The Word Made Fresh
1O LORD, you are my God!
I will praise you and lift up your name
for you have done marvelous things,
things planned of old, faithful and sure.
2You have made the fortified city a ruin.
The foreigner’s stronghold is a city no more,
and will never be rebuilt.
3And therefore powerful nations will honor you,
and the cities of ruthless nations will fear you.
4For you have protected the poor.
You have been a refuge to the needy in their distress,
a shelter from the rain and shade from the heat.
For the blast from those who are merciless
was only like a rainstorm in wintertime,
5and their tumult no more than heat in the dry wilderness.
You countered the heat with shade from the clouds,
and the celebration of the ruthless was quieted.
6The LORD Almighty will prepare a feast for all people.
There will be rich food and aged wine on this mountain;
food rich with marrow, and wine strained clear.
7And God will destroy the shroud that covers all peoples.
God will do away with the shroud spread over the nations
and swallow up death forever.
8Then the LORD God will dry the tears from all their faces.
God will take away their disgrace from all the earth,
for that is what the LORD has spoken.
9When that day comes the people will say,
“Yes, this is our God for whom we have waited
so that we might be saved.
This is the LORD for whom we have waited;
let us rejoice in the LORD’s salvation.”
10The LORD’s hand will rest on this mountain.
The Moabites will be trodden down where they stand
like straw in a garbage pit.
11And even though they spread their hands over the midst of it
as swimmers spread their hands to swim,
their pride will be brought down
in spite of the efforts of their hands.
12The high fortifications in their walls will be torn down
and laid low, thrown to the ground and left in the dust.
1-5: Chapter 25 is an abrupt change in tone. This first section is a psalm of praise to God for “making the city a ruin” and for being a refuge to the poor. The city mentioned in verse 2 is unnamed. It could perhaps be Jerusalem, though why Jerusalem should be called a “palace of aliens” is problematic. It could be Dibon, capital of Moab (see verse 10 and 12), in which case this chapter is more properly in the group of oracles against the nations a few chapters back.
6-10a: The prophet sees Jerusalem restored and become the world’s spiritual center, one of the primary themes of Isaiah.
10b-12: Chapter 15 was an oracle against Moab, and this section would be more at home there.
It is hard to understand exactly what Isaiah is seeing in these verses. We can be sure, however, that he is seeing God at work to restore the earth and to restore God’s people on earth. Israel was failed by its kings and officials who led them astray to line their own pockets. But there was always a faithful minority who never turned away from their faith in God. It is up to us who believe to never turn away and be a faithful people through whom God will act to claim and restore the earth.