Wednesday in the Second Week of Advent

Isaiah 26:1-15

We Have a Strong City

There is a fundamental teaching throughout the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.  It is a fundamental principle throughout the Bible which no interpreter can deny without doing violence to it.  And that principle is simply this: There are those who are God’s people and those who are not God’s people.  That’s really the only two groups that matter in all the world.  Those who are God’s people might endure hardship and tribulation, but they are promised an eternal reward.  Those who are not God’s people might experience material wealth but are promised eternal ruin.

Isaiah 26 continues with the theme of the city: “We have a strong city; he sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks.  Open the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in.”  The city is the city of God, and the nation is the people of God, not some earthly city or nation.  Throughout Isaiah, any earthly city is the city of fallen man.  Those who are part of the righteous nation are described as “keeping faith.”  Indeed, verse three is a memory verse for all time: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you.”  Why?  “Because he trusts in you.”  The Lord protects his faithful ones while he lays the exalted city (of man) to the ground.

The righteous are also described as yearning for the Lord and seeking him.  They desire both the Lord and His judgments.  Their paths are level.  That does not mean easy, but that God shows them the way and goes with them.  The wicked (another name for “not God’s people”) are blinded by their own hardness of heart.  The righteous are teachable when God’s judgments are in the earth.  Not so the wicked; they do not learn righteousness.  They do not see God’s hand in the world, or seek to understand what is happening around them through the light of God’s word.

The righteous do not gloat over the wicked.  Oh, they wish to see God’s judgments vindicate both Him and His people.  But they are also aware that “other lords besides you have ruled over us.”  Perhaps earthly lords, perhaps spiritual, but the righteous are always aware of their own infidelities, and that whatever good they have done was the Lord’s work.  These other lords are dead, indeed shades, who will not rise again to rule over the righteous.  The Lord ordains peace over His people and will increase their numbers and enlarge their nation.  Yes, open the gates that the righteous nation may come in.  And may the Lord ever be her bulwark and protection as we keep our minds stayed on Him who keeps us in perfect peace through faith.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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