One writer calls Isaiah 32 the “vision of a new king and a new society.” We have seen passages like this before in Isaiah – a promise of a glorious time to come. In this one, a ruler will come who will reign in righteousness (see chapters 9 and 24 for other references to this). He will have the best interests of his people at heart. The people will be changed too. No longer will they view one another from worldly perspectives. The fool will not be thought noble and the scoundrel will not be respected.
But before all this occurs, there will be a time of trouble. Those who give not one thought to either their lives or the wickedness that envelopes them will suddenly become conscious and repentant. The implication is that these hard times, brought about by the Lord, will bring people to their senses, cause them to change their lives, and bring about the blessing of God.
What a blessing it will be!
Fertility will return to the soil and prosperity to the nation. Spiritually, righteousness will prevail and everyone will live in undisturbed peace and security. Remember your ancestors talking about a community where folks leave their doors unlocked? That’s what it means to live in “undisturbed places of rest.”
Of course, it hasn’t happened yet.
Just not yet.
It won’t just happen however. God is not going to wave his hand and suddenly bring it about. If you are just waiting for that new age to come, give it up. It will not happen until justice and righteousness characterize the lives of the people of God. God will not raise up a king who will judge with justice and righteousness and act as a shelter from the ravages of life. That king must rise from a people who lives are characterized by righteousness.
It’s not as though God has made a promise we must make happen. God’s ability to grant far exceeds our ability to perform. After all, God raised up good king Joash from bad king Ahaziah and good king Josiah from really bad king Manasseh. The problem was, the work of God only went so far. None of these could effect the glorious age because the people would not live by God’s will.
Finally, don’t think that this passage is speaking of the Messianic age when Jesus will come and all of a sudden everything will be glorious. Unrighteous people will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. Those who enjoy the glorious age to come must be those who prepare for it in the age of now.