See, a King will Reign of Righteousness

32: 1-8

    DIG: What conditions marked the reign of the leaders who did not trust God (see 28:7-10 and 14-15; 29:13 and 20-21)? By contrast, what will this kingdom of righteousness look like? What will happen to the ways of the fool and the unjust? Why would foolishness flourish when there is no justice?

    REFLECT: When you need someone to be a shelter for you, to whom do you turn? Why? How is Jesus presented in this passage? For whom could you be like a shelter or a stream of water today? How? What example can you think of where a person’s power has been mistaken for true greatness? Is your culture more influenced by a leader’s style, or by substance? Why do you think so? What marks of true greatness do you want to see growing in you? How can you cultivate that fruit (see Matthew 6:33)?

    Chapters 28 and 29 spoke of the false leaders, and Chapters 30 and 31 spoke of their false counsel. Now Chapters 32 and 33 speak of the true leader and characteristics of His reign. Here Isaiah utilizes the language of the wisdom tradition to talk about sense and nonsense; wisdom and foolishness. Throughout the Book of Woes the folly of Judah’s spiritually blind leaders has been described. Here then, the LORD, through His prophet, pictures the future righteous reign of Isra'el as a contrast with the present defiled one.

    See, a King will reign in righteousness (32:1a), serves to underline the contrast with Judah’s leadership in Isaiah’s day that were not leading the nation according to the path established by their God. Indeed, they had carefully planned to conceal their path from Him (29:15- 16, 30:1-2). Yet, the willingness to discover right and do it, was the mark of a righteous King. Thus Isaiah looks to the far eschatological future when a righteous King would rule Isra'el during the messianic Kingdom. The King Isaiah is speaking about here is the Messiah, who will reign in righteousness. And rulers will rule with justice. Those rulers under Him will be righteous and just (32:1b). The same point is made in Jeremiah 23:5-6. Therefore, because the LORD would protect Jerusalem, He will also bring about a time when righteousness will flourish.

    The righteous leader protects His people and enables them to carry on because of what He provides for them. Nowhere is there a better example of this than Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who lays down His life for His sheep (John 10:11), and the Servant who did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28). Isaiah looked forward to a time when a divinely empowered King would do what people had wanted in a true king all along, but what an ordinary king could never live up to.

    Isaiah spelled out the results of this righteous reign. Each man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm (32:2a). No longer will the leaders of Israel be predators from whom the people will need to seek relief (29:20-21). Rather, the leaders themselves will be sources of protection and support. Because the Messiah Himself will rule the future righteous government, it will produce righteous men. Like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land (32:2b). They will refresh others like water in the desert and a rock that gives shade from the desert heat. In all four illustrations the perfection of His rule is pictured. The contrasting dangers of wind and storm picture protection from every threat; the supply of water and shadow point to provision of every need.

    Secondly, not only will the true leaders provide security for their people, they will also make possible the removal of all spiritual hardening on the part of Isra'el. This seems to be a clear reversal of the situation described in 6:10 and 29:10-12, where their hearts were calloused, their ears dull, and their eyes closed. But during the righteous reign of Christ, their spiritual eyes are open so they can see spiritual truth. Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those who hear will listen (32:3). Their ears are open so they can listen to and obey spiritual truth.

    Thirdly, their hearts will be soft so they can understand spiritual truth. The mind of the rash will know and understand, and the stammering of their tongues will cease so they can communicate spiritual truth fluently and clearly (32:4). Spiritual clarity and perception always flow from submission to God’s ways. Refusal to submit is the surest prescription of an inability to discern any difference between good and evil (Isaiah 5:18-23; Proverbs 4:14-9; John 7:17). Thus it is appropriate that here spiritual clarity is a result of faithful leaders who themselves submit to the LORD and to whom their people have no difficulty submitting.111

    The fourth result is a proper evaluation of the character of men and women. No one will be politically correct. The fool will no longer be called noble; the scoundrel will no longer be highly respected (32:5). The word fool is one of the strongest negative words in the Old Covenant, because it depicts the person who has consciously rejected the ways of God, which are the road to life, but instead has chosen the ways of death. Though the fool and the scoundrel will still be present in the Messianic Kingdom, they will be called what they are. Isaiah then describes the characteristics of the fool.

    These next three verses are a separate and a very clever little poem clarifying the deeds of the fool and the scoundrel, ending with a pithy statement about true nobility. For the fool speaks folly, his mind is busy with evil: He practices ungodliness and spreads error concerning the LORD (32:6a). The word speaks is in the imperfect tense and expresses typical behavior. The emphasis here and 32:7 is on the sins of the speech. It is the thinking and behavior of a person living an immoral lifestyle. The fool opposes ADONAI and does not care about the needy. The hungry he leaves empty and from the thirsty he withholds water (32:6b).

    He is greedy and is constantly seeking higher social status. The scoundrel’s methods are wicked; he makes up evil schemes to destroy the poor with lies, even when the plea of the needy is just (32:7). The word evil schemes, or zimma, has a consistently bad meaning. It occurs nineteen times of sexual misconduct (Leviticus 18:17 for example). It is planning for one’s own advantage no matter what the cost to others. He speaks foolishness and fails to communicate spiritual truth. He practices sin because he understands no spiritual truth. He lacks obedience and therefore plots evil schemes.

    On the other hand, the noble person of righteousness plans to do good to others. But the noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands (32:8). This word may refer to social standing, but its root meaning refers to character, someone who is generous and large-hearted, someone who knows that God supplies all his or her needs and as a result, can afford to be generous to those less fortunate. So the fool, the scoundrel and noble people of character will all be present in the Messianic Kingdom. The righteous will be those believers who reign with Christ for a thousand years on this earth, but the fool and the scoundrel will die by the time they are one-hundred years old if they do not accept Yeshua as the Messiah (65:20).

 

< previous page
next page >

Genesis | Exodus | Isaiah | Ruth | Esther | Jeremiah
Life of David | Jonah | Jude | Life of Christ | Hebrews | Revelation
News & Updates | Links & Resources | Testimonials | About Us | Statement of Faith
Home | Español | Our FAQ

The Teaching Ministry of Jay Mack 2006-2017