But Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.
Neither ashamed nor confounded, world without end!
Idol-worshippers, all they who put their trust in anything or anyone next to or instead of the God of Israel, the God or our salvation in Jesus Christ,—they shall all of them be both ashamed and confounded. They shall go to confusion. For there is no peace, saith my God, for the wicked.
But not Israel!
They shall be saved!
Saved in Jehovah!
Saved with an everlasting salvation!
Blessed assurance! Firm ground for unshakable confidence!
Ye, O people of God, shall neither be ashamed nor confounded world without end! This is the Word of your God to you! It is the Word of the God Who saves you with an everlasting salvation. Never need you be concerned, therefore, that your hope is in vain. Those who do not have your God and His Word indeed have reason to fear and tremble, even when they utter loud words of boasting and apparent confidence. For it shall certainly be revealed that their hope was vain: they shall go down to confusion. But not ye! Fear not! Only believe!
To be ashamed and to be confounded are two similar ideas, each of which nevertheless has its distinct emphasis. The first term is subjective. It points to a feeling of deep disappointment which makes one blush with shame. Either that upon which we had fixed our hope turns out to be nothing but a figment of the imagination, or that object of our hope turns out to be so unworthy and so far beneath our expectations that it was not at all worthwhile hoping for, or it turns out after all that the object upon which we had pinned our hope was not intended for us; and the result is that we are left ashamed. Thus, for example, in the sphere of things natural, one may have a rich relative of whom he expects a worthwhile gift or of whom he has reason to think we will receive a large inheritance. He has expected this. He has told others of it. But when the time comes when he should receive the gift or inheritance, he either receives nothing or he receives a mere pittance. The result is that he returns homeward shamefacedly.
To be confounded is a little different. It really expresses the idea of being ridiculed and reproached because your hope has not been realized at all. It presents you as standing before others at the moment when your hope is supposed to be realized, but as being left empty-handed. And there stand those other men, especially your enemies, those to whom you had previously testified of your hope. From the very beginning they did not believe your testimony. They raised their eyebrows when you spoke of it. They considered you crazy. They laughed at your hope. And now the moment comes when your hope should be fulfilled, and it stands exposed before all as a vain hope. The enemies were right, and you were wrong. The world and the devil witness your utter confusion, They ridicule you and laugh at you and point the finger of scorn at you. “Aha,” they say, “he trusted in God! His hope was on a hereafter, on-pie-in-the-sky! Look at him now! What did all his hope amount to?”
But this shall never be!
Not world without end!
Thus it shall be with all those who worship graven images, who put their trust in them that are no gods. But not with those who build their hope upon Jehovah! Not with the Israel of God! Ye, O people of God, who know Him, who put your trust in Him, whose hope is in His holy Name, shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end!
But there is also a positive implied in this negative.
As we have already intimated, this Word of God has in view the hope of the children of God. They look for complete and everlasting salvation. Of this they testify. They do so in word: for they are ready also to give an answer concerning the reason of the hope that is in them, with meekness and fear. They do so in deed: for it is on account of that hope that they are of those of whom the world is not worthy, that they are of those who fight the good fight of faith and stand for the cause of the Son of God. In that battle they often apparently go down to defeat. The world is apparently victorious. In that fight they suffer much and must endure reproach. Yea, they must even lay down their life. But also then they still cry out to their enemies: “We, not you, have the victory. And the day of the Lord is coming, the day of the Lord for Whom we look and earnestly long, when it shall be fully revealed that all the sufferings of this present time were not worthy to be compared with the glory which should be revealed in us. The day is coming when it shall be revealed that we always did have the victory through Him that loved us!”
And what a dreadful shame and confusion it would entail if not that hope should prove vain. Here we risk all, and give up everything, count it all but loss and dung for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord. And presently stand shamefaced and empty-handed, the object of the gleeful ridicule of all who ever opposed us and in the face of whose opposition we continued to bear testimony of the hope that was in us?
Not the most miserable and contemptible of all men shall we be, but the most blessed!
Not reason for doubt and anxiety, for faintness and weariness, for wavering and cowardice, for yielding to the blandishments of the wicked world, for defeatism in the heat of battle, is there. But there is every reason for firm hope and strong assurance, for courage and patience, for steadfastness and perseverance, every reason for continuing to take to ourselves the whole armor of God and to stand in the evil day!
For the object of our hope is certain of fulfillment. We shall not be ashamed in the sense that there is nothing to that hope, that we receive nothing. On the contrary, it is absolutely certain. Israel shall be saved in the Lord!
The object of our hope is also more than satisfactory and worth our patient waiting. It will never be so that we shall be compelled to say that the prize is not worth the grueling race, that the crown is not worth all the trouble and suffering of the battle. It shall be just the other way around. We shall experience the truth that the suffering of this present time is not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. We shall be so overwhelmed when that hope is finally attained that we shall confess, “The half has not been told us!”
And the reward shall be complete and final and irrevocable! It shall be so great that all tears shall be wiped from our eyes forever. We shall be saved with an everlasting salvation!
The prophetic viewpoint and perspective is that of the captivity in Babylon and the promise of the return. Israel lies captive in a strange land. But in the same prophetic vision the Lord raises up Cyrus in righteousness, and will direct all his ways. He will rebuild Jerusalem, and he shall let the captives go free. And the nations of the Gentiles are pictured as coming in voluntary servitude to Israel. They shall acknowledge that God is in Jerusalem, and that there is no God like Him. And they shall bring their riches and the fruits of their merchandise into the city of God.
This prophetic vision was also fulfilled literally. And that fulfillment was the first stage of that everlasting salvation. It stands in inseparable connection with that everlasting salvation in the full sense of the word. It was a beginning of that salvation. It was part of God’s work of salvation, as is very plain from the fact that if that liberation from the captivity of Babylon had not taken place, so that Judah and the house of David had perished in Babylon, then there would have been no Christ, no cross, no resurrection, and no everlasting salvation obtained and realized by Christ. But as part of God’s great work of salvation, it was at the same time typical. It foreshadowed the wonder of grace according to which the Israel of God would be freed forever from the Babylon of this world and saved with an everlasting and far more glorious salvation. And as a type, it was, after all, very imperfect and incomplete. It was indeed but a shadow of the higher salvation, not that salvation itself.
But now the type has been fulfilled. It was fulfilled in Christ,—in His incarnation, in His atoning suffering and death, in His resurrection and ascension and being seated at the right hand of the Father, in His being made the quickening Spirit. And in Christ Jesus, the revelation of the God of our salvation, Israel is saved with an everlasting salvation. Mark you well, Israel is saved! Saved from the might of sin and death! Saved from all the dominion of the power of Babylon! Jerusalem is established, now no longer as an earthly city of wood and stone, but as the heavenly city of God, the city that hath foundations, whose builder and maker God is. And the nations of the Gentiles come voluntarily, as drawn efficaciously by the Spirit of Jerusalem’s King, in order to have a place in that Jerusalem. And by faith they say, “Surely God is in thee; and there is none else, there is no God!”
From that point of view, this Word of our God carries to our souls an even stronger assurance than in the old dispensation. For principally and centrally Jerusalem is already rebuilt, and Israel is already saved with an everlasting salvation!
Yet this salvation waits for its final and full revelation in the future. Or rather, we wait for it. And God’s Word assures us of it.
Israel shall be saved with an everlasting salvation!
Now that salvation is not yet. Our life is still hid with Christ in God. Here on earth there are still many of Israel who sojourn in Babylon as strangers in a strange land. Others there are who are still spiritually in the power of Babylon and who must yet be called and converted and brought to the light of the knowledge of Jehovah. Besides, the glory of our salvation is not yet revealed. We still bear the corruptible body of Babylon. Still we are often dominated by Babylon. And that Jerusalem, the cause of the Son of God, already has the victory does not become revealed, but is in many respects a hidden matter.
The full revelation of that salvation lies in the future!
Then Babylon will go down to final and everlasting defeat, and the everlasting revelation of Israel’s salvation shall be realized to the full!
For it is salvation from the greatest conceivable evil, from all evil! Freedom from the burden of guilt, freedom from the power of sin and corruption, freedom from the dominion of the enemy, from the suffering of this present time, from all that belongs to the corruptible, the weak, the dishonorable, the earthy!
For the power of sin and death and corruption shall nevermore enter there. The very thought of them, the very possibility of them, the very fear of them shall forever disappear. There shall be no night there! We shall dwell with God forever! We shall be clothed with complete righteousness, with holiness, with light and knowledge, with life and glory. We shall have the everlasting victory! It shall appear then forever that the cause of the Son of God is indeed the right cause, always was the right cause, the cause of God!
What glory that will be!
Israel shall be saved in Jehovah!
And who is like unto our God?
The idol-worshippers shall be confounded. For their idols are like unto themselves, poverty-stricken, utterly without wisdom and strength to save. They are altogether vanity. How then shall they be able to save?
But our God is in the heavens!
He is Jehovah, the I AM THAT I AM!
Self-sufficient is He, and as such the only rich One, the overflowing Fount of all goodness and blessing! Infinitely rich is He in wisdom and righteousness and grace and life and glory. There is in Him a treasure to which there is no end!
The only God is He! The unchangeable Jehovah, the faithful God of the covenant, is He from eternity. He never forsakes the work of His own hands, therefore. And the All-mighty and All-wise is He, so that you may depend upon it that His work is never hindered or prevented by anyone or anything. Yea, all things must be subservient to our salvation.
Our salvation is in Him! Here is the ultimate ground of its certainty, O Christian pilgrim!
It does not depend upon you or me or upon any man. There is nothing of man’s will of man’s might or man’s righteousness or man’s accomplishment in it. If there were any link in the chain of that salvation that depended upon man, then the whole of that salvation would be vain. For a chain is no stronger than its weakest link; and a human link is weak indeed, woefully weak and undependable.
But from beginning to end Israel’s salvation is in Jehovah!
In Jehovah, and therefore of Him!
And therefore infinitely rich and glorious, so rich that God Himself is not and shall not be ashamed to be called our God! And if our God is not ashamed, how then shall we ever be ashamed or confounded world without end?
Certain and firm is that salvation! For Jehovah is the Mighty and the Faithful One. He shall surely finish the work that He has begun in us! Certain and firm is that salvation as the Rock on which it is founded! And that Rock is Jehovah!
Blessed be God, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
World without end! Amen.