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Final victory for the godly (26:1-27:1)
Having destroyed the city built by human hands (that is, humankind’s whole ungodly way of life; 25:2), God now builds his city. It is a city for the righteous, an eternal dwelling place for those who have experienced the perfect peace that comes through complete trust in God (26:1-3). Those who trust in him have stability and security, but those who trust in themselves are overthrown. God’s city stands for ever; the world’s city is smashed to the ground and trampled in the dust (4-6).
Godly people long to know God and his ways better, so that they can live righteously according to his directions. They desire this knowledge for others also, because only when people know God can they truly know what righteousness is (7-9). The ungodly do not know God and so cannot live uprightly (10-11). The righteous know that God cares for them, and they respond with loyalty to him, even when they are oppressed by their enemies (12-13). In due course, however, the enemies are destroyed, but the righteous have peace. Their numbers increase, and God’s blessing spreads throughout the land (14-15).
The righteous then recall how they have cried to God in their distress, but have received no apparent answer. All their efforts and all their expectations have come to nothing. They feel the disappointment and frustration of a woman who suffers birth pains but produces no child. Many of the godly have died without seeing any victory (16-18). Their victory must therefore lie in the future, when their bodies will be triumphantly raised from death (19).
God’s people need not fear his wrath, for he will protect them when he carries out his work of judgment on a sinful world (20-21). By contrast his enemies, symbolized here by fierce monsters, will suffer his deadly punishment (27:1).
Shameful exile and glorious return (27:2-13)
From its beginning, Israel was God’s chosen people. God compares the nation to a beautiful vineyard, which he has cared for and guarded continually (2-3). Israel’s enemies are likened to thorns and briars, and unless they repent of their wrongdoing and seek God’s forgiveness, they will suffer a fiery destruction (4-5). Israel, by contrast, will flourish like a giant tree and bring blessing to the whole world (6).
Before that can happen, however, God must deal with Israel because of its sins. The nation, in both its northern and southern kingdoms, must be punished because it has turned away from the true God to serve the false gods of its neighbours. God does not punish his people as severely as he punishes his enemies. Those nations he destroys, but his own people he only sends into captivity, so that when their sins are removed they can return to their own land (7-9).
The desolation of their homeland is a just punishment that God sends upon his rebellious people (10-11). But when their punishment is ended, they will be gathered from many places back into their land, as grain is gathered together after it has been threshed (12-13).
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Isaiah 27". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany