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David Guzik :: Study Guide for Isaiah 12

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Words from a Worshipper

A. The worshipper speaks to the LORD.

1. (Isa 12:1) Praise to the LORD after His anger has passed.

And in that day you will say: "O LORD, I will praise You; though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.

a. And in that day you will say: Isaiah chapter 11 spoke powerfully of the reign of the Messiah as king over all the earth. This brief chapter of praise comes from the heart of the one that has surrendered to the Messiah as king, and enjoys the benefits of His reign.

b. O LORD, I will praise You; though You were angry with me: The worshipper decides to praise the LORD, even though he has felt the LORD's anger against him.

i. Under the New Covenant, does God get angry with us? There is a sense in which all the anger and wrath of God against us was poured out upon the Son of God on the cross. In this sense, there is no more anger from God towards us, because His anger has been "exhausted." But there is also a sense in which we receive chastening or discipline from the LORD, which certainly feels like His anger. This chastening feels unpleasant (Hebrews 11:11), but it really shows the fatherly love of God instead of His hatred.

c. Your anger is turned away: How glorious when the anger of God is turned away! In the larger sense, His anger is turned away because of what Jesus did on the cross. Jesus put Himself in between us and the anger of the LORD, and receiving that anger in Himself, He turned away God's anger!

i. In the sense of God's chastening or discipline in our lives, how wonderful it is when His anger is turned away, and "spanking" stops!

d. And You comfort me: God disciplines us as a perfect parent, knowing perfectly how to comfort us after we have been chastened. Sometimes, like rebellious children, we refuse the comfort of God after discipline, but that is always our fault, not His.

i. "Satan also tempts us by all methods, and employs every expedient to compel us to despair. We ought, therefore, to be fortified by this doctrine, that, though we feel the anger of the Lord, we may know that it is of short duration, and that we shall be comforted as soon as he has chastened us." (Calvin)

2. (Isa 12:2) A declaration of thanks and confidence in the LORD.

Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; 'For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.'"

a. Behold: The worshipper wants others to see what he says is true. He is excited about what God has done in his life, and invites all to behold the work of the LORD.

b. God is my salvation: This is salvation! To say God is my salvation is also to say, "I am not my salvation. My good works, my good intentions, my good thoughts do not save me. God is my salvation."

i. Many don't ever feel the need for salvation. Instead, they think their lives are fine, and come to God for a little help when they feel they need it. But they never see themselves as drowning men in need of rescue, or see themselves as hell-destined sinners in need of salvation.

ii. The worshipper is so immersed in this idea that he repeats it in the same verse: God is my salvation … He also has become my salvation.

c. I will trust and not be afraid: This peace and security comes from knowing that God is my salvation. When we are our own salvation, it is hard to trust and not be afraid in ourselves. But when God is our salvation, we can trust and not be afraid.

i. Paul repeats the same idea when he writes in Romans 5:1: Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. The place of peace and trust and "no fear" comes only from seeing our salvation in God, and not in ourselves.

d. I will trust and not be afraid: This is a confident statement reflecting the will of the worshipper. He is deciding to trust and not be afraid. There are feelings of trust, but that is different than the decision to trust. We can say to our will, "I will trust and not be afraid."

i. "Hearken, O unbeliever, you have said, 'I cannot believe,' but it would be more honest if you had said, 'I will not believe.' The mischief lies there. Your unbelief is your fault, not your misfortune. It is a disease, but it is also a crime: it is a terrible source of misery to you, but it is justly so, for it is an atrocious offense against the God of truth. (Spurgeon)

ii. "The talk about trying to believe is a mere pretence. But whether pretence or no, let me remind you that there is no text in the Bible which says, 'Try and believe,' but it says 'Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.' He is the Son of God, he has proved it by his miracles, he died to save sinners, therefore trust him; he deserves implicit trust and child-like confidence. Will you refuse him these? Then you have maligned his character and given him the lie." (Spurgeon)

e. For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and my song: The LORD is not only the worshipper's salvation, He is also his strength and song. Some find it easier to consider the LORD their salvation in a distant "bye-and-bye" sense than to take Him today as their strength and song.

i. When the LORD is our strength, it means that He is our resource, He is our refuge. We look to Him for our needs, and are never unsatisfied. "Nor is he here called a part or an aid of our strength, but our complete strength; for we are strong, so far as he supplies us with strength." (Calvin)

ii. When the LORD is our song, it means that He is our joy, He is our happiness. We find our purpose and life in Him, and He never disappoints.

iii. "The word Yah read here is probably a mistake; and arose originally from the custom of the Jewish scribes, who, when they found a line too short for the word, wrote as many letters as filled it, and then began the next line with the whole word." (Clarke)

3. (Isa 12:3) The result of the salvation of the LORD.

Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

a. You will draw water from the wells of salvation: Jesus promised us whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:14) We can come to Jesus and draw water from the wells of salvation!

i. When we remember the semi-arid climate of Israel, we see what a beautiful picture the wells of salvation paint. When water is rare, a well is life. To have a place where you can continually come and draw forth to meet your need is a precious gift.

ii. The LORD's resource is not limited. There is not one well of salvation. There are many wells of salvation. This doesn't mean that there are many ways to be saved. All of the wells draw forth from the same reservoir of salvation, Jesus Christ. But many wells can bring water from the same water table.

b. This means there is something for us to do: You will draw water. God's doesn't meet our needs as we sit in passive inactivity. We must reach out and draw forth what He has provided. At the same time, it is His water, His well, His rope, and His bucket that we draw with!

c. Therefore with joy: Because it is all of the LORD, we draw from the wells of salvation with joy. There should be no somber faces at the LORD's well of salvation. We draw water with joy!

i. "Joy is the just man's portion, and Christ is the never-failing fountain whence by a lively faith he may infallibly fetch it." (Trapp)

ii. "Be of good courage, you very, very timid ones, and alter your tone. Try to put a 'Selah' into your life, as David often did in his Psalms. Frequently, he put in a 'Selah,' and then he changed the key directly. In like manner, change the key of your singing; you are a great deal too low. Let the harp-strings be screwed up a bit, and let us have no more of these fiat, mournful notes. Give us some other key, please, and begin to say, with the prophet Isaiah, 'O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust, and not be afraid.'" (Spurgeon)

B. The worshipper declares the greatness of God to everyone.

1. (Isa 12:4) Exalting God among the peoples.

And in that day you will say: "Praise the LORD, call upon His name; declare His deeds among the peoples, make mention that His name is exalted."

a. Praise the LORD, call upon His name: This is an exhortation to praise, and an encouragement to worship the LORD and trust in Him. The worshipper has received from the wells of salvation, and now that living water is flowing out of him, encouraging others to worship and trust in the LORD.

i. It is as if the job of praising God is too big for this worshipper, and he needs to call in others to help him. "The saints are unsatisfiable in praising God for the great work of their redemption, and do therefore call in help, all that may be." (Trapp)

b. Declare His deeds … Make mention that His name is exalted: The worshipper can't stop talking about God's greatness and the great things He has done.

2. (Isa 12:5-6) Singing praise to the LORD.

"Sing to the LORD, for He has done excellent things; this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!"

a. Sing to the LORD: First, the LORD was the song of the worshipper (Isaiah 12:2). Now, he sings this song of the LORD to whoever will listen! If the LORD has become your song, then sing it!

b. Cry out and shout: This is excited praise! We should all abhor the artificial, "Let's-whip-them-up-into-a-manufactured-enthusiasm" kind of worship. But if our worship will never cry out and shout, there is something lacking in it.

i. "We ought not to worship God in a half-hearted sort of way; as if it were now our duty to bless God, but we felt it to be a weary business, and we would get it through as quickly as we could, and have done with it; and the sooner the better. No, no; 'All that is within me, bless his holy name.' Come, my heart, wake up, and summon all the powers which wait upon thee! Mechanical worship is easy, but worthless. Come rouse yourself, my brother! Rouse thyself, O my own soul!" (Spurgeon)

c. For great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst: This gives two reasons for great praise. First, because of who God is: the Holy One of Israel. Second, because of where God is: in your midst. Each of these gives everyone reason to praise God!

© 2001 David Guzik - No distribution beyond personal use without permission

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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