Isaiah 37:31-32 – A people transformed on the inside

Let’s revisit the promise of a future recovery for God’s people prophesied in verses 31 and 32 of chapter 37: “Once more a remnant of the house of Judah / will take root below and bear fruit above. / For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, / and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. / The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.”

These words most obviously speak of the emergence of a new group who are faithful to God following the deliverance of Jerusalem. Such a group would likely comprise Isaiah, who has continually obeyed God in calling the leaders of Jerusalem to turn from alliances and put their trust in God, but also now people like King Hezekiah who, in the face of a crisis largely brought about by his faithless leadership, has turned to God; however, in 150 years or so the people of Jerusalem will be overrun by the Babylonians because of their unfaithfulness to God. The continual breaking of their covenant relationship with God will result in their exile to Babylon.

Even when the descendants of Isaiah’s generation came back from their exile in Babylon, they were still, despite their chastening, grossly deficient in their devotion and obedience to God: God knew this would be the case and that is why he has his prophets of the Babylonian exile period speak of what we know as the New Covenant.

This New Covenant will see people transformed by a work of God within their hearts as they are moved and empowered to live lives that honour God. Jeremiah and Ezekiel both speak of this future reality that will be realised as a result of the work of Jesus as our representative and the reality of the Holy Spirit within his followers (see the really wonderful Jeremiah 31:31-34 & Ezekiel 36:25-27).

We, as those who are in the good of New Covenant secured for us by the obedience and sacrifice of Jesus, knowing the reality of the presence of the Holy Spirit in us, are able to say we have, in the words of Isaiah, the roots in the right soil to produce the fruit that pleases our gracious and wonderful God

Prayer: Look at the Ezekiel passage and reflect on all that it means to be in the New Covenant with God. Spend a few minutes praising God for this, his grace towards us and how amazing he is!

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Song: Praise, my soul, the King of heaven