Good News!: Isaiah 51.1-52.12 (7)
Pray Psalm 132.7-9.
Let us go into His tabernacle;
Let us worship at His footstool.
Arise, O LORD, to Your resting place,
You and the ark of Your strength.
Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness,
And let Your saints shout for joy.
Review Isaiah chapters 51.1-52.12.
1. How would you describe the overall mood of these chapters? Why?
2. To what does God want His people to “Awake!”?
This section of Isaiah (chapters 40-52) are fraught with urgency, and it comes to a climax in the section we have examined in this installment.
Judgment is coming. It’s coming because of sin, and it will be terrible. But it will have an end, and deliverance will come by the hand of the Lord’s anointed – first Cyrus, then the Servant. Israel must repent and believe the Word they are hearing from the Lord’s prophet. They must not despair, but get busy even now preparing themselves and their children for the coming salvation of the Lord.
Time in these chapters is like a spyglass. Look through it closed, and all you can see is judgment. Pull it out one length, though, and you can see Cyrus. Pull it again, and the Servant and salvation of the Lord begin to be in sight. Pull it one more time, and now you can see all the way to the new heavens and new earth.
In chapters 51 and 52 the urgency increases, moving from “Listen” (51.1, 4, 7) to “Awake.” God calls His people to “Awake, awake!” first to their sins and the imperative of repentance (51.17) and then to the vision of God’s coming salvation (52.1). This call to wake up is in response to God’s call to His Servant and Arm to “Awake, awake, put on strength” in 51.9. God is stirring to accomplish His salvation. His people must wake up and prepare themselves, too.
All this urgency and vision must have caused the people to wonder: “How? How is God going to save us?” Isaiah will begin to answer that question at the end of chapter 52 and in chapter 53.
1. Do we need to prepare for the Lord’s salvation each day? Explain.
2. In what sense are the commands to “Listen!” and “Awake!” still relevant to us today?
3. What’s your primary takeaway from Isaiah 51.1-52.12?
According to the Hebrew, it is not Jerusalem but the arm of the Lord that has to put on strength. This relates to what we spoke about above [v. 5], about the nations hoping in “my arm.” For we have said that the divinity of the Word is signified here, since he urges the people not to fear the rebuke of human beings or to be affected by their filth, and in the same way here it is right to see in the person of the people a prayer being sent to the “arm of the Lord” to rouse himself and overcome the enemies of his people. For we confess we are nothing unless you rise up and overcome on our behalf. Eusebius of Caesarea (260-340 AD), Commentary on Isaiah 2.39
Help me to listen, Lord, and wake me up to Your great salvation, so that I…
Pray Psalm 132.
Travelers would have used this psalm as they were going up to Jerusalem to worship, perhaps at one of the great feasts. It is a psalm of remembrance and longing. Let it guide you in seeking a greater realization of the precious and very great promises and Presence of the Lord today.
Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 132 (Finlandia: Be Still My Soul)
Remember, Lord, we pray, in David’s favor,
the hardships he endured, the oath he swore,
the vow he made to Jacob’s mighty Savior:
“I shall not enter through my palace door;
I shall not sleep, nor slumber my eyes favor,
until I make a dwelling for the Lord!”
The word throughout the chosen nation spread,
to Ephrata, and in the fields of Jaar:
“Now let us go,” the faithful people said,
“and worship where our Savior’s dwellings are!
Around His footstool let our worship spread;
come, gather to Him, all from near and far!”
Arise, O Lord, come to Your resting place;
Your holy presence meet with us in might.
Clothe us with righteousness in Jesus’ grace,
and we will shout to Your divine delight!
For David’s sake, turn not away Your face,
but look upon us in Your holy light.
Remember, Lord, the oath You swore to David;
do not turn back, do not deny Your Word:
“One of your sons, with your throne I will favor,
and He shall keep My cov’nant evermore,
and walk within My testimonies ever,
thus He shall ever rule as Israel’s Lord.”
God dwells among us, and He will forever,
to meet our needs and clothe us with His grace.
He has to us sent Jesus Christ, our Savior,
and made us His eternal resting-place.
His foes are banished from His presence ever,
but we shall reign with Him before His face.
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).