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Isaiah 32:16-20: The Lord’s justice will dwell in the desert

Isaiah 32:16-20

New International Version


The Lord’s justice will dwell in the desert,

his righteousness live in the fertile field.


The fruit of that righteousness will be peace;

its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.


My people will live in peaceful dwelling places,

in secure homes,

in undisturbed places of rest.


Though hail flattens the forest

and the city is leveled completely,


how blessed you will be,

sowing your seed by every stream,

and letting your cattle and donkeys range free.


After the outpouring of the Spirit of God, the rule and reign of the Messiah upon the earth will be marked by righteousness and justice. Often we wonder when God will deal with the wickedness we see on a daily basis. But God has an appointed time for all things. The Lord calls us to trust Him. Here the Lord speaks of justice in the wilderness and righteousness in the fertile field. There will not be a place that will not be impacted by the rule and reign of the Messiah.


The results of a time marked by righteousness will be peace, quietness, and confidence. True security and peace is only found when God is at the center and we rely upon the Lord for all things. When Jesus rules upon the earth what will mark that which takes place in Jerusalem and throughout the world will be righteousness and peace. Over the many centuries that man has been on the earth and allowed to rule the earth, what has marked the events on the earth is wickedness and sin. Even in Israel’s own history in which they are God’s covenant people, they have a history filled with rebellion and sin. But when the Messiah rules and reigns this shall all change.


Under the rule and reign of the Messiah, God’s covenant people will live in peaceful dwelling places, secure homes, and undisturbed places of rest. This promise of God was vastly different than their current circumstances. Currently the Assyrian Empire loomed on the horizon and would shortly try to invade southern Israel and overtake Jerusalem. But by God’s grace and mercy they were rescued. But where true hope was found was in the promises of God for the coming of the Messiah. His coming would be marked with peace and security.

It is very easy in our world today to become discouraged and overwhelmed by the level of darkness and wickedness that we see. But we must remember that there is nothing new under the sun. During the days of the Apostle Paul living under the rule of Nero, it was indeed dark and it was indeed wicked. But Paul understood that God is indeed our strength and our refuge. Our eyes must be fixed upon Jesus Christ and His soon coming. Daily may we simply desire to live for Him and to fulfill the plans and purposes of the Father. But let us remember that this world is not our home and someday our Lord and Savior shall rule the earth and it shall be marked by a time of true peace and security.


The hail mentioned here would be both Assyria and Babylon. Foreign nations would be used to discipline and bring correction to Israel. God’s desire was that His people would walk in obedience. The blessing God had for them was connected to living in obedience to His covenant (Deuteronomy 28). It is God who established the covenant, it is God who chose Abraham, it is God who sets the terms of how we are to live.

It is important to remember and understand when we live in relationship with the Living God that our lives do not belong to us. Either He will be in control or we will be in control. From the history of Israel it is very clear when man is in control the only result is wickedness and sin and God must respond with correction and discipline. The heart of man is inherently wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). The heart must become surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It isn’t until an individual comes to a place where they let go of control and give control fully to God that the blessing of the Lord will be experienced. So many times we want God to bless us but if we continue in wickedness and sin, our Father who loves us will respond with correction and discipline. Often hitting rock bottom is the first step toward restoration and healing.


The Lord says how blessed you will be. This points to the time of the reign of the Messiah. When the reign of the Messiah comes on the earth it will be a time of true peace and security. So many of us desire peace and security in our day, but it seems that things continue to spiral out of control into greater chaos and darkness. Whenever darkness increases, chaos follows. We must remember that order was not brought to the earth until the Lord spoke and said let there be light.

When the Messiah reigns there will be perfect order, peace, and security brought to the earth. We are told that Jesus will rule with a rod of iron (Rev 2:27). This is a much different picture of Jesus than we see in the gospels. In the gospels Jesus came as a suffering and humble servant, with the mission to lay down His life and pay the debt that we ourselves could not pay. But when Christ returns again, He shall return as the mighty King that He truly is.

Here Isaiah says sowing your seed by every stream and letting your cattle and donkeys range free. The only way this is possible when peace has been secured. Many in this age claim they desire peace, but what they truly desire is to dominate mankind and they lust for power and influence. But it is not so with trusting Jesus. When we trust Jesus with our lives and live for Him daily, there is a reward that awaits us that is far greater than we can even dream or comprehend. May our eyes and hearts be fixed upon our Lord and Savior.

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