During Influencers Conference 2012, Brad Bonhomme shared about Isaiah 59:19 (NKJV):
So shall they fear
The name of the Lord from the west,
And His glory from the rising of the sun;
When the enemy comes in like a flood,
The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.
He said we often read the passage like this: “when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.”
Instead Bonhomme suggests that the translators have misplaced the comma; that we should read it as “when the enemy comes in, like a flood the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him”.
When we read it like this, it changes the whole meaning of the text.
Whenever we pray this passage during intercessory worship, the suggestion often is that the enemy’s destructive force is overwhelming. It is only when we are completely “under water” so to speak, does the rescue of the Lord come. But this new way of reading the text is different: whenever the enemy is at work, no matter to what degree or intensity, the Lord is ready to come at the enemy like a flood.
In natural terms, a flood is an unstoppable destructive force. We don’t have to wait until the attacks of the enemy become too intense. Rather, God is at hand ready to overwhelm the forces of darkness each and every time. That’s why 2 Tim 1:10 says that Christ has “destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” The word “destroy” in the Greek is “katargeo”, meaning to completely render ineffective.
John says it this way in 1 John 3:8 (NKJV):
For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy [katargeo] the works of the devil.
Jesus has destroyed the works of the devil, and we are on the winning side. We don’t have to wait until the tide of evil intensifies, but God stands at hand ready to enforce the victory. And the victory is an overwhelming one!
This reading of Isaiah 59:19 is entirely consistent with other translations. For example, the NIV simply says that God “will come like a pent up flood that the breath of the Lord drives along”. There’s no mention even of the enemy!
But what is really exciting about this passage is its context. Not only is God victorious, but He is also bringing the Gentiles from the East and West to worship Him, to revere His glory. The raising of God’s standard is not only to enforce His victory, but also to draw unbelievers to Him in worship.
Isaiah 49:22 says:
“Behold, I will lift My hand in an oath to the nations,
And set up My standard for the peoples;
They shall bring your sons in their arms,
And your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders;
Kings shall be your foster fathers,
And their queens your nursing mothers;
They shall bow down to you with their faces to the earth,
And lick up the dust of your feet.
Then you will know that I am the Lord,
For they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me.”
Today, the standard of the Lord, our Jehovah Nissi, our banner, is Jesus. For when He is lifted up, He will be our victory. He will destroy the works of the enemy. And He will draw all men to himself. It’s time to lift up the banner of our Lord in worship!