A Devotional Journey
led by Dr. Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible in a Year
Isaiah 58 includes a discussion of what truly pleases God:
not religious ceremony and empty gestures of reverence, but more practical expressions of commitment to God and His plan for our relationships with others: to loose the chains of injustice . . . . to set the oppressed free . . . . to share . . . food with the hungry and . . . provide the poor wanderer with shelter . . . . and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood.
The promise is that if we will heed God's directions in this regard He will satisfy
In Isaiah 59, God makes clear that He does not tolerate sin, yet can still redeem His people.
The imagery is striking: Sure the arm of the LORD is not too short to save
. . . . We look for light but all is darkness . . . . So justice is driven back and righteousness stands at a distance.
After promising to bring retribution on those who have rejected His Way, God reaffirms His commitment to bring The Redeemer
to Zion (His people) .
Chapter 60 is statement of the conditions to which God's people can look forward.
Again the imagery stands out: your light has come . . . Foreigners will rebuild your walls and their kings will serve you . . . . Your sun will never set again . . . the LORD will be your everlasting light and your days of sorrow will end.
The promises are clear: Israel will be restored, but even Isaiah hears God make clear that the timing is in His hands alone: I am the LORD; in its time I will do this swiftly.
Chapters 61-62 describe the nature of God's redemption.
The opening words of 61 are used by Jesus to announce the opening of His own ministry (see Luke 4:16-21). The freeing of a few captives
was used as a sign of favor on special occasions by one who ruled (see Mark 15:6). God's favor will be so great in the day of His redemption that all
the prisoners and captives will be freed. It seems most obvious that the enslavement envisioned is to sin, yet in Christ the image had reference to other applications such as healing.
God will even give a new name to Jerusalem as a sign of its new beginning
. One form of the name, Beulah
(62:4) is the source of a famous gospel song. Jerusalem, here as elsewhere, symbolizes the entire nation of Israel which will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the LORD.
There is nothing missing in God's redemption. It is not partial, temporary or insignificant.
In fact to be redeemed by God is to be secure forever. We have been redeemed by Jesus Christ, whose death on the Cross has fully paid for all our sin and made us henceforth eager and willing to live for Him
(as a famous Christian teaching aid puts it).
If you are a Christian, give thanks today, and remember God's love.
Nothing can take it away or deter its final outcome. As the New Testament says again and again, the victory has already been won and nothing remains to be proved. Therefore we are free: to serve God with gratitude and joy and to help others in practical ways which reinforce our efforts to introduce them to His grace as well.
© A. Eugene Pearson 2010