Tuesdays are for the Old Testament
Luther, Martin, edited by Jaroslav Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, translated by Herbert J.A. Bowman) Luther’s Works, Vol. 17, Lectures on Isaiah Chapters 40-66.St. Louis: Concordia, 1972. Logos Electronic Edition.
“Isaiah Chapter 48” pp. 155-168.
In Isaiah 48, Luther observes that God’s people are still murmering against God. Despite God’s protection, the godly are drawn away by others. Luther uses Zwingli and Oecolampadius as examples of people in his time period who would pull Christians away from the true faith into falsehood (LW 17, 155). In the time of Isaiah, the people would tie their identity to the city of Jerusalem. In Luther’s time, the people would call themselves Christians and assume they were safe (LW 17, 156).Yet, as we move to Isaiah 48:3, we see that the hope in eternity is not dependent on the matters of the law, which contain the identity as citizens of a city or members of a church. Rather, true hope in eternity comes from an identity as a person redeemed by grace. It is God’s promises which rescue and guard his people (LW 17, 157). Trusting anything other than God’s promises simply leads to idolatry. Luther identifies idolatry to include monastic vows, priestly garb, and the like. It is all resident in the heart, but is played out in various ways (LW 17, 158). Regardless of the different ways idolatry may be played out, God’s response is the same. He will demonstrate his anger, even burning out the impurities as in a furnace (LW 17, 160). This is for the good of his people, to rescue those who can be rescued. Verse 11 says that it is also for the sake of God’s name, which must be kept in honor. God is not the kind of person who shares his glory. Rather, he protects it from those who would treat it as unimportant. (LW 17, 162). God restates his claim to glory as seen in his creation (v. 13). He is quite able to make all the heavens and earth bring him honor (LW 17, 164). God’s people become partakers of that honor through the peace God gives them in the last days. As they hear God’s commands and trust in him, they will receive all the care and security they need (LW 17, 167.