Perhaps that verse surprises you in light of the title of this post, “Everlasting, Unshakable Joy,” but stick with me.
These phrases from Isaiah 34 do sound like terrible news:
- God is angry with all nations
- His wrath is on all their armies
- God will totally destroy them
- Even all the starry host will fall
- God Himself says, “My sword has drunk its fill”
- All the world’s princes will vanish away
But please keep in mind that this is only bad news for those who don’t have their sins forgiven through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. “For the Lord has a day of vengeance, a year of retribution, to uphold Zion’s cause” (v. 8). And, “He will come with vengeance; with divine retribution He will come to save you” (35:4).
So God’s anger is not at those whose sins have been forgiven, but at those who are not only unforgiven but hell-bent on attacking those who are forgiven.
These words are intended to “strengthen feeble hands, steady the knees that give away,” and to bring strength “to those with fearful hearts” (35:3-4).
The righteous have nothing to fear when the world is quaking in fear! “They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crowned their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away” (v. 10)!
This is why Jesus told us, “I tell you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more” (Luke 12:4 NIV), and, “Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in His hands” (Luke 12:5 MSG). And also the apostle Peter reminds us that we do not fear what the world fears (1 Peter 3:14).
If your sins are forgiven, if you are walking in God’s paths, if you are seeking to savor the glory of God, and desirous that His glory be seen on earth as it is in heaven, there is not only nothing to fear, but you will have an everlasting, unshakable joy!
Get your eyes off the world’s bad news, and keep your eyes firmly on the Good News that only Jesus has made a reality!