The Reign of a Righteous King (Isaiah 32)

Scripture reading – Isaiah 32

Remembering that prophecies often have an immediate application, and a far-reaching implication, we come to Isaiah 32. After foretelling the devastating judgment against Assyria (31:8-9), Isaiah continued his prophecy concerning Judah’s future.

Isaiah 32

The Millennial Kingdom (32:1-5)

Commentators suggest the king that is prophesied to “reign in righteousness” (32:1) was Hezekiah. Given his long reign and faithfulness to the LORD, there may be some standing for that suggestion. In my opinion, however, only one King has the honor and right to be declared as reigning “in righteousness” and that is the LORD Jesus Christ.

Who but Christ will give understanding and sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and understanding to “rash” (sin-hardened) hearts? (32:3-4). Christ alone can transform vile, godless men and give them generous hearts. He is able to turn the “churlish” (scoundrel) and make him “bountiful” (noble, 32:5).

Four Sins Invited God’s Judgment (32:6-7)

For any who might have protested the punishment, the prophet indicted Judah with four sins: 1) The vile and godless had spoken “villany,” for their mouths were filled with lies and curses (32:6a). 2) They were hypocrites, and led others away from the LORD and into error (32:6b). 3) They discouraged the souls of men, and left them spiritually hungry and thirsty (32:6c). 4) They planned and plotted evil, destroying men’s souls with their lies (32:7).

A Warning to Spiritually Lethargic Women (32:9-12)

Not even the women of Jerusalem and Judah were spared Isaiah’s indictment for Judah’s sins. Wealthy women, “women that [were] at ease,” and “careless [self-confident] daughters” were admonished, “give ear” to Isaiah’s warning (32:9).

Isaiah warned the days and years ahead would be full of troubles. The grapevines would fail, and the nation would face a time of famine and the harvest would not come (32:10). In that day of trouble, the women would strip themselves of their fine linens, and wear “sackcloth” (a rough cloth that was a sign of mourning, 32:11). They would “lament for the teats” (most likely a sign of distress, indicating mothers would be unable to feed their infants, 32:12).

The Land and Cities Would Be Distressed by God’s Judgment (32:13-14)

With the people taken away and in captivity, the land would be overgrown by “thorns and briers,” and the once bustling cities would fall silent and empty. The palaces would be destroyed, and the cities would become places where wild beasts would roam unhindered and unmolested (32:14).

The Millennial Kingdom Transformation (32:15-18)

God’s judgment would render the land fruitless, and eventually be overtaken by the wild. The LORD, however, promised the day would come when He would pour out His spirit upon the land (32:15a). Creation would be renewed, “and the wilderness [would become] a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest” (32:15).

In that day, justice and righteousness will reign in the land (32:16), and the redeemed will enjoy peace, quietness, and security (32:17). God’s people will live in peace, and dwell secure in their homes (32:18).

Closing thoughts – The judgment of God was imminent, and Isaiah prophesied how “hail” (a natural disaster, and a sign of judgment in the Scriptures) would fall upon “the forest” (most likely a symbol for Assyria, 32:19). For a brief season, Judah would have peace, but the Babylonian empire was already spreading, and did soon overtake all Judah and Jerusalem.

Isaiah foresaw a time of peace in the distant future. A time when wars would cease, and the people would be at peace, and able to cultivate their lands, and sow beside still waters. The earth will then be so fruitful, even beasts will wander about undisturbed (32:20).

The world of our day is far from the peace Isaiah promised would come. The news of wars, and conflict abounds, and a hopelessness shadows heart and home. Believers can take comfort in this: The day is coming when Christ returns, and will reign as Isaiah prophesied. In that day, there will be no hunger or thirst (Revelation 7:16), and “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

What a happy day that will be!

Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith