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"A king shall reign...a man shall be..." (Is 32.1-4)

R Dawes, Pamber Heath

After the woes of the previous chapters there is now the promise of blessings to comfort and inspire hope, when all seemed lost. The millennial Kingdom is in view when Israel’s troubles will be over. There is much in these verses to encourage us in our day as well. Spiritual ignorance, immorality, and idolatry prevail in society; complacency and apathy generally characterise the people of God, but divine purposes are unfolding and we must not lose heart. These verses will lift our flagging spirits.


"Behold." This arresting word suggests something important and immediately introduces a king and a man, as one person. A king is referred to: "Mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts" (Is 6.5). This King is divine (see also 33.17), but He is also human; the king of Psalm 45 is "fairer than the children of men" (v.2 - see also Zechariah 9.9; 13.7). Isaiah by the Spirit is looking forward to the coming of Messiah, the king of Israel. The Lord Jesus combines deity and humanity, majesty and meekness, authority and sympathy, greatness and gentleness, holiness and humility in His glorious person. Observe John 19.14: "Behold your king", and, "Behold the man" (Jn 19.5).


"A king shall reign in righteousness", stresses the certainty and equity of His rule. God says, "I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion" (Ps 2.6); and we have the divine assurance that "he must reign" (1 Cor 15.25). God’s man will fulfil God’s requirements, "He that ruleth over men must be just" (2 Sam 23.3). This principle applies to leaders today. They must be examples of probity and integrity before they can expect respect and acknowledgement; indeed we should all be passionate in our pursuit of righteousness. Christ is described as intrinsically just and holy. His rule will likewise be inflexibly righteous; a world free at last from crime, corruption, and injustice. "The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places" (32.17-18). Praise Him!


We rejoice in anticipation of millennial glory when sin will be restrained, Satan will be bound, and righteousness will reign supreme. People need care as well as control, so it will be a benevolent reign. The church will have reached perfection at the Rapture, but people entering the Kingdom, though born again, retain their sinful natures and will be subject to temptations and trials; they will need a ministry of love and compassion, which requires wisdom as well as rules. Christ will be a priest upon His throne (Zech 6.13) and will meet these needs through the ministry described in Isaiah 32.2, but this ministry is available to us now. We feel the chill wind of a hostile and hateful world, and need a "hiding place"; the calm of the presence of Christ is a blessed retreat. There is the sudden blast of the tempest nearly sweeping us off our spiritual feet and we run to our refuge in Christ for safety. The world is a dry place, but we have abundant resources in Christ to satisfy and refresh our spirits from the streams of His grace. The world is a weary land in our toils and trials, but there is rest for the weary pilgrim in the shadow of the great Rock of Christ where the heat of battle and temptation cannot penetrate. The blessed Lord is sufficient for our every need.


When the Kingdom dawns visibly and materially at the coming of the King, the reality of faith is realised and dim eyes see, dull ears hear, dense hearts understand, and dumb tongues speak (vv.3-4). Thus the millennial saints will "see the king in his beauty" (33.17) and appreciate the blessings of the Kingdom. Let us pray that the Spirit of God would touch our eyes, ears, hearts, and tongues that we might see, hear, understand, and speak more clearly. Eternal things should be more real than the temporal, enabling us to "live in the future tense". Why then "speak ye not a word of bringing the king back?" (2 Sam 19.10).

Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Doth its successive journeys run;
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

(Isaac Watts)



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