This is a Bible study on Isaiah 26:20-27:13.

6 pages.

Isaiah 26:20-27:13 - Two Things a Christian Can Expect from the LORD

Read Isaiah 26:20- 27:13.


Some time ago a T.V. news program featured a segment on the subject of cosmetic surgery performed on children. The story was about a cosmetic surgeon who devoted his practice to helping children who had been born with distorted facial features. Pictures of the children before cosmetic surgery were compared with pictures taken after surgery—those pictures displayed a wonderful transformation in their appearance.

During the course of this human-interest story some filming of the actual surgical procedure was also shown; it revealed the work to be both painstaking as well as painful. But we have to bear in mind that it was done in love, it was done for the good of the children, and the final result was well worth the price. In a sense, that cosmetic surgeon had entered into a covenant, one in which he had dedicated himself to the well-being of those poor, deformed children.

As one watched and listened to this story about the cosmetic surgeon and his special ministry to children born with deformed features, one might well be impressed by the comparison between his physical ministry to such children and our LORD’s spiritual ministry to His people. This spiritual ministry of reforming and perfecting His people, preparing us for glory, is displayed for us here in Isaiah 26-27. As we study this passage of Scripture let us consider what we, as the LORD’s covenant people, can expect from our gracious LORD.

You Can Expect the LORD to Discipline Your Life🔗

Verses 7-8 of Isaiah 27 describe the disciplining/reforming work of God—the “cosmetic surgery” on the soul—that the LORD performs in the lives of His people. Verse seven contrasts the disciplining work of God carried on in the lives of His children with the way the LORD finally deals with those who remain in their sins and their hostility toward their God: “Has [the LORD] struck [His people] the way he struck those [enemies] who struck them?” The LORD shall visit His enemies with a judgment that, when it finally comes, shall be total and result in their condemnation. It is a judgment that shall come upon them because of their enmity against their God and their oppression of His people; they are described as having struck God’s people. But the LORD visits His people with a chastening/disciplining that is intended to result in our sanctification; i.e. our conformity to the image of Christ our Savior.

Verse 8a indicates that the LORD’s chastening of His people is carefully measured out, literally, “in measure by measure.” The LORD administers nothing less than what is needed, but nothing more than what is required. Verse 8b indicates that at times the LORD may, indeed, find it necessary to administer a severe measure of chastening/discipline: “you drive them away, and so you contend with them—with his fierce blast he drives them out, like a day when the east wind blows.” The imagery is that of the LORD bringing a severe and devastating storm against His people, one that sweeps them away from their present state of complacency and commitment to their sins. These severe measures are required on those occasions when a child of God knows he is doing wrong, knows that God is calling him to repent, and yet he continues to stubbornly persist in his sin.

Verse eight indicates that the LORD’s chastening/disciplining is a form of contending with us: “you contend with them.” It is a very real striving against us as we clutch tightly to our sins and thus set ourselves in opposition to God. As the Apostle James teaches, “do you not realize that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” (Jas. 4:4).

But at the same time, the LORD’s chastening is also a very real striving for us with the intention of pulling us out of our sinful actions and pulling such attitudes out of us, note Psalm 32:4a, 5, “day and night your hand was heavy upon me... 5Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover my iniquity. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the LORD, and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” Here is David’s testimony as the LORD contended with him until David confessed his sin and returned to the LORD his God. Are you presently engaged in such a struggle of soul with the LORD? If so, what do you need to do? The hymn writer, Eliza E. Hewitt, provides the answer:

'Give me thy heart,' says the Savior of men,
Calling in mercy again and again.

'Turn now from sin, and from evil depart,
Will I not help thee? Give me thy heart.'

Verse nine once again emphasizes the intention and purpose of this disciplining/chastening work of the LORD: “Therefore, by [these measures] shall the iniquity of Jacob be removed.” The Hebrew word, כּרַפ, usually meaning, “to cover,” or “to forgive,” in the Pual form also contains the meaning, “to remove.” The LORD lovingly administers discipline in order to save us from those actions and attitudes that will exclude us from His everlasting presence and condemn us to hell. This is in keeping with the warning contained in Revelation 21:27, “there shall by no means enter into it [i.e. the kingdom of God] anything unclean.” The LORD disciplines us for our profit, “so that we may share in his holiness” (Heb. 12:10b).

Verse 9b indicates how we may tell when the chastening work of the LORD has accomplished its intended purpose, “[Jacob] will make all the stones of the altar to become like chalk stones that have been crushed to pieces.” Jacob, (the nation of Judah is being presented under the singular name of their forefather, the patriarch Jacob), is portrayed as pulverizing the stones of his idolatrous altars, reducing them to powder. Consequently, as a result of Jacob “pulverizing the stones” of his idolatrous altars, “No Asherah poles or sun images will be left standing.”

The pointing being made is that there is a true and total forsaking of his sins, a total forsaking of those things that provoke the LORD to anger. Thus, the evidence that the LORD’s chastening work has achieved its desired result is repentance and reformation in the lives of His people. Note: We might say that after the initial work of “pulverizing” our sins, there is a lot of “debris” to be cleaned up. The work of sanctification, the repentance of sin and conformity to the image of Christ, is an ongoing, lifelong activity; an activity that requires our dependence upon the Holy Spirit, note Romans 8:13, “if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”

Verses 10-11 now contrast the chastening of the LORD’s people with the final punishment of the unrepentant sinner. His chastening ultimately produces the response of repentance and change in the lives of His people (vs. 9b). But upon “a people who have no understanding” (vs. 11), the LORD finally executes judgment, total and devastating.

Verse ten again employs the imagery of a fortified city that has been conquered and left as desolate as a wilderness: the cattle now come and eat the foliage of this wilderness, causing the boughs of the trees to wither and break off; then the women come and gather up the dry sticks for firewood—so total and devastating is the final judgment of God upon sinful mankind.

Verse eleven gives the reason for this devastating judgment: “because they are a people who have no understanding.” The Hebrew word, בִּין , which has the meaning, “to understand,” also has the meaning, “to discern,” “to mark,” “to heed/to pay attention.” The point is that God’s judgment is falling upon a people who are incorrigible and undiscerning, they refuse to recognize that the temporal judgments of God are intended to lead them to repentance, they stubbornly persist in their sins until they are finally consigned by God to final judgment, note Romans 2:4-5, you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness [is intended to] lead you to repentance? 5But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself on the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.

Because of His covenant faithfulness, you can expect the LORD to discipline your life. God disciplines those whom He loves with a fatherly love, as Hebrews 12:5-6a informs us, “you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: My son, do not take lightly the LORD’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6because the LORD disciplines those whom he loves.”

Those who love Him respond to His discipline and yield to it. When it is necessary for the LORD to exercise such discipline in our lives, let us recognize His purpose, as expressed in Ephesians 5:25­-27, “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26in order to make her holy... 27and present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless,” May we allow the divine chastening to have its intended result, namely, that of repentance and change from sinful behavior and lifestyle to godliness.

You Can Expect the LORD to Preserve Your Soul🔗

In Isaiah 27:2, using the imagery of a vineyard, the LORD reveals His final purpose for His people, namely, that we should become “a vineyard [that produces] wine.” Just as a well-cultivated vineyard finally produces a bountiful harvest of grapes from which is made an abundance of quality wine, so the LORD shall cause our lives to be finally and eternally filled with the good fruit of His Holy Spirit, as that fruit is defined in Galatians 5:22-23, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23gentleness and self-control.” The Hebrew text literally reads: “On that day, a vineyard of wine—sing of it!” The terse language conveys a sudden, surprising and delightful final result; Christ's careful, painstaking work of sanctifying His church shall finally produce the blessed result of presenting to Himself a beautiful bride.

In verse three the LORD publicly pledges His protective care and provision for His "vineyard" (i.e. His people), “I, the LORD, am its caretaker; I will water it continually. I will guard it day and night so that no one can harm it.” As a Christian, you can have confidence in the LORD’s promises of His watchful care and faithfulness:

The LORD will preserve you from all evil, he will guard your soul. 8The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psl. 121:7-8

...he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ.Phil. 1:6

In verse 4a the LORD publicly proclaims the state of peace that exists between Himself and His "vineyard" (i.e. His people): “I am not angry.” The LORD has no wrath against His people; note Romans 8:1, “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” This statement of Isaiah 27:4 all the more underscores the fact that our LORD’s work of chastening is done from the fatherly motive of love, it is not done from the perspective of administering punitive judgment.

In contrast to this proclamation of peace between Himself and His people, in verses 4b-5 the LORD issues both a challenge and invitation to those who continue in their sins as His enemies: “I wish that the briers and thorns would confront me in battle!” Speaking of those who oppose Him and pose a threat to the life and well-being of His “vineyard,” the LORD challenges them to exert themselves, so that He may root them out and consume them.

But then He goes on to declare, “[If they will not confront me in battle], then let them come to me for refuge” (vs. 5). Instead of fighting against God, the alternative is to make peace with Him. Those who oppose Him are invited to take refuge in Him; rather than have His omnipotent strength operate against them in judgment, they are invited to have that great strength operate for their salvation. The terms of peace with God are complete and unconditional surrender to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Turning back to the LORD’s "vineyard," and speaking from the perspective of the present, the promise is made, “In days to come Jacob shall take root, Israel shall bud and blossom; and they will fill the whole world with fruit” (vs. 6). “Jacob shall take root;” as opposed to the “thorns” that are uprooted, the people of God shall be “planted” in the LORD’s land—and in the LORD’s life, and be firmly established. “Israel shall bud and blossom;” interpreting this symbolic language in terms of New Testament fulfillment, those who are “rooted” into Christ have His life dwelling in them, and by His Spirit they are spiritually alive and budding with the fruit of His Holy Spirit. “They shall fill the whole world with fruit.” On the day of the LORD’s coming at the end of the age, the day of the inauguration of His kingdom in its fullest measure, the children of God shall be filled with the fruit of righteousness unto the glory of God our Father.

For our assurance the LORD reveals the fact that at last He will gather His people unto Himself:

On that day the LORD will do his threshing from the overflowing [Euphrates] River to the Wadi of Egypt; and you, O children of Israel, shall be gathered up one by one. 13On that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were about to perish in Assyria and those who were exiles in the land of Egypt shall come and shall worship the LORD on the holy mountain at Jerusalem. Isa. 27:12-13

As verse eight indicated, in chastening His people, the LORD would drive them away. Such was the experience of the Old Testament people of God: Israel was scattered by the Assyrians; Judah was deported by the Babylonians. At times the same may also be the spiritual experience of the individual Christian, note 1 Corinthians 5:1-5,

...someone has his father’s wife And you are arrogant! Should you not rather be grieved, so that he who has done this thing might be removed from your fellowship? 3Though I am not present physically, yet being present by the Spirit, I have already judged him who has done this thing, just as though I were present [with you]. 4When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, [I exhort you], by the power of our Lord Jesus, 5to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of his sinful nature, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord Jesus.

The Apostle Paul’s counsel is for the church to remove this professing Christian who insisted on living in sin without repentance; the intention of this measure was to bring him to repentance and restoration.

But now verse twelve of Isaiah 27 foretells the day when the LORD will re-gather His people to Himself. The imagery is that of the farmer threshing his grain and then gathering the kernels one by one!—depicting the LORD’s tender care for each one of His redeemed children in Christ, and His painstaking effort to guarantee that each one is preserved and brought safely into His everlasting kingdom. We may take comfort from our Lord’s assurance offered in John 6:37-40,

All whom the Father gives me will come to me; and he who comes to me I will by no means reject; 38for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. 39And this is the will of him who sent me, namely, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but should raise it up at the last day. 40My Father’s will is that every one that beholds the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

As verse thirteen indicates, this re-gathering shall not be merely to the land, but to the LORD Himself; i.e. a true restoration to the LORD:

On that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were about to perish in Assyria and those who were exiles in the land of Egypt shall come and shall worship the LORD on the holy mountain at Jerusalem.

The point being made is that the LORD is faithful to His own, and will save them to the uttermost. He will chastise them when needed, but He will not forsake them. He will do all that is necessary to accomplish our salvation, prepare us to share in His glory, and finally bring us into that final state unto the praise of His great Name.

As a Christian, you can expect the LORD to preserve your soul and to finally gather you into His everlasting kingdom.


The cosmetic surgeon mentioned in the Introduction dedicated himself to the task of helping children born with distorted facial features, employing his expertise to correct and refashion their features into beautiful, smiling faces.

So all the more has the LORD committed Himself to those people who have placed their faith in Jesus, employing His divine expertise to reform and refashion us into the very likeness and beauty of Christ Jesus our Savior.

Discussion Questions🔗

  1. What does the LORD command His people to do (Isa. 26:20); what is He about to do? See Isa. 26:21. The Assyrian invasion of Judah and her surrounding neighbors is being viewed as a type of the Final Judgment; during this perilous time, were God’s people exempt from this calamity? Note Isa. 10:24. Are Christians exempt from the calamities and temporal judgments the LORD inflicts upon this sinful world? Note Jn. 16:33b,

Come, my people, enter into your rooms and shut the doors behind you. Hide yourselves for a little while, until his indignation has passed over. 21Look! The LORD is coming out of his dwelling place in order to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity. The earth shall uncover the blood [it has absorbed], and shall no longer conceal its slain. Isa. 26:20-21

Therefore, this is what the Lord, the LORD of hosts, says, O my people, who dwell in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrian, even though he may beat you with a rod and lift up a club against you, like Egypt [did to your forefathers]... Isa. 10:24

The LORD employed the Assyrian invasion as a means of disciplining His recalcitrant people.

I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation. But have courage; I have overcome the world. Jn. 16:33

  1. Contrast the glorious promise of Isaiah 26:19 with the command the LORD gives His people in Isaiah 26:20. As a Christian, do you understand that the great promises of God do not exempt you from trials, but are meant to sustain you in the midst of trials? Cp. Lk. 12:32 with Acts 14:21-22,

Your dead shall live; their corpses shall rise. Wake up and shout for joy, you who lie in the dust, for your dew is like the dew of the morning, and the earth shall give birth to the dead. 20Come, my people, enter into your rooms and shut the doors behind you. Hide yourselves for a little while, until his indignation has passed over. Isa. 26:19-20

Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Lk. 12:32

Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and [testifying], 'Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.' Acts 14:21-22

  1. Of what duration is this time of tribulation during which the LORD’s people must take shelter in their “rooms”? See Isa. 26:20b. What does the Apostle Paul tell us about the period of earthly tribulation we as Christians must endure? See 2 Cor. 4:17. As Christians, what must be our perspective? See 2 Cor. 4:18,

Come, my people, enter into your rooms and shut the doors behind you. Hide yourselves for a little while, until his indignation has passed over. Isa. 26:20

...our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18while we do not focus on the things that are seen, but on the things that are not seen; for the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal. 2 Cor. 4:17-18

  1. Projecting forward to the Last Judgment, (of which the Assyrian invasion was a temporal and partial precursor), against whom do we find the LORD carrying out His righteous judgment? See Isa. 27:1. Whom does “Leviathan the fleeing serpent” poetically represent? Note Rev. 12:9a. How does the N.T. depict the final and eternal destiny of the devil? Note Rev. 20:10. When was the victory over the devil accomplished, and by whom? Note Jn. 12:31 and Col. 2:15,

On that day, the LORD with his fierce and great and mighty sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the coiled serpent. [The LORD] will slay the monster that is in the sea. Isa. 27:1

The enormous dragon was flung down, the ancient serpent, he who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. He was flung down to the earth, and his angels were flung down with him. Rev. 12:9

The devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet also are. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Rev. 20:10

As the Lord Jesus anticipates the cross of Calvary, He declares, Now has come the judgment of this world; now the prince of this world shall be cast out. Jn. 12:31

Having disarmed principalities and powers, [Christ] made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by [the cross]. Col. 2:15

  1. Contrast the LORD’s vineyard (an image representing His people) as it is described in Isaiah 5:1­ 2, 7 with the way it shall appear on the Last Day (Isa. 27:2). What encouragement does this give us as Christians? How will this good fruit be produced in the lives of God’s people? See Jn. 15:1, 4­ 5,

I will sing for my beloved a song about his vineyard. My beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. 2He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress. Then he looked for it to produce a crop of good grapes, but it only produced wild grapes... 7The vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his choice plant. He looked for justice, but he found oppression; he expected righteousness, but [he heard the] cries of distress. Isa. 5:1-2, 7

On that day [there shall be] a vineyard [that produces] wine—sing about it! Isa. 27:2

1I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener... 4Abide in me, and I [will abide] in you. The branch cannot bear fruit by itself, it must abide in the vine; so neither can you [bear fruit], unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine, you are the branches. The one who abides in me and I in him, he is the one who bears much fruit; for apart from me you can do nothing.Jn. 15:1, 4-5

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