Isaiah: Jahweh Is Salvation

Part LXI: God's Encouragement That He Will Restore His Disciplined People

(Isaiah 51:17-52:12)


I.              Introduction

A.    The history of God's people in Israel is tied closely to the history of their capital city, Jerusalem.

B.    Accordingly, Isaiah 51:17-52:12 predicts God's turning of His discipline of Jerusalem into triumphant blessing as His past judgment gives way to blessing, and we view the passage for our insight and application:

II.           God's Encouragement That He Will Restore His Disciplined People, Isaiah 51:17-52:12.

A.    In Isaiah 51:17-23, God called Jerusalem to "Awake, Awake" from her position of military defeat in divine judgment, for God was about to reverse her judgment and give her Gentile victors the treatment they gave her:

1.     Jerusalem is figuratively pictured as having drunk from the cup of God's wrath, drinking even down to the sediment of the wine in the bottom of the cup to picture the totality of punishment she had received so that she was left to stagger, reeling in figurative drunkenness from the effects of God's judgment, Isaiah 51:17.

2.     Specifically, left without comforters (Isaiah 51:18-19), Jerusalem had lost her young warriors in the brutal defeat of war so that she was figuratively drunk with the devastation of war and its effects, Isa. 51:20-21.

3.     God thus said He would take the cup of judgment from her hand that she no longer would have to drink of it and put it into the hands of her foes, bringing the oppression they handed her upon them, Isa. 51:22-23.

B.    Isaiah 52:1-6 has God again calling Jerusalem to "Awake, Awake," but this time with a focus on her being rebuilt following her destruction especially in reference to the future Messianic Kingdom (as follows):

1.     Zion is urged to put on her beautiful garments, a picture of her reconstruction as a city following her destruction at the hands of the Babylonians, Isaiah 52:1a; Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 1106.

2.     God promised that never again would the uncircumcised or unclean come into her in violation of the Law, a reference to the still-future Messianic Kingdom since Jerusalem is yet to be "trodden down" of the "Gentiles" in the Great Tribulation Period that precedes the Kingdom, Isa. 52:1b; cf. Rev. 11:2; 20:1-6.

3.     Jerusalem was to shake herself from the dust she had culturally figuratively put on her head in mourning (Ibid.) and arise, to be seated, for she would be released from bondage.  She had been sold for nothing due to her sins, but God would redeem her for nothing from captivity by His grace, Isaiah 52:2-3 ESV; Ibid.

4.     Referring to Israel's history of various captivities, God recalled how she had been slaves to Egypt and then more recently enslaved to Assyria (the Northern Kingdom of Israel), that Babylon would also take Judah (the Southern Kingdom) captive in judgment, mocking her, Isaiah 52:4-5; Ibid.

5.     However, God's restoring of His people from Babylon would reveal to them His uniqueness as God so that in their return, the people of Israel would truly spiritually know Him for His greatness and grace, Isa. 52:6.

C.    Isaiah 52:7-8 anticipates the time when the good news of great joy would be announced concerning Israel's return to Jerusalem for her Messianic Kingdom when Messiah returns to Jerusalem, Ibid.  Once again, the prophet Isaiah is seen anticipating the Messianic Kingdom right after the Babylonian Captivity with no knowledge of the intervening Church era and Great Tribulation, cf. Ephesians 3:1-6. [Paul cites Isaiah 52:7 in Romans 10:15, applying it to the messengers of the Gospel of Christ in the Church era, for those who present God's good news in any era of God's program are welcome messengers of God.]

D.    In Isaiah 52:9-10, the remnant is seen rejoicing in the Messianic Kingdom, being comforted and redeemed, with all of the saved Gentile nations witnessing His salvation grace, Ibid.

E.     Armed with such promises of restoration, Isaiah 52:11-12 called Israel's exiles to return from Babylon, to depart from the relative comfort of that nation, assured that they would not need to leave in haste as Israel had left Egypt in her first "Exodus" (Ex. 12:39), for the Lord would be her Rear Guard of safety, Ibid.


Lesson: Regardless of the devastating effects of God's judgment, once Israel's punishment was complete, her restoration would be glorious, and her Gentile oppressors would in turn be judged of the Lord.  Accordingly, Israel was to anticipate her full restoration in joy, having come to appreciate God's grace and His restoring blessings.


Application: (1) If we have faced God's discipline for sin, may we confess it to Him, for He will not only forgive us, but He will fully restore us to fellowship and blessing in Him, 1 John 1:9.  (2) May we also trust God to deal out just recompense to foes who wrongly oppress either us or others, for He is fully just and fair.  (3) May we also trust God fully to renew and to restore us in spirit following even times of enormous trial.