Pastor Steve Ellison
Our previous set of questions set forth in Isaiah 29:13-16, taught us that our hypocrisy, arrogance, and absurd ignorance would result in spiritual blindness. Our next question, found in verse seventeen, brings great encouragement because we see that God is going to set the world upright. We are not sure when that will happen, if it will come in one fell swoop, or if it will come in stages. However, we are certain that it will happen in God’s perfect timing.
Isaiah 29:17-24 gives reasons for hope, Is it not yet just a little while Before Lebanon will be turned into a fertile field, And the fertile field will be considered as a forest? 18 On that day the deaf will hear words of a book, And out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. 19 The afflicted also will increase their gladness in the Lord, And the needy of mankind will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. 20 For the ruthless will come to an end and the scorner will be finished, Indeed all who are intent on doing evil will be cut off; 21 Who cause a person to be indicted by a word, And ensnare him who adjudicates at the gate, And defraud the one in the right with meaningless arguments. (NASU) The fertile ground will become a wilderness. The wilderness will become a fertile field. The deaf will hear. The blind will see. The afflicted will be glad. The needy will be supplied. The one who gained through ruthlessness will lose it. The mocker will cease. The evildoer will be kicked out. The false witness will be overthrown.
The passage continues the list of overturned things, but this time focusing on the setting upright, 22 Therefore thus says the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: “Jacob shall not now be ashamed, nor shall his face now turn pale; 23 But when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst, They will sanctify My name; Indeed, they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob And will stand in awe of the God of Israel. 24 “Those who err in mind will know the truth, And those who criticize will accept instruction. (NASU) Rather than evil men being overthrown, wayward men will be redeemed, upside down men will be turned upright.
There is a great emphasis in verses 22-24 on the work of God in redeeming a wayward people. First, if Jehovah redeemed Abraham, surely, He can redeem the people who sprang from Abraham. The nation of Israel will look and see “their children” (the citizens) and realize that they are the “work of God’s hands”. It is clear that the wayward sons of Israel will be redeemed. They will honor, glorify, and exalt the name of God. They will proclaim Jehovah God as holy, completely other. They will respect, revere, fear, and be amazed at the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Their thinking will be corrected, and they will receive the correction willingly. That last item requires a mighty miracle of God.
Some theologians, and I am among them, see a future reference to the Church in this passage. God will redeem a special people for Himself. This people will come from every tongue, tribe, and nation. Barriers will come down permanently. Shame will be removed. Worship will take its place. Hypocrisy will be gone. Sincerity will reign in its place. Types and shadows will remain, but an Explainer will come. The Light will shine on all the types. The mystery of the Gospel will be revealed to men.