Isaiah describes a day when the LORD will bring about justice and righteousness. But first there will be a time of great anxiety.
a king shall reign in righteousness. This may be speaking of Jesus Christ.
princes shall rule in justice. Leaders of churches are sometimes referred to as a prince. Ideally they will care for their people instead of themselves. Ideally they will refresh and build up their people. However, that is often not the case. When placed under close scrutiny, Christian leaders are not morally better than secular leaders in any other setting. In some cases, they are much worse.
VERSE 2. A man shall be as a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the storm, as streams of water in a dry place, as the shade of a large rock in a weary land.
see … hear. Being able to see and hear: that is what God wants for us.
Ideally, our spiritual leaders would be able to see and hear. In many cases, however, they are just as blind as any of us. That was true in the days of the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, and it is still true today. Many spiritual leaders are blind guides, and we should stay away from them:
Matthew 15:14. Leave them alone. They are blind guides of the blind. If the blind guide the blind, both will fall into a pit.”
man of sudden impulses. That is the hothead.
he whose tongue is slow. Speech problems can be alleviated.
The fool will no longer be called noble. In our day, some Christian leaders are foolish, or narcissistic, or megalomaniacs.
VERSE 6. For the fool will speak folly, and his heart will work iniquity, to practice profanity, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and to cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.
speak folly. Wicked shepherds say foolish things.
heart will work iniquity. Wicked shepherds think evil thoughts in their heart.
work iniquity. Wicked shepherds do what is unclean. They practice ungodliness.
utter error. Wicked shepherds talk falsely. They lie.
make empty the soul of the hungry. Wicked shepherds ignore or trivialize the needs of spiritual seekers.
NLT translation. The smooth tricks of scoundrels are evil. They plot crooked schemes. They lie to convict the poor, even when the cause of the poor is just.
smooth tricks. Wicked shepherds are smooth in their trickery. They are accomplished in the art of deception. They are great liars.
plot crooked schemes. Wicked shepherds are always scheming something.
lie to convict. Wicked shepherds lie under oath.
the poor. Wicked shepherds often target poor people. Like schoolyard bullies and thugs, they go after people who are weaker than themselves. Theirs is the ultimate expression of cowardice. They attack people who can’t fight back.
NAB translation. The noble man plans noble things, and by noble things he stands.
noble man plans noble things. Letʼs plan for “noble” things. Letʼs believe God for great and mighty things. Letʼs not, by lack of faith or vision, default to low expectations or weak aspirations. We can dare to have faith for great things!
Theodore Roosevelt said:
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. (Quote courtesy of BrainyQuote)
Strip yourselves, make yourselves naked. The women were to take off all their clothing.
put sackcloth on your waist. The women would put sackcloth around their waist. Thus they would all be naked from the waist up.
ESV translation. Tremble, you women who are at ease, shudder, you complacent ones; strip, and make yourselves bare, and tie sackcloth around your waist.
VERSE 13. Thorns and briers will come up on my people’s land; yes, on all the houses of joy in the joyous city.
VERSE 14. For the palace will be forsaken. The populous city will be deserted. The hill and the watchtower will be for dens forever, a delight for wild donkeys, a pasture of flocks,
NLT translation. until at last the Spirit is poured out on us from heaven. Then the wilderness will become a fertile field, and the fertile field will yield bountiful crops.
the Spirit is poured out on us from heaven. Perhaps Isaiah foresaw the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. This is what Jesus gave us. He said he would fill us with power from on high, the Holy Spirit.
Isaiah 32:15. until the Spirit is poured on us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is considered a forest.
Acts 1:8. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. You will be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth.
1 Corinthians 5:4. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, you being gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
VERSE 16. Then justice will dwell in the wilderness; and righteousness will remain in the fruitful field.
BBE translation. And the work of righteousness will be peace; and the effect of an upright rule will be to take away fear for ever.
the work of righteousness will be peace. A godly shepherd brings about peace. But a wicked shepherd pickes fights. He creates disunity. He robs people of peace.
take away fear for ever. Similarly, a godly shepherd is not feared. However, many of those in Christian leadership achieve their rule by means of fear. They keep people afraid of them. Apparently they look for inspiration to Machiavelli, not Jesus Christ.
VERSE 18. My people will live in a peaceful habitation, in safe dwellings, and in quiet resting places,
BBE translation. But the tall trees will come down with a great fall, and the town will be low in a low place.
tall trees will come down. Our blessedness is not affected by calamities such as our forest being destroyed or our city torn down. When these disasters happen in our lives, we should not interpret them as a sign that God’s blessing has abandoned us.
VERSE 20. Blessed are you who sow beside all waters, who send out the feet of the ox and the donkey.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.