In a change of times, from bad to good, there will be some disorder and turmoil. How does bad change to good? It happens as the bad leaders are expelled.
Luther, Martin, edited by Jaroslav Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, translated by Herbert J.A. Bowman) Luther’s Works, Vol. 16, Lectures on Isaiah Chapters 1-39. St. Louis: Concordia, 1969. Logos Electronic Edition.
“Isaiah Chapter 32” pp. 273-281.
Luther notes that the start of Isaiah 32 refers both to the time of Hezekiah and to a future time when the kingdom will stand firmly by God’s promises. He emphasizes the importance of excellent leadership for a nation. When the ruler is good, “good administration of the laws will follow. For good laws are no good if there is not first a good executive” (LW 16, 273). The good rule and good laws are compared to shelter, water in arid places, and the shade which can bring cool and shelter (LW 16, 274). Verse three refers to open and faithful communication, with open eyes and ears (LW 16, 275). Luther applies this to the peace which can benefit the spread of the Gospel. The ungodly rulers typically do not allow Christ to be preached, but with a good ruler, “good doctrine, excellent hearers and preachers will thrive” (LW 16, 275). In verse five it is clear that the good leader will be called generous, while a fool will not be seen that way. The fools speak foolishly. The wise will listen carefully and speak carefully (LW 16, 276). The verses following speak of the foolish leaders who leave the poor in poverty and the hungry un fed. They are greedy for themselves, not for the good of their people They will even go so far as to lie to ruin the poor (LW 16, 277). On the contrary, in verse eight, “he who is noble devises noble things” (LW 16, 278).
Luther sees a strong change in the message beginning at verse nine. “The prophet sees the destruction coming after this joy, he sees the darkness coming after this light which the prophets gave. So today we must admonish our overconfident people, lest in a little while they again fall into darkness” (LW 16, 278). Luther applies the references to “women” at ease as a statement about cities or people groups who have become complacent. A time of destruction and captivity will come. History shows this fulfilled in the Babylonian captivity. It will be a time of mourning and hardship (LW 16, 279). With the lack of cultivation and care the inhabited places will be given over to weeds and wild animals. until God rescues his people (LW 16, 280). The redemption will be a time of peace and plenty, corresponding to the destruction and captivity beforehand. This will be a lasting time of safety, which Luther ties to salvation by the grace of God seen in the New Testament (LW 16, 281). It will be a time of salvation for those who trust in God, yet there is still in verse 19 a threat of destruction for those who are not dependent upon God. For those who trust in the Lord, though, in verse 20, all will be well (LW 16, 281).