Listen! Wake up! Depart!
The Introduction: Listen! Wake up! Depart! These are three admonitions most of us hear often in our lives. listen, wake up, move on. These three imperatives are the subject of the present Scripture. This chapter is that message, a message for all the faithful who truly believe and follow the Lord. This is, The Savior’s Cry of Salvation: Listen! Wake Up! Depart!
I - The righteous must look back. They must remember the rock from which they were hewn, or cut, and the quarry from which they were dug (vv.1-3).
1 - The rock is identified as Abraham and the quarry as Sarah (v.2). God is saying that the righteous of Israel must look back to their ancestors, Abraham and Sarah, from whom they descended.
2 - When God called Abraham, he was but one person, a single individual, but God gave him the wonderful promise of a great nation of descendants.
3 - From a human perspective, there was no possibility that Abraham would have many descendants and develop into a great nation, But with God all things are possible, and He fulfilled His promise by giving Abraham and Sarah a child when Abraham was about 100 years old and Sarah 90 (Ro.4:19).
II – Isaiah 51:1-3 (NRSV) 1 Listen to me, you that pursue righteousness, you that seek the Lord. Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. 2 Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, but I blessed him and made him many. 3 For the Lord will comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places, and will make her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.
1 – First – Listen!
III – Then this scripture tells us to wake up!
1 - Isaiah 51:9-11 (NRSV) 9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord! Awake, as in days of old, the generations of long ago! Was it not you who cut Rahab in pieces, who pierced the dragon? 10 Was it not you who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep; who made the depths of the sea a way for the redeemed to cross over? 11 So the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Isaiah called upon the Lord to lift His arm and power to deliver His people from Babylon, just as He delivered their forefathers from Egypt (called Rahab, the mythical sea monster, Jb.26:12; Ps.87:4; 89:10; Isa. 30:7).
IV – Finally, the verses gives the order to “depart”. You cannot take everybody with you, and some who started out with you are not going to get there with you!
1 - THE LESSONS OF RETROSPECT. It was for her encouragement that Israel was primarily directed to take a look back. Let us recount the steps of Abraham’s life experiences , on which God lays stress in saying, “When he was but one, I called him.”
2 - Looking back he had to see that at times, He stood alone.
3 - First, Terah ( father of Abraham ) died, after having started with him for the Land of Promise, Terah moved his family, following the Euphrates River to Haran (11:31). He intended to continue from Haran into Canaan but died in Mesopotamia The account given of him in the Old Testament narrative is very brief, We learn from it simply that he was a man who served other Gods Josh 24:2 .
Sometimes, even those who physically birth you are strangers & aliens when it comes to your walk with God!
4 - Then Lot dropped away, and went down to Sodom; Lot started out very well. He got rich, and that was the beginning of his troubles. He and Abraham, his uncle, went down to Egypt, and they came out of Egypt with great wealth. The next thing we hear of is strife among their herdsmen.
Abraham said to him: "You are my nephew, and I cannot quarrel with you; but take your goods and go to the right and I will go to the left, or I will go to the right and you go to the left." And they separated.
Right here Lot made his mistake. He should have said, in reply to Abraham: "No, uncle! I don't want to leave you. The Lord has blessed me with you, and I do not wish to leave you." But, if he had been determined to leave his uncle, he should have asked Abraham to choose for him. Instead of that, he lifted up his eyes and saw the well watered plains of Sodom, and that decided him.
96If he had asked Abraham he would not have gone there. If he had asked God, Lot would never have entered Sodom; no man ever goes into Sodom by God's advice. He determined for himself, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.
5 - Then Sarah’s scheme miscarried, and Hagar was thrust from his tents with her child. Hagar. . . Personal name meaning “stranger.” The personal servant of Sarah, who was given as a concubine to Abraham and became the mother of Ishmael. . . The Old Testament equivalent of a Jerry Springer show guest. In the New Testament Paul uses the story of Sarah and Hagar to illustrate the conflict that exists between those who are God's children through faith in his promises and those who are slaves to the law of Moses.
6 - Lastly, his Isaac was laid upon the altar. Isaac was therefore a 'child of promise'. He was a living illustration that faith is the way to acceptance with God and enjoyment of his promises (Rom 4:17-22; 9:7-9; Gal 4:21-31). (For the contrast to the 'child of promise' see Ishmael.)
Abraham's faith was further tested when God told him to sacrifice Isaac (by that time a youth; Gen 22:6), the only person through whom God's promises to him could be fulfilled. Abraham still had to survive his moment of separation when he had to place his son on the altar.
V - By successive strokes the shadows grew deeper and darker; and he stood alone, face to face with God and His purpose. But the fire that burned in his heart rose higher, shone brighter, and has ignited myriads with its flame.
VI - As soon as Isaiah prayed, the Lord gave a most wonderful promise: the ransomed of the Lord would return to Zion (Jerusalem). All true believers in Israel would be set free from the intense sorrow and mourning experienced during their captivity. Furthermore, they would be filled with everlasting joy. Gladness and gratification would flood their souls.
The Conclusion: A victorious life is one of the great promises God makes to believers. No matter what we face, a simple trial or a terrible hardship, persecution or even enslavement, the Lord promises to be with us and to meet our every need. Conquering, overcoming, triumphing over all the trials and temptations of life is possible through the Lord’s presence and strength. Listen to the wonderful promises of God’s Word:
“For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall” (Isa. 25:4). Listen! Wake up! Depart!