Isaiah 51-52

is51.jpgGreetings!  These chapters begin some prophecies of the Messiah and lead into chapter 53, which is full of prophecies about Jesus.

Everlasting Salvation for Zion

51     “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness

and who seek the Lord:

Look to the rock from which you were cut

and to the quarry from which you were hewn;

2 look to Abraham, your father,

and to Sarah, who gave you birth.

When I called him he was but one,

and I blessed him and made him many.

Do you ever feel alone as a Christian?  Remember that God has countless authentic Christians throughout the world. 

3 The Lord will surely comfort Zion

and will look with compassion on all her ruins;

he will make her deserts like Eden,

her wastelands like the garden of the Lord.

Joy and gladness will be found in her,

thanksgiving and the sound of singing.

4 “Listen to me, my people;

hear me, my nation:

The law will go out from me;

my justice will become a light to the nations.

5 My righteousness draws near speedily,

my salvation is on the way,

and my arm will bring justice to the nations.

The islands will look to me

and wait in hope for my arm.

6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens,

look at the earth beneath;

the heavens will vanish like smoke,

the earth will wear out like a garment

and its inhabitants die like flies.

But my salvation will last forever,

my righteousness will never fail.

7 “Hear me, you who know what is right,

you people who have my law in your hearts:

Do not fear the reproach of men

or be terrified by their insults.

8 For the moth will eat them up like a garment;

the worm will devour them like wool.

But my righteousness will last forever,

my salvation through all generations.”

9 Awake, awake! Clothe yourself with strength,

O arm of the Lord;

awake, as in days gone by,

as in generations of old.

Was it not you who cut Rahab to pieces,

who pierced that monster through?

10 Was it not you who dried up the sea,

the waters of the great deep,

who made a road in the depths of the sea

so that the redeemed might cross over?

Rahab is a nickname for Egypt.

11 The ransomed of the Lord will return.

They will enter Zion with singing;

everlasting joy will crown their heads.

Gladness and joy will overtake them,

and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

12 “I, even I, am he who comforts you.

Who are you that you fear mortal men,

the sons of men, who are but grass,

13 that you forget the Lord your Maker,

who stretched out the heavens

and laid the foundations of the earth,

that you live in constant terror every day

because of the wrath of the oppressor,

who is bent on destruction?

For where is the wrath of the oppressor?

14 The cowering prisoners will soon be set free;

they will not die in their dungeon,

nor will they lack bread.

15 For I am the Lord your God,

who churns up the sea so that its waves roar—

the Lord Almighty is his name.

16 I have put my words in your mouth

and covered you with the shadow of my hand—

I who set the heavens in place,

who laid the foundations of the earth,

and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’”

When God points out that the Israelites should fear God and not mortals it reminds me of Matthew 10:28: Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

It is such a simple but reassuring truth: Why should we fear men when God is ultimately in control?  Faith is acting as if what you believe is really true.

The Cup of the Lord’s Wrath

17 Awake, awake!

Rise up, O Jerusalem,

you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord

the cup of his wrath,

you who have drained to its dregs

the goblet that makes men stagger.

18 Of all the sons she bore

there was none to guide her;

of all the sons she reared

there was none to take her by the hand.

19 These double calamities have come upon you—

who can comfort you?—

ruin and destruction, famine and sword—

who can console you?

20 Your sons have fainted;

they lie at the head of every street,

like antelope caught in a net.

They are filled with the wrath of the Lord

and the rebuke of your God.

21 Therefore hear this, you afflicted one,

made drunk, but not with wine.

22 This is what your Sovereign Lord says,

your God, who defends his people:

“See, I have taken out of your hand

the cup that made you stagger;

from that cup, the goblet of my wrath,

you will never drink again.

23 I will put it into the hands of your tormentors,

who said to you,

‘Fall prostrate that we may walk over you.’

And you made your back like the ground,

like a street to be walked over.”

52     Awake, awake, O Zion,

clothe yourself with strength.

Put on your garments of splendor,

O Jerusalem, the holy city.

The uncircumcised and defiled

will not enter you again.

2 Shake off your dust;

rise up, sit enthroned, O Jerusalem.

Free yourself from the chains on your neck,

O captive Daughter of Zion.

3 For this is what the Lord says:

“You were sold for nothing,

and without money you will be redeemed.”

4 For this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“At first my people went down to Egypt to live;

lately, Assyria has oppressed them.

5 “And now what do I have here?” declares the Lord.

“For my people have been taken away for nothing,

and those who rule them mock,”

declares the Lord.

“And all day long

my name is constantly blasphemed.

6 Therefore my people will know my name;

therefore in that day they will know

that it is I who foretold it.

Yes, it is I.”

7 How beautiful on the mountains

are the feet of those who bring good news,

who proclaim peace,

who bring good tidings,

who proclaim salvation,

who say to Zion,

“Your God reigns!”

Paul quotes v. 7 in Romans 10:15.  We have the good news, but we often treat it like it is bad news.  But for those who need and want to hear it, it is beautiful.

8 Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices;

together they shout for joy.

When the Lord returns to Zion,

they will see it with their own eyes.

9 Burst into songs of joy together,

you ruins of Jerusalem,

for the Lord has comforted his people,

he has redeemed Jerusalem.

10 The Lord will lay bare his holy arm

in the sight of all the nations,

and all the ends of the earth will see

the salvation of our God.

11 Depart, depart, go out from there!

Touch no unclean thing!

Come out from it and be pure,

you who carry the vessels of the Lord.

12 But you will not leave in haste

or go in flight;

for the Lord will go before you,

the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

The next section contains some interesting and even shocking predictions about the Messiah.  Rather than being revered by all, He will be rejected by many.

The Suffering and Glory of the Servant

13 See, my servant will act wisely;

he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.

14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him—

his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man

and his form marred beyond human likeness—

15 so will he sprinkle many nations,

and kings will shut their mouths because of him.

For what they were not told, they will see,

and what they have not heard, they will understand.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

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