In every age, in every
man there is an innate desire for perfect peace and
There are times in
history when it seems like our beds are too short,
and our covers are too narrow. Such a time of crisis
was the Syro-Ephramitic War in 735-732 B. C., and
the final sacking of Samaria by the Assyrians in 722
B. C. Those were turbulent times in the whole
Mediterranean world. The people of Judah were filled
with panic, and the kings were faithless. The people
longed for peace and security. By the late eighth
century B. C., many leaders advocated a military and
political treaty with Egypt.
The king's cabinet
advised going down to Egypt for help against
Assyria, relying on their chariots of war, and not
looking "to the Holy One of Israel, nor seeking His
help." In sharp contrast Isaiah declared, there will
be a King whose reign will be characterized as
righteous (Isaiah 31:1; 32:1). God will draw a
sword, "And the Assyrians will fall by a sword not
of man, and a sword not of man will devour him"
(31:8). King Sennacherib of Assyria died at his home
twenty years after the LORD God destroyed his army.
Yahweh is sovereign over Israel and the nations.
In Isaiah chapter
thirty-two, the prophet writes, "Behold, a king will
reign righteously, and princes will rule justly."
The passage is much debated by scholars as to its
messianic value. Many regard its "Messianic
implications" as legitimate, however. It may be
styled a Messianic prophecy because of the
application of the principles of righteousness by
the King. Isaiah is not thinking of the person of
the Messiah alone as he does in 9:5ff and 11:1ff .
However, the King's righteous reign is the very
embodiment of God with His people. This ruler will
be like a "shade" in a parched land, a "refuge" from
the wind, a "shelter from the storm," and "stream of
water in a dry country" (vv. 1-2).
The imagery in Isaiah
thirty-two is Messianic. Even kings Ahaz and
Hezekiah do not rise to the occasion. Isaiah has
described judgment and punishment in chapter
thirty-one. In sharp contrast, in this chapter he
speaks of righteousness issuing in peace.
In chapter thirty-two the
government is righteous as opposed to the
unrighteousness of the kings of Judah. He is
describing the character of a messianic government.
No one but the Messiah King can rule in a complete
state of righteousness. The Messianic kingdom is in
view because of the sharp contrasts with the
government in Isaiah's day.
The whole administration
of this King will act according to righteousness.
Even the "princes" under his administration will
"rule justly" (v. 1). They will apply the principles
of righteousness to the individual cases. They will
be the kind of rulers God wants them to be. In the
truest sense of the word it will be a "Davidic
government" as described in Isaiah 9:6-7; 11:1-5,
and He is a divinely appoint king (2 Samuel
The emphasis here is not
on the personality of the ruler as in previous
passages in Isaiah, but the character of His
government. It is of such a character that it can
belong to no one but the Messiah. It characterizes
His perfect righteous rule over His people. His
government will be the opposite of what Isaiah has
been describing in Judah. Boldly Isaiah says,
"Behold the King!"
This King will be a
protection for His people (v. 2).
Verse two is full of
vivid detail. He writes, "Refuge from the wind,"
"shelter from the storm," "streams of water" in the
desert, "shade of a huge rock in a parched land" (v.
2). This is not a selfish king looking out for his
own skin. He cares about His people and watches over
them. He provides protection for people.
He is not obsessed about
His legacy. He has an eternal future because He is
righteous and He rules in righteousness.
will be removed from the people's hearts (v. 3).
Verse three is in sharp
contrast with 29:10. The time of spiritual hardness
and blindness will be over. No longer will their
eyes, ears and hearts be hardened as in Isaiah
6:9-10. People will turn to the Lord. They will have
the ability to discern spiritual truth (v. 4). "The
mind of the hasty will discern the truth." No longer
will the teachers stammer, but they will speak
clearly the truth. What a contrast this is to
governments in our day. "No longer will the fool be
called noble, or the rogue be spoken of as generous"
(v. 5, cf. vv. 6-8). This king will not look into
the eye of the TV camera and lie every time He opens
Look at the negative
contrast in verses six and seven. Can you imagine
having a fool as a president? When the King comes
there will be no more fake, sham or facades (v. 5).
We are reminded that "righteousness exalts a
nation." However, unrighteous rulers destroy it.
"Fools" rule in unrighteousness.
How will He
accomplish such an awesome task?
Verses 15-20 tells us it
will not be by human means, but by the power of God.
Judgment will come first (vv. 9-14). Salvation does
not come "until the Spirit is poured out upon us
from on high . . . " (v. 15). The idea is the Spirit
of God will be "poured out" in generous bestowal.
The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament is an index of
divine power. Isaiah sees a new flux of divine power
upon the ruler. The spirit will achieve great things
in the latter days.
There is a progressive
understanding of the Spirit of God in the Old
Testament. The empowering presence of the Holy
Spirit became a central facet of the Old Testament.
It begins, Isaiah says,
when "the wilderness becomes a fertile field" (v.
15b). There will be abundance. "The fertile field is
considered as a forest" (v. 15c).
Moreover, it also speaks
to the moral and social needs (v. 16). The Spirit of
God is revolutionary. You cannot remain the same and
be under the control of the Holy Spirit. He brings
about radical changes from the inside out. He brings
blessings to God's people. Isaiah depicts the work
of the Spirit as bringing about a new creation
(24:18; 31:3; 44:3). The work of the Spirit of God
is so revolutionary that He alone can restore what
the depravity of sin has destroyed.
The Spirit enables the
Messiah to rule with righteousness (v. 16). Justice
and righteousness are the gifts of God. Jesus Christ
was the perfectly Spirit-controlled man. "The Holy
Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a
dove. . . And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit,
returned from the Jordan and was led about by the
Spirit in the wilderness. . . . And Jesus returned
to Galilee in the power of the Spirit. . . " (Luke
3:22; 4:1, 13). His whole life and ministry was
always under the control of the Spirit of God.
What will be the result
of this righteousness? Peace, perfect peace. "And
the service of righteousness, quietness and
confidence forever" (v. 17). The only way we can
ever have peace in our world is through God's
righteousness. Only when Jesus Christ rules in
righteousness do we experience inner peace. Only
when He returns as Prince of peace will our world
experience everlasting peace.
"Then my people . . . "
(v. 18-20). The Holy Spirit produces righteousness
and the result is peace. Peace comes through
righteousness alone. When the heart is filled with
righteousness, there will be peace. A heart full of
sin is not full of peace. It is turbulent. When you
have that combination, you have perfect, everlasting
Is Isaiah describing
God's people as the sheep of His pasture in verse
eighteen? He uses a term that denotes a pasture. The
Good Shepherd provides for God's sheep. His people
dwell in a restful pasture (Psalm 23). "My people
will live in a peaceful habitation. And in secure
dwellings and in undisturbed resting places" (Isaiah
32:18). God's people will dwell in perfect peace.
The imagery is powerful: "peaceful habitation,"
"secure dwellings," and "undisturbed resting
places." What a contrast this is to the "hail" of
judgment described in verse nineteen.
Like Israel, we too, are
tempted to put our trust in "short beds and narrow
sheets" on a cold winter night. We are advised to
trust in military alliances, materialism, humanism,
scientific advances and technology, a strong central
government, paternalism and if you are religious,
It is only when we come
to the end of ourselves and acknowledge God's right
to rule our lives that we can experience the divine
empowerment for righteousness
There is only one source
of security in an insecure world. It is found in the
Prince of peace who reigns in righteousness.
When Jesus Christ, the
Righteous King reigns, there is perfect peace.
Even so, come Lord Jesus.
Claim A Free Gift for You
Title: Isaiah 32 A
Kingdom of Righteousness
Christ in the Old Testament