An Ancient and Faithful Counsel: Isaiah Devotional Journal 49

Isaiah 25    Septuagint Modernized

Celebratory Songs for “In That Day” (Part Two): An “Ancient and Faithful Counsel”

Isaiah 25:1 O Lord God, I will glorify You, I will sing to Your name; for You have done wonderful things, even an ancient and faithful counsel. Amen. 2 For You have made cities a heap, even cities made strong that their foundations should not fall; the city of ungodly men shall not be built forever. 3 Therefore shall the poor people bless You, and cities of injured men shall bless You. 4 For You have been a helper to every lowly city, and a shelter to them that were disheartened by reason of poverty; You shall deliver them from wicked men; You have been a shelter for them that thirst, and a refreshing air to injured men.

“An Ancient and Faithful Counsel”

In Isaiah’s prophecy he will sing and glorify the Lord. The Lord has done wonderful things. They are his “ancient and true (faithful) counsel.” How ancient? This counsel goes back even before time began. Later, God spoke it to Eve, concerning her sacred offspring. He would crush the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). Yes, Isaiah 25, the entire chapter, is messianic. Its scope and grandeur travel to the very end of history where time ends and eternity begins. All humankind who favor God and hope in his Christ will receive the blessings described.

Related Scripture

The theme of God’s “ancient and faithful counsel” abounds in Scripture.

Isaiah 4:2 And in that day God shall shine gloriously in counsel on the earth, to exalt and glorify the remnant of Israel. (LXE, CAB)

Isaiah 9:6 For a Child is born to us, and a Son is given to us, whose government is upon His shoulder; and His name is called the Messenger of great counsel; for I will bring peace upon the princes, and health to Him. (LXE, CAB)

Acts 2:23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. (ESV)

Romans 16:25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages (ESV)

1 Corinthians 2:7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (ESV)

Ephesians 1:11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, (ESV)

Colossians 1:25-27 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (ESV)

We Shouldn’t Mourn

We should not mourn that Isaiah 25 is not a millennial prophecy. Clearly, I believe that all of Scripture teaches that God, in his most basic promise in Christ, always intended to include the whole world. Yes, God most definitely used Israel greatly (in spite of themselves) for a long period of time. Praise God and bless Israel. When God’s purpose through this people reached his intermediate goal (the birth of Messiah), he moved on to his final goal. God always intended to save all humankind, irregardless of race (Galatians 3:28; Revelation 7:9). This most certainly includes descendants of Israel (Romans 9-11). But God created humans as one race. He introduced ethnicity at Babel, when the one people sinned (Genesis 11:1-9). 

Why should it disappoint us that Old Testament Israel is no longer “special” in New Testament days? That it is no longer the only child? (See the parable of the prodigal son, Luke 15:11-32). Isaiah rejoiced when he learned that God’s purpose primarily includes all people.

Isaiah 54:2 “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. 3 For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities. (ESV)

Who are these offspring? Paul tells us.

Galatians 3:29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. (ESV)

Isaiah Didn’t Mourn

Paul knew his Bible well. He knew that God’s greater promise brought joy to his prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah 56:3 Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD say, “The LORD will surely separate me from his people”; and let not the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.”
4 For thus says the LORD: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, 5 I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. 6 “And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant– 7 these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” (ESV)

Chapters 25-27 in Isaiah contain such celebratory songs. They are for joy and gladness, not mourning.

A Personal Analogy

When I taught second grade for many years, I sometimes taught the students to dance. I learned quickly not to attempt to teach the whole class of two dozen students all at once, even though that was my primary goal–that everyone should learn the dance.

And so I began with one student. All could watch and see. When that student had learned the steps, I brought in another student, then a third, then two more, and so forth. Eventually, the entire class learned the dance. I had achieved my goal. I achieved it in an orderly fashion, not chaotically.

I envision God’s calling of Abraham to be analogous to the method I just described. How would God know when he had achieved the first portion of his ultimate goal? He would know it was time to move on when history saw Messiah born, verified, crucified, risen, and ascended into heaven. At that point, it was time for him to draw in the whole class, the whole world. God will never exclude Israel. It’s just that God’s purpose has always been so much larger and grander than this one single ethnicity. And aren’t we glad for that?

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