Knowing and praising

We know him now, the One who must
be blessed and praised, – we overflow
with joy, delight, amazed to view
procured redemption, full and just.

We know our Father, blessed by him
in Christ, our Saviour, for his blood
has cleansed us, brought us all that’s good;
his Spirit works his will within.

Not what I’ve done, or reached, achieved
could stir my soul to constant praise;
but thoughts of grace set hearts ablaze
– what God has done, all we’ve received.

To him be glory, majesty
in all the church for evermore;
by God beloved, our spirits pour
their deeply-felt doxology.
Tune: LM eg Bodmin by A Scott-Gatty,  or Breslau arr W Monk

Isaiah chapter 1-39

on chapter 1
Ingratitude – they grace abuse,
and, laden down with guilt,
corruption and injustice choose:
his discipline they’ve felt.

He has no pleasure in their gifts,
assemblies, feasts and prayer.
Their motives, thoughts, he sees and sifts –
pretence he cannot bear.

“Stop doing wrong! Willing to learn,
clean up your lives, be just
receive his mercy, and return,
sins pardoned as you trust.

“I’ll bleach your sins, and purge your dross,
– you’ll ‘Faithful’ be again,
filled, satisfied, – I’ll richly bless;
– ‘Gomorrah’ will be gone.

But rebels, like autumnal trees
will fade, – their strength like tinder,
their work a spark, and so, with ease
the fire devours their splendour.

on chapter 2
But soon there’ll be a day we’ll see
the nations coming, full
of worship, praise, unitedly,
God’s laws beloved by all –
in every land they’ll live in peace,
draw near before his throne,
delight to follow, strife will cease –
Oh may that day come soon!

But many now his ways forsake,
and follow superstition;
secure with wealth, they idols make
to be their trusted portion.

But on that day he will return,
– his foes will wish him far.
They’ll flee his majesty, and spurn
their useless idols, for
the lofty proud, and strong defence,
and commerce, with dismay
will see the end of all pretence:
the LORD Almighty’s day!

on chapter 3 – 4:1
Parading their sins, and defying his presence:
their leaders oppressing, and women who flirt.
The Lord will remove all their finery, fragrance.
Jerusalem staggers, for gone their support, –
supplies are cut off, and of skills they’ll be short:
the nation has no-one to lead the land, lift.
And  women bejewelled will soon be bereft –
so many men dead, and so few will be left.

But still there’ll be blessing for those who are righteous,
enjoying the fruit, of their deeds, faithful, precious.

on chapter.4:2-6
But the Branch of the LORD on that day in the land
will be beautiful, glorious,
(good fruit will abound).
The LORD makes a shelter. He shades
– he has pledged
to protect all the righteous,
the holy, the purged.

on chapter 5:1-7
A song for the One
whom I love and extoll:
my Loved One has done
so much and in full, –
creating, securing
his vineyard, to grow
good fruit to delight in,
his values to show.

How gladly he laboured. But then, oh so sad –
its crop was distasteful, rebellious and bad.

No harvest to reap:
the LORD would withdraw,
and no longer keep
its hedge any more.

vv. 8 – 25
Woe! woe! woe! when will they see
the end of lust and greed will be
just desolation, poverty?
And pleasure-hunting constantly
with no regard for God, the Lord,
his mighty work and clear Word,
will lead to exile, death and loss,
to be brought low to humbleness.
And woe to those who feel so wise
and clever, but have shaded eyes,
rejecting truth, the holy law; –
– as tongues of fire lick up the straw,
their blossoms scatter, roots decay:
the LORD calls judgement down one day.

vv. 18-30
Drawing in wickedness
by cords of deceit,
ropeing in sinfulness,
and calling it sweet.
Speaking of evil
as if it were good –
the work of the devil
to lie of the Lord.

Slandering goodness as something unclean;
taunting that God is not outworking his plan.
Though he may wait awhile, his whistle brings swift
instant authority and judgements that sift.

on chapter 6
The King had died, but vision’s eyes
see One who rules the earth and skies
exalted, on his throne, extolled.
The earth is with his glory filled.
‘He’s holy, holy …’; doorposts shook,
Isaiah cried, the seraph took
a coal from on the altar, and
it touched his lips: his sin atoned.
‘ … and holy’, but this LORD of grace
can sinners cleanse, and use, embrace:
Isaiah volunteered to serve:
commissioned, warned he would observe
the people, calloused, hear in vain
’til exiled. ‘Stump–seed’ would remain.

on chapter 7
King and people shaken – threat
from two joined enemies, upset,
afraid, to prayer they don’t incline.
The Lord though reassures – a sign
he offers – such do not demand
but to refuse it from his hand
was not polite or wise – he gave
a sign for then – from this he’d save, –
and later on from sin by One
who truly was ‘God with us’, Son;
– but first a judgement time would come.

on chapter 8
Take heart, – just as he said, the threat
will be extinguished, but take heed:
the kingdom flooding them will yet
then overflow, sweep through, at speed,
your land up to your neck. War planned
against God’s people will not stand.
Don’t dread these threats, but fear him,
the holy One to shelter in;
but those who turn far from his law,
will stumble, trip, be saved no more.

‘Don’t hide your face: your Word my guide.
I trust and have no fear beside.’

on chapter 9–10:4
The land that bore Assyrian plunder
will one day joy to see a Light,
as when emerging with great wonder
from war, and shadow, gloomy night.

A child, a King, just and eternal,
with peace, – how wonderful his counsel!
it’s God himself, whose reign brings dawning,
end of distress, a ‘harvest-morning’.

But Israel, northern kingdom, will
first know much trouble for they still
are wicked, proud and selfish, led
by leaders who have lied, misled.

The LORD was angry and his hand
still judged – the land had not returned.

on chapter 10:5–34
Assyrian pride in strength and skill:
misplaced: they’re sent and wielded well
and used for chastisement, by God;
– and they in turn will feel his rod
or whip, he’ll lop their lofty boughs:
consumed, – God’s anger they arouse.

Israel’s remnant then will learn,
a remnant only will return
– rely once more upon the LORD
– not nations who don’t keep their word!

Assyria – the tyrant’s end (Nahum and Isaiah 10:5-20)
He proudly plunders, plucking out
the eggs from undefended nests,
with haughty pride and boasting shout
– believes his strength brought these conquests.
He thinks he’s powerful and all-wise:
One greater far his strength supplies.

The mighty One who raised this rod,
afflicting those who scorned his Word,
will show who is the sovereign God,
– the plunderers have now incurred
his wrath for lies and cruelty:
they’ll lose their proud prosperity.

The wielded weapon wastes away, –
its strength struck, sapped; its splendour slain.
The Holy One will have his Day –
the weeds consumed, the farms aflame:
and no-one mourns this passing, all
rejoice to see the tyrant fall.
Tune: 88 88 88

on chapter 11
A banner for the royal Root –
from Jesse’s stump, a fruitful shoot:
filled with the Spirit of the LORD,
true wisdom, counsel, power outpoured;
not limited to what he sees
and hears, but righteously he leads.

Drawn to him out of many lands;
and Israel, Judah, friends, join hands
to serve his purposes, subdue
rebelliousness.  He’ll smooth the way
for their return upon that day.

on chapter 12
All praise to you, O LORD, for grace
and comfort, – you have turned
your anger which was justified,
yourself bore wrath I’d earned.

No longer will I be afraid,
but trust: the LORD my song,
grace from salvation’s wells I draw
sustaining all day long.

We must proclaim throughout the world,
he’s saved and met our needs.
Together sing with joyfulness,
our Saviour’s glorious deeds.

Our God is great, exalted LORD,
and  with us evermore,
and on the Holy One we call,
our thanks and praise will pour.

on Isaiah chapter 12
Day of praise – the LORD exalted
had been angry with my sin;
but that judgment has been halted
– borne by Jesus, I begin
to taste comfort, peace divine, –
God, and his salvation, mine.

Day of joy for faithful covenant,
LORD you are your people’s song.
From your wells we draw refreshment,
strengthened as we walk along,
praising, thankful, as we call,
trusting, unafraid through all.

Day of grace and exultation,
making known what God has done.
Praise his name to every nation –
glorious victory of the Son.
Holy Spirit great within, –
irrepressibly we sing.
Tune: 87 87 77 eg Gounod  or  Ottawa

re Babylon, Assyria, and Philistia
on chapters 13 &14
When you see men wielding power,
doing evil, vile, – remember
how God overthrew Gomorrah, –
so his day will come, they’ll shudder
as he deals in righteous anger:
they too will experience terror.

Babylon (when conquering, vain),
will be conquered in her turn.
Glittering glory, people’s pride:
but her fame will die, subside.
He who shook the earth and made the
kingdoms tremble, now is gone
(unknown corpse ) – there’s joyful singing,
at the loss of such a one.
Shake, and ponder, you oppressors –
only One will reign that day,
but there’s refuge for his people, –
and for all who with them stay.

re Moab
chapters 15&16
Moab proud, like many, cocky,
but the prophet pity feels
as he knows and sees her ruin,
counsels them to send appeals
to the people of the prophet,
to the people of the Lord; –
to the Lord himself submitting,
coming King of faithful word.

Joy and gladness go, and wailing
comes; Isaiah grieves and weeps
at the waste, and idol-praying:
withering loss their boasting reaps.

re Damascus, Israel, and Cush
chapters 17&18
Syria’s prosperity, Israel’s abundance
destroyed but for gleanings.

A few learn dependence,
and truly will look to their Maker, Redeemer,
not trusting in incense, false trust and obeisance.

But Israel forget him, their Rock and their Saviour:
they’re busy, not seeking his will and his favour.

Mighty enemies like sea–storms,
roaring, raging, but One greater
can rebuke and send them flying,
blown away like rolling litter.

People far away will notice
well-timed actions of the Lord:
nations strong bring gifts to Zion,
honouring Almighty God.

re Egypt
chapter 19
Civil war and vain consulting –
false religion – no relief;
oppression, lack of rain and earnings,
foolish counsel brings but grief;
– but the day will then be coming
when Egyptians learn to fear,
and revere the Lord almighty,
cry for help and find him near.
Near to save and heal, and they will
worship, serve the Lord they know;
– joined with Israel and Assyria
– blessing for the world will flow.

re Egypt and Cush
chapter 20
Vain to grasp and put reliance
on what now appears strong
but will fail, its independence
doomed to fall before too long.

re Babylon, Edom and Arabia
chapter 21
A dire vision, – Isaiah amazed, overcome,
but Babylon not preparing for danger:
she will be seen to fall,
her idols shattered.
And Edom suffers long,
and even nearby nomads fear.
The glory of these many nations,
will be but passing celebrations.

Jerusalem
chapter 22
Vain jubilation,
instead of repentance.
Disaster looms again, but unprepared,
bustling activity, but no prayer;
premature celebration,
instead of soul-searching,
and blessing-searching,
remembring their Sovereign Protector.
Sheba seeking prominence,
dismissed, hurled away.
Eliakim to replace him,
having caring authority:
don’t let your family lean
on your position.

re Tyre
chapter 23
Destruction of Tyre, –
source of wealth throughout the region,
but pride had led them to corruption,
self-sufficiency.
The LORD reveals he’ll bring pride low.
But when restored, though still inclining
to commerce for her own rich living,
the gathered wealth that is collected
to doing good will be directed.

re All the earth
chapter 24
But – throughout the world, rebellion,
disobedience of known truth.
Here he says there will be judgement
one day over all the earth:
religious leaders, masters, servants,
high financiers, and the poor:
withering joy, disaster, wasteland,
guilt now clear, excused no more.

Rebellious kings and angels herded, they,
imprisoned, will await their judgement day.

But some exclaim, with joy, relief,
from West to East acclaim the LORD
through all the islands – though still grief
until his glorious reign’s restored.

on chapter 25
O LORD, I would exalt and praise,
and raise your name up high;
upon your plans fulfilled I gaze,
and future sure supply.
My God has done such marvellous things
in perfect faithfulness:
my heart of justice, mercy sings –
his grace and righteousness.

Defences crushed and cities down,
to be rebuilt no more.
Strong people bring to God renown,
and ruthless men revere.
You quench the cruelty and heat, –
a shadow covers, quells
– and many clever schemes defeat,
proud revelling God stills.

The poor found refuge in distress;
a feast you now prepare:
from far and wide they’ll come for grace,
and death will disappear.
The Sovereign LORD will wipe away
all ignorance and tears.
We wait – for on his judgement day
salvation we will share.
Tune: CMD eg Satisfaction by J McGranahan

on chapter 26:1–27:6
The people of God have a song
– by faith we have come to this place
– salvation, impregnably strong.
O LORD, we delight in your grace!

He’ll keep them in peace, perfect peace,
who steadfastly trust in the LORD.
He smooths out their paths, and they cease
to fret, waiting, sure of his Word.

The wicked regard not, nor learn
God’s majesty, laws, and his care.
Affliction should cause us to turn,
approach him and whisper our prayer.

His vineyard will flourish, bear fruit.
He watches and guards every day ,
and thorns who make peace are not burnt.                    .
Powers cunning, and sly he will slay.

The vine will spread out through the earth,
be firmly established, take root;
will bud, and will blossom, break forth:
the world will be filled with good fruit!
Tune: 88 88 eg Celeste (tune of ‘How good is the God we adore’)

v.3 & Ps.108:1, 112:7
My heart is steadfast, O my God,
in you my constant trust.
I have no fear, but peace,
– my God is faithful, loving, just.

My heart is steadfast, O my God,
and fixed to praise your name.
I must stir up my soul, my God,
to sing and tell your fame.

My heart is steadfast, O my God,
I’ll use my gifts in praise.
Immeasurable love: my God
make known your glorious ways!

My heart is steadfast, O my God,
I would be loving, just.
Forgive, and cleanse me, in my God
I would abide and trust.

on chapter 27:6–13
Tender repeated chastisement
idolatry must be cast out.

See desolation:
strong city’s rejection,
of God’s revelation,
has lost his compassion, –
it’s withered.

The LORD will bring his people – he knows each one,
he’ll seek out, search out, gather them round his throne.
Those near,  those far will come to him.
God’s church together their worship will bring:
the goal and the purpose of all that has been,
in the dealings of God through all time.

on chapter 28
Ephraim is spoiled by drunkenness,
and drunken priests speak muddleness –
in futile hopes and lies they hide,
God’s teaching and his rest deride.

Ephraim will fade, be swept away,
cast down by conquest on God’s day;
but to his remnant grace is shown:
he is their wisdom, strength and crown,

And Zion’s cornerstone will hold:
his firm foundation, he has told
is Christ; and those in him who trust
are not dismayed, afraid, but blest.

Inadequate their own device, –
alliances will not suffice,
to save from terror that comes near;
their scoffing they should cease, and hear.

But like a farmer, God can till,
instruct, and punish, teaching well.
He’s wonderful in counsel, and
magnificent in wisdom grand.

on chapter 29
Jerusalem too will be humbled in dust,
but later their foes will find out to their cost,
God comes, and they waken to victory lost; –
Jerusalem listen! – why don’t you care less?
You worship with mouths, and not hearts, and won’t heed.
Like people who’re holding God’s Word but can’t read.
Men’s wisdom is nothing if lacking God’s truth.
Our ‘Potter’ knows all of the deep schemes on earth.

A day of God’s glory and power there will be:
the deaf will then hear truth, and blind eyes will see,
the wayward and wingers will learn reverently,
the humble rejoice in the LORD; those who jeer –
the ruthless oppressors unjust – disappear.

on Matthew 15:8,9  Isaiah 29:13
Lips that raise
words of praise:
not expression
of emotion,
will, devotion:
recitation
and deception
of empty heart, –
thoughts far apart
from submission
to God’s Word –

invented rules
distract, confuse
from revelation,
God’s direction.

True worship stirred
when God’s salvation
brings transformation, –
heart returns
to him, and burns
with love, committment,
and words of praise are meant.

on chapter 29:15 & chapter 30
How foolish to try to deceive
the LORD of your plans – this brings woe.
The obstinate carry them out
– dont ask him his guidance to know.

Plans coming to grief,
can’t bring you relief.

You trust one who Nothing can Do –
God longs to be gracious to you.

False confidence crashes, will crack.
and fails you when under attack.
In quietness, trust is your strength,
repentance and rest your salvation.

God’s people rejoice:
his conquering voice

brings judgement and glorious redemption.

on Isaiah 30:9–13,15,19
They say to all the seers,
‘See no more,
but give a word that cheers,
don’t preach God’s law.’
Say pleasant things, illusions,
for we prefer confusions.’
And they the Lord’s instructions
neglect, abhor.

For when confronted by
the holy Lord,
these fools prefer a lie
to truthful Word;
but all who trust deception,
and practise mean oppression,
build lives with no foundation:
they’ll soon be floored.

In quietness and trust,
your strength will come.
The Lord is truly just
to everyone.
He longs, loves to be gracious,
and hears your cry, ‘Please help us.’
Turn to repent, he’ll bless us;
safe in his Son.
(can be sung to Builth by David Jenkins – 52 Grace Hymns)

on chapter 31
Why wait for Egypt to fail?
Why wait to throw away
the idols of no avail?
Return to him and pray –
the Holy One of justice,
the gracious God of promise.

on chapter 32
Kingdom of righteousness:
shelter, provision,
folly no longer admired,
the schemes of the scoundrels exposed.

Complacency needs to awake and believe,
for times of great trouble will come;
until God, the Spirit, is poured from on high,
and the desert will flourish once more,
and righteousness, justice and peace,
bring quietness, confidence, rest
and labour that’s happy and blessed.

on chapter 33
The destroyer will be destroyed.
The betrayer will be betrayed.

When God, the LORD arises,
terror and trembling grips.
Consuming fire chastises.
Is prayer upon your lips?
The righteous are established,
forgiven, war is gone;
the enemies are vanquished.
The LORD is on the throne.

on chapter 34
Day of judgement, day of wrath,
righteous vengeance on the earth
by the holy Maker, Judge
who can neither change or fudge
definitions of what’s right,
and omniscient his sight,
– seeing those who chose to hate,
their land will be desolate,
– handed to the owls and weeds.

Take note, whoever scripture reads.

on chapter 35
Your trembling steadied to progress in faith,
encouraged and strengthened, – our God will come forth –
creation will blossom, and defects put right –
movement and singing, hearing and sight.
His glory and splendour will act and be seen,
dealing with evil, he’ll come to redeem,
the ransomed returning to Zion along
the Way of his holiness, joyful in song.

on chapter 36 (Sennacherib threatens Jerusalem)
Weak the helpers Judah seeks –
splintered reeds – the envoy speaks
to unsettle, frighten, mock:
faith in God he tries to rock,
glad their weakness to expose,
and their hopes in grace confuse;
lying, that if they surrender,
they will then be happier, richer.

on chapter 37
Hezekiah too had fear,
but went to seek the LORD,
and asked Isaiah too to pray.
God sent his gracious Word.
(The LORD had heard the insults all,
the voice uplifted, proud.)

The king could not give victory birth, –
turned to the LORD. God vowed
he’d save, – the challenger he’d send
away to an inglorious end.

on chapter 38 (Hezekiah’s illness)
Fervent prayer in full submission,
longings for more time for praise,
justified, and full devotion,
walking in God’s will and ways.

As he saw his tent, life’s weaving,
taken down, rolled up, cut short,
God gave sign of life’s extending.
Through distress, the LORD had taught.

on chapter 39
Dependent on our LORD, apply
his wisdom at each twist,
with prayer that wisdom he supply,
for devious plots exist.

Men came with flattery: the king
in pride showed indiscretion,
he was not wise,  and did not pray
discernment and perception.

When Babylon returns, they’ll plunder,
enslave, the kingdom tear asunder.

Fashioning my heart

Breathe, Holy Spirit, blow,
shake out the fragrance fine,
fruit of your fashioning my heart
for fellowship divine.

Jesus takes great delight
in feasting with my soul,
on him I feed, and feast, and find
refreshment, grace through all.

Feelings of barrenness,
failure, fatigue and fear:
in all affliction, Comforter
come, bringing strength and cheer.

Keep me from foolish pride –
thinking I can be strong
apart from all that you supply, –
God’s grace revives my song.

Cleanse me from hateful sin,
careful to heed, obey.
Fill me with faith; and fellowship, –
walk with me all the way.
Tune: SM

A song from Isaiah

Isaiah chapter 26:1–27:6
The people of God have a song
– by faith we have come to this place
– salvation, impregnably strong.
O LORD, we delight in your grace!

He’ll keep them in peace, perfect peace,
who steadfastly trust in the LORD.
He smooths out their paths, and they cease
to fret, waiting, sure of his Word.

The wicked regard not, nor learn
God’s majesty, laws, and his care.
Affliction should cause us to turn,
approach him and whisper our prayer.

His vineyard will flourish, bear fruit.
He watches and guards every day ,
and thorns who make peace are not burnt.                    .
Powers cunning, and sly he will slay.

The vine will spread out through the earth,
be firmly established, take root;
will bud, and will blossom, break forth:
the world will be filled with good fruit!

Tune: 88 88 eg Celeste (tune of ‘How good is the God we adore’)