Hope and assurance. Remembered and not forgotten. Defended and brought freedom. It is no preacher’s hyperbole to say that Isaiah 25 is a glorious word that shakes the core of us all. You’ve been thunderstruck!
God is not far off. The chapter begins emphasizing the personal nearness of God (“O Lord, you are my God”). To stand in the wake of such a revelation is displacing.
The Creator and Righteous Judge of all permits the use of a personal possessive from his creature, condescending to allow us to know him as our God—permitting me to know him as my God. There is an invitation present in this—one neither to be assumed nor missed.
This is not Oz; there is purposefulness behind the curtain. Somehow these “plans formed of old, faithful and sure” also place us in a different relationship to God, my God. The world is not merely spinning on its axis, flying by the seat of its pants. One is reminded of the fantasy worlds of Narnia or Middle-earth, with the ongoing subtext that there are deeper and older plans, faithful and sure, at work. Runes and markers are sometimes discovered, with the perspective developing later that they were not discovered so much as revealed.
Most fully, God has a way of working on mountains. More specifically, God has a purposeful plan “formed of old, faithful and sure” for working on this mountain—note again the particularity. Isaiah 25:6-8 are thunder strikes anticipating Golgotha, where God will “swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever.”
Indeed, from Isaiah’s perspective the covering will be torn in two, from top to bottom. The apostles John and Paul were plainly taken by this word from Isaiah, recognizing that death has met its death in the death of Christ (to borrow a title). Paul has such assurance as to mock death (echoing the words of Hosea) in I Corinthians 15:55:
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
And John states towards the end of the Revelation given to him by the Lord: “…God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more…” (Rev 21:3-4)
Behold, this is our God. Behold, this is your God. Behold, this is my God, and we have beheld his glory, the glory of the death of death in his death on this mountain, full of grace and truth.
The mystery revealed, known before time began has now been made known within time itself: “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known” (John 1:18). And we have hope, assurance, and certainty that we are remembered and not forgotten, that we have been defended and brought freedom.