The last chapters of Isaiah (40-66) are addressed to the people of God in exile. Today, believers in our nation are waking up to the reality of the church being in exile. If not exile, we could certainly say “in a strange land” as we witness followers of Jesus being marginalized as enemies in the cultural narrative.  Peter’s words seem to ring true, “I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul” (I Peter 2:11). I encourage men to view themselves as aliens passing through a foreign and hostile land.

Earlier chapters of Isaiah 40-66 can be an encouragement as we sojourn with Jesus through “occupied land.” Chapter 42 begins with God’s assurance of deliverance for his people.  Isaiah declares, “The Lord will march out like a mighty man, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies” (Is 42:13).  When God appears as a warrior, the victory of God over evil is assured.  Men, don’t be fooled by modern-day political correctness; God is a warrior who will finally set matters straight.

One day soon God will break his silence. “For a long time, I have kept silent, I have been quiet and held myself back.  But now, like a woman in childbirth, I cry out, I gasp and pant” (Is. 42:14).  “He had not made an appearance as a warrior for a long time, but that is about to change.  He is about to give birth to his righteous anger toward the enemy of his people” (CSB Study Bible).   

All of creation will be impacted by God’s appearance as a warrior.  No obstacle in society can stand in his way.  Amid this eruption God will miraculously lead his people through some turbulent times.  The Message says, “I’ll take the hand of those who don’t know the way, who can’t see where they’re going.  I’ll be right there to show them what road to take, make sure they don’t fall into the ditch.  These are the things I’ll be doing for them – sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute” (Is 42:16).  “This means that their worst fears – that God has either abandoned them or is helpless to come to their aid – are groundless” (Isaiah – Oswalt). 

Isaiah then gives this reminder: “But those who invested in the no-gods are bankrupt – dead broke” (Is. 42:17 – Message).  Men, we need to ask what the “no-gods” are that our culture trusts in for the future.  We are asked to trust in various institutions, ideologies, technologies, government policies, etc. All these, Isaiah reminds us, will fail. Our hope lies in Jesus and His kingdom. We will be considered a “remnant”; those who have separated themselves from foreign occupation.

Our great hope in the days to come, whether we can consider ourselves in exile or simply living in a strange land, is knowing God will one day be aroused and come forth as judge of all the earth. “Our God comes and will not be silent, a fire devours before him, and around him a tempest rages. He summons the heavens above, and the earth that he may judge his people” (Psalm 50:3-4). 

Lest we think God does not care, Psalm 50:21 tells us, “While you did all this, I remained silent, and you thought I didn’t care.  But now I will rebuke you, listing all my charges against you.”  Men, be vigilant during this polarized time.  God is about to act.