Wake Up Call #3 — Our God Reigns — Isaiah 52:9-16

Wake up call #3 of 3.

REDEMPTION DEMONSTRATES THAT OUR GOD REIGNS

I.  (52:1-6) THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD IN SOVEREIGNLY REDEEMING HIS PEOPLE BRINGS GLORY TO HIS NAME

A.  (:1-2) The Call to Action – Directed to Zion – to Look and Act Like the Redeemed of the Lord

(:1) ClotheYourselves in Holiness

a.  Holiness is Our Strength

Awake, awake,

Clothe yourself in your strength, O Zion;

Clothe yourself in your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city.

Oswalt: While she has no strength to deliver herself, she does have strength to lay hold of God’s promises and must exercise that strength if deliverance is to be realized . . . So although their pride and vanity has reduced them to abandonment, destruction, and filth, that is not how God sees them. He sees them with strength and beauty. In his eyes they are the Holy City.

Figure of putting on the Lord Jesus Christ:

Rom. 13:11-14

Gal. 3:27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”

Ephes. 4:17-24

Col. 3

What type of Holiness is Beautiful??

– Not the type of external legalism of the Pharisees – nothing either holy or beautiful about whitewashed sepulchers that stink from the inside out

– Not the type of emotional, self-delusional, pseudo-holiness of the charismatic Holy Rollers that imagine they have been elevated to some type of state of perfection due to the Second Blessing

– Not the intellectual, academic holiness of those who have studied the doctrine backwards and forwards but whose character and walk lack the depth of their profession

– But the holiness that looks like Jesus Christ in all of His moral attributes; the holiness that comes through persistent growth towards maturity in the grind-it-out arena of daily life

This type of holiness is not weakness but is our strength

b.  Holiness is Our Protection

For the uncircumcised and the unclean will no more come into you.

Defilement is something to be feared, not trifled with; we should always be concerned that our worship sanctuary not be tainted with any sinful influences

What a day it will be in the end times when Jerusalem truly lives out its destiny as God’s Holy City and the uncircumcised and the unclean are not allowed to enter in and defile God’s center of worship and instruction in holiness

Parunak: Note how the invaders are described. Their distinctive feature is not their violence or rapacity, but their uncleanness. The real disaster is not that Judah suffers, but that God’s holy city is defiled. Throughout Scripture, God’s whole concern is for his name and his honor. In ourselves, we are only dust; we are precious to him because we bear his name, and when we suffer, it is his honor that he is primarily concerned to remedy.

(:2) Live in Liberty

Shake yourself from the dust, rise up, O captive Jerusalem;

Loose yourself from the chains around your neck, O captive daughter of Zion

How tragic it is when believers who have been redeemed from the bondage of sin by the death of Christ, continue to live as though shackled with the same chains of selfishness and lust and pride and addiction

Much of our growth in Christian maturity comes from realizing in our experience the reality of God’s power in our lives rather than believing the lie that we are still in bondage to our sins

Message of Romans 6-8 – You don’t have to still live in sin; yield the members of your body as instruments of righteousness – Celebrate the victory we have in Jesus

Paul rebukes the Galatians for allowing legalism to compromise the freedom that they should be experiencing in Christ Jesus – Gal. 5: 1-6

Oswalt: Although Zion’s deliverance is wholly the work of God and not her own, she is not merely a passive recipient of God’s work. Those whom God calls must exercise their own will and effort in response to what he has done on their behalf. This verse makes that plain. Jerusalem is not merely lifted from the dust, but is called to get up and shake off the dust. Likewise, she must remove the chains from her neck for herself. We cannot break the chains that bind us; only God can do that. But when the chains are broken, we must remove them, and only we can do that. This is a critical moment in any recovery: the moment when we cease thinking of ourselves as a captive, that is, as a victim, a helpless chip in the current, and begin to realize that God has placed an opportunity before us that we may seize, if we will.

Young: From her degrading slavery she is to be restored to a position of honor and dignity.

We need this type of wakeup call to look and act today like the people of God

Clothe ourselves in holiness

Live in liberty

B.  (:3-6) Comforting Response From the Lord — Redemption is Coming

1.  (:3) Redemption Will Be Strictly on God’s Terms

For thus says the LORD,

‘You were sold for nothing and you will be redeemed without money.’

How did you get into this degrading position of slavery and oppression? And how will you be delivered?

Ironic statement since the concept of redemption contains implicitly the idea of the paying of a ransom – How is God going to accomplish this?

In the pagan world of polytheism, if your land was suffering oppression you would desire that your gods would make some type of payment to rescue you; always a great contrast being presented between the one true God and the false pagan gods

Oswalt: Vv. 4-6 form an extended reflection on v. 3. What does it mean that they had been sold without price, and why is it that God is determined to take them back?

2.  (:4-5a) Redemption Has Always Been God’s Only Solution to Oppression –

Oppressors Have No Inherent Rights to God’s People

a.  Example of Redemption from Egypt – God’s people put themselves under oppression willingly

For thus says the Lord God,

‘My people went down at the first into Egypt to reside there,

Nobody forced the Jews to leave the promised land and look to Egypt for help; they had a response of unbelief and disobedience to the pressure of famine in the land; instead of drawing closer to their God they fled to Egypt

b.  Example of Redemption from Assyria – oppressed without cause

then the Assyrian oppressed them without cause.

Different set of circumstances … but the same experience of bondage and oppression; the same desperate need for the Lord’s intervention;

c.  Current Situation of Redemption from Babylon

Now therefore, what do I have here,’ declares the LORD,

‘seeing that My people have been taken away without cause?’

Here we go again, says God – the people of God constantly cycle through the same type of bondage experiences

3.  (:5b) Redemption Addresses the Fundamental Issue –

Captivity Dishonors the Name of the Lord

 “Again the LORD declares,

‘Those who rule over them howl,

and My name is continually blasphemed all day long.

Are the rulers here

– the oppressors? – probably this is the best view

– rulers of Jerusalem and Judah? – probably not

The main issue is not that God’s people are suffering and need to be delivered;

The fundamental issue is that God’s reputation is being blasphemed by pagan rulers

Oswalt: God’s name is held in contempt because it appears to the watching world that Israel’s belief in God was false. He had been forced by the superior power of the gods to surrender his people. Thus the watchers would assume that the rulers of the people would be wailing over the failure of their trust in God. This is the same point that Ezek. 36:19-21 makes: God’s reputation, his name, is held in contempt because of his apparent inability to defend his people.

4.  (:6) Redemption Will Vindicate the Name of the Lord by Establishing His Incarnate Presence

Therefore My people shall know My name;

therefore in that day I am the one who is speaking, ‘Here I am.'”

Look at the judgments declared against seven pagan nations in Ezek 25-32 – common refrain:

Thus you will know that I am the Lord

The deliverance that God brings about for His people has the same common goal

As God’s people today, do we truly know God’s name? Do we know Him for who He is – all of his attributes and how He relates to us in love and mercy and grace and compassion; do the sheep truly know their good shepherd?

Motyer: In the exodus redemption and revelation of his name, the Lord set up a mediator to speak for him (Ex. 6:28 – 7:3; 19:9), but in the coming day he will speak in person and in such a way as to be able to say, “Behold me!”

II.  (52:7-12) THE POSTSCRIPT HYMN OF PRAISE = CELEBRATION OF THE REDEMPTION PROVIDED BY OUR GOD WHO REIGNS

A.  (:7-8) Proclamation of Good News of Salvation

1.  (:7) Happiness Tied to the Reign of God

a.  Commendation of the Messenger (Herald) of Good News

How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news,”

This is how they communicated in ancient times – by way of messenger – hopefully you sent one who had fast feet – no TV or cell phones or email or social media to spread the word quickly; you had to run to the next city and bring the message – not even as sophisticated as the Pony Express – what anticipation as the watchmen on the city towers would see the messenger approaching – would it be good news or bad?

b.  Fourfold Content of the Message of Good News

                                    1) “Who announces peace

As opposed to strife; because the Prince of Peace has reconciled us to God

Nothing better after the ravages of wartime then to hear the message that peace has been established

Is. 66:12 speaking of future Jerusalem – “Behold, I extend peace to her like a river” familiar words of our famous hymn

Rom. 5:1Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God

            2) “and brings good news of happiness,

Good news of the good” – redundancy in the Hebrew

3) “Who announces salvation,

Rescue, deliverance

It is our privilege to be entrusted with the gospel message of peace and joy and salvation – need to announce this to the world around us

            4) “and says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”  Key thought

None of the above can be true unless this is true

Answers the issue of lordship salvation and easy believism

We need to make our boast in the Lord as the one who reigns; are we allowing Him to fully rule in our lives? Or do we still want to be on the throne and live according to our own pleasures and desires?

Oswalt: What does God’s rule entail? It entails a condition where all things are in their proper relation to each other, with nothing left hanging, incomplete, or unfulfilled (peace, shalom); it entails a condition where creation purposes are realized (good, tob; cf. Gen. 1:4, 10, etc.); it entails a condition of freedom from every bondage, but particularly the bondage resultant from sin (salvation, yeshu’a). Where God reigns, these follow. Of course, this is exactly congruent with what the Christian faith considers its good news (euangelion) to be.

Borgman: Content of the Good News = Your God Reigns! – surprising to us – far more comprehensive message then just that God died for sinners

How can that be the gospel?

Hymn: Thy God Reigneth

Trembling soul, beset by fears, “Thy God reigneth!”
Look above, and dry thy tears: “Thy God reigneth!”
Though thy foes with power assail, naught against thee shall prevail;
Trust in Him-He’ll never fail:
“Thy God reigneth, Thy God reigneth!”

Sinful soul, thy debt is paid, “Thy God reigneth!”
On the Lord thy sins were laid, “Thy God reigneth!”
On the cross of Calvary, Jesus shed His blood for thee,
From all sin to set thee free,
Thy God reigneth, Thy God reigneth!”

Seeking soul, to Jesus turn, “Thy God reigneth!”
None that seek Him will He spurn, “Thy God reigneth!”
Wandering sheep the Shepherd seeks and, when found, He ever keeps,
For “He slumbers not nor sleeps,”
“Thy God reigneth, Thy God reigneth!”

Join, ye saints, the truth proclaim, “Thy God reigneth!”
Shout it forth with glad acclaim, “Thy God reigneth!”
Zion, wake! the morn is nigh; see it break from yonder sky;
Loud and clear the watchmen cry:
“Thy God reigneth, Thy God reigneth!”

Church of Christ, awake, awake! “Thy God reigneth!”
Forward then, fresh courage take: “Thy God reigneth!”
Soon, descending from His throne, He shall claim thee for His own;
Sin shall then be overthrown:
“Thy God reigneth, Thy God reigneth!”

2.  (:8) Hopes Fulfilled When the Lord Regathers His People

Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices, They shout joyfully together;

For they will see with their own eyes when the LORD restores Zion.

Oswalt: Vv. 7-12 express in highly lyrical form a series of images that convey the reality of what God is about to do. This is another example of Isaiah’s penchant for concluding a teaching segment with concrete images. . .

As is typical in this part of the book, a major segment dealing with redemption ends with a hymn (cf. 42:10–12; 44:23; 49:13; 54:1ff.). The reality of what God is about to do bursts in on the hearers, and they are called on to celebrate the glory and the joy of it. As wonderful as creation was, and as true as divine providence is, it is redemption that is earth’s great song. For without redemption, creation and providence are ultimately abortive. The world is caught in the bondage of sin and destruction; creation is fatally marred and providence makes the bondage only bearable. But if it is possible to be delivered from human sin and its effects, then creation may yet see its children and providence may yet lead us to the Father’s house. That is cause for joy, not for humans alone but for the whole cosmos. Here, as previously, nature (the waste places of Jerusalem) is called on to take part in, if not lead, the singing (42:10–11; 44:23; 49:13; see also 45:8 and 55:12). Just as nature has suffered the effects of sin, so one day it will share the benefits of God’s redemption, and that is cause for song.”

B.  (:9-10) Picture of Redemption Brings Joy and Fear

1.  (:9) Joy to God’s People in Jerusalem Who are Comforted

Break forth, shout joyfully together, You waste places of Jerusalem;

For the LORD has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem.

Transformation of the waste places of Jerusalem

2.  (:10) Joy [and Fear] to the Watching World Who See God’s Glory

The LORD has bared His holy arm in the sight of all the nations,

That all the ends of the earth may see the salvation of our God.

Rolling up His sleeves and showing off His strong arms = His guns – most specifically, His appointed Holy Messiah

God painting on a global canvas for all to see

Pattern of the good news spreading to all the earth in the book of Acts starting with Day of Pentecost – starting in Jerusalem and Judea and then spreading to all the world

Fulfillment of promise to Abraham – “In you all the families of the earth will be blessed

This is the vindication of the name of the Lord

C.  (:11-12) Process of Regathering Involves Special Purification and Security

1.  (:11) Purification

Depart, depart, go out from there, Touch nothing unclean;

Go out of the midst of her, purify yourselves,

You who carry the vessels of the LORD.

We need to separate ourselves from the world of sin – we are called to be in the world but not of the world – just as the Jews are called to depart from Babylon and return to the Promised Land

(particularly here the priests who have responsibilities to lead the people in corporate worship)

Don’t be tainted by the world in such a way that you would compromise your ultimate goal of worshiping God in the beauty of holiness

2.  (:12) Security

But you will not go out in haste, nor will you go as fugitives;

For the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

The Presence of God is prominent here – going before and coming after God’s people to provide complete protection and security

Beall: Finally, in vv. 11-12 another dual imperative closes out this section. Here the captive exiles in Babylon seem to be in view, and the Lord tells them that when they are set free (as a “first fruits” of the redemptive promise and plan of God), they are to leave there without taking any Babylonian spoil (as they had done when they left Egypt), and they would not need to leave in haste (as they had left Egypt), because the Lord would protect them thoroughly. It is possible that the reference has in view both the exiles from Babylon and the future regathering of Israel in the end time as well.

Oswalt: This concern for ritual defilement is rare in Isaiah (but cf. 1:10–16 and 65:1–7), and its use here suggests a concern to make clear that the central issue here is release not from physical bondage but from another kind of bondage, the bondage of evil with its corruption and defilement. This larger concern may well be the reason for not specifying that the vessels being carried are those of the sanctuary. It is not merely the priests and Levites who carry these vessels of the Lord—it is all the people of God; and the deliverance in which they are being called to participate calls them all to purify themselves by departing from sin.

CONCLUSION:

The one who came to redeem us is truly Immanuel = God with us

In the coming section we are going to learn in graphic detail what it cost the Suffering Servant to accomplish our redemption

Redemption demonstrates that our God reigns

Let’s live and act as those who have been redeemed by the Lord