Today Isaiah announces God’s ultimate judgment against the nations – “For the indignation of the Lord is against all nations, and His fury against all their armies: He has utterly destroyed them, He has given them over to the slaughter… For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance. The year of recompense for the cause of Zion.” The Lord has set a future date when He will serve justice against all the evil in the world. Jesus will later say, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be” (Matthew 24:21). During the great tribulation, there will be unparalleled disaster upon the land and the people, which is described in detail at the end of the story in the Book of Revelation.
Isaiah declares that his prophecy is true and will absolutely happen – “Search from the book of the Lord, and read: Not one of these shall fail.” That is why Jesus will later say, “For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:35-36).
Isaiah says, “A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness… But the redeemed shall walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” Jesus will later declare that He is the Highway of Holiness – “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Charles Spurgeon describes the Highway to Holiness as the all time greatest accomplishment – “Engineering has done much to tunnel mountains, and bridge abysses; but the greatest triumph of engineering is that which made a way from sin to holiness, from death to life, from condemnation to perfection. Who could make a road over the mountains of our iniquities but Almighty God? None but the Lord of love would have wished it; none but the God of wisdom could have devised it; none but the God of power could have carried it out.”
Today we also hear from Micah who declares judgment against Judah’s wicked wealthy oppressors and false prophets. He also calls out the leaders for perverting justice – “Now hear this, you heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel, who abhor justice and pervert all equity, who build up Zion with bloodshed and Jerusalem with iniquity: her heads judge for a bribe, her priests teach for pay, and her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the Lord, and say, ‘Is not the Lord among us? No harm can come upon us.’ Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed like a field, Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins, and the mountain of the temple like the bare hills of the forest.” The leaders falsely believe that no harm will come to them or their city because of their proximity to the temple of the Lord. However, they are wrong.
Micah tells Judah that Babylon will invade Jerusalem and take them off into captivity, but the Lord would eventually deliver them – “And to Babylon you shall go. There you shall be delivered; There the Lord will redeem you from the hand of your enemies.” So Israel will be judged and humbled by other nations, but out of this lowly nation, the Lord will bring forth the Savior, the Ruler Jesus Christ – “‘But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.’ Therefore He shall give them up, until the time that she who is in labor has given birth; then the remnant of His brethren shall return to the children of Israel. And He shall stand and feed His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God; and they shall abide, for now He shall be great to the ends of the earth; and this One shall be peace.”
Paul will later say that Jesus is our peace because through Him we are reconciled to the Father – “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father” (Ephesians 2:14-18).
Jesus Christ is coming later in the story. He will humbly be born in a barn in Bethlehem just as the Lord planned all along. Jesus will willingly fulfill the work of our salvation, creating a Highway to Holiness; because we have a Lord of love who through His wisdom and by His power is making a way to redeem His people. Keep reading. (Isaiah 34:1-35:10, Micah 2:1-5:15)