In That Day.
Isaiah 11-12, 1 Peter 5
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation. – Isaiah 12:2 ESV
Right in the middle of all the bad news that Isaiah had to deliver to the people of Israel, God gave him a glimpse into a future time when things for the chosen people of God would be dramatically improved. Isaiah was given a much-needed reminder that God’s plan regarding Israel was not limited by their sin and rebellion. His future redemption and restoration of them as His people would not be based on their worth or ability to earn His favor. Just as God had restored Israel to the land after their years spent in captivity in Babylon, there was a day coming when He “will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people” (Isaiah 11:11 ESV). In the centuries ahead, the people of Israel would find themselves scattered and dispersed yet again, but God was going to “assemble the banished of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah” (Isaiah 11:12 ESV). The God of Israel is faithful. He would prove Himself to be worthy of their trust. He had told them of His faithfulness. “Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations…” (Deuteronomy 7:9 NLT). But what the people of Isaiah’s day needed to understand was that much of what God was going to do for them was to take place far into the future. He described a day when “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox” (Isaiah 11:6-7 ESV). This is likely describing a future day when there will be a time of unprecedented peace. The imagery of the wolf, leopard, lion and bear all represent the enemies of Israel who had plagued them for centuries. In that coming day, there will be God-ordained peace over all the earth and “they shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain” (Isaiah 11:9 ESV).
What does this passage reveal about God?
God revealed to Isaiah that there was a day coming when “there shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit” (Isaiah 11:1 ESV). There was an individual coming on whom the Spirit of the Lord would rest. He would be marked by wisdom and understanding, counsel and might. He would have unprecedented knowledge and a fear of the Lord. This future leader was to be none other than Jesus Christ Himself. But it speaks of Jesus after His second coming when He will rule and reign as the rightful descendant of David from his throne in Jerusalem. The book of Revelation describes Him in all His glory. “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:11-16 ESV). Earlier in chapter 9, it was revealed how this future King would arrive on earth. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:6-7 ESV). Luke would later record the words of the angel Gabriel, spoken to Mary about her soon-to-be miraculous pregnancy. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:31-33 ESV). God was going to send His Son the first time in the form of a helpless baby. He would grow into manhood and eventually give His life as a substitionary sacrifice for the sins of mankind. But there is a day coming when God will send His Son again, but on that day He will come as a conquering warrior. He will put right all that is wrong with the world. He will restore creation, redeem Israel, and destroy the enemy of God once and for all.
What does this passage reveal about man?
As we live in this world, it can be so easy to lose sight of God’s bigger plan. We can become so tunnel-sighted that we fail to recognize what God is doing on a grand scale. His long-term strategy so often escapes our notice. But Peter told his audience, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand o God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7 ESV). One of the more difficult things for us to do as human beings is to humble ourselves under God’s sovereign will. There is a part of us that wants to know, that wants to dictate the direction and control the outcome of our lives. When difficulties come or our circumstances take a turn for the worst, it is easy to forget that God is in control. Our hope is to be a future hope. That does not mean that God is not involved, at this very moment, in the everyday affairs of our lives, but we must never lose sight of the fact that His salvation has a future aspect to it. Over and over again in the book of Isaiah, we read the words, “in that day.” Those words have a future orientation. Isaiah writes, “You will say in that day: ‘I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me’” (Isaiah 12:1 ESV). The situation at the time Isaiah was writing was less-than-ideal. The people were in rebellion. The threat of God’s coming punishment hung over their heads. But there was a day coming. Salvation from the hand of God was in the future, and when it finally came, the people were going to be able to express their thanks and appreciation to the faithful, loving God. In the very next verse we read, “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation” (Isaiah 12:2 ESV). Part of the test for the people of Israel was to learn to trust God and to see Him as their strength and salvation, long before the actual experience of that salvation was to take place.
How would I apply what I’ve read to my own life?
Sometimes it is hard for me to see God at work in and around my life. I can find is so easy to doubt and despair, wondering where He is and what He is doing. But I must always remind myself that His plan is far bigger than what I can see. His ultimate salvation of my life has a future aspect to it. Yes, He has saved me from the penalty of sin and death, but there is also a day coming when He is going to save me from my ongoing battle with my own sin nature. He will release me from this earthly body and allow me to experience what it is like to live a sin-free, pain-free, quilt-free, doubt-free life. Paul writes, “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling…” (2 Corinthians 5:1-2 ESV). Peter gives us this encouraging words to remember as we live out our lives in the meantime: “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 6:10-11 ESV). There is a day coming when God will call me to His eternal glory. At that point, He will completely restore, confirm, strengthen and establish me. It is as good as done. It is a sure thing. I can count on it as if it has already happened. So in the meantime, I need to learn to live my life with that day in mind. That is my future. That is my hope.
Father, I am so grateful that You have the end perfectly worked out. You know my future and You have it securely in place for me. I don’t have to worry about it. I don’t have to wonder how it all turns out. All because of what Your Son, the root of Jesse, has already accomplished on my behalf. Help me keep my eyes focused on the future as I live out my days in the present. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men