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Before the new technology of alarms on our cell phones, when we would stay overnight in a motel, most of us probably took advantage of their wake up call service in the morning. You could always use the radio alarm clock in the room – but you just weren’t convinced of its reliability … so at least for myself I would put in that request for a wake up call at a certain time in the morning. If you were enjoying a good, sound sleep there was nothing more jarring than the ringing of that phone in the darkness of the motel room.

We have arrived at a section in the prophecy of Isaiah that is structured around

3 WAKE UP CALLS: 51:9; 17; 52:1 [follows directly after the 3 Calls to Pay Attention – Listen to God’s Word of Encouragement About the Past, Future and Present]

The first is addressed to the Lord Himself; the other 2 are addressed to the people of God – designated as Jerusalem and Zion. In each case the outline is the same:

– Call to Action

– Comforting Response from the Lord

Oswalt: Thus the thread of thought in the three segments is from question to affirmation: Will God, can God, really deliver us from our enemies (51:9-16); it is the enemies who will suffer now, not you (51:17-23); yes, God has delivered us from our enemies (52:1-12).

The tone is one of gentle and gracious encouragement from the Lord. We are building up to the great climax of that most famous chapter in the book of Isaiah – Chap. 53 which clearly describes the work of redemption by God’s Servant/Messiah – who came to suffer on our behalf and bear in his own body the punishment for our sins so that we could enjoy the blessings of God




A. (:9-11) The Call to Action – Directed to the Arm of the Lord — to Once Again Restore the Gladness and Joy of Redemption

1. (:9a) Call for Strong Action

“Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD;

Awake as in the days of old, the generations of long ago.”

Young: implies that the arm has been lying asleep and inactive . . . idea of preparation for battle

Close to stepping over the line here in trying to stir the Lord into action

Yet this is often the cry of our hearts – we imagine that the Lord is slow to act and needs to be prodded by our cries; surely He has lost track of the difficulties that we are facing

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Ps. 121:3-4 – remnant had forgotten these verses – the Lord needs no Wake Up Call!



A. Looking for Help in All the Right Places — “From whence shall my help come?”

1. Reminder: The impressive grandeur of the mountains reminds me of the

majesty of the Creator

“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains”

2. Answer: “My help comes from the Lord”

B. The Lord’s Credentials as Helper are Impeccable

1. Lord over Nature = Creator of heaven and earth

“Who made heaven and earth”

2. Personally Cares for Us

“He will not allow your foot to slip;”

3. Vigilant = On Call 24 hours a day [like our generator business]

“He who keeps you will not slumber”

“Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep”


A. Looking for Protection in All the Right Places — “The Lord is your keeper”

B. The Lord’s Credentials as Protector are Impeccable

1. Lord over Nature = Protector from the elements

“The Lord is your shade on your right hand”

a. From the heat of the sun

“The sun will not smite you by day”

b. From the freezing temperatures of the night

“Nor the moon by night”

2. Personally Cares for Us = Watches over our soul

“The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul”

3. Vigilant = On Call 24 hours a day

“The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in From this time

forth and forever.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Oswalt: One may believe quite sincerely that it is possible for God to do something about one’s situation, and even that he will do something, and yet at the same time be deeply troubled that he does not seem to do anything now.

Parunak: The phrase “put on strength” (as a garment) appears only three places: here, the third cry, and Ps 93:1, which also mentions the Lord’s power over the sea (a theme that is developed here).

Motyer: In the Bible the motif of “clothing” stands for character, ability and commitment . . . In other words, it is God’s character to take issue with his foes; he has the ability to do so, and he commits himself to the task.

The generations of long ago — Cf. song “Faith of Our Fathers”

2. (:9b-10) Reminder of Powerful, Supernatural Redemption from Egypt

a. Power Displayed in Judgment – over Egypt

“Was it not Thou who cut Rahab in pieces, who pierced the dragon?”

Sounds like imagery from some type of Super Hero movie flick of today

Speaks of power and violence and domination and supremacy

Beall: i.e., Egypt (see 30:7; Rahab is a powerful legendary sea monster used to represent Egypt here and in Isa 30:7; Job 9:13; 26:12; Ps 87:4; and 89:11; the word for “serpent” is a derivative of Pharaoh, and here refers to the Egyptian pharaoh)

Oswalt: just as a contemporary poet might allude to the Iliad or the Odyssey, utilizing imagery familiar to his hearers but that is hardly part of their belief system, so Isaiah uses the imagery of the well-known stories of creation to make his point.

Young: As God once delivered His people from the mighty power of Pharaoh, so now will He again deliver them from whatever powers stand in the way of their salvation.

b. Supernatural Displayed in Redemption – at the crossing of the Red Sea

“Was it not Thou who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep;

Who made the depths of the sea a pathway for the redeemed to cross over?”

No matter how powerful the obstacles seem to us, the Lord can deliver as He did in the crossing of the Red Sea

The Lord can make a way – even where it seems like there is no way

“God Will Make A Way” – Don Moen lyrics

God will make a way

Where there seems to be no way

He works in ways we cannot see

He will make a way for me

He will be my guide

Hold me closely to His side

With love and strength for each new day

He will make a way, He will make a way

By a roadway in the wilderness, He’ll lead me

And rivers in the desert will I see

Heaven and Earth will fade but His Word will still remain

And He will do something new today

3. (:11) Joyful Celebration of Restoration

a. Joyful Return

“So the ransomed of the LORD will return,

And come with joyful shouting to Zion;

And everlasting joy will be on their heads.”

b. Joyful Rest

“They will obtain gladness and joy,

And sorrow and sighing will flee away.”

Experience of Apostle Paul — Acts 16:25 – joyfully singing from behind the bars of the prison in Philippi – demonstrates to us that God intends for believers to already experience this gladness and joy; our lives should not be characterized by sorrow and sighing – although this life does throw at us things that hurt and cause suffering

Beall: This verse is nearly identical to Isa 35:10, also a clearly millennial context.

B. (:12-16) Comforting Response From the Lord – Don’t Fear Man But Remember Your Maker Who Will Deliver You

1. (:12a) Divine Source of Comfort

“I, even I, am He who comforts you.”

Repetition of the personal pronoun responds to the twofold “Awake, Awake”

Young: This is in reality the basic theme of the entire prophecy.

This statement by itself should be enough to comfort God’s people

2. (:12b-14) Exposure of the False Foundations of Our Fears

a. (:12b-13a) Three Drivers of the Fear of Man

1) (:12) Overlooking the Impermanence of Man

“Who are you that you are afraid of man who dies,

And of the son of man who is made like grass;”

Young: to violate this command [to fear not] is to be presumptuous, to assume that God’s command is without meaning. Furthermore, it is to attribute to man a power and ability that he does not possess.

Chuck Smith: Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid of those that kill your body, and after that have no power. But rather fear Him, that after the body is killed has power to cast your soul into Gehenna; yea, I say unto you, “Fear ye Him”” ( Luke 12:4-5 ). The Bible says, “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoso will put his trust in the Lord shall be saved” ( Proverbs 29:25 ). And again, why should you fear man who is going to die himself? Son of man whose life is as the grass of the field which today is and tomorrow is dried and cast into the oven?

Man is not in control; cannot carry out his threats regarding your future destiny

Contrast with the permanence of the Word of God

Example of Elijah — 1Kings 19:3 – fleeing before the death threat of Queen Jezebel

1 Kings 21:23 – death of Jezebel prophecied; fulfilled – 2 Kings 9:33-37

2) (:13a) Forgetting the Supremacy of Your Creator God

“That you have forgotten the LORD your Maker,

Who stretched out the heavens,

And laid the foundations of the earth;”

3) (:13b) Overestimating the Bluster of Your Oppressors

“That you fear continually all day long because of the fury of the oppressor, As he makes ready to destroy?”

Oswalt: The implication of the question in v. 12 is made explicit here: to live in fear of humans is to have effectively forgotten God. This is the problem. It is not that God has forgotten his people (49:14); it is that they have forgotten him. This is the problem of Ahaz, and it will be the problem of the exiles, as it is that of the church today. It is easy to say certain theologically correct things, such as that he is both the world’s and our maker, that he is the one who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth, while giving the lie to those fine words by our continually living as though he can do nothing to prevent humans from doing ultimate harm to us. This is a call to live out the reality of our confession, to make creed and behavior coinhere. If God is the creator, then we need not fear the anger of any oppressor, no matter how horrifying his or her plans are. None of this is to deny the horror, the pain, the degradation of oppression. This is not an exercise in self-delusion (imagine you are not being oppressed and you won’t be!). Rather, it is a call to focus on a larger reality. If the oppressor fills my horizon, then I have only one option: be ruled by fear and hatred. But if a larger reality fills my horizon, then where is the anger of the oppressor? If we know that it is God who holds our ultimate destiny, then the oppressor no longer holds power over us. Yes, oppressors may hurt us, even kill us, but they do not have the power to make us fear them or hate them. God is the ruler over all.

b. (:13b-14) Imagined Threats Have No Substance

1) Wrath Evaporates

“But where is the fury of the oppressor?”

2) Dangers Not Realized

“The exile will soon be set free,

and will not die in the dungeon,

nor will his bread be lacking.”

Young: The root meaning is to stoop, and the participial form here therefore means, one stooping, bending, as though under a burden. Possibly therefore it refers to those who sit in prison bent over, and so may be rendered in English by prisoners. Although the Hebrew is anarthrous (for this is poetic language), in English we may render, The prisoner hastens to be delivered.

3. (:15-16) Two Encouragements Regarding God’s Protection and Provision of His People

a. (:15) Sovereignty of God’s Control

“For I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea and its waves roar

(the LORD of hosts is His name).”

b. (:16) Security of God’s Care – Administered by His Servant/Messiah

“And I have put My words in your mouth,

and have covered you with the shadow of My hand,

to establish the heavens,

to found the earth,

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

– Communicating the Mind of God

– Creating New Heavens and New Earth

– Continuing the Covenant Relationship

Young: the means employed [for God to deliver His people] = the revelation of God . . . in light of the nature of the work to be accomplished, it seems best to regard the One in whose mouth God places His words as the Messiah Himself, the One who is to plant the heavens and found the earth and bring a message of comfort to Zion.

Speaking here of the Servant

Oswalt: the segment began with an appeal to God’s mighty work in the past, both in creation and in redemption (vv. 12-13a). Then the move was to the present with its assurance that it is possible to live in confidence (vv. 13b-15). Now at the end of the segment, we move to the final state of the cosmos and of the people that God has made. . . for the cosmos is to be remade (65:17), and the people of whom it was said “not my people” shall be called “my people” (Hos. 2:23; Isa. 65:19). How is that to happen? It is to happen through the word of the Servant/Messiah.




A. (:17-20) The Call to Action – Directed to Jerusalem — to Feel the Sting of Divine Discipline

1. (:17) Expect Divine Deliverance After Divine Discipline

a. (:17a) Preparation for the Lord to Deliver

“Rouse yourself! Rouse yourself! Arise, O Jerusalem,”

Reflexive force of the Hithpael stem – Wake yourself; not responsibility of God to wake them

Can’t give up and quit under the hand of God’s discipline; there will come a time when you need to get back up off the carpet

Emphasis throughout NT on watchfulness; staying alert – Don’t be asleep at the switch

Matt. 24 — Olivet discourse – emphasis on being alert and watching

Rom. 13:11-14

Eph. 5:14

1 Thess. 5:5ff

b. (:17b) Proper Perspective Towards the Discipline from the Lord

“You who have drunk from the LORD’s hand the cup of His anger;

The chalice of reeling you have drained to the dregs.”

Constable: Drinking a cup of wine is a figure of judgment (cf. 29:9; 63:6; Ps. 75:8; Jer. 25:15-16; Rev. 14:10). Jerusalem now lay in a state of stupor but needed to arise because the Lord had a future for her.

Parunak: Wine is presented as an image of the seductiveness of sin and judgment. Initially, sin is attractive, but it draws people inevitably into a disgraceful state, just as the initial pleasure of wine leads to shameful drunkenness. The drunkard, crazed by alcohol, sucks on the bitter dregs to satisfy his thirst. The sinner is so overcome by his lust that he clasps the judgment of God to his bosom.

The point of the metaphor is that what God gives them is not just the final judgment for their sin, but the withdrawal of his protection from the temptations that draw them deeper into sin.

Motyer: All life’s experiences are blended into a cup for us by the Lord but specially the due apportionment of his wrath (Pss. 11:6; 75:8-9; Je. 25:15ff.; Ezk. 23:31ff).

OT examples – book of Judges is full of examples – Discipline followed by Deliverance

Ezek. 23 – tale of 2 sisters – Oholah (“her own tabernacle” = Samaria) and Oholibah (“My tabernacle is in her = Jerusalem”)

Heb. 12 – key passage on Divine Discipline

2. (:18-19a) Don’t Expect Human Resources to be Sufficient

a. No Guidance that is Adequate

“There is none to guide her among all the sons she has borne;”

David Thompson: That Hebrew word “guide” (nahal) is one that refers to one who actually knows the right direction and can lead people in it (Ibid., p. 536). This is the same word in Psalm 23:2, “He leads Me beside still waters.” As a judgment of God, God sees to it that His own people do not have anyone who can actually take them by the hand and lead them and guide them into His Word, ways, and will.

No human leadership can provide deliverance – apart from the type of Savior the Lord provided in the days of the Judges – types pointing forward to ultimate deliverance by the Savior Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ

Pharisees in the day of Christ described as the blind leading the blind

b. No Help that is Adequate

“Nor is there one to take her by the hand among all the sons she has reared.”

Young: Her own inhabitants, be they ever so strong and willing, nevertheless cannot lead the city at this time when the wrath of God has been drunk by her. Nor can they seize her by the hand to help.

Motyer: no human resource avails against divine wrath (cf. 50:2; 59:16; 63:3; 65:12).

Cf. in the NT the marvelous miracles associated with Jesus simply reaching down to those in need and taking them by the hand and lifting them up

c. (:19a) No Human Comfort that Can Strengthen and Sustain

“These two things have befallen you;

Who will mourn for you?”

What 2 things?? Some confusion here – looking forward to 2 groups of 2?? Or looking backward??

Young: it may be that the two things are those just mentioned in the preceding verse, namely, the not being led by the children whom she has borne and the not being seized by the hand by the children whom she has brought up. We set this interpretation forth with some hesitation, merely acknowledging it as a possibility, one that appears to involve less difficulty than to find an equation of meaning between the first words of the verse and the four nouns in the second line.

No human solace is possible; must look to the Lord for comfort

3. (:19b-20) Feel the Sting of Hopelessness – Apart from Divine Deliverance

a. (:19b) Hurting Because of the Disaster Impacting Property and People

1) Total Disaster Against Property (Motyer)

“The devastation and destruction,”

Jerusalem pictured in ruins – book of Lamentations

2) Total Disaster Against People (Motyer)

“famine and sword;”

Slow death by starvation or rapid killing in battle

3) In Need of Divine Comfort

“How shall I comfort you?”

b. (:20) Helpless Under the Force of Divine Discipline

1) The Strongest are Powerless

“Your sons have fainted,”

2) Panic and Fear are Paralyzing

“They lie helpless at the head of every street,

Like an antelope in a net,”

3) The Adversary is All Powerful and Angry

“Full of the wrath of the LORD,

The rebuke of your God.”

No human way out of such a dire situation

B. (:21-23) Comforting Response From the Lord —

1. (:21-22a) Your Relationship with God Brings the Comforting Message of Hope

a. Tune Your Ears to the Message of Hope

“Therefore, please hear this, you afflicted,

Who are drunk, but not with wine:”

Constable: “Therefore” marks the transition from peril to promise. Isaiah appealed to afflicted Israel to listen to God’s message. The Israelites had suffered the effects of intoxication, not from drinking real wine but the wrath of God (v. 20).

b. Trust Your Lord to Fight Your Battles

“Thus says your Lord, the LORD,

even your God Who contends for His people,”

nature of God is such that He calls on His people to stand still and see the salvation He provides

We have a wonderful Advocate – cf. our system of courts and lawyers that is so unfair

We have one who pleads our cause

2. (:22b-23) The Sovereignty of God Turns the Tables on Your Oppressors

a. Discipline is Over

“Behold, I have taken out of your hand the cup of reeling;

The chalice of My anger,

You will never drink it again.”

This can only be said in the eschatological context

Think of the cup of God’s wrath which the Lord Jesus drank – never again will He drink that cup

Matt. 26:36ff

b. Vengeance is Executed

“And I will put it into the hand of your tormentors,

Who have said to you, ‘Lie down that we may walk over you.’

You have even made your back like the ground,

And like the street for those who walk over it.”

Hos. 1:4; 2 Kings 9:7; 10:30 – King Jehu = God’s instrument of vengeance against house of Ahab

Constable: The figure of walking on the backs of enemies stresses the victor’s desire to humiliate the captives, not to slay them (cf. Josh. 10:24).

Young: The Assyrian monuments show how the victor trampled on the conquered who were lying on the ground.

Sometimes God lets the wicked walk all over His people – for a time – to accomplish His purposes – to fill up the cup of His discipline – we must embrace that process

Divine Deliverance follows Divine Discipline



A. (:1-2) The Call to Action – Directed to Zion – to Look and Act Like the Redeemed of the Lord

1. (:1) ClotheYourselves in Holiness

a. Holiness is Our Strength

“Awake, awake,

Clothe yourself in your strength, O Zion;

Clothe yourself in your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city.”

Oswalt: While she has no strength to deliver herself, she does have strength to lay hold of God’s promises and must exercise that strength if deliverance is to be realized . . . So although their pride and vanity has reduced them to abandonment, destruction, and filth, that is not how God sees them. He sees them with strength and beauty. In his eyes they are the Holy City.

Figure of putting on the Lord Jesus Christ:

Rom. 13:11-14

Gal. 3:27 “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”

Ephes. 4:17-24

Col. 3

What type of Holiness is Beautiful??

– Not the type of external legalism of the Pharisees – nothing either holy or beautiful about whitewashed sepulchers that stink from the inside out

– Not the type of emotional, self-delusional, pseudo-holiness of the charismatic Holy Rollers that imagine they have been elevated to some type of state of perfection due to the Second Blessing

– Not the intellectual, academic holiness of those who have studied the doctrine backwards and forwards but whose character and walk lack the depth of their profession

– But the holiness that looks like Jesus Christ in all of His moral attributes; the holiness that comes through persistent growth towards maturity in the grind-it-out arena of daily life

This type of holiness is not weakness but is our strength

b. Holiness is Our Protection

“For the uncircumcised and the unclean will no more come into you.”

Defilement is something to be feared, not trifled with; we should always be concerned that our worship sanctuary not be tainted with any sinful influences

What a day it will be in the end times when Jerusalem truly lives out its destiny as God’s Holy City and the uncircumcised and the unclean are not allowed to enter in and defile God’s center of worship and instruction in holiness

Parunak: Note how the invaders are described. Their distinctive feature is not their violence or rapacity, but their uncleanness. The real disaster is not that Judah suffers, but that God’s holy city is defiled. Throughout Scripture, God’s whole concern is for his name and his honor. In ourselves, we are only dust; we are precious to him because we bear his name, and when we suffer, it is his honor that he is primarily concerned to remedy.

2. (:2) Live in Liberty

“Shake yourself from the dust, rise up, O captive Jerusalem;

Loose yourself from the chains around your neck, O captive daughter of Zion”

How tragic it is when believers who have been redeemed from the bondage of sin by the death of Christ, continue to live as though shackled with the same chains of selfishness and lust and pride and addiction

Much of our growth in Christian maturity comes from realizing in our experience the reality of God’s power in our lives rather than believing the lie that we are still in bondage to our sins

Message of Romans 6-8 – You don’t have to still live in sin; yield the members of your body as instruments of righteousness – Celebrate the victory we have in Jesus

Paul rebukes the Galatians for allowing legalism to compromise the freedom that they should be experiencing in Christ Jesus – Gal. 5: 1-6

Oswalt: Although Zion’s deliverance is wholly the work of God and not her own, she is not merely a passive recipient of God’s work. Those whom God calls must exercise their own will and effort in response to what he has done on their behalf. This verse makes that plain. Jerusalem is not merely lifted from the dust, but is called to get up and shake off the dust. Likewise, she must remove the chains from her neck for herself. We cannot break the chains that bind us; only God can do that. But when the chains are broken, we must remove them, and only we can do that. This is a critical moment in any recovery: the moment when we cease thinking of ourselves as a captive, that is, as a victim, a helpless chip in the current, and begin to realize that God has placed an opportunity before us that we may seize, if we will.

Young: From her degrading slavery she is to be restored to a position of honor and dignity.

We need this type of wakeup call to look and act today like the people of God

– Clothe ourselves in holiness

– Live in liberty

B. (:3-6) Comforting Response From the Lord — Redemption is Coming

1. (:3) Redemption Will Be Strictly on God’s Terms

“For thus says the LORD,

‘You were sold for nothing and you will be redeemed without money.’”

How did you get into this degrading position of slavery and oppression? And how will you be delivered?

Ironic statement since the concept of redemption contains implicitly the idea of the paying of a ransom – How is God going to accomplish this?

In the pagan world of polytheism, if your land was suffering oppression you would desire that your gods would make some type of payment to rescue you; always a great contrast being presented between the one true God and the false pagan gods

Oswalt: Vv. 4-6 form an extended reflection on v. 3. What does it mean that they had been sold without price, and why is it that God is determined to take them back?

2. (:4-5a) Redemption Has Always Been God’s Only Solution to Oppression –

Oppressors Have No Inherent Rights to God’s People

a. Example of Redemption from Egypt – God’s people put themselves under oppression willingly

“For thus says the Lord God,

‘My people went down at the first into Egypt to reside there,”

Nobody forced the Jews to leave the promised land and look to Egypt for help; they had a response of unbelief and disobedience to the pressure of famine in the land; instead of drawing closer to their God they fled to Egypt

b. Example of Redemption from Assyria – oppressed without cause

“then the Assyrian oppressed them without cause.”

Different set of circumstances … but the same experience of bondage and oppression; the same desperate need for the Lord’s intervention;

c. Current Situation of Redemption from Babylon

“Now therefore, what do I have here,’ declares the LORD,

‘seeing that My people have been taken away without cause?’”

Here we go again, says God – the people of God constantly cycle through the same type of bondage experiences

3. (:5b) Redemption Addresses the Fundamental Issue –

Captivity Dishonors the Name of the Lord

“Again the LORD declares,

‘Those who rule over them howl,

and My name is continually blasphemed all day long.”

Are the rulers here

– the oppressors? – probably this is the best view

– rulers of Jerusalem and Judah? – probably not

The main issue is not that God’s people are suffering and need to be delivered;

The fundamental issue is that God’s reputation is being blasphemed by pagan rulers

Oswalt: God’s name is held in contempt because it appears to the watching world that Israel’s belief in God was false. He had been forced by the superior power of the gods to surrender his people. Thus the watchers would assume that the rulers of the people would be wailing over the failure of their trust in God. This is the same point that Ezek. 36:19-21 makes: God’s reputation, his name, is held in contempt because of his apparent inability to defend his people.

4. (:6) Redemption Will Vindicate the Name of the Lord by Establishing His Incarnate Presence

“Therefore My people shall know My name;

therefore in that day I am the one who is speaking, ‘Here I am.'”

Look at the judgments declared against seven pagan nations in Ezek 25-32 – common refrain:

“Thus you will know that I am the Lord”

The deliverance that God brings about for His people has the same common goal

As God’s people today, do we truly know God’s name? Do we know Him for who He is – all of his attributes and how He relates to us in love and mercy and grace and compassion; do the sheep truly know their good shepherd?

Motyer: In the exodus redemption and revelation of his name, the Lord set up a mediator to speak for him (Ex. 6:28 – 7:3; 19:9), but in the coming day he will speak in person and in such a way as to be able to say, “Behold me!”


A. (:7-8) Proclamation of Good News of Salvation

1. (:7) Happiness Tied to the Reign of God

a. Commendation of the Messenger (Herald) of Good News

“How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news,”

This is how they communicated in ancient times – by way of messenger – hopefully you sent one who had fast feet – no TV or cell phones or email or social media to spread the word quickly; you had to run to the next city and bring the message – not even as sophisticated as the Pony Express – what anticipation as the watchmen on the city towers would see the messenger approaching – would it be good news or bad?

b. Fourfold Content of the Message of Good News

1) “Who announces peace”

As opposed to strife; because the Prince of Peace has reconciled us to God

Nothing better after the ravages of wartime then to hear the message that peace has been established

Is. 66:12 speaking of future Jerusalem – “Behold, I extend peace to her like a river” familiar words of our famous hymn

Rom. 5:1 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God”

2) “and brings good news of happiness,”

“Good news of the good” – redundancy in the Hebrew

3) “Who announces salvation,”

Rescue, deliverance

It is our privilege to be entrusted with the gospel message of peace and joy and salvation – need to announce this to the world around us

4) “and says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” Key thought

None of the above can be true unless this is true

Answers the issue of lordship salvation and easy believism

We need to make our boast in the Lord as the one who reigns; are we allowing Him to fully rule in our lives? Or do we still want to be on the throne and live according to our own pleasures and desires?

Oswalt: What does God’s rule entail? It entails a condition where all things are in their proper relation to each other, with nothing left hanging, incomplete, or unfulfilled (peace, shalom); it entails a condition where creation purposes are realized (good, tob; cf. Gen. 1:4, 10, etc.); it entails a condition of freedom from every bondage, but particularly the bondage resultant from sin (salvation, yeshu’a). Where God reigns, these follow. Of course, this is exactly congruent with what the Christian faith considers its good news (euangelion) to be.

Borgman: Content of the Good News = Your God Reigns! – surprising to us – far more comprehensive message then just that God died for sinners

How can that be the gospel?

Hymn: Thy God Reigneth

Trembling soul, beset by fears, “Thy God reigneth!”

Look above, and dry thy tears: “Thy God reigneth!”

Though thy foes with power assail, naught against thee shall prevail;

Trust in Him-He’ll never fail:

“Thy God reigneth, Thy God reigneth!”

Sinful soul, thy debt is paid, “Thy God reigneth!”

On the Lord thy sins were laid, “Thy God reigneth!”

On the cross of Calvary, Jesus shed His blood for thee,

From all sin to set thee free,

Thy God reigneth, Thy God reigneth!”

Seeking soul, to Jesus turn, “Thy God reigneth!”

None that seek Him will He spurn, “Thy God reigneth!”

Wandering sheep the Shepherd seeks and, when found, He ever keeps,

For “He slumbers not nor sleeps,”

“Thy God reigneth, Thy God reigneth!”

Join, ye saints, the truth proclaim, “Thy God reigneth!”

Shout it forth with glad acclaim, “Thy God reigneth!”

Zion, wake! the morn is nigh; see it break from yonder sky;

Loud and clear the watchmen cry:

“Thy God reigneth, Thy God reigneth!”

Church of Christ, awake, awake! “Thy God reigneth!”

Forward then, fresh courage take: “Thy God reigneth!”

Soon, descending from His throne, He shall claim thee for His own;

Sin shall then be overthrown:

“Thy God reigneth, Thy God reigneth!”

2. (:8) Hopes Fulfilled When the Lord Regathers His People

“Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices, They shout joyfully together;

For they will see with their own eyes when the LORD restores Zion.”

Oswalt: Vv. 7-12 express in highly lyrical form a series of images that convey the reality of what God is about to do. This is another example of Isaiah’s penchant for concluding a teaching segment with concrete images. . .

As is typical in this part of the book, a major segment dealing with redemption ends with a hymn (cf. 42:10–12; 44:23; 49:13; 54:1ff.). The reality of what God is about to do bursts in on the hearers, and they are called on to celebrate the glory and the joy of it. As wonderful as creation was, and as true as divine providence is, it is redemption that is earth’s great song. For without redemption, creation and providence are ultimately abortive. The world is caught in the bondage of sin and destruction; creation is fatally marred and providence makes the bondage only bearable. But if it is possible to be delivered from human sin and its effects, then creation may yet see its children and providence may yet lead us to the Father’s house. That is cause for joy, not for humans alone but for the whole cosmos. Here, as previously, nature (the waste places of Jerusalem) is called on to take part in, if not lead, the singing (42:10–11; 44:23; 49:13; see also 45:8 and 55:12). Just as nature has suffered the effects of sin, so one day it will share the benefits of God’s redemption, and that is cause for song.”

B. (:9-10) Picture of Redemption Brings Joy and Fear

1. (:9) Joy to God’s People in Jerusalem Who are Comforted

“Break forth, shout joyfully together, You waste places of Jerusalem;

For the LORD has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem.”

Transformation of the waste places of Jerusalem

2. (:10) Joy [and Fear] to the Watching World Who See God’s Glory

“The LORD has bared His holy arm in the sight of all the nations,

That all the ends of the earth may see the salvation of our God.”

Rolling up His sleeves and showing off His strong arms = His guns – most specifically, His appointed Holy Messiah

God painting on a global canvas for all to see

Pattern of the good news spreading to all the earth in the book of Acts starting with Day of Pentecost – starting in Jerusalem and Judea and then spreading to all the world

Fulfillment of promise to Abraham – “In you all the families of the earth will be blessed”

This is the vindication of the name of the Lord

C. (:11-12) Process of Regathering Involves Special Purification and Security

1. (:11) Purification

“Depart, depart, go out from there, Touch nothing unclean;

Go out of the midst of her, purify yourselves,

You who carry the vessels of the LORD.”

We need to separate ourselves from the world of sin – we are called to be in the world but not of the world – just as the Jews are called to depart from Babylon and return to the Promised Land

(particularly here the priests who have responsibilities to lead the people in corporate worship)

Don’t be tainted by the world in such a way that you would compromise your ultimate goal of worshiping God in the beauty of holiness

2. (:12) Security

“But you will not go out in haste, nor will you go as fugitives;

For the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.”

The Presence of God is prominent here – going before and coming after God’s people to provide complete protection and security

Beall: Finally, in vv. 11-12 another dual imperative closes out this section. Here the captive exiles in Babylon seem to be in view, and the Lord tells them that when they are set free (as a “first fruits” of the redemptive promise and plan of God), they are to leave there without taking any Babylonian spoil (as they had done when they left Egypt), and they would not need to leave in haste (as they had left Egypt), because the Lord would protect them thoroughly. It is possible that the reference has in view both the exiles from Babylon and the future regathering of Israel in the end time as well.

Oswalt: This concern for ritual defilement is rare in Isaiah (but cf. 1:10–16 and 65:1–7), and its use here suggests a concern to make clear that the central issue here is release not from physical bondage but from another kind of bondage, the bondage of evil with its corruption and defilement. This larger concern may well be the reason for not specifying that the vessels being carried are those of the sanctuary. It is not merely the priests and Levites who carry these vessels of the Lord—it is all the people of God; and the deliverance in which they are being called to participate calls them all to purify themselves by departing from sin.


The one who came to redeem us is truly Immanuel = God with us

In the coming section we are going to learn in graphic detail what it cost the Suffering Servant to accomplish our redemption

Redemption demonstrates that our God reigns

Let’s live and act as those who have been redeemed by the Lord