A Current Bible Study:

Isaiah 52

     Our New Year's message from the Word of God is WAKE UP!  I don't know about you, beloved, but at times for me the holidays, especially the day after, bring on lethargy. And, unfortunately, at any time of the year, I am subject to spiritual lethargy. But with grace and love the Lord has sent us a message today:
Verse 1: "Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean."

     As a prophet, Isaiah was authorized to speak not only to the people and circumstances of his day, but to us way down yonder here in the future. And in this wonderful Bible chapter he does both. God's people at that time were not tired from celebrating, in fact, they were punch drunk from judgment:
Verse 5: "Now therefore, what have I here, saith the Lord, that my people is taken away for nought? They that rule over them make them to howl, saith the Lord; and my name continually every day is blasphemed."
This is odd, at first glance. Why aren't God's own people prospering? In fact they seem cursed. As today, there was confusion about who believed and belonged to God and this confusion led to controversy about God's abilities, sense of fairness, and true identity. Now, the truth is that God has a plan. And because of that plan He was judging the nation Israel. They had rejected Him, and sinned to a degree that, if He hadn't stepped in with judgment at that time, His entire plan would have collapsed. So God, Who is, in fact, loving and just, makes decisions that we could never make. He created us, and yet we presume to judge Him. It was a mistake back then, and it remains a mistake today, no matter what has happened, to judge God and not trust Him.
     If you have a heart that can turn toward Him, if you have what Jesus would later call "ears to hear," and if you will humble yourself before Him, the Lord will seek to explain Himself to you.
Verse 6: "Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am He that doth speak: behold it is I."
     He's not trying to be clever or hide Himself from us. He's just above you and me, friend. And we should rejoice that He is. We need our Creator.

     He allows Isaiah to speak freely of His plan. This plan is good news to those who will receive it. And this isn't just the ancient plan. It is the plan. This news is so good that God says when you preach it even the sight of your feet as you stand there are beautiful:
Verse 7: "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, thy God reigneth!"
Wow, this plan is taking us from confusion and judgment, to celebration:
Verse 9: "Break forth into joy, sing together ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem."

     By the way, that "beautiful" preacher is none other than the Lord, Himself:
Verse 10: "The Lord hath made bare His Holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God." Isaiah is surely speaking to us! In the face of the greatest good news, we are called to sanctify ourselves:
Verse 11: "Depart ye, depart ye, go out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord."

How can this be? The people back then had failed to be clean before God. And, frankly, my friend, we have followed suit in our day. If we stop here (and this is where the unbelieving must stop) God's plan for us will be thwarted. But let's wake up and go on with God:
Verse 12: "For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rear guard."
How, Isaiah? This would be so perfect, but how, God? I just can't be righteous. We turn our hearts to You, show us the way...

Verse 13: "Behold, my servant..." The prophet sees Jesus, God the Son and Savior, hundreds of years before His birth.
"Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high."

     No one will ever again be able to honestly say that the Almighty is being obscure. God became a baby, a carpenter, a preacher, and a sacrifice. Old Isaiah saw it all way before it happened. Can you see it 2000 years after? I said before your heart has to be ready to accept the truth of God's plan.

     Finally the prophet reveals a part of the plan we could never have predicted. It is a marvel. It is love itself, as only a true believer can know. God, the Son, will have to suffer as no one of us ever could, and then die to save us:
Verses 14-15: "As many were astonished at thee; his visage was marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider."
Have you considered Jesus? God's message to us is crystal clear: WAKE UP! 


May Jesus Christ richly bless you-JKD 12/29/00