Our chapter in Isaiah starts with a vision of the ultimate future, “Behold a king will reign in righteousness and princes will rule in justice” – how wonderful when God’s king reigns – and the whole world will then have to acknowledge what is the right way to live. However – ignore the chapter break and see that the king reigning in righteousness follows a time when the LORD has acted!! “whose fire is in Zion and whose furnace is in Jerusalem.” As a result, “the fool will no longer be called noble, and the scoundrel said to be honourable” [v.5].
The next verse says “the fool speaks folly, and his heart is busy with iniquity to practice ungodliness and utter error concerning the LORD” So many have convinced themselves there is no LORD to worry about – and his Son who is to “reign in righteousness” are just figments of human imagination. As a result, they practice every kind of unrighteousness.
This attitude will be the state of human minds “until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high … then justice will dwell … and righteousness abide … and the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever”. [v.15-17]
The next verse says, “My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places” We meditate on those God will count as “My people” – may that include us – you – but how much is this world attracting and distracting us – you?
Our chapter in James laments that some were not putting their faith they claimed to have into action and gives as an example, Rahab. We can include Deborah of whom we read today in Judges chs 4 & 5 and the effect she had on Barak and he on others. Faith in action is contagious. James makes the point, “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” [2 v.24] “The effect of (our) righteousness is seen in the way we put the faith – we believe we have – into action – into works – and are ready and waiting for when “the Spirit is poured (upon us and the world) from on high”