when God throws a Party
When God Throws a Party
“For You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness...the Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain.”
Chapter 25 seems out of place. In the previous chapters, Isaiah’s message is dark and foreboding. Beginning in chapter 13, God gives a series of pronouncements of divine judgment upon all the nations around Israel. The list of nations is a who’s who of the nations mentioned in the Bible, from the smaller nations such as Philistia to the large, powerful countries such as Assyria and Babylon. The tone is set early in chapter 13 as he describes the coming judgment of the Lord as a time when “all hands will fall limp, and every man’s heart will melt” (13:7). This theme of judgment then culminates in the final judgment when God will pour out his judgment upon all the world (chapter 24). In response to these pronouncements, one might expect the concluding words to be more like the Lamentations of Jeremiah. Instead, the litany of God’s judgment results in an anthem of praise and worship.
He begins his anthem by praising God for his sovereign work in history (vs. 1). The singer who wrote this hymn of praise begins by first praising the relational God of grace. He is not singing the praise of some far-off deity who acts in history but remains unconnected to his creation. The songwriter affirms that “You are my God.” He praises God because he is not only a God of justice who will bring judgment upon all unrighteousness, but he is also a God who demonstrates faithful love to his people. Secondly, he praises God for his sovereignty. The affairs of history are not arbitrary events but the outworking of a sovereign God. History is moving towards a predetermined end that God established even before he created the universe.
God’s judgment will result in praise of God as all human strength and pride are destroyed, and people turn from their old ways and glorify God. While God judges the proud and the ruthless, those who are helpless and needy and those who look to God for their deliverance will find God's redemptive salvation (vs. 4-5).
The culmination of history will then be a “Lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain.” Some people throw extravagant parties today with rich foods crafted by the most skilled chiefs in the country. But their parties are nothing compared to the party that God will give at the end of the age, which will serve to celebrate the establishment of his visible and eternal reign on earth. This celebration is in stark contrast with the world's desolation, death, and ruin that comes in chapter 24. It is a picture of blessing, fruitfulness, and prosperity. It will be a time when death will be destroyed, and he will wipe away all tears. When God establishes his reign on the earth, sin will no longer be present, and its devastating effects will no longer be felt. All the things of this present world, tainted by the devastation of sin, will be removed. The result is an eternal joy as we enjoy his presence and new creation.
Today, as we look at ourselves, we are reminded that we live in a broken world. But the present is not the end of the story; it is merely one chapter in the book. God has revealed the final chapter, and it will be when he returns to bring his righteous reign to be eternally present with us. Today we long for that day, but in that final revelation, we will see “the Lord for whom we have waited: let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation” (vs. 9). It that Day, God himself will throw a party that will be unparalleled as we celebrate his salvation.