New Living Translation
Let all the people of Jerusalem[a] shout his praise with joy!
For great is the Holy One of Israel who lives among you.”
Let the people of the holy city shout his praise with glee and happiness.
For greater is he the Holy one who lives among us
KING JAMES VERSION (KJV)
TRANSLATION, MEANING, CONTEXT
To get what Isaiah 12:6 means based on its source text, scroll down or follow these links for the original scriptural meaning , biblical context and relative popularity.
“Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.”
Medium popularity: 90 searches a month
Popularity relative to other verses in Isaiah chapter 12 using average monthly Google searches.
Isaiah 12:6 Translation & Meaning
What does this verse really mean? Use this table to get a word-for-word translation of the original Hebrew Scripture. This shows the English words related to the source biblical texts along with brief definitions. Follow the buttons in the right-hand column for detailed definitions and verses that use the same root words. Use this reference information to gain deeper insight into the Bible and enrich your understanding. Information based on Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.
This is a simplified translation of the original Hebrew word. Follow the buttons on the right to get more detail.
Use the buttons below to get details on the Hebrew word and view related Bible verses that use the same root word.
To gleam; by transference to sound clear (of various animal or human expressions)
Properly, to creak (or emit a stridulous sound), i.e., to shout (usually for joy)
Properly, to sit down (specifically as judge. in ambush, in quiet); by implication, to dwell, to remain; causatively, to settle, to marry
Tsijon (as a permanent capital), a mountain of Jerusalem
(by implication) very widely used as a relative conjunction or adverb (as below); often largely modified by other particles annexed
Great (in any sense); hence, older; also insolent
(No Hebrew definition. English implied.)
“the Holy One”
Sacred (ceremonially or morally); (as noun) God (by eminence), an angel, a saint, a sanctuary
He will rule as God; Jisraël, a symbolical name of Jacob; also (typically) of his posterity
“in the midst”
Properly, the nearest part, i.e., the center, whether literal, figurative or adverbial (especially with preposition)
Properly, the nearest part, i.e., the center, whether literal, figurative or adverbial (especially with preposition)
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• • 4 And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.
• 5 Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.
• 6 Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.
“THE GIFT OF JOY”
Isaiah 12:1–6 You will say in that day: “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me. 2 “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” 3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. 4 And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted. 5 “Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth. 6 Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” (ESV)
“Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee”, is a favorite song of many to sing at this time of year. This hymn is generally considered by hymnologists to be one of the most joyous expressions of hymn lyrics in the English language. It portrays a joyful interplay between God’s created world and the manifestation of this same creative spirit in the life of a believer. Such interesting similes as “hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee …” illustrate this interesting technique. The second verse reminds us that all of God’s creation speaks of His glory and, in doing so, directs our worship to the Creator Himself. The fourth stanza concludes with an invitation for all of God’s children to join the mighty chorus of joy begun at creation’s dawn (Job 38:7) and, in so doing, to find the encouragement needed for any circumstance of life. (Osbeck, K. W. (1982). 101 hymn stories (pp. 144–145). Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications.)
Isaiah 12 is a message of joyful encouragement. It is a hymn of praise (about the coming of Jesus, the Messiah). (At a time of) the return of the outcasts of Israel from their long captivity, (it also speaks to one alienated from God, encouraging them to find) peace and joy in believing;; and to that of the whole company of the redeemed, when they meet before the throne of God in heaven. The promise is sure, and the blessings contained in it are very rich; and the benefits enjoyed through Jesus Christ, call for the most enlarged thanksgivings. (Henry, M., & Scott, T. (1997). Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary (Is 12:1). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.)
Isaiah 12 calls us to joyfully worship and delight ourselves in God because of what He has done and promises to do. In sending the Messiah, Jesus Christ, those in Him can have joy even in the midst of difficulties. Isaiah shows us this because of 3 wonderful realities: We see a 1) Joyful Pardon (Isaiah 12:1-3), responding with a 2) Joyful Proclamation (Isaiah 12:4-5) and finally because of the 3) Joyful Presence of the Messiah Himself (Isaiah 12:6).
Let us delight ourselves in God because of a:
1) Joyful Pardon (Isaiah 12:1-3)
Isaiah 12:1-3 You will say in that day: “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me. 2 “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” 3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation (ESV)
In verse 1, in describing: “You will say in that day”, we are listening here to our own voices from the future. The “day” in question that Isaiah is describing the revival of the church in the latter days. Focused not so much on giving us details about the end times. He is creating an impression, giving us a foretaste of what it means to live in a spirit of praise. It refers to the time of deliverance which has been described back in Isaiah 11:1–12:6. When the nation is regathered and the Messiah is reigning (Martin, J. A. (1985). Isaiah. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 1058). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.)
The “you” in verse 1 is singular. Isaiah is saying, “In that day, each of you individually “will”
“give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me”. What we see Isaiah describing is how God gives individually redeems us. There is no secondhand salvation. Our deepest problem is not whether we will love God, but whether God will love us. Considering how sin is a direct offense against God, the question to wonder is why shouldn’t He hate us forever? The most dangerous assumption that most people have is that either God doesn’t exist, doesn’t care or is just naturally positively predisposed to people. If we were to poll Christians with the question, “What is the greatest wonder in all of your salvation?” Isaiah’s answer would be, “God is your former enemy. Now He comes to comfort you.” Have you transitioned from being frustrated with a reluctant God who isn’t cooperating with your agenda to being comforted by a God who is lavishing you with grace upon grace? How does anyone turn that corner? By going back to the gospel that makes us Christians in the first place. Through faith in Christ, those were under the curse of the wrath of God, those who God was angry with, now have that anger turned away. That is the joy of God sending His Son that we celebrate at this time and what should be our greatest source of joy and delight. The greatest gift of Joy and the greatest gift of joy to share. Thus, praise and thanks are essential to robust spiritual life, not because God needs them like some neurotic tyrant, but because we need to give them. It is only in this way that we can refocus our attention upon how much we have received from a loving Father and in that appreciation stop attempting to use him as our servant (idolatry). (Oswalt, J. N. (1986). The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 1–39 (p. 292). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)
This gift of joy connects the birth of Christ with the death of Christ. The wrath of God at our real guilt is warranted, even required for God to be true to himself. His condemnation does fall, and with full force, but not on us. It falls on our Substitute. In his great love for guilty people, Jesus changed places with us at the cross. His sacrifice is the reason why God’s grace is morally entitled to treat us like royalty, which He does. If Jesus bears our condemnation far away, then all-forgiving grace toward us is not an extravagance; it is the morally beautiful meaning of our new relationship with God. For us to go boldly now into his presence for comfort, as Isaiah describes, to receive mercy and find grace whenever we have a need, brings God’s own purpose to fulfillment. He wants every one of us to be able to say to him, “You comfort me.” If we will discover what that means for us now, we will be saying it forever. Having afflicted the comfortable, Isaiah’s task is to comfort the afflicted. This song in chapter 12 may well have been for the day of deliverance from Assyria, but it is a song that we can sing too. (Believers) know that Christ has turned God’s anger away from us and allowed it to fall upon him instead. We know that ‘God our Father … loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace’ (2 Thes. 2:16). (Thomson, A. (2012). Opening Up Isaiah (p. 54). Leominster: Day One.)
Isaiah spent his life trying to persuade people to trust in God, not be afraid and not give themselves to false saviors as he testifies in verse 2. His book makes the question unavoidable for us today: Will we trust God through our crises? Or will we fearfully surround our trust in God with mechanisms of self-help, just in case God fails? Do we feel secure with God alone? One of the striking things about this testimony, this voice out of the future, is its simplicity. We complicate our trust in God. We mix in other things. We trust in our trust in God. We trust in our theology of God. We trust in our worship of God. We cling to God plus whatever makes us feel comfortable and superior. And the more props we need, the more insecure we become. But when the grace of God overrules our folly, real faith comes alive, and our outlook is simplified so that we say, “Behold, God is my salvation. This expresses the truth that there is no salvation apart from God. It is not merely that he saves; he is salvation. To know him is to know deliverance and not to know him is to be deluded about deliverance. This is why the prophets in general, and Isaiah in particular, heap such scorn upon attempts to find deliverance in the might of this world (30:1–5; 31:1–3; Jer. 42:7–17; Ezek. 29:6–9; Hos. 5:13, 14; 7:8–12; 8:8–10).( Oswalt, J. N. (1986). The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 1–39 (p. 293). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)
He is enough. Period.” We then discover that, in Christ, we can trust and not be afraid. When we experience how strong God really is on our behalf, better than we thought he’d be, He becomes not only our strength, but we express the joy of that fact as our song. Remember the old musicals like Singin’ in the Rain? Gene Kelly is walking down the street, happily sloshing in the rain and puddles, wonderfully in love, and he just starts singing. To enjoy that scene, it’s as if we have to suspend belief just enough to play along with the movie. Some how we have to identify with a grown man out in the rain, soaking wet and not caring at all and singing his head off. Why do people make films like that? Why do we watch them? The reason is that it isn’t really crazy. God has put into our hearts that very capacity, the freedom to break out into song as the wonder of his saving love, the gift of His salvation, fills our hearts. That holy delight is what we were created for. In Christ we are opened up to that wonder and the Holy Spirit enables us to glorify and enjoy God with unrestrained song. The gift of this joy is real, not visionary; suitable, abiding, and inexpressibly precious; it is associated with all good, both in this life and that which is to come; it is the precursor of everlasting joy.( Bertram, R. A., & Tucker, A. (1892). Isaiah 1–39 (Vol. 1, p. 224). New York; London; Toronto: Funk & Wagnalls Company.)
Please turn to Exodus 15
Isaiah here is echoing the Song of Moses in Exodus 15, sung after God rescued Israel through the Red Sea (Exodus 15:2–18). They were weak. But it didn’t matter. Why? Here is the confidence of the Biblical gospel from cover to cover: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). When that assurance enters our hearts, we see that even the frightening experiences of life are leading us more deeply into our salvation. We can stop thinking like victims and start singing even now. For the people of Isaiah’s time, ahead lay such events as captivity in Babylon, but we are to understand something much more universal that lies ahead of us all. What salvation delivers us from in particular is the sting of death (1 Cor. 15:55), and the threat of eternal punishment (Matt. 25:46; John 3:16). (Thomas, D. (1991). God Delivers: Isaiah Simply Explained (p. 118). Darlington, England: Evangelical Press.)
Recounting salvation as deliverance for the people of God, Moses testifies:
Exodus 15:2–18 2 The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. 3 The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name. 4 “Pharaoh’s chariots and his host he cast into the sea, and his chosen officers were sunk in the Red Sea. 5The floods covered them; they went down into the depths like a stone. 6 Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power, your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy. 7 In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries; you send out your fury; it consumes them like stubble. 8 At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up; the floods stood up in a heap; the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea. 9 The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them. I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.’ 10 You blew with your wind; the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters. 11 “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? 12 You stretched out your right hand; the earth swallowed them. 13 “You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode. 14 The peoples have heard; they tremble; pangs have seized the inhabitants of Philistia. 15 Now are the chiefs of Edom dismayed; trembling seizes the leaders of Moab; all the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away. 16 Terror and dread fall upon them; because of the greatness of your arm, they are still as a stone, till your people, O Lord, pass by, till the people pass by whom you have purchased. 17 You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain, the place, O Lord, which you have made for your abode, the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established. 18 The Lord will reign forever and ever.” (ESV)
Because of this great deliverance, this great salvation, Isaiah describes God in an unusual way back in Isaiah 12:2. The English Standard Version translates verse 2 “the Lord God.” The New International Version translates this more literally: “the Lord, the Lord.” Isaiah is overusing the Old Testament’s personal name for God, because grace enriches us with a strong sense of personal possession in God himself. The text literally reads, “Yah, Yahweh, is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” In the triumph of grace we stop standing outside the store, looking in wistfully at the treasures in the window; we walk right in and receive more than we could ask or imagine, because this Owner refuses to do business upon the basis of our payment. Everything is free (cf. Isaiah 55:1, 2). And we will share him all together.
Isaiah in verse 3 delights in the enjoyment of God saying that in Him: , “with joy, we will draw water from the wells of salvation”. To enter salvation is an individual experience (2) but to enjoy it is communal (3). You is here plural, and salvation which (2) is indeed an outreaching of God to the individual is also (3) an unfailing resource (wells) to which the saved community resorts with joy. Isaiah is following the community in its journey from Egypt, where individually they took shelter beneath the blood of the lamb, to the provision of water at Marah, and on to the wells at Elim (Exod. 15:25, 27). (Motyer, J. A. (1999). Isaiah: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 20, p. 123). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.)
There is a collective joyous worship when a people of God celebrate their redemption. David said to God, “My soul thirsts for you, my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1). Mistakenly, we can see this world as the satisfaction of our thirst, and sometimes God feels like a dry and weary land. The truth is the opposite. We live in a burning wilderness, and God is all our satisfaction. He opens up to us wells of life-giving fullness, through Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit (John 4:13, 14), enough for all of time and eternity. The prospect of thirsty, weary, people pulling up bucket after bucket of fresh, cool water in endless supply–drinking deeply, pouring it over their heads, dunking their faces into it, splashing one another–that is a vision of God’s gifts of salvation widely shared. Joyfully drawing water from the wells of salvation is the very life of God, openly accessible to us all, entering into our actual experience. And the deeper we drink, the greater our delight and praise. Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’ ” (John 7:37, 38). When the believer comes to Christ and drinks, we not only satisfy our thirst but receive such an abundant supply that veritable rivers flow from Christ. This stresses the outgoing nature of the Spirit-filled life.… There is nothing of stagnant experience—God’s salvation flows in endless freshness. Isaiah says, “… wells of salvation.” How many are there? What different kinds are there? The well of love, the well of delight, the well of healing–wells of every grace and favor. The believer will enjoy every one. The gospel says, “For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 7:17). This is a God-given certainty of hope which may be possessed only by the redeemed (Young, E. (1965). The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 1–18 (Vol. 1, p. 403). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.).
The joyous pattern of praise has not changed. We sing of God’s forgiveness and His comfort; we sing of trust in Him and the freedom from fear; we sing of Him as our strength, our song, and our salvation. All hymns of praise should be measured by this pattern. If the focus of our singing is upon ourselves and our needs, we miss the value of praise when God is extolled as our strength, our song, and our salvation. Classic hymns, which last for generations, meet this standard. Bill Moyers, the television producer, did a show entitled “Amazing Grace” in an effort to discover why the hymn persists through the generations and across cultures. Isn’t the answer in the pattern of praise given to us by Isaiah? We see this joyous expression when our worship celebrates God: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind but now I see. When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise Then when we’ve first begun”. (McKenna, D., & Ogilvie, L. J. (1993). Isaiah 1–39 (Vol. 17, p. 159). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.)
Let us delight ourselves in God with a:
2) Joyful Proclamation (Isaiah 12:4-5)
Isaiah 12:4-5 4 And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted. 5 “Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth (ESV)
In receiving the Gift of Joy, it is a gift to be shared. That is why, Isaiah foresees one message spreading over the world, exalting the truth about God, awakening all peoples to the infinite greatness and majesty of God revealed in His saving deeds. As we embrace this mission now, we exalt His name very profoundly. What Yahweh has accomplished is of universal significance, and there is a worldwide invitation to acknowledge the one true God whose being and power are far superior to all else. (cf. Isa. 40:5; 42:6; 49:6; 66:19–21).( Mackay, J. L. (2008). A Study Commentary on Isaiah: Chapters 1–39 (Vol. 1, p. 312). Darlington, England; Webster, New York: Evangelical Press.)
Please turn to Psalm 145
Verse 4 of Isaiah 12 has many parallels in the Psalms. Ps. 105:1 and 148:13 are almost identical, but the thought is also expressed in such places as 145:4–7. The emphasis upon the name of the Lord here is not to say that some magical power is to be associated with the particular letters or sounds of the divine name. Rather, it refers to God’s reputation and character (cf. Matt. 6:9). So, to “call upon his name” is to worship him on the basis of the faithful, delivering character revealed in his behavior (1 K. 18:24). (Oswalt, J. N. (1986). The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 1–39 (pp. 294–295). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)
The Psalmist expresses this in Psalm 145
Psalm 145:1-7 1 I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. 2 Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. 3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. 4 One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. 5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. 6 They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. 7 They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. (ESV)
• Psalm 145 is tying together joy and celebration. Each member of the congregation here pledges themselves to this (“I will”). This can occur as God is “my king”, where each of us possesses faith in Him. We share this joy in our testimony to each generation.
In Isaiah 12:5, just as their personal gratitude and worship must, if (it is) genuine, become public in testimony (as Isaiah said in v. 4), so must their songs of joy. To “Sing praises to the LORD” is called for not primarily as an expression of inner elation but as a response to the works of the Lord. It arises not from a stirring up of emotion but from bending the mind to recall, ponder and understand what God “has done gloriously “ (Luke 24:32). If this is true joy in what the Lord has done, it will be “be made known in all the earth”, it overflows to the world in sharing this good news.( Motyer, J. A. (1999). Isaiah: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 20, p. 124). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.)
In 1993 three New Tribes Mission missionaries were kidnapped in Colombia by terrorists. For eight years their families and friends wondered, prayed and worried. Eventually they were informed that the men were dead. Dan Germann was the NTM director in Colombia at that time. In an interview he said that their prayers changed through those long years of uncertainty. They started out praying that God would bring the men home safely. They ended up praying, “God, even if we never know what has become of them, you will still be God.” Dan said, “There is a very special sense of awe at who God is and how sufficient He is when the miracle doesn’t happen, but the wonder of His sufficiency is still present.” This too is the triumph of grace. We come to realize that God is God. Our living and our dying take on a very special sense of awe, no matter what price we pay to spread his song. His cause is the one cause on the face of the earth that will finally succeed.
Finally, let us delight ourselves in God because of His:
2) Joyful Presence (Isaiah 12:6)
Isaiah 12:6 Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” (ESV)
Believers receive the Gift of Joy as we receive the One who is that Gift of joy. This is the story of Christ’s first coming. The Inhabitant of Zion originally referred to the people who returned from captivity in Babylon. (As this is sung now, it refers to) the people in the kingdom of the Messiah; to celebrate the Holy One of Israel” and His salvation. John Trapp, the Puritan scholar, wrote, “No duty is more pressed in both Testaments than this, of rejoicing in the Lord. It is no less a sin not to rejoice than not to repent.” In his great prayer, Jesus asked his Father on our behalf “that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves” (John 17:13). Paul defined the essence of Christianity as “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). Isaiah at his time foresees “a day yet to be when a restored people will in hilarious celebration delight in their only asset–the Holy One.” (Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 822). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.
Please turn to Zechariah 2
The reason why Christian missions will write the last, happy chapter of history is the great presence of God with his people: “Great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” He is not content to stand off at a distance. From the beginning, God wanted to dwell among his people (Exodus 25:8). He dwelt among us in Jesus (John 1:14). He comes to us through the Holy Spirit (John 14:21, 23). And in the messianic kingdom, His presence will be great among us, uniting the world in holy delight (Zechariah 2:10, 11). In contrast to our changeability, “the Holy One of Israel” is true to himself and will work out his purposes, which are consummated in his presence “in your midst”, foreshadowed in the temple on Zion, partly realized by the Holy Spirit indwelling the temple that is the church (1 Cor. 3:16) and ultimately fulfilled in the new Jerusalem (Rev. 21:3, 22). This is the final and abiding reality that structures and gives substance to the present hopes of the people of God and is the content of their eternal bliss (Ps. 17:15).( Mackay, J. L. (2008). A Study Commentary on Isaiah: Chapters 1–39 (Vol. 1, p. 313). Darlington, England; Webster, New York: Evangelical Press.)
Notice how Zechariah expresses this unity of holy delight:
Zechariah 2:10-13 10 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the Lord. 11 And many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. 12 And the Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem.” 13 Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling. (ESV) (cf. Zeph. 3:16–18)
The gift of joy at this time of year is the joy of receiving Christ. As Christ came to earth that first Christmas, as Immanuel (“God with Us”), there is a message of hope. … Isaiah, brings a song of rejoicing as the people discover that Jehovah is indeed their salvation. The Lord will never forsake His people. No matter how difficult the days may be, or how long the nights, for the people of God, the best is yet to come.( Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be Comforted (p. 42). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.)
(Format Note: Some base commentary from Ortlund, R. C., Jr., & Hughes, R. K. (2005). Isaiah: God saves sinners (pp. 118–124). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
Isaiah Chapter 12
Isaiah 12 – Words from a Worshipper
A. The worshipper speaks to the LORD.
1. (1) Praise to the LORD after His anger has passed.
And in that day you will say:
“O LORD, I will praise You;
Though You were angry with me,
Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.
a. And in that day you will say: Isaiah chapter 11 spoke powerfully of the reign of the Messiah as king over all the earth. This brief chapter of praise comes from the heart of the one that has surrendered to the Messiah as king and enjoys the benefits of His reign.
b. O LORD, I will praise You; though You were angry with me: The worshipper decides to praise the LORD, even though he has felt the LORD’s anger against him.
i. Under the New Covenant, does God get angry with us? There is a sense in which all the anger and wrath of God against us was poured out upon the Son of God on the cross. In this sense, there is no more anger from God towards us because His anger has been “exhausted.” But there is also a sense in which we receive chastening or discipline from the LORD, which certainly feels like His anger. This chastening feels unpleasant (Hebrews 12:11), but it really shows the fatherly love of God instead of His hatred.
c. Your anger is turned away: It is wonderful when the anger of God is turned away. In the larger sense, His anger is turned away because of what Jesus did on the cross. Jesus put Himself in between us and the anger of the LORD and receiving that anger in Himself, He turned away God’s anger.
i. In the sense of God’s chastening or discipline in our lives, how wonderful it is when His anger is turned away, and “spanking” stops.
d. And You comfort me: When God disciplines us, He does so as a perfect parent, knowing perfectly how to comfort us after we have been chastened. Sometimes, like rebellious children, we refuse the comfort of God after discipline, but that is always our fault, not His.
i. “Satan also tempts us by all methods, and employs every expedient to compel us to despair. We ought, therefore, to be fortified by this doctrine, that, though we feel the anger of the Lord, we may know that it is of short duration, and that we shall be comforted as soon as he has chastened us.” (Calvin)
2. (2) A declaration of thanks and confidence in the LORD.
Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
‘For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song;
He also has become my salvation.’”
a. Behold: The worshipper wants others to see what he says is true. He is excited about what God has done in his life and invites all to behold the work of the LORD.
b. God is my salvation: This is salvation. To say God is my salvation is also to say, “I am not my salvation. My good works, my good intentions, my good thoughts do not save me. God is my salvation.”
i. Many don’t ever feel the need for salvation. Instead, they think their lives are fine, and come to God for a little help when they feel they need it. But they never see themselves as drowning men in need of rescue or see themselves as hell-destined sinners in need of salvation.
ii. The worshipper is so immersed in this idea that he repeats it in the same verse: God is my salvation…He also has become my salvation.
c. I will trust and not be afraid: This peace and security comes from knowing that God is my salvation. When we are our own salvation, it is hard to trust and not be afraid in ourselves. But when God is our salvation, we can trust and not be afraid.
i. Paul repeated the same idea in Romans 5:1: Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. The place of peace and trust and “no fear” comes only from seeing our salvation in God, and not in ourselves.
d. I will trust and not be afraid: This is a confident statement reflecting the will of the worshipper. He is deciding to trust and not be afraid. There are feelings of trust, but that is different than the decision to trust. We can say to our will, “I will trust and not be afraid.”
i. “Hearken, O unbeliever, you have said, ‘I cannot believe,’ but it would be more honest if you had said, ‘I will not believe.’ The mischief lies there. Your unbelief is your fault, not your misfortune. It is a disease, but it is also a crime: it is a terrible source of misery to you, but it is justly so, for it is an atrocious offense against the God of truth. (Spurgeon)
ii. “The talk about trying to believe is a mere pretence. But whether pretence or no, let me remind you that there is no text in the Bible which says, ‘Try and believe,’ but it says ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.’ He is the Son of God, he has proved it by his miracles, he died to save sinners, therefore trust him; he deserves implicit trust and child-like confidence. Will you refuse him these? Then you have maligned his character and given him the lie.” (Spurgeon)
e. For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song: The LORD is not only the worshipper’s salvation, He is also his strength and song. Some find it easier to consider the LORD their salvation in a distant “bye-and-bye” sense than to take Him today as their strength and song.
i. When the LORD is our strength, it means that He is our resource, He is our refuge. We look to Him for our needs and are never unsatisfied. “Nor is he here called a part or an aid of our strength, but our complete strength; for we are strong, so far as he supplies us with strength.” (Calvin)
ii. When the LORD is our song, it means that He is our joy, He is our happiness. We find our purpose and life in Him, and He never disappoints.
iii. “The word Yah read here is probably a mistake; and arose originally from the custom of the Jewish scribes, who, when they found a line too short for the word, wrote as many letters as filled it, and then began the next line with the whole word.” (Clarke)
3. (3) The result of the salvation of the LORD.
Therefore with joy you will draw water
From the wells of salvation.
a. You will draw water from the wells of salvation: Jesus promised us whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:14) We can come to Jesus and draw water from the wells of salvation.
i. When we remember the semi-arid climate of Israel, we see what a beautiful picture the wells of salvation paint. When water is rare, a well is life. A reliable source of something that is absolutely necessary (like water) is a precious gift. God’s gift of salvationis just that precious.
ii. The LORD’s resource is not limited. There is not one well of salvation. There are many wells of salvation. This doesn’t mean that there are many ways to be saved. All of the wells draw from the same reservoir of salvation, Jesus Christ. But many wells can bring water from the same water table.
b. You will draw water: This means there is something for us to do. God doesn’t meet our needs as we sit in passive inactivity. We must reach out and draw what He has provided. At the same time, it is His water, His well, His rope, and His bucket that we draw with.
c. Therefore with joy: Because it is all of the LORD, we draw from the wells of salvation with joy. There should be no somber faces at the LORD’s well of salvation. We draw water with joy.
i. “Joy is the just man’s portion, and Christ is the never-failing fountain whence by a lively faith he may infallibly fetch it.” (Trapp)
ii. “Be of good courage, you very, very timid ones, and alter your tone. Try to put a ‘Selah’ into your life, as David often did in his Psalms. Frequently, he put in a ‘Selah,’ and then he changed the key directly. In like manner, change the key of your singing; you are a great deal too low. Let the harp-strings be screwed up a bit, and let us have no more of these flat, mournful notes. Give us some other key, please, and begin to say, with the prophet Isaiah, ‘O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust, and not be afraid.’” (Spurgeon)
B. The worshipper declares the greatness of God to everyone.
1. (4) Exalting God among the peoples.
And in that day you will say:
“Praise the LORD, call upon His name;
Declare His deeds among the peoples,
Make mention that His name is exalted.”
a. Praise the LORD, call upon His name: This is an exhortation to praise, and an encouragement to worship the LORD and trust in Him. The worshipper has received from the wells of salvation, and now that living water is flowing out of him, encouraging others to worship and trust in the LORD.
i. It is as if the job of praising God is too big for this worshipper, and he needs to call in others to help him. “The saints are unsatisfiable in praising God for the great work of their redemption, and do therefore call in help, all that may be.” (Trapp)
b. Declare His deeds…Make mention that His name is exalted: The worshipper can’t stop talking about God’s greatness and the great things He has done.
2. (5-6) Singing praise to the LORD.
“Sing to the LORD,
For He has done excellent things;
This is known in all the earth.
Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion,
For great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!”
a. Sing to the LORD: First, the LORD was the song of the worshipper (Isaiah 12:2). Now, he sings this song of the LORD to whoever will listen! If the LORD has become your song, then sing it.
b. Cry out and shout: This is excited praise. It is wrong to manipulate or push God’s people into an artificial sense of enthusiasm in their worship. Yet there may often be a sincere and appropriate joy and energy as we worship God. If our worship will nevercry out and shout, there is something missing in it.
i. “We ought not to worship God in a half-hearted sort of way; as if it were now our duty to bless God, but we felt it to be a weary business, and we would get it through as quickly as we could, and have done with it; and the sooner the better. No, no; ‘All that is within me, bless his holy name.’ Come, my heart, wake up, and summon all the powers which wait upon thee! Mechanical worship is easy, but worthless. Come rouse yourself, my brother! Rouse thyself, O my own soul!” (Spurgeon)
c. For great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst: This gives two reasons for great praise. First, because of who God is – the Holy One of Israel. Second, because of where God is – in your midst. Each of these gives everyone reason to praise God.
(c) 2021 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – firstname.lastname@example.org