Scripture reading – Isaiah 26; Isaiah 27

Click on this link to translate this Bible study into Hebrew, German, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, or Portuguese.

Some prophetic Scriptures are difficult to interpret with finality, and today’s Scripture reading (Isaiah 26-27) certainly fits within that parameter. While I am blessed to have several trusted commentaries in my library, they tend to disagree on the interpretation of the passage before us. Rather than succumbing to personal speculations, I will suggest a simple approach to shed light on our study.

Isaiah 26 – A Song of Rejoicing

I believe Isaiah 26 continued the song of praise that began in Isaiah 25. The phrase “In that day” (Isaiah 26:1) implied the Millennial Kingdom of Christ in its far-reaching application.  However, in its immediate application was a reference to the return of God’s people from Babylonian captivity (Isaiah 26:1). The “strong city” [Jerusalem] and its “walls and bulwarks” were most likely symbols for the LORD Himself (Isaiah 26:1).

The LORD is the ROCK, the strength, and the security for all who trust Him.

The LORD Our Rock and Protector (Isaiah 26:1-4)

In other words, Isaiah was foretelling that when God’s people returned to Judah from Babylonian exile, they would sing of the LORD, saying, “We have a strong city; Salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. 2Open ye the gates, That the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in” (26:1-2).

Isaiah 26:3-4 gave a blessed promise to all who trust the LORD, for we read: “3Thou wilt keep [guard; keep watch] him in perfect peace, Whose mind [thoughts; purpose] is stayed on thee [leans or supports]: Because he trusteth [confident] in thee. 4Trust ye in the Lord for ever: For in the Lord JEHOVAH is everlasting [enduring; perpetual] strength [Rock]” (Isaiah 26:3-4). The LORD is the ROCK, the strength, and the security for all who trust Him (Deuteronomy 32:4; Exodus 15:2; Isaiah 12:2).


Trust the LORD for Victory (Isaiah 26:5-9)

Probably predicting the fall of Babylon, Isaiah 26:5-6 foretold the destruction of a great city, whose walls would be brought to the ground and tread underfoot. Isaiah 26:7-9 foresaw the day when the hearts of God’s people would turn back to Him, and the fire of His judgment would consume the wicked. 

Though afflicted by their enemies, Isaiah prophesied the day would come when God’s people would enjoy peace, and those nations that abused them would be punished (Isaiah 26:12-15). The LORD had used the nations to punish His people for their sins, and they often cried in pain as women in labor (Isaiah 26:16-18).

Yet, the God of Israel is the LORD of death and the resurrection (26:19-21). Isaiah foresaw the day the LORD would come and call His people out from the nations and restore them to their land as a nation. The prophet warned the LORD was coming to punish the nations for their sins (Isaiah 26:20-21).

The Punishment of Leviathan: The Enemy of God’s People

Isaiah 27

The Punishment of Leviathan: The Enemy of God’s People (Isaiah 27:1)

The prophecy of the LORD coming to judge the nations continued in the opening verse of Isaiah 27, which reads: “1In that day the Lord with his sore and great and strong sword Shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, Even leviathan that crooked serpent; And he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea” (Isaiah 27:1).

The “strong sword” (Isaiah 27:1) was most likely the Word of God, which Hebrews 4:12 described as “quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword.” Isaiah foretold the LORD would come with His sword. He would “punish leviathan the piercing serpent” (Isaiah 27:1). “Leviathan was described as a “crooked serpent” and “the dragon that is in the sea” (Isaiah 27:1).

There are various interpretations for “leviathan…[the] crooked serpent…[and] the dragon” (Isaiah 27:1). There is, however, almost universal agreement that the three creatures were types or symbols of Satan. Comparing Scripture with Scripture, Revelation 20:2 describes Satan as “the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan.” He will be bound for a thousand years during the Millennium Reign of Christ.


Israel’s Return from Exile (Isaiah 27:2-6)

Isaiah 27:2-6 foretold the return and restoration of God’s people to their land. After seventy years in captivity, a remnant of Jews returned to their homeland. Yet, most Jewish people continued to live in ancient Babylon. Indeed, the nation we know as Israel in our day is fundamentally a secular government. They do not adhere to the Lord’s covenant with His people (though some follow the Torah).

Understanding the grapevine and vineyard were often symbolic of Israel in the Scriptures, Isaiah promised the day would come when the LORD would “keep” (i.e., protect) and “water” (i.e., nourish) Israel (Isaiah 27:3). Isaiah foretold when that day comes, “Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit” (Isaiah 27:6).


The Chastening and Restoration of Israel (Isaiah 27:7-13)

Like a loving father disciplines his children, the LORD disciplined Judah for her sins (Isaiah 27:7-9). Jerusalem was left “desolate…forsaken…like a wilderness” (Isaiah 27:10). Yet, the LORD promised a day would come when He would gather His people from among the nations of the world (Isaiah 27:12). On that day, the “great trumpet shall be blown,” thus summoning the Jewish and non-Jewish believers [“the outcasts in the land of Egypt”] to “worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem” (Isaiah 27:13).

Are you ready for the LORD to come? Are you listening for the trumpet?

1 Corinthians 15:51–52 – “51Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

* You can subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals by entering your name and email address at the bottom of today’s devotion.

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization. Your donation is welcome and supports the worldwide ministry outreach of