Songs Of Praise (Isaiah 12,25,26,42)

engine, tree, shoots, plant, branch, growth, hope, close up, sprout,  seedling, grow | Pikist 

I. The Shoot from Jesse (Isa 11:1-16)

1. The Prince of Peace (Isa 11:1-9)

This portion of Isaiah depicts the Messiah (aka Jesus Christ) as ruling. In Isa 7:14 He was announced, in Isa 53 He is depicted as dying for our sins. This section, however, looks forward to the Messiah ruling in the new heavens and the new earth. There are three aspects of the Messiah that are emphasized [1]:

(1) his divine endowment for ruling (vv. 2 and 3a); 
(2) the absolute justice of his rule (vv. 3b–5); and 
(3) the quality of safety which will characterize his rule (vv. 6–9)

The conditions that the Messiah will bring about is complete peace where even predators and prey are at peace (Isa 11:6-8) and nobody will do evil because the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord (Isa 11:9). This description is far beyond one of an earthly king. Oswalt [1] says the following about the Messiah here:

"The movement is from qualifications to performance to results. There is no sense in which God’s re-establishment of his people somehow envisions a return to the theocracy. What it does envision is a time when the ruler will no longer see himself as privileged but rather as responsible, when he will become one for whom his people’s welfare is uppermost. In a word, the ruler will be the servant, not because he is too weak to dominate, but because he is strong enough not to need to crush. This picture cannot be applied to any merely human king. It is either an unattainable ideal or the figure envisioned is somehow superhuman. That it is the latter is supported by the vision of the return which is linked to the Messiah’s reign (vv. 10–16). That return is not merely an ideal, nor is the Messiah. He is a reality but a superhuman one."

The LORD will not need to discipline the people of the Earth because they will be in a completely restored relationship with Him (Isa 11:9). This restoration can only be accomplished by the Messiah cleansing us from our sin (1 John 1:8-10) and all who remain uncleansed and in rebellion are punished eternally -- excluded from the inheritance of the new heavens and new earth and unable to taint it (Rev 20:15, Rev 22:11). 

2. The Promised Return (Isa 11:10-16)

This passage seems to point to some great final in-gathering of the Jewish people such as what Paul refers to in Rom 11:25-32. Some people think this is talking about the return from Babylon in 539 but that can't be because the Messiah hadn't been revealed and hadn't raised up an ensign for the nations (Isa 11:12). Oswalt says the following [1]:

"Only when God has defeated his enemies and they have submitted to him is the vision of peace in 11:6–9 a possibility. The difficulty which the Hebrews had was in admitting that they, too, were the enemies of God who needed to submit to him. They, as we, wished to see themselves as the darlings of God, who could use God to accomplish their own political purposes. This is not the picture that Isaiah is projecting here; rather, he is saying once again that Israel’s sin cannot destroy the promises of God to Israel. In a figurative way he points to a coming time of internal and external safety and security similar to that which they knew under David but to be secured by One greater than David."

3. Jesus: More Than an Earthly King

Although many Jews were expecting the Messiah to be a political leader, it is clear He was much more than that. Here are some of the ways Jesus rejected that inferior role [2]:

1) He refused to be made king (John 6:15).
2) Not to tell others he was Messiah (Mat 16:20)
3) He told no one to tell of his transfiguration (Mat 17:9)
4) Jesus withdrew from confrontation (Mat 12:15-16)
5) Jesus did not incite the people against Rome (Luke 23:5)
6) Jesus refused to get entangled in a political debate (Mat 22:15-22)
7) Jesus' behavior was in contrast to false Messiahs (Acts 5:36-38)
8) Jesus' kingdom is not of this world system (John 18:36-37)

We know that Jesus's purpose was not merely to be an earthly king but rather to restore the whole world (Jews and Gentiles alike -- not every single individual but rather those who believe in Him as in John 3:16-18) to a right relationship with Him by paying the price for our sins by dying on the cross (John 19:28-30). With this, Jesus will be able to rule in the future Kingdom with the conditions described in Isa 11:1-16 with complete peace.

II. A Song of Praise (Isa 12:1-6)

Now that we have established the context, we can see how praise is the appropriate response as shown in this section via a song of praise for the Lord. As we discussed last week, our response to all that the Lord has done and will do is to glorify Him by singing and shouting joyfully (Isa 12:5-6), trusting and not fearing (Isa 12:2), and making His works known (Isa 12:4-5).


1) In your own life, did you ever think you were a friend of God when you were in fact an enemy? Why did you think you were a friend? When did you realize that you were in fact an enemy of God in need of His grace? 

2) Before you knew Christ, how did you regard the Lord? Were you fearful or scornful of Him? What happened that contributed to you changing your attitude about the Lord? How did your actions and attitude change after you put your faith in Jesus?

3) What are some of the ways God has shown great mercy and grace to you?

III. God's Feast (Isa 25:1-12)

Worship Last Supper Celebration Of - Free photo on Pixabay

This is the response to the announcement of the destruction of the Earth. It consists of three parts [1]:

1. A Song of Thanksgiving (Isa 25:1-5)

The LORD is the song-writer's God. This sets the tone for the whole song (Isa 25:1). Because the LORD is his God, he will exalt Him in praise. He is worthy of praise because He has shone Himself to be God by performing extraordinary things and executing plans made long ago exactly has He decreed (Isa 25:2). He will make arrogant man's best effort a permanent heap of ruins as represented as a fortified town -- well-protected from man but not from God's righteous wrath and judgement (Isa 25:2). The result of God's judgement is that God will be recognized as God by even powerful nations (Isa 25:3). 

    A. Peter and the Sheet (Acts 10:9-17)

      Peter was shown a vision where God told him that He had made all the animals clean 
      (Acts 10:9-17). However, there is a greater, deeper meaning to this vision which Peter explains in          Acts 10:28 to Cornelius who was a Gentile (Acts 10:22). Peter then expands on this theme in
      Acts 10:34-43. Looking back at Isa 25:3, we can see that God had announced beforehand that
      God would extend His mercy even to Gentiles and that someday they/we will all join Him at the
      Great Feast!

Looking at Isaiah 25:4-5, We can see that God will be honored by toppling prideful man because He does it for the sake of the poor and oppressed. God uses the rainstorm to symbolize tyrants and both physical shelter and the heat drying up the rain to represent His role in both sheltering the poor and oppressed and humbling the proud by making their efforts amount to nothing.

2. The Banquet Announcement (Isa 25:6-8)

A king's inaugural banquet seems to have been customary for when a king was crowned. During the feast, the king would bestow favors and seek to establish a favorable tone for his reign [1]. Likewise, the LORD's banquet will consist of His/Christ's followers from all over the world (Isa 2:2) to the LORD's mountain (Isa 24:23; Isa 2:2, Isa 2:3; Isa 4:5; Isa 11:9; Isa 65:25) where they will receive the gifts that only God can give: the destruction of death and the removal of its sorrow (Isa 25:7)[1]. Later on, in the Gospels, we learn that Jesus (who is God) is the One who conquered death and the rich food of the feast is typified by His body representing the bread and His blood representing the wine that He, the King, pours out to His subjects (John 4:13–14; John 6:35, John 6:58; John 7:37–38). These gifts that King Jesus gives are mentioned using similar symbolism in Rev 21:1-8.

3. Joy Over God's Deliverance (Isa 25:9-12)

Notice that the people rejoicing at the LORD's deliverance are those who believe in Him and have been waiting for His deliverance -- not every single person and not those who were His enemies (Isa 25:9). In fact, the fortified city is mentioned once again as being brought down (Isa 25:10-12). Moab is used to symbolize rebellious nations. Does this mean that if you are a disciple of Christ in a rebellious nation that you will be toppled down or just the nation you are in or what?

4. TOPIC: Judgement on Nations vs. Individuals

There are two things to keep in mind:
1) God judges nations either to enact justice (punishment) or as a disciplinary measure. 
2) God also judges individuals.

We've read extensively in Isaiah about God judging nations as punishment. He uses language that indicates they will be utterly destroyed (Isa 11:15). For Israel, on the other hand, He shows great mercy and his judgement does not include utter destruction (Isa 8:8, Isa 1:25-27). However, God will also judge individuals among all the nations (Mat 25:32).

5. TOPIC: God Saves Individuals By Grace Regardless of Works or National Identity (Romans 9)

In Romans 9:1-5, Paul implies that although Israel is God's chosen people, not all will be saved. This causes him great anguish (Romans 9:2) but he loves his people so much that he would suffer in their place if it were possible (Romans 9:3). However, he explains that this does not mean that God's Word has failed because not all who have descended from Israel are truly Israel just like not all of Abraham's descendants are truly his (Rom 9:6). After all, it is written that Abraham's descendants would be counted through Isaac (Rom 9:7). He concludes his case that not all fleshly descendants are spiritual descendants in Rom 9:8. Paul then emphasizes that God established these true descendants through Isaac before these descendants were even born or did anything good or bad (Rom 9:9-11) and that they were not established by their works but by His calling! God's calling is stated in Rom 9:12-13 where He declares that the older would serve the younger (this is contrary to fleshly customs where the older gets the inheritance) and that God loved Jacob but hated Esau. Notice this is tied in closely with Rom 9:11. In case we are prompted to think that this is not fair for God to operate this way and choose His true children, God is quoted in Rom 9:15 as stating that He has the right to show mercy to whomever He chooses! Therefore, it does not depend on human desire or effort but on God who shows mercy (Rom 9:16). Paul gives an example of God raising up Pharaoh, whose heart God hardens, to show that God has mercy on whomever he chooses (Rom 9:17). Paul doubles-down on this point once again in Romans 9:18. 

We might then be prompted to say to ourselves "how can He blame me for sinning then if He always accomplishes His will" (Rom 9:19). We may have heard this stated to us before where we are accused of portraying God as a puppetmaster and us as His puppets. Paul responds in Romans 9:20-21 saying that we have no right to question why God chooses some and not others by comparing us to clay and God to a potter. He then continues with the analogy by speaking of certain vessels crafted for destruction and others for glory to those with the point being that they were crafted intentionally by the potter for those purposes (Romans 9:22-24). He then goes to another prooftext in Hosea (Romans 9:25-26) that shows that God shows mercy to whomever He wants to. Romans 9:27 reemphasizes that even though the descendants of Israel will be like the sand of the sea only the remnant will be saved (Rom 9:27-28). We are deserving of God's wrath but He has chosen to show mercy (Rom 9:29). 

It's stated again that God saved some and not others regardless of their works (Rom 9:30-33) but through their faith in Jesus Christ who is the rock! Romans 10 then goes into detail as to how people receive the Gospel. Romans 11 once again talks about God choosing people. Here is more information about this:


1) Do you look forward to God's banquet with eager excitement? Why or why not? Do you believe that you will become more excited as you mature in the Lord? Why?

2) Do you ever have trouble interacting with believers who are different than you?

3) To what extent do you believe you chose God or He chose you?

NOTE: the response to question 3 has divided Christians for centuries. Which side are you on and how heavily should you fight for that side? Here is a book that might provide some wisdom:

IV. A Hymn of Thanksgiving (Isa 26)

This chapter continues the thoughts of chapter 25 however the tone is more solemn in terms of what this victory means for Judah [1]. Oswalt says the following:

"Once again, the main theme of this entire subdivision (Isa 7–39) is trust in the Lord, not in the nations. This trust is eminently justified because the Lord is as secure as a “rock” that is “eternal” (Isa 26:4) and because he will bring the “lofty city” of earth down into the dust (Isa 26:5–6). The Lord is the eternal Rock, whereas the city, the symbol of all earthly power, is crushed into dust. Ultimately, the city will be brought down by the very people who were oppressed by it. God puts the high and the mighty under the humble and lowly. Since the meek will inherit the earth (Ps. 37:11), it makes no sense to put one’s faith in the mighty of the earth." [4]

Judah Will Celebrate (Isa 26:1-6)

This is a song of thanksgiving in which Judah encourages herself to keep faith with God who has kept faith with her [1]. The main theme here is trusting in the Lord and not human nations as 

God's People Anticipate Vindication (Isa 26:7-15)

This is a reflection of the truth that the wicked are blind and unteachable (Isa 26:10). The wicked will be put to shame by God's angry judgement against humankind (Isa 26:11).

A Lament Of Helplessness (Isa 26:16-19)

This is a lament recognizing that God's people are helpless without Him (Isa 26:18).

The Promise that God will Act (Isa 26:20-Isa 27:1)

God will judge the Earth and punish sin (Isa 26:21).


Isaiah conveys in Isa 26:21 and Isa 27:1 that God will someday enact just punishment for sin. It is clear that no enemy can defeat God's plan and purposes. Throughout history, we can see God's plan prevailing through persecution. In our modern American society, we have been mostly free of persecution. However, there is a cultural shift taking place where once culturally taboo ways of rebelling against God are being normalized and Christians are increasingly being marginalized. How do modern American Christians respond to circumstances like these?

One way is by becoming fascinated with the "end times". Oswalt says the following:

"One of the common ways is to develop a fascination for the “end times.” The current popularity of the “Left Behind” series is one example of such fascination. There is a degree of escapism involved because it is hard to keep one’s focus when we are neither popular nor overtly persecuted. So we fantasize about a time when everything will be perfectly clear, when the lines will be drawn so that everyone can see them." [4]

How SHOULD modern American Christians respond to circumstances like these? Oswalt continues:

"But these verses (Isaiah 26:1–27:1) are written for just such an ambiguous time as ours, when the lines are not clear. Their prescriptions are just what we need today. They tell us to do five things: Trust God in an active way; honor God’s name alone; believe God can do what we cannot; do not let go of the resurrection; and focus on the real enemy." [4]

- We need to trust God and not be anxious (Phil 4:6). We shouldn't let the media's sensational portrayal of things saturate our vision. This includes doom and gloom in the news or Hollywood's portrayal of relationships, revenge, war etc. 

- We must guard more closely what enters our minds (Phil 4:8). This does not mean we turn a blind eye to injustice and evil in the world. It means we do everything in our power (granted by the Holy Spirit) to keep those things from filling our heads. Oswalt says the following:

"This begins at home. Are our homes places of quiet, beauty, and serenity? Hardly! Many of our homes are places of frantic activity, where cluttered minds reveal themselves in cluttered living spaces. When will Christians admit that we are countercultural and begin to embrace that reality?"[4]

What are some other ways we can stop evil things from cluttering our minds?

Isa 26:8 instructs us to "wait" for God by "walking in the way of your laws" (Isa 26:8). What does waiting for the Lord and walking in the way of his laws look like in practice?

Proverbs 3:5-6 talks about trusting God and he will make our paths straight.

Oswalt says the following:

"To trust God is to show we know him in our “paths,” that is, by the way we live. We trust God when we are honest in situations where it would be to our advantage to cheat. We trust God when we refuse to break faith with our wife by flirting with a pretty girl who is obviously interested. We trust God when we give valuable time to work for the poor. We wait for the Lord, believing that he will act in our behalf in his own best time, by obeying his mipaim, his regulations for life, and not making up our own to serve ourselves as we go along." [4]

V. The Lord Commissions His Special Servant (Isa 42:1-9) [3]

This is the first of the "Servant Songs". This song reminds us of the prophecies of the Messiah in Isaiah 9, 11, and 32 except the way the Messiah is represented here is complementary to the one there. There we had the servant as King. Here we have the king as Servant [4].

The Servant Is Presented (Isa 42:1-4)

The first four verses present the Servant to the hearers and readers. His relationship to God is described (Isa 42:1) followed by the manner and success of his ministry (Isa 42:2-4). 

The Servant Is Officially Commissioned (Isa 42:5-9)

In verses 5-9, God addresses the Servant with reference to His majesty and power (Isa 42:5) and mentions the scope of his ministry as a covenant mediator for the people (Isa 42:6) and a miracle-worker (Isa 42:7). As in many other passages throughout the Bible, God states who he is to make such extraordinary claims and guarantees that these things will occur (Isa 42:8-9).  

VI. A Hymn of Praise (Isa 42:10-13)

This vision of what God will accomplish through his servant is so amazing that Isaiah breaks into a song of praise to the Lord (Isa 42:10-13). This is described by Oswalt as a bridge between this section (Isa 41:1-42:9) and the next section (Isa 42:10-44:22) [3].

VII. The Lord Speaks (Isa 42:14-17)

God speaks about the battle for his people. God uses imagery of a woman in labor to expand on the warrior imagery as if the warrior could not longer hold back his attack like a woman in labor initially is silent but then cannot hold back her groans and gasps (Isa 42:14). The purpose of this verse is not to say that God is our Mother like the World Mission Society Church Of God cult erroneously proclaims. The attack is described (Isa 42:15) along with the redemption by giving sight to the blind both physically and spiritually as we know from the New Testament (Isa 42:16). God's promises and actions are contrasted with the powerlessness of idols (Isa 42:17).

VIII. Israel's Blindness (Isa 42:18-25)

After God's intention to deliver his people (Isa 42:10-17), this next section addresses the people's present condition. In this case, the dispute is between God and his own people in contrast to earlier disputes between God and idols (Isa 41:21-29) or God and idol worshippers (Isa 41:1-7). The "Servant" in Isa 42:19-20 is Israel -- not to be confused with the servant in Isa 42:1-9 which is Jesus. Oswalt says the following:

"Why has God been so blind to the difficulties and troubles of his people? Why is he so deaf to their cries? It is good that he is finally rousing himself to action, but why has it taken so long in view of the manifest injustice of their sufferings? To all of this the prophet responds explosively: it is not God who has been blind and deaf, it is the people! God in his grace gave the Torah, but they would not obey it. Then when punishment for that disobedience came, they refused to learn the lessons that the punishment taught. What all this meant was that salvation, when it came, would not be because a lethargic deity finally awoke to his obligation, but because one who had been gracious in the past would be so again." [3]

IX. The Lord Will Rescue His People (Isa 43:1-7)

Right after talking about Israel's blindness and inability to recognize and respond to what God had done, and the judgement that had come from God on them, God now says that He will rescue those whom He chose (Isa 43:7). Although the fire once burned them (Isa 42:25) it will not do so again (Isa 43:2). This is not because of anything that Israel had done but it is purely an act of grace by God. Oswalt says the following:

"This understanding places 42:18–25 in proper perspective within the larger section (42:10–44:22). The overall theme of the section is the gracious salvation of God, and the opening segment (42:10–17) dealt with a challenge to God’s ability and desire to save. Having shown that the problem is not on God’s side, the prophet is now ready to return to the main theme: God’s activity on his people’s behalf." [3]


1) In Isa 42:1-9, the Messiah's (King Jesus!) servant qualities are portrayed. Why is it important to exercise servant leadership? In what ways does this honor God?

2) In what ways have modern leaders exercised servant leadership and in what ways have they failed to? How have you exercised servant leadership or failed to? How have people in your life exercised servant leadership or failed to?

3) In Isa 43:1-7, God shows grace to Israel (and us!). When have you specifically been shown grace in your life and when have you shown grace to someone else?


1. Oswalt, J. N. (1986). The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 1–39 (p. 278). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
2. Stewart, Don. "Did Jesus Get Involved in the Contemporary Politics in Israel?"
3. Oswalt, J. N. (1998). The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 40–66 (p. 109). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 
4. Oswalt, J. N. (2003). Isaiah (p. 297). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.