Breaking wind – Thursday, 15th Week in ordinary time – Isaiah 26:7-9, 12,16-19

The prophet Isaiah foresaw that Assyria would one day be replaced by a new emerging power; the Babylonian empire. Babylon was a nation far more destructive than Assyria. It was they who would attack Jerusalem and eventually succeed in destroying it. This is taken up in chapters 13-27 with will climax in chapter 39 with the fall of Jerusalem. chapters 13-27 has a large collection of poems that express God’s judgment and God’s hope for the nations. In chapters 13-27 we will also learn of the fall of Babylon and also the fall of Israel’s neighbours.

The kings of Babylon claimed that they were higher than all other gods and so God vows to destroy Babylon and all of Israel’s neighbours who practiced the same kind of pride and injustice. Isaiah predicts their ultimate ruin. But in the book of Isaiah, Gods judgment in never the final words for Judah.

Chapters 24-27 are called by scholars the “little apocalypse” of Isaiah because they deal with a future theme, an apocalyptic theme. The prophets often did this. They would talk about an immediate event going on around them but they used that as a model of something that would be fulfilled to a greater extent in the future. It is sort of like prophetic bifocals; you see something close but you can also use that to see something much further away.

Chapter 26 is the third of four chapters describing God’s victory over all His enemies (24:1-27:13 )including Babylon. It is the day of God’s ultimate triumph; the day when God will reign over Israel, and over all the world. This section describes the song that Jerusalem will sing on that day. It will be a song of salvation when their enemies are defeated. Our text of today talks of elements in that joyful song that will be sung in the land of Judah because God has come to reign. Our text covers only certain parts of chapter 26 and so I recommend you read the entire chapter because I am going to make references to some parts of chapter 26 not in our text.

Verse 1 kicks off this song of praise. Jerusalem will be the strong city (verse1) unlike the old Jerusalem which was ravaged by wars and attacks. The new Jerusalem will have strong walls and an imposing army. While the walls will keep the unwanted away it is the gates that will be open for the righteous to enter. The righteous who will be welcomed in its gates are those who have kept the faith as opposed to those who have compromised the faith.

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