Isaiah 25:1-26:7 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. How are the Lord’s people described in Isaiah 25:4 (printed below) and what does the Lord do for them?

You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress—a shelter from the storm, a shade from the heat, when the blast of the ruthless is like a windstorm driving against a wall (Isaiah 25:4)

In contrast to the people of the world who are described as “the ruthless” (i.e.; a people portrayed as being strong and terrorizing and without any capacity for mercy or compassion), the people of God are depicted as being “the poor” and “the needy.” Furthermore, the world is depicted as hurling itself like a great storm against the people of God. But note, too, that the Lord is described as being “a refuge,” “a shelter,” and “a shade” for His people. We may expect hostility and conflict from the world, but we may also expect the Lord to sustain, strengthen, comfort, preserve, and deliver us.

2. As Isaiah is enabled to look into the future, what blessings does he see for the people of God? See Isaiah 25:6-8 (printed below)

On this mountain Jehovah of hosts will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet with aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines. (7) On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that covers all peoples and the burial sheet that is spread over all nations; (8) he will swallow up death forever. The Lord Jehovah will wipe away the tears from every face; he will remove from all the earth the disgrace suffered by his people. Of this you can be sure, for Jehovah has spoken it. (Isaiah 25:6-8)

Isaiah sees a day when the redeemed of the Lord—defined here as “the poor and needy”—join with Christ in the eternal feast He has prepared for us to enjoy with Him (verse 6). “Jehovah of hosts will prepare a feast…for all peoples”—it is not just Old Testament Israel, but all the redeemed who shall partake of the Lord’s salvation and blessing (note Matthew 8:11). Verse 7-8a tell us that on that day the Lord will destroy the shroud and the burial sheet that is spread over all the nations, that is to say, Lord will swallow up death (cp. 1 Corinthians 15:51-57). Verse 8b assures us that on that great day the Lord will wipe away His peoples’ tears and reproach. All the reproach (scorn, ridicule, contempt) suffered for Christ shall be replaced with joy and honor bestowed by the Lord Himself.

3. In contrast to the blessings to be enjoyed by the Lord’s people, what lies in store for those who have defied God? See Isaiah 25:10-11 (printed below) Note: The Old Testament pagan nation of Moab, an archenemy of Israel, is used here to represent all the enemies of the Lord and His people.

The hand of Jehovah will rest on this mountain; but Moab will be trampled in his own place, like straw is trampled down in the manure. (11) Moab will stretch out his arms in it, like a swimmer stretches out his arms to swim; but Jehovah will bring down his pride despite the skill of his hands. (Isaiah 25:10-11)

In contrast to all that awaits the Christian, verses 10-12 describe the utter humiliation and defeat that await those who have defied their God. Verse 10 presents a picture of the ignominious subjugation and humiliation of those who have lived their lives on the earth in defiance and opposition to their Maker: Moab shall be trampled down like straw is trampled down in the manure. (As pointed out above, the Old Testament pagan nation of Moab, an archenemy of Israel, is used to represent all the enemies of the Lord and His people.) Note, too, the separation from God: referring to Mt. Zion, Scripture declares, “the hand of Jehovah will rest on this mountain.” In contrast, Moab shall be trampled down “in his own place,” the place of judgment, separate from the place where the Lord’s blessing rests. Even in the midst of judgment there is continued defiance in the incorrigible heart of the unconverted: verse 11 portrays Moab as stretching out his arms in an effort to swim for survival, but all to no avail, for “Jehovah will bring down his pride, despite the skill of his hands.”

4. What promise is offered to the Christian and how do we receive it? See Isaiah 26:3-4 (printed below)

You will keep him in perfect peace, he whose mind is set on you; because he trusts in you. (4) Trust in Jehovah forever; for Jehovah, Jehovah himself, is an everlasting rock. (Isaiah 26:3-4)

In Isaiah 26:3-4 there is given to us the assurance of “perfect peace” as we place our confidence in the Lord. This peace is the result of having our mind (or, imagination) focused on the Lord, as opposed to worrying about what men may do to us or what might happen to us. So much of our present consternation results from projecting into the future and imagining the worst-case scenario. But this passage instructs us rather to focus on the Lord, taking confidence in the fact that He is the Almighty and that He is our God.

5. What assurance is given to those who are upright (i.e.; those who seek to follow Christ as His disciples?) See Isaiah 26:7 (printed below)

The path of the righteous is level; you who are upright will direct the way of the righteous. (Isaiah 26:7)

In Isaiah 26:7 we are given the assurance that the Lord will direct the path of the righteous: “The path of the righteous is level; you who are upright will direct the way of the righteous.” As we seek to follow Christ He will show us the way, He will show us the right thing to do in a given situation. When we walk with the Lord we can do so with confidence, knowing that the Holy Spirit watches over us and will re-direct our steps when we are in danger of departing from the way that is pleasing to the Lord (note Isaiah 30:21, “with your ears you will hear a voice behind you, saying, This is the way, walk in it.”)