The first four verses of this chapter, while illustrating the gentle and caring nature of the Christ, also sets for the scope of a significant future event: the gentiles will be brought to judgment. (I don’t feel that this is a condemnation of the gentiles or a reference to a future judgments against them as a people.)
Verse 4 talks about the Savior having set judgment in the earth, and the isles waiting for his law. This is what causes me to think that when these verses talk about the gentiles being brought to judgment, what is meant here is that those most removed from God (those not of the house of Israel), are brought to understand the true principles on which they should judge for success in their own lives. Everyone shall be brought to understand how to make good judgments.
I appreciate the grandeur of scope that Isaiah paints in reminding me of the nature of God in verse 5. This is followed by what is primarily a reference to Christ. However, a small part of me feels that this is also a reference to those that are covenanted to serve Christ as we engage in his work. Whether it is Christ or his servants the effects are the same, because it is Christ that does the real heavy lifting regardless.
Verses 10 – 12 talk of the various location and ways in which the people will praise the Lord through songs of praise.
Verses 13-15 illustrate the power of God unto destruction. It is an aspect of his character that I don’t easily associate with a God who is also kind and merciful. Verse 14 gives a sense of his timeline. Just as gardens need peaceful conditions in order to thrive, so has the Lord provided a quiet dwelling space for his “garden”. But seasons end. Destruction is a part of the clean-up process to be able to start over, to start anew.
“Cry as a travailing woman”, “destroy and devour at once.” These are the way that God describes his acts of destruction. “I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs; and I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools.” These are destructive forces. Yet even the fact that God can state exactly what he intends to accomplish in his destruction suggests that this is both controlled and calculated. This is not a God, who in a fit of anger, goes on an uncontrollable rage of destruction that knows no bounds or end. Within the mortal scope of things, it very well could be all-consuming and beyond our bounds of comprehension, but not to God. In a sense, it is simply a matter of scope.
This chapter ends with a discussion of the deaf and blind in spiritual matters. I feel that I am there, perhaps being a little too deaf or blind to the words shared in this last General Conference.
One more day of reading this chapter from top to bottom. Thoughts that impress me again, how gentle is the Lord that he won’t even harm a bruised reed, or the weakest of the weak things of this world. Yet at the same time there are verse in here that talk of sudden destruction, destroying and devouring at once.
This is about the covenant to gather Israel. The Lord would gather his people. He really wants this for his children. He would purge them, cleanse them, compel them to consider his ways, but they remain in blindness, remain deaf. It is a hard thing to fulfill this covenant.