Text: Isaiah 25:1-12, Genesis 3:17-19, Hebrews 12:22-24
When I was a teenager our house was hit by a tornado. Seeing trees leveled, cars smashed, and our back porch splintered into a million fragments—it was disarming.
Reading through the middle section of Isaiah makes me feel a bit like I did as I surveyed the post-tornado damage. Chapter after chapter, Isaiah prophesied about God’s impending judgment. It was bad news all around. From Babylon to Arabia, Jerusalem to Egypt, then ultimately the whole earth, Isaiah foretells a reckoning so widespread that the entire planet will be “stripped completely bare” (Isaiah 24:3). He describes a time when all celebration will cease (v.8) and how “panic, pit, and trap” await all who dwell on the earth (v.17).
My response to these chapters is to cover my eyes and read them through slightly opened fingers. But that is not how Isaiah reacts.
As chapter 24 wraps, God stops speaking to Isaiah about what’s coming. Isaiah doesn’t grit his teeth or pout or whimper. Faced with the news of the world’s coming woes, Isaiah erupts in praise:
“The Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You. I will praise Your name, for you have accomplished wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.”
- Isaiah 25:1
Because he knows the complete character of God, Isaiah can look past the devastation and see God’s power. He can look beyond the judgment and see God’s faithfulness.
While Isaiah had a front row seat to some very bad news, he was also among the very first to know the good news of the gospel.
He foretold the Messiah, born to a virgin and given the name Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).
He knew our Savior would come from the line of David (Isaiah 9:7).
He even foresaw Jesus’ burial in a tomb purchased by Joseph of Arimathea (Isaiah 53:9).
God gifted Isaiah eyes to see past his moment in history and into the mystery of the gospel. Long before any other human knew that Jesus would die on a hill, be buried in a borrowed tomb, and leave His burial clothes behind to return in a resurrected body, Isaiah saw a reason to celebrate: “On this mountain He will destroy the burial shroud, the shroud over all the peoples, the sheet covering all the nations” (Isaiah 25:7).
Yes, God was going to put an end to certain wicked rulers and pagan practices. He would wipe out evil and sin, but He would also destroy death and sorrow. Isaiah celebrated because he knew that the shroud, or curtain, that separated all of humanity from God would soon be torn in two.
Jesus, give us eyes to see past the devastation to the good news of the gospel. Amen.
Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.