and travailing under the burden of sin, will leap and sing and clap hands and bear fruit in the joy of God’s rule on earth, as it is in heaven (cf. Rom. 8.19-22). Everything to which the people of God go out with joy will experience the transformative power of the salvation of the Lord, so that the fruit of His Kingdom begins to be evident throughout the earth and in all aspects of life.
And all this shall be “to the LORDfor a name” (v. 13), that is, for His glory and honor. When people ask why the world is changing and why such gladness, joy, and fruitfulness are in evidence all around, we will lift up the Name of the Lord God and Jesus Christ, because His Word is prospering in and through us. And this shall be for “an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
When the Kingdom comes with the salvation of the Lord, it comes to stay.
1. Why are “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit” an excellent summation of the Kingdom of God?
2. Our salvation brings us joy. It also affects the whole world, all of creation and culture, every relationship, role, and responsibility, beginning in every believer’s Personal Mission Field. How can you see that the Kingdom is coming in your life?
3. What can we do to make sure the Lord gets the credit for all the evidence of His salvation?
The spiritual meaning of these words refers to the change of customs, which sprouted and rose up in the advent of Christ among those nations who embraced his faith. Instead of thorns, which represent the sins, and instead of the brier, which is devoid of fruits, the sweet-smelling cypress and the myrtle have risen, which are figures of the actions of virtue, purity and holiness and … are pleasing to God and delight him. Ephrem the Syrian (306-373 AD), Commentary on Isaiah 55.13
Send me out with joy and peace today, O Lord, so that I can…
Pray Psalm 97.
Let this psalm lead you in great praise to God, in committing your day to Him, and in seeking His light and gladness for your path.
Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 97 (Rejoice, the Lord is King)
Rejoice, the Lord is King! O earth, lift up your voice;
Be glad, you islands, shout and sing: Rejoice! Rejoice!
Refrain v. 9
Beyond, above all gods and nations be exalted, God of love!
His just and righteous throne ‘mid clouds and darkness stands;
His fiery wrath consumes His foes in every land.
Earth trembles at the sight of Jesus’ holy face;
The mountains melt before His might and praise His grace.
The heav’ns above declare His glorious righteousness.
And tribes and peoples everywhere; His Name confess.
While Zion gladly sings, let all be brought to shame
who to vain idols worship bring and scorn His Name.
All you who love the Lord, despise sin’s wicked ways!
Praise Him Who guides us by His Word through all our days.
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).