11th August: Isaiah 50-55

Isaiah

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).

54:1-17  –  ‘The Lord’ is not only ‘the Holy One of Israel’. He is ‘the God of the whole earth’ (5). The Gospel is for ‘all nations’. The ministry of Christ’s apostles began in ‘Jerusalem’, but it did not end there. The Gospel was to be taken ‘to the ends of the earth’ (Luke 24:46-47; Acts 1:8). Taking the Gospel out from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth was not easy. The apostles faced much opposition. They stood upon God’s promise: ‘No weapon formed against you shall prosper’ (17). When we face opposition, we must take our stand on the Word of God: ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ (Romans 8:31). Even when our words seem to fall on stony ground, we must keep on speaking the Word of God’s love: ‘With everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer’ (8).

55:1-13  –  The Word of God is spoken – ‘Seek the Lord while He may be found…’ (6-7). No one seems to be listening. What are we to do? We must remember God’s promise: ‘My Word will not return to Me empty’ (11). We do not see all that God is doing. He is doing much more than we realize – ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts…’ (8-9). We may be feeling very despondent – ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything’ (Luke 5:5). The Lord still comes to us with His Word of encouragement: ‘You shall go out with joy…’ (12). Before there is joy, there may be many tears. When there seems to be  nothing but disappointments, we must remember the Lord’s promise: ‘Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy…’ (Psalm 126:5-6). We must not ‘judge before the time…’ (1 Corinthians 4:5).

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