Growing with God’s Word in Hope
Isaiah 26:1-19: This passage is a song of victory for the Hebrew people. It celebrates God’s protection and affirms the faithfulness of the people. It says that God will bring justice for all who trust in God, and give new life to those experiencing death.
You, LORD, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you.
1A day is coming when the people will sing this song in the land of Judah:
Our city is strong!
God himself defends its walls!
2Open the city gates
and let the faithful nation enter,
the nation whose people do what is right.
3You, Lord, give perfect peace
to those who keep their purpose firm
and put their trust in you.
4Trust in the Lord forever;
he will always protect us.
5He has humbled those who were proud;
he destroyed the strong city they lived in,
and sent its walls crashing into the dust.
6Those who were oppressed walk over it now
and trample it under their feet.
7Lord, you make the path smooth for good people;
the road they travel is level.
8We follow your will and put our hope in you;
you are all that we desire.
9At night I long for you with all my heart;
when you judge the earth and its people,
they will all learn what justice is.
10Even though you are kind to the wicked,
they never learn to do what is right.
Even here in a land of righteous people
they still do wrong;
they refuse to recognize your greatness.
11 Your enemies do not know that you will punish them.
Lord, put them to shame and let them suffer;
let them suffer the punishment you have prepared.
Show them how much you love your people.
12You will give us prosperity, Lord;
everything that we achieve
is the result of what you do.
13Lord our God, we have been ruled by others,
but you alone are our Lord.
14Now they are dead and will not live again;
their ghosts will not rise,
for you have punished them and destroyed them.
No one remembers them any more.
15Lord, you have made our nation grow,
enlarging its territory on every side;
and this has brought you honor.
16You punished your people, Lord,
and in anguish they prayed to you.
17You, Lord, have made us cry out,
as a woman in labor cries out in pain.
18We were in pain and agony,
but we gave birth to nothing.
We have won no victory for our land;
we have accomplished nothing.
19Those of our people who have died will live again!
Their bodies will come back to life.
All those sleeping in their graves
will wake up and sing for joy.
As the sparkling dew refreshes the earth,
so the Lord will revive those who have long been dead.
God promised to give Abraham’s descendants, the people of Israel, their own land (Genesis 15:18-21; 17:1-8). The promise of redemption of the righteous and of regaining their land provided great hope to the people of Israel and Judah who had been taken into captivity by the Assyrians (722 B.C.) and Babylonians (587 B.C.). Who is living in exile in our world today? What words in today’s reading might provide hope for them?
God of hope and justice, be present with refugees around the world. Be present in the political, social and environmental situations that force people to leave their land, and fill them with a sense of your presence wherever they go. Amen.
Isaiah 26:20—27:13: A time of judgment and restoration is described.