In that day the branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel. 3 And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, 4 when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. 5 Then the LORD will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy. 6 There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.
So we just came through chapter 3….and as we enter into chapter 4, hopefully you’re noticing something about the character of Isaiah! There are these kind of extremes in the narrative. There is judgment. And this judgement is very strong, harsh, and decisive. And then there are long sections like todays text. Hopeful, encouraging and really good news!
And MAN o’ MAN! There’s a TON in this little section!
Allusions to the Royal Line (the branch) of David (which was itself a type of Jesus who IS the King of Kings and Lord of Lords….which Isaiah will get to later in the book)!
Allusions to “The Book of Life” (in and of itself a whole study)!
Allusions to “the cloud by day” and the “fire by night”….Exodus stuff!
The “glory” of the Lord on the mountain (Mt. Sinai…and the Mount of Transfiguration should come to mind).
The “booth” for shelter (So Jonah, the reluctant prophet might fit here as well as “The Feast of Booths” instituted by God to remember His gracious provision during the Exodus).
I mean…this stuff is THICK…..
All throughout Isaiah, God is telling and retelling the history of His faithfulness and love for His people!
Over and over again, God is remind them (and us) of His faithfulness to them!
EVEN through judgment, there is still hope! Why? It’s always been His heart for us!
But I’d like to focus on specifically verse 4 today….Why? Because here God “delivers the goods” of His grace, love and mercy!
In verse 4, God says He will purify His people! BUT, as we’ve seen, He will also bring judgement!
And as this section reminds us, it’s BY THE MEANS OF JUDGMENT that God will purify His people!
Now, I hope that this reminds you of something! I hope it reminds you of Jesus! Why? ALL throughout the pages of this amazing book (and really the entire point of ALL the Bible) is to point us to Jesus! Now, this text doesn’t say anything about a babe in Bethlehem (that comes later in Isaiah), a cross (oh that comes later too!), or a Savior or Messiah (well, OK…Isaiah will address this as well). It doesn’t say anything about a Lamb that would be sacrificed for the sins of the people (although it will….hang tight)!
So how do we see Jesus?
Jesus Himself would say….
“For judgment I came into this world….” — John 9:39
And maybe you’re thinking that Jesus came TO judge the world? Well, He will…BUT….
Jesus came so the Judgement would be poured out on HIM!
And because God’s judgement on sin was poured out on Jesus, He takes the punishment our sins deserve and when we believe in Him, WE are the recipients of that work!
Here’s the Baptismal-like reference!
And we’re the recipients of Christ’s work FOR US, when we are baptized INTO Christ!
There’s a very significant reason God chose baptism as the means and yes, symbol of faith! Later scripture would teach us:
“Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” — 1 Peter 3:21
It is by baptism that we are connected to the death and resurrection of Jesus! It is by baptism that we receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, in the same way as Jesus did in His baptism! It is through baptism that the work of Jesus is poured over us and “washes our spirit of the filth of sin”. It is by the means of God’s Word that the Holy Spirit hovering over us (Genesis 1:2)…creating order and life out of our darkness and chaos!
So hopefully as you work through Isaiah, you’ll see that it really influences SO MUCH of scripture!
But more importantly, my prayer is that it will influence US, to not only remember the grace God has given us, but because He’s given us grace, to live our life as a reflection of that grace!
NEXT: Isaiah 5!
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