Isaiah 26

What is the theme of the song that will be sung in Judah?
Isaiah 26:1-6 is a hymn which finds expression “in that day” or in the day of the Lord. This hymn celebrates the protection God provides for the righteous (26:1-2). The righteous rejoice not because their city (Jerusalem) is defensible, but because the Lord is dependable.

The righteous experience the peace that comes only by way of trusting the Lord (26:3-4 and see also Psalm 131:2 regarding childlike trust in the Lord). The Lord is “an everlasting Rock” (26:4) to the righteous. He is the Rock of safety and security (Psalm 40:2) as well as the foundation on which to build (Matthew 7:24-25 and 16:18). This hymn also declares the fate of the wicked: they will be brought low (26:5-6).

Practical Consideration: There is no perfect peace apart from trusting God.
Our lives are filled with things that rob us of peace. The pressures, problems, perplexities, and pains of life keep our hearts and minds in a state of constant turmoil. Our energies are largely given to doing things that will bring us some measure of peace and security. And yet, peace seems elusive. We spend sleepless nights and tension-filled days worried about what has happened or what might come. Our hearts and minds ache and long for peace, if only for a little while. Isaiah reminds us that the peace we long for comes only from God. Only those who trust in Him, lean on Him, hope in Him, and place their confidence in Him will know perfect peace. God does not disappoint those who trust Him with all their heart.

What is the theme of the prayer of the people of Judah?
Isaiah 26:7-19 is a community prayer divided into three sections.

The first section of the prayer contrasts the righteous and the wicked (26:7-10). The righteous long for God (26:8) and are eager to learn from His judgments (26:9). The wicked however, fail to learn when shown favor (26:10). They continue to deal unjustly and fail to perceive the Lord’s majesty (26:10).

Practical Consideration: We should long for God in the night.
Isaiah 26:7 states, “At night my soul longs for Thee, Indeed, my spirit within me seeks Thee diligently.” The righteous long for God in the night. When the light of day is eclipsed by trials and discouragements, the righteous earnestly long for God. When the righteous go through a season of darkness they do not despair, they long for and look to God. When the light of day is obscured by the clouds of distress, the righteous place their confidence in God.

The second section of the prayer expresses the confidence that the righteous will ultimately prevail over the wicked (26:11-15). The wicked fail to recognize the fact that God’s hand is already raised against them and they are in imminent danger (26:11) and will die and be forgotten (26:14). The righteous acknowledge the great works of the Lord on their behalf (26:12) and pledge their allegiance to Him alone (26:13). This section of the prayer ends with an announcement that the Lord has extended the borders of the nation (26:15), an indication of the blessings of prosperity and security that comes from the Lord.

Practical Consideration: Some people never learn!
Isaiah 26:10 states that the wicked are so hardened and insensitive that they fail to learn from either God’s judgments or mercies. God’s judgments and mercies are designed to instruct the wicked, correct their walk, and reveal God to them. The wicked however, fail to learn from God’s judgments and mercies, remain blind to His glory and majesty, and do not recognize the danger of so doing.

The third section of the prayer contains Israel’s whispered prayer for help and the Lord’s response to that prayer (26:16-19). The Lord’s people are likened to a pregnant woman in labor who gives birth to wind, a symbol of futility (26:17-18). All of their efforts to break free from oppressors have been futile, but the Lord Himself will deliver His people (26:19).

Isaiah 26:20-21 point to the Lord’s victory over His foes. The Lord admonishes His people to hide in their homes while He does battle against the forces of evil. Isaiah 27:1 looks to the day when the Lord will slay Leviathan (an ancient symbol of chaos and evil), thus securing a decisive victory over His foes.

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