Chapters 24-27 are sometimes known as “The Isaiah Apocalypse” because they appear to point the reader toward significant events at the end of the age. The prophet has addressed Judah and Israel, and he has spoken to the surrounding nations of his time. Now, he turns his eye toward the whole of the earth: “Behold, the Lord will empty the earth” (24:1). And what he will do? Well, no one will be exempt from his dealings: “as with the people, so with the priest; as with the slave, so with his master; . . . as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower” (24:2). Isaiah sees a time of judgment for all people everywhere.
Judgment will come, but Isaiah knows to look to the Lord in the midst of it all: “O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure” (25:1). Though judgment is all around, Isaiah sees hope in the Lord: “In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: ‘We have a strong city; he sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks’” (26:1). The prophet continues, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock” (26:3,4).
We understand Isaiah, we really do! He testifies: “My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you” (26:9) and “O Lord, your hand is lifted up, but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed” (26:11). All around us, today, there seems to be no shame. People have cast off any semblance of restraint. They mock God, and they mock us, his people. Oh, that the Lord would show himself! That he would make things right in the land! And he will, in his own time” “O Lord, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works” (26:12).
Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin?
The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.
Peace, perfect peace, by thronging duties pressed?
To do the will of Jesus, this is rest.
Peace, perfect peace, death shadowing us and ours?
Jesus has vanquished death and all its powers.
Peace, perfect peace, our future all unknown?
Jesus we know, and he is on the throne.
It is enough: earth's struggles soon shall cease,
and Jesus call to heaven's perfect peace. -- Edward Henry Bickersteth (19th century)