Isaiah 26

God’s people Israel, banished and driven out by the iniquity of the former times will yet be restored as a nation to God’s favor.
When the Deliverer comes out of Zion,
they will join in the song of all the redeemed,
rejoicing that the days of distress are over and that God has ordained peace on earth forever.

1 In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.

2 Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.

3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

4 Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:

5 ¶ For he bringeth down them that dwell on high; the lofty city, he layeth it low; he layeth it low, even to the ground; he bringeth it even to the dust.

6 The foot shall tread it down, even the feet of the poor, and the steps of the needy.

7 The way of the just is uprightness: thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just.

8 Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee.

9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

10 Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD.

11 LORD, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yea, the fire of thine enemies shall devour them.

12 ¶ LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us.

13 O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name.

14 They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.

15 Thou hast increased the nation, O LORD, thou hast increased the nation: thou art glorified: thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earth.

16 LORD, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them.

17 Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O LORD.

18 We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen.

19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.

20 ¶ Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.

21 For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.

Isaiah 26:1-10 – ​Peace through Steadfast Trust

   No doubt when Babylon fell before Cyrus the Jewish remnant under Ezra and Nehemiah sang this triumphal ode, which contrasts the respective lots of Babylon and Jerusalem. The one is the city of this world and its children; the other the city and home of the saints. The fate of Babylon is delineated in Isaiah 26:5-6; but with what glowing words does the prophet dwell on the blessedness of those who are fellow-citizens with the saints and of the household of God, Ephesians 2:19. Note in Isaiah 26:3, one of God’s double doors against the intrusion on the soul of a single note of alarm or fear. God is everlasting strength, Isaiah 26:4. Our trust should be permanent as His love—forever. The weakest foot may trample on the proudest foe, when God has laid him in the dust. God levels the path of the just. However difficult your path, dare to believe that you are being directed in righteousness God cannot make mistakes. Any other path would be impracticable. Only nurse the desires of your soul for God; they are the result of the promptings and drawings of His Spirit. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Isaiah 26:3—Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee.

​   The Hebrew is very significant. “Perfect peace” is Shalom, shalom. As though the soul dwelt within double doors, like some chambers which we have entered, which had double windows against the noise of the street, and a baize door within the ordinary one to deaden the sound of voices from the next apartment. Understand, dear soul, that it is thy privilege to live inside the double doors of God’s loving care. He says to thee, “Perfect peace.” If one assurance is not enough, He will follow it with a second and a third. The city is strong, the bulwarks and walls are massive, salvation is appointed and prepared; but the gates do not frown with iron or move heavily on hinges of stone, they open musically and gently.
   We remember how, on the evening of his resurrection, our Lord spoke the double peace. Peace, because of his wounds, the peace of the justified; and peace, because He was sending his apostles forth, as the Father had sent Him. The one is the peace of the evening, when we come back to our home, wounded and soiled: the other of the morning, when we dwell in the will of Him who chose our lot and path. His blood and his will—these are the double doors of our peace.
   We must see to it that our mind is stayed on God. It is through our imaginings that we get perturbed and defiled. We anticipate and fancy so many ogres; we harbor such dark forebodings; chambers of imagery are thrown open to such unseemly company; hence our perturbation. Do not imagine, but trust; do not anticipate, but leave God to choose. “Looking forward strains the eyesight; looking upward opens heaven.” —Our Daily Homily

Isaiah 26:11-21 – ​Chastened by Suffering

   When God ordains our peace, a world in arms cannot disturb us. Our peace results from the conviction that God is going before us and preparing our works. But be careful to make mention of His name, that is, to give Him the glory. 
   Do not be afraid of your enemies. When God brings you back from the ends of the earth, He will free you from their toils and snares. Let us, as Isaiah 26:16 suggests, pour out our prayers, as a vessel its contents; though, as the Hebrew signifies, those prayers are but whispers. It is true that apart from God we work no deliverance in the earth, Isaiah 26:18, but when He speaks, even the dead live. Jesus, the resurrection and the life, speaks in Isaiah 26:19. What comfort results to those that dwell in the dust of self-abasement and despair to look up to the ever-living Christ, from whom streams of life-giving energy come to believing hearts! Arise and sing, thou broken heart: even now the stone is being rolled from the door of thy sepulcher; the morning dew is distilling upon thee. Cast out by earth, thou shalt be welcomed by heaven, and sheltered in God’s secret place till the storm-burst has spent itself. —Through the Bible Day by Day