Robert E. Surgenor
I am sure that all of us appreciate the fact that the coming of the Lord draweth near. When that event takes place, the Church will be raptured and God will again take up His righteous dealings with the nation of Israel. She will experience such tribulation as the world has never known and then their Messiah will appear, putting down His enemies and establishing a kingdom in righteousness, with Israel as the head of the nations. The song of Isaiah 12 will be sung by them in that day. However, we too, can benefit from Israels joyous song, for all Scripture is profitable to the Church.
Born about 780 B.C., Isaiah ministered during the reign of Uzziah; Jotham; Ahaz; Hezekiah, periods that involved a continual clash with Assyria. In the first twelve chapters we have prophecies concerning Israel, while from ch. 12 to ch. 23 we find prophecies against the Gentile nations. These writings have been called, "The very fingerprint of God." Chapters one to twelve are termed, "The Immanuel Book" and are psalm-like in character.
The prophets name means, "Salvation of Jehovah" and his fathers name, Amos, means, "He shall strengthen," "Good courage." One must confess that the prophet lived up to those names with his God-inspired writings. He spoke much of the salvation of Jehovah and sought to strengthen the Lords people in his day. How valuable to see men of such character in the assemblies of God, men that seek to strengthen the things that remain, encouraging Gods people in a dark and difficult day.
The psalm, (Isa. 12), is divided in half. Verses one to three express Israels own joy, but in verses four to six, we find that joy overflowing to the nations. Isaiahs psalm can also be divided into four headings. Let us, with delight, look at them one by one.
(1) A TREMENDOUS EXTREME - ANGER AND COMFORT
Verse 1 - When Israel will sing. "And in that day thou shalt say, 0 LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me."
The expression, "In that day," is used by Isaiah 43 times. In ch. 2, it is a day of glory; In ch. 3, a day of gloom; In ch.4, a day of glory; In ch. 5 and 7, a day of gloom; In ch. 10 and 11, a day of glory; and in our meditation, it is a day of glory. The Millennium has finally arrived. Antichrist has been overthrown and Israel breaks forth with this wondrous song that can be compared to the doxologies found in Revelation chapters 5,15,19 and Exodus 15:2. Israel confesses, "Thou wast angry with me." Her greatest sin in provoking the anger of God was her rejection of Gods Son as their King. The word angry, is anaph, meaning, the displeasure of God. This is the last of its fourteen occurrences in the Scriptures and it seems to be always employed in connection with God and His own people, not with the heathen. God was angry with Moses due to Israels unbelief (Deut.1). He was angry with Israel at Horeb, because of their idolatry and very angry with Aaron for leading them astray (Deut.9). He was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned aside (1 Kings 11).
In Revelation 2 and 3, the Lords displeasure is seen with Ephesus, they had left their first love; It was seen with Pergamos, because of doctrinal compromise; It was seen with Thyatira for their moral compromise; It was seen with Sardis for their spiritual deadness; and it was seen with Laodicia over their fashionable way of life and their lukewarmness. Now comes the pointed question, is God displeased with you? God was angry with Israel over their rejection of Christ. He is displeased with those today who reject the claims of Christ. We have confessed Him as Lord, are we living up to that confession? Are we saying in our life, "Not my will, but thine be done"? Are we earnest in obeying His Word? Are we like Enoch, of whom it was said, "he pleased God"?
Restored Israel will experience the turning away of Gods anger and the comfort of Jehovah upon them. Our God is a God of restoration and forgiveness. How different with Job in his affliction. Those who came to visit him he termed, "miserable comforters" (Job 16). Later, it was said of his brethren and sisters, "that they bemoaned him, and comforted him" (Job 42).
Josephs brethren had greatly mistreated him. However, in his presence, they fell on their faces before him "and he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them" (Gen.50). One is reminded of the man in Corinth, living in incest. He is put away as a wicked person and rightly so. However, is there forgiveness? Absolutely! We read of that same man one year later in 2 Corinthians 2. "Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him."
The man had been put away publicly, now he is to be received back publicly. The assembly was to confirm their love toward him. The word confirm is a legal term meaning, "to establish as valid, to ratify by a formal decree." Thus upon his reception back into the assembly a formal announcement was made to him publicly by the assembly, that they loved him. What a touching scene that would be.
(2) A WONDROUS EXCLAMATION
Verse 2,3. What Israel will sing. "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHO VA H is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation."
This will be Israels claim in a future day, but can we not claim it now? God is my STRENGTH - my power for warfare. He is my SONG - my praise for worship. He is my SALVATION - my preservation for my walk. Thus as soldiers, we fight the battles of God. As sacrificing people, we fill the throne of God. As sojourners, we find the path of God. Let us then, as good soldiers put on the whole armour of God, having our loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness, and our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith we shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Eph.6).
As those who sacrifice, we have a song. Israel, when carried away into captivity, lost their song. "They that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORDS song in a strange land?" (Ps. 137). During the tribulation, Israel will have a new (fresh) song. "Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth." (Rev. 5). We today also have a song, thus with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs we sing, making melody in our hearts to the Lord (Eph. 5). May God help us to sing with the understanding, entering into the meaning of the words as we sing and with our whole heart, enthusiastically and not halfheartedly.
God is not only the source of my eternal salvation, but He also saves me day by day. Thank God, we have a great high Priest! "But this Man, because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost (to the completion of the journey here) that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them." How grand to know that "we are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Pet. 1). Yes, there is a salvation yet to be revealed. Paul exclaims, "It is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly (becomingly), as in the day... Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof" (Rom. 13). Our mortal bodies are about to experience salvation! At His coming this mortal shall put on immortality. In view of His coming we are exhorted to manifest the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives and not the lusts of the flesh. Thus the LORD JEHOVAH has saved our souls. He presently saves our lives and in the near future He will save our bodies. Notice in regards to our strength, song and salvation the unique name of our God. He is the LORD JEHOVAH. This title is found only here and in Isaiah 26:4 in your Bible. The LORD (JAH) is what He is in essence. Deity! JEHOVAH is what He is in relation to His people. A wonderful title, with wonderful promises indeed!
(3) A JOYFUL EXPERIENCE
Verse 3. "Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells (fountains) of salvation."
Jehovah will be like a fountain to Israel, meeting her specific needs, providing joy and refreshment that will sustain them. The root word for fountain is "to flow." The common word is "eye," being a source of never-ending flow. The LORD lamented, "My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. " Twenty years later, Gods people were taken away captive into Babylon for their sins. I often wonder about some of us today. Where are we finding our pleasure? Is it in the broken cisterns of this world? A simple definition of the world is, anything that does not have the glory of God as its goal. We heartily sing, ,,I tried the broken cisterns, Lord, But, ah! the waters failed! Een as I stooped to drink they fled, And mocked me as I wailed. Now none but Christ can satisfy, None other name for me! Theres love, and life, and lasting joy, Lord Jesus, found in Thee!" However, is our song a mockery - or are we singing it in truth?
(4) PRIVATE PRAISE AND PUBLIC PROCLAMATION
Verse 4-5 To Whom Israel will sing. "And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon His name, declare His doings among the people, make mention that His name is exalted. "Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth."
So great shall be the Nations deliverance, that they shall not only call upon His name, but they will make a public proclamation of the character of their God. Let me ask you, do you declare His doings among your neighbors, your work-fellows, your relatives? We have a great story to tell, do we not? Paul declared, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ." Let us freely exalt His name brethren and make His tremendous accomplishment at Calvary known to all in the earth. We owe it to our Redeemer and we owe it to our fellow men.
(5) PERSONAL PRESENCE
Verse 6 - The Holy One in the midst. "Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee."
Jehovah, at last, in the midst of His earthly people, will occasion exultation with shrill shouts. He was in the midst in the temple (Lk.2:46); On the tree (Jn. 19:18); Before the throne (Rev. 5:6); And today, He is with the testimony in our midst (Matt.18:20). May we appreciate Him more and more, until we see Him, face to face. What a gathering that will be - with Him forever in our midst!