Good News!: Isaiah 51.1-52.12 (3)
Pray Psalm 126.3, 4.
The LORD has done great things for us,
And we are glad.
Bring back our captivity, O LORD,
As the streams in the South.
Read Isaiah 51.9-16.
1. How does God describe Himself and His relationship to His people in these verses?
2. What is God’s purpose in redeeming His people?
In verses 9 and 10 the prophet, on behalf of the people, calls on the Lord to show His strength in their midst, as in days of old. Isaiah seems to be sympathizing with and expressing the longing of Israel. In verse 11, he carefully guides them into the long term promise of God, that Zion will again be established as chief among the mountains of the earth (Is. 2.1-4), and will be filled with joy and gladness (v.11). In this verse, Isaiah encapsulates all the promises God has been reiterating to His people: That they will return to Zion (Cyrus), that everlasting joy and gladness will be theirs (the coming Servant), and that a day is coming when even sorrow and sighing will be no more (the new heavens and new earth).
Then God breaks in as if to punctuate Isaiah’s words with a strong exclamation point. He is the comfort and strength of Israel. They must not fear, and they must not forget Him during their time of trial (vv. 12, 13). They must remember that God is Creator and Sovereign over all things (v. 13), that He has overcome Israel’s oppressors in the past, and has accomplished their deliverance from exile before (vv. 13, 14). Even the seas obey His Word! And He has put His Word – His Law – into the mouths of His people, that they might hear and learn and obey and teach His holy and righteous and good commandments (Matt. 5.17-19; Rom. 7.12). For thus they will know themselves to be His redeemed people, and on the foundation of His salvation and their work, God will bring His heavenly rule to earth (v. 16) with such power, that all Israel will know that He is with them, and they are His people.
How many different ways does God need to repeat these precious and very great promises of comfort, deliverance, life, and joy? As many as it takes. We need to hear these words every day, so that we will keep our eyes on the Lord, and not allow our circumstances to discourage us or cause us to despair. We are the people of the living God! Surely, His salvation is nearer today than ever before.
1. Why is it good that God reminds us so often of His precious and very great promises (2 Pet. 1.4)?
2. Why is it good that God reminds us so often of Who and how great He is?
3. How does God expect us to respond to His promises and the reminders of His greatness?
It is by means of actions that I will teach you the truth of my words. “And I will shelter you under the shadow of my hand, with which I fixed the sky and founded the earth: and the Lord shall say to Zion, you are my people.” It suffices to recall the creation to show the capability of his dynamic force that he has promised to convey to them; for he has indicated his dynamic force by the name “hand.” Theodoret of Cyr (393-466 AD), Commentary on Isaiah 16.51.16
Lord, You have made me. You have saved and called me. You have put Your words in my mouth so that I…
Pray Psalm 126.
What sorrow or trial or difficulty is threatening your peace and joy? How should you “sow” in the midst of this trial? What can you expect if you do? Let this psalm guide you into a new day of sowing in prayer, obedience, and witness to the Lord.
Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 126 (Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns!)
When God restored our fortunes all, we were like those who sweetly dream.
Our mouths with joy and laughter filled, made Him our constant song and theme.
Then the astonished nations said, “The Lord has done great things for them!”
Indeed, great things our God has done, Whose Name we praise, Amen, Amen!
Restore our fortunes, Lord our King! Let grace like flowing streams prevail.
All they with tears of joy shall sing who sow while yet they weep and wail.
They who in tears of sorrow sow and cast their seed on every hand,
With joy shall reach their heav’nly home, and bring the harvest of their land.
T. M. Moore
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Forward today’s lesson to some friends, and challenge them to study with you through this series on Isaiah. Each week’s lessons will be available as a free PDF download at the end of the week. Get a copy for yourself and send the link for the download to your friends. Plan to meet weekly to study Isaiah’s important message.
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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).