Learning from Isaiah 46-53
46:1-47:15 - ‘I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me... I am bringing My righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed’ (46:9,13). God does not keep His distance from us. He comes near to us - ‘The Word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the Word of faith which we preach). God does not delay His salvation. He comes to us with His promise: ‘If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord”, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved’ (Romans 10:8-9). Jesus is the Word of God. He is our Saviour. He is our Lord (John 1:1,14; 20:28,31). Let us worship Jesus. He is ‘the Holy One of Israel’. He is ‘our Redeemer’. ‘The Lord Almighty is His Name’ (47:4). ‘O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord’ (Church Hymnary, 191).
48:1-22 - ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go’ (17). God knows what is best for us. He helps us to say, ‘As for God, His way is perfect’ (Job 23:10; 2 Samuel 22:31).How does God help us to see that His way is best? He invites us to consider His love. We are to think about all that He has done for us - ‘the mercies of God’. He calls us to dedicate our lives to Him - ‘present your bodies, as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God’. Dedicating our lives to the Lord - This is ‘our ‘spiritual worship’. We are not to live for this world - ‘Do not be conformed to this world’. We are to live for the Lord - ‘be transformed by the renewal of your mind’. ‘God’s will is good, pleasing and perfect’. Learn this for yourself. Dedicate your life to Him (Romans 12:1-2).
49:1-26 - ‘I, the Lord, am your Saviour, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob’. We are not to keep this to ourselves. God wants ‘all mankind’ to ‘know’ (26). ‘Jesus, the Name to sinners dear, the Name to sinners given, it scatters all their guilty fear, it turns their hell to heaven’ - This is not something to keep to oursleves. We must make Christ known to others - ‘Oh, that the world might taste and see the riches of His grace! The arms of love that compass me, would all mankind embrace. His only righteousness I show, His saving truth proclaim: ‘tis all my business here below to cry: “Behold the Lamb!”. Happy, if with my latest breath I may but gasp His Name: preach Him to all, and cry in death: “Behold, behold the Lamb!”’ (Mission Praise, 385). ‘Go into all the world and preach the Good News’ (Mark 16:15).
50:1-51:8 - ‘The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him that is weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught’ (50:4). We are to listen to God. We are to speak for God. We cannot speak for God unless we are listening to Him. Before we can speak for God, we must speak to Him. We must pray, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening’ (1 Samuel 3:9-10). Listening to God comes before speaking for God. First, we wait on the Lord - ‘I waited patiently for the Lord’. Then, we witness for the Lord - ‘He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God’. Waiting on the Lord and witnessing for Him, we will win others for Him - ‘Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord’ (Psalm 40:1-3).
51:9-23 - ‘Awake, awake!... O arm of the Lord; awake, as in days gone by... 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... I am the Lord your God... I have put My words in your mouth...’ (9,11,15-16). We must pray for revival in this generation. Pray for a revival of joyful worship. Pray for a revival of powerful preaching. Where will revival come from? It comes from the Lord. God hears the prayers of His people - ‘Awake, awake!... O arm of the Lord; awake, as in days gone by’. God answers the prayers of His people - ‘The ransomed of the Lord will return... Gladness and joy will overtake them’. Revival comes when God sends His Word of power - ‘I am the Lord your God... I have put My words in your mouth’.
52:1-12 - ‘Good News’ - Let us ‘shout for joy’. ‘Good News’ - Let us sing ‘songs of joy’. There is the Good News of God’s reign - ‘Your God reigns’. There is the Good News of our redemption - ‘The Lord has redeemed’ us. We are not to keep the Good News to ourselves. This ‘news of happiness’ is to be shared with everyone. We must let ‘all the ends of the earth see the salvation of our God’. ‘Christ died for our sins’ - This is Good News. Christ was ‘raised on the third day’ - This is Good News. ‘Jesus is Lord’ - This is Good News. This is the Good News we must ‘pass on’ to others. In our world, there is so much bad news. We must not let the Good News be drowned out by the bad news. We must make sure that the people hear the Good News - loud and clear (7-10; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Mission Praise, 249).
52:13-53:12 - In this remarkable prophecy,.we see Jesus Christ, crucified for us - ‘the Lord has laid all our sins on Him’ - and risen from the dead - ‘After the suffering of His soul, He will see the light of life’ (6,11). ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’ (Mission Praise, 745). We might put this question to Isaiah. In one sense, he wasn’t there. He lived long before the time of Christ. In another sense, he was there. God opened his eyes. God gave him a glimpse of what was going to happen in the future. ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’. In one sense, we weren’t there. These things happened long before we were even born. In another sense, we were there. It was our sins which Christ took with Him to the Cross. It was our sins which He left behind Him when He rose from the dead (Romans 4:25).