Isaiah was born into the royal family (he was a cousin to the king of Judah). It was during the reign of King Uzziah that his ministry began. A vision of God launched his ministry and stamped his life with deep sense of God's majesty and his own unworthiness. Out of this vision we see a glimmer of the throne of heaven and our own worship is shaped through this vision as we enter alongside the choir of angels and cry, "Holy,Holy,Holy!"
Judea was under constant threat during Isaiah's life. Assyria was on the rise and after their conquering the Northern Kingdom of Israel, this world power had its site set on Judea. Through the miracle of God, Judea was spared. Emerging from further east, Babylon began to develop into a power that would remove Assyria as hegemon and bring Judea to its knees.
In the middle of this turmoil, Isaiah both prophesied hope and judgement. It is within his prophecies of judgment we find this next soundtrack of the Church. Isaiah in previous chapters spoke of judgments purpose, the judgment upon Judea's enemies and eventually Israel's own salvation. In response to the word on judgment, we have a song of faith.
This is the song we sing. It is a song of illumination and four major aspects of illumination are revealed:
1. The commandments of God are light (vs.9). Underneath the rays of the rising sun, Isaiah prays. As the light begins to spread over the grass and hills, it touches each corner burning away the darkness like the morning fog. The heart of Isaiah corresponds to this physical change and his burdens seem lighter in the hope of the day. Out of this experience, he knows the commandments of God have the same effect upon his heart, his nation, and the world.
2. God's peace is upon us (vs. 12). In conjunction with this light, chaos disappears as order and rightness come forth. This peace is not something man can generate. As men, we love order and life functions best when chaos is absent. We try to keep order in place, but it is fluid and often our intentions toward peace have chaotic consequences. Only God can bring lasting peace because it is directed at the human heart from which actions flows.
3.Salvation will be born in us (v. 18). Man will struggle in the fallen world with order and chaos. Death always seems to conquer in spite of our longing to sustain life. We continue this fight. Out of this turmoil and pain will come forth salvation. Like the birth throes of an expectant mother, indescribable joy is delivered through hardship. This is the inescapable truth of the Cross. Resurrection can only come through Crucifixion.
4. The dead shall arise (v. 10,19). Though rare in the pages of the OT, the hope of resurrection is present here. Man is unable through his effort to hold to life, but God brings it forth. Life from death--order from chaos--light from darkness is His work for the creation He loves.
Light, peace, salvation, and resurrection are this refrain of this song of illumination, and we sing in hope and joy.