Learning from Isaiah 54-60
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).
56:1-57:10 - ‘My House will be called a House of prayer for all nations’ (56:7). God is gathering His people together ‘from every tribe and language and people and nation’ (Revelation 5:9). ‘Salvation comes from the Jews’, but it doesn’t end there - ‘The Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile (the rest of the world)’ (John 4:22; Romans 1:16). We were ‘foreigners’. Now, we are ‘no longer foreigners...’(56:6; Ephesians 2:19). Christ has ‘broken down the dividing wall of hostility’. ‘We are no longer Jews or Gentiles’. ‘We are one in Christ Jesus’. Christ has ‘made the two one’. We ‘have been brought near through the blood of Christ’. We are ‘one body’ - Jews and Gentiles brought together ‘through the Cross’ of Christ (Ephesians 2:13-16; Galatians 3:28).
57:11-58:14 - ‘To the far and to the near’, God speaks His Word of ‘peace’ (57:19). Christ is God’s Word of ‘peace’ (Ephesians 2:13-14). Christ is for ‘the Jews’. Christ is for ‘the Gentiles’. There is one way of salvation. Jesus Christ is our Saviour. We must put our ‘faith’ in Him. Through Him, we have ‘peace with God’ (Romans 3:29-30; 5:1). God’s Word invites us to ‘call upon the Name of the Lord and be saved’ (58:9; Acts 2:21). In Christ, there is true ‘joy’ - ‘I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation...’ (58:14; 61:10). We rejoice in Jesus Christ. He is ‘the High and Exalted One’. He has come from His ‘high and holy place’. He has become ‘Emmanuel’, ‘God with us’. He is our peace and joy, our Saviour and our God’ (57:15; Matthew 1:21, 23; John 20:28).
59:1-21 - What are we to do ‘when the enemy comes in like a flood’? We must look away from ourselves to Jesus Christ. He has ‘come’ as our ‘Redeemer’. Trusting in Jesus Christ, we must pray that ‘the Spirit of the the Lord will come like a rushing stream’. We must pray that ‘the wind of the Lord’ will come sweeping through us with much blessing (19-20). In ourselves, there is no blessing - ‘salvation... is far from us’. ‘Our sins have separated us from God’. We need to receive ‘salvation’ from the Lord (11,2,17). We must not delude ourselves. Satan is stronger than we are. We have no hope of victory over Satan - until we put our trust in Jesus Christ. Without Christ, we are helpless and hopeless. With Him, we shall be victorious. He is ‘the Rock of our salvation’ (Matthew 7:24-27; 2 Samuel 22:47; 1 Corinthians 10:4).
60:1-22 - ‘Arise, shine; for your Light has come... the Lord will be your everlasting Light’ (1,19-20). Jesus Christ is ‘the Light of the world’. When we ‘follow Him’, we ‘will not walk in darkness’. We ‘will have the light of life’ (John 8:12). We are living in difficult times. We are surrounded by much darkness. We must not be discouraged - ‘the lamp of God has not yet gone out’ (1 Samuel 3:3). When the darkness threatens to overcome the Light, we must take encouragement from God’s Word - ‘The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it’ (John 1:5). When the darkness seems to be everywhere, put your trust in the Lord - The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear?’ - and let ‘His Word’ be ‘a lamp to your feet and a light to your path’ (Psalms 27:1; 119:105).