Good News!: Isaiah 51.1-52.12 (2)
Pray Psalm 19.12, 13.
Who can understand his errors?
Cleanse me from secret faults.
Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of great transgression.
Read Isaiah 51.4-8.
1. How does God intend His justice and light to come to the peoples of the world?
2. How can you see that these verses point us beyond the Babylonian captivity and beyond the salvation of the coming Servant to a greater day of salvation yet to come?
These verses are packed with importance for all who “wait upon” the Lord God and hope to know His salvation forever. What God has to say in these verses is so important that He calls on His people to listen to Him no less than three times (vv. 4, 7).
These verses are about the salvation God will bring “in that day”, when even the Gentiles are reached by the justice and light of God (v. 4). There is an unbreakable connection between the salvation of God and His Law. Just because salvation has come does not mean that Law is eliminated; indeed, the justice and light of God only come to the world because His Law is going forth from the hearts of those who have come to know His saving mercy (vv. 4, 5, 7; cf. Rom. 3.31). When salvation comes to the world, the nations will look to God and trust in Him (v. 5).
But beyond “that day”, God is bringing a new world into being, a world where His salvation “will be forever” and His righteousness “will not be abolished” (v. 6). Isaiah will have more to say about the world after the earth and heavens “vanish away like smoke”, but he introduces the idea here, so that he can build on it in subsequent chapters.
God’s people, who know His righteousness because His Law is in their hearts (cf. Ezek. 36.26, 27), must not fear the reproaches and insults of men. What they have received from God will last forever, while those who taunt and scorn them will wear out and be destroyed like an old garment.
The message to God’s people is clear: Keep your focus on the ever-coming salvation and Kingdom of God! Don’t let the trials of the moment cause you to lose sight of the precious and very great promises yet to be fulfilled. And don’t let opposition from wicked men keep you from growing in righteousness and salvation, and from living according to the Law of the Lord.
1. We’re not saved by keeping the Law. But we’re not saved without keeping it. Explain.
2. Why should those who live in justice and righteousness according to God’s Law expect that people will reproach and insult them? What should we do when this happens?
3. We who have eternal life must work hard to live in the foreverness of our salvation. According to these verses, what does that entail?
And that must be said that if the sky and the earth were to perish and grow old, then its inhabitants would also die and vanish, although we know that souls are everlasting and bodies are also resurrected. From this it is clear that heaven and earth do not perish and become reduced to nothing, but they are changed into something better. Jerome (347-420 AD), Commentary on Isaiah 14.8
Help me to keep focused on Your promises, Lord, and to live each day for…
Pray Psalm 19.7-14.
As you pray, ask the Father to let His Law do in and for you all that He promises in these verses.
Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 19.7-14 (St. Christopher: Beneath the Cross of Jesus)
The Law of God is perfect, His testimony sure;
The simple man God’s wisdom learns,the soul receives its cure.
God’s Word is right, and His command is pure, and truth imparts;
He makes our eyes to understand; with joy He fills our hearts.
The fear of God is cleansing, forever shall it last.
His judgments all are true and just, by righteousness held fast.
O seek them more than gold most fine, than honey find them sweet;
Be warned by every word and line; be blessed with joy complete.
Who, Lord, can know his errors? O keep sin far from me!
Let evil rule not in my soul that I may blameless be.
O let my thoughts, let all my words,before Your glorious sight
Be pleasing to You, gracious Lord,acceptable and right!
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).