Summary: Everyone’s heart has a song. There’s something that brings joy to every person. Take a moment to listen, to reflect. If your heart has a song, a regular anthem and refrain, what would it be? Where do you find your pleasure and purpose? Make the Lord your song and your delight.
What is the song that we sing? Some people are often humming a tune, singing along with whatever playlist is on their earbuds. So what songs do we sing, or choose to listen to? And ‘our song’ is really a question about our joy. It’s not just about the artists and albums we choose (important questions in themselves). But fundamentally, this is about what gives you delight. If your heart had a song, a repeated refrain, what would it be? Where do you find your purpose, your pleasure, and power?
In Isaiah 25, the prophet gives us something to sing about: “O LORD, you are my God. I will exalt you, I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things” (v 1). What are the prophet and people singing about? Today we’re going to study the lyrics.
For they tell of the LORD’s grand victory, when He judges the nations for their evil. But that’s not all. For it’s also about the feast that God has prepared. That’s really the climax of this song: the great banquet to which God invites all people. There’s going to be a vast pilgrimage to Zion, where the city is ready and celebration awaits.
If Isaiah’s song has one theme, it is the glorious character of God. The LORD reveals his wonders in acts of judgment and acts of salvation—and Isaiah is deeply impressed by the grandeur of God. What great things God has done for us! What a great God He is and ever will be! So we serve him, and we sing to him.
Maybe you’ve experienced how songs of praise can lift you above the troubles and concerns of life. Even for just a few minutes of singing to God—singing in your car while on your way to work or singing together as congregation—by such praise, the LORD gives a powerful reminder of his nearness and greatness. Praise (re)connects our hearts to the presence of the LORD, and it reaffirms us in the One who saves his people. This is our theme from Isaiah 25,
Praise God for His wonderful works of judgment and salvation!
1) He humbles all His enemies
2) He invites all to His feast
3) He calls for the praise of all His people
1) He humbles all his enemies: Isaiah’s praise begins with a glance backwards. The last dozen chapters have been filled with God’s words against the nations, as God works out his purpose, his “counsels of old” (v 1). For God, judgment and salvation aren’t some hasty and ill-executed plan, but this is what He always intended to do, from ‘of old.’
What has God done? “You have made a city a ruin, a fortified city a ruin” (v 2). After God has finished with the nations, widespread devastation will be left. Chapter 24 told us all about it, like in verse 12, “In the city desolation is left, and the gate is stricken with destruction.” Now, cities are normally places of order and security: everything in its place. Picture a beautiful city like Singapore or Sydney, a place that people love to visit or are proud to call home. But God has changed the order into chaos, so that the tall towers and beautiful bridges are left as heaps of rubble—so ruined that they can never to be rebuilt.
Isaiah isn’t speaking here about one particular city, whether Babylon or Sidon or someplace else. He’s describing cities in general, cities the world over. They’re all destined to be ruined, for this reason: “they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant” (24:5). God will judge the wicked and destroy his enemies.
So far, this is what we expect, isn’t it? Judah will have joy in the LORD’s victory over their foes. They’ll sing a happy song because their opponents got wiped out—just like we’d be secretly happy to see our earthly rivals knocked down a few notches.
But then comes the surprise of verse 3. God is going to host a big banquet, and He says that his guest list will include the nations! We see this repeatedly in Isaiah, that redemption isn’t for Judah alone, but it’s for all those who turn to God. Verse 3: “Therefore the strong people will glorify you; the city of the terrible nations will fear you.” So striking, because ‘the strong’ are those who tried to oppose God and his people, those who had rested in their own strength and not in the LORD. But some among the proud will come to fear and honour him.
We learn that God always had a purpose in leveling the cities of the world. He destroys them not out of spite, not in a vindictive rage, but to bring them to their senses. For as long as they were proud and bent on conquest, they cannot be saved.