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May 11, 2021 – Isaiah 31-35

Previous chapters have singled out individual nations by name as Isaiah has pronounced God’s judgment upon them. In chapter 34, the prophet gathers them all up into a single announcement of judgment, which is then followed by the promise, in chapter 35, of a remnant from Israel that will be saved. Quickly, the text moves to those chapters (36-39) that tell about the Assyrian invasion of Jerusalem in the reign of Hezekiah and, also, Hezekiah’s illness and recovery.


But let’s linger, just a bit, on Isaiah’s report of a remnant. This concept is not unique to Isaiah but, oh my, he sure does declare it strongly (10:20-22; 11:11-16). Perhaps the best known text is that which follows the prophet’s response – “Here am I, send me” (6:8) – in which the Lord declares that, though judgment will be harsh and almost complete, yet a tenth of the people shall remain. Always, it seems, God’s true people are very much in the minority. But that’s OK, for the Lord’s words to Isaiah are, “Say to those who have an anxious heart, ‘Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you’” (35:4). So, though a remnant, we can sing:


Be strong in the Lord, and be of good courage;

your mighty Defender is always the same.

Mount up with wings, as the eagle ascending;

victory is sure when you call on his name.

Be strong, be strong, be strong in the Lord,

and be of good courage for he is your guide.

Be strong, be strong, be strong in the Lord,

and rejoice for the victory is yours. –Linda Lee Johnson

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