Adonai Commands Tziyon to Wake Up ~ Yesha’yahu 52:1-12

In my last post, we completed learning about The Cup of Adonai’s Wrath in Yesha’yahu 51:17-23. In this post, we learn about Adonai Commands Tziyon to Wake Up in Yesha’yahu 52:1-12.

1 Awake! Awake, Tziyon! Clothe yourself with your strength! Dress in your splendid garments, Yerushalayim, the holy city! For the uncircumcised and the unclean will enter you no more.

For the third time in this section, the call to awake occurs (see Yesha’yahu 51:9,17). This time it is addressed toTziyon, again personified as a woman. The description is of a renewed, refreshed, and restored Yerushalayim, no longer contaminated by the uncircumcised and the unclean.

2 Shake off the dust! Arise! Be enthroned, Yerushalayim! Loosen the chains on your neck, captive daughter of Tziyon!

In an obvious allusion to the exile, Tziyon is pictured as freed from bondage. She will rise from the dust to take her seat, perhaps implying a transition from dusty captive to the dignified queen.

If you go to Yerushalayim today, you can sense the riches of the area, but you can also see the sin and corruption. It won’t always be that way, however, for when Yeshua comes back to rule and reign in Yerushalayim, it will be a holy city, indeed.

3 For thus says Adonai: “You were sold for nothing, and you will be redeemed without money.”

Adonai was so anxious to get rid of sinful Tziyon that He sold her for nothing. He sold her for nothing; He can now redeem her for nothing.

4 For thus says Adonai Elohim: “Long ago My people went down to Egypt to live there as aliens, and Ashur oppressed them for no reason.

The prophecy speaks from a prophetic perspective as if Yesha’yahu were living at the time of the Bavlim captivity. From that time in the future, he looks back on two previous traumatic periods in Israeli history – the Exodus from Egypt in the second millennium BCE and the Ashurim invasion of the northern kingdom during Yesha’yahu’s lifetime (722 BCE). The Bavlim captivity dates to 586-539 BCE.

5 So now, what should I do here,” asks Adonai, “since My people were carried off for nothing? Their oppressors are howling,” says Adonai, “and My name is always being insulted, daily. 6 Therefore My people will know My name; therefore, on that day they will know that I, the one speaking – here I Am!”

Adonai’s people come to know Him through this process of punishment and restoration.

In Bavel, Adonai’s people howled. In Egypt, they cried out (see Exodus 2:23). Adonai heard it all. Just as He sent Moshe to deliver His people from Egypt, He’ll send Koresh to liberate them from Bavel. However, even with their history of miraculous deliverance, polls show that less than 10% of people in Isra’el today believe in Adonai. On that day, however, when Yeshua comes back, they will know Adonai’s true name and His character.

7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation and saying to Tziyon, “Your God is King!”

As the song title proclaims: OUR GOD REIGNS! In the ancient world, the news was carried by a herald. In this verse, the herald announces the end of hostilities and the fact that Adonai reigns as King over His people. A variation of this verse occurs in Nahum 1:15.

8 Listen! Your watchmen are raising their voices, shouting for joy together, for they will see, before their own eyes, Adonai returning to Tziyon.

Watchmen were posted on city walls to keep an eye out for attack, or in this case to be the first to witness the return of Adonai to His Holy City, Yerushalayim.

9 Break out into joy! Sing together; you ruins of Yerushalayim! For Adonai has comforted His people, He has redeemed Yerushalayim! 10 Adonai has bared His holy arm in the sight of every nation, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.

The salvation referred to here is the conspicuous restoration of Yerushalayim after it had been reduced to ruins by the Bavlim.

11 Leave! Leave! Get out of there! Don’t touch anything, unclean! Get out from inside it, and be clean, you who carry Adonai’s temple equipment.

Adonai’s temple equipment was transported to Bavel during the conquests of Yerushalayim. They were returned to Yerushalayim during the Persian period.

The priests (who are required to carry the vessels of Adonai) are now encouraged to leave, presumably from Bavlim captivity.

12 You need not leave in haste; you do not have to flee; for Adonai will go ahead of you, and the God of Isra’el will also be behind you. ~ Isaiah 52:1-12 (CJB)

When Adonai delivers His people, they never have to run for their lives. They only must move at His pace because He goes before and behind.

In my next post, we will begin to examine one of my favorite – if not my most favorite – passages in the Tanakh: The Suffering Servant in Yesha’yahu 52:13-53:12. I’m pretty sure this will be a multi-part series.

Click here for the PDF version.

The Cup of Adonai’s Wrath ~ Yesha’yahu 51:17-23

In my last post, we continued to learn about Everlasting Salvation for Tziyon ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 51:9-19. In this post, we learn about The Cup of Adonai’s Wrath in Yesha’yahu 51:17-23.

In this passage, Yesha’yahu called on Adonai’s people to wake up. They were slumbering under the influence of drinking Adonai’s cup of wrath.

17 Awake! Awake! Stand up, Yerushalayim! At Adonai’s hand, you drank the cup of His fury; you have drained to the dregs the goblet of drunkenness.

Isra’el used these words in a prayer to Adonai. Isra’el’s problems were not the result of Adonai’s slowness to act; instead, the people were slow to believe Adonai’s promises. The cup of His fury implies that He will appropriately measure out His judgment; those who fall under His judgment must figuratively drink from his wrath.

18 There is no one to guide her among all the sons she has borne. Not one of all the children she raised is taking her by the hand.

In the ancient Near East, it was the duty of the children to care for a drunk parent. Noach’s son Ham acted in a reprehensible manner when his father was drunk (see Genesis 9:18-29). Here Yerushalayim’s people did not take hold of her hand when she was drunk after drinking the cup of Adonai’s fury.

19 These two disasters have overcome you – yet who will grieve with you? – Plunder and destruction, famine and sword; by whom can I comfort you? 20 Your children lie helpless at every street corner, like an antelope trapped in a net; they are full of Adonai’s fury, the rebuke of your God.

A sad commentary on Yerushalayim’s destruction and desolation are provided in Lamentations 1:13, 22; 2:11-12, 19.

In verse 9, the people had said, “Awake, Lord. Help us.” Here, Adonai tells the people to wake up themselves and look around at the desolation and destruction caused by His chastening.

As hard as the chastening hand of Adonai fell upon His people, it was nothing in comparison to the way He dealt with her enemies. They were removed off the face of the earth entirely and appear only as a footnote on the pages of history. Therefore, next time you think you’ve got it tough because you’re being chastened by Adonai, you would do well to consider those people who are not part of His family. They’ll be lost eternally.

Adonai’s chastening is a sign of His love, of His commitment to the development of His people – be it in Yesha’yahu’s day or ours. If you’re continuing in sin and aren’t chastened, you’re not a son or daughter at all.

21 Therefore, please hear this in your affliction, you who are drunk, but not with wine; 22 this is what your Lord Adonai says, your God, who defends His people: “Here, I have removed from your hand the cup of drunkenness, the goblet of my fury. You will never drink it again.

After urging His people to learn from their situation, Adonai encourages them by giving them a promise for their nation. Adonai would defend His people as He did when Ashur besieged Yerushalayim (see Isaiah 38:6).

23 I will put it in the hands of your tormentors, who said to you, ‘Bend down, so we can trample you,’ and you flattened your back on the ground like a street for them to walk on.” ~ Isaiah 51:17-23 (CJB)

The tormentors were the Bavlim who brought about destruction, war, and famine. Once Yerushalayim has experienced the full force of Adonai’s judgment, once they have drunk of the goblet of His fury, He will take it away and give it to their tormentors.

In my next post, we learn that Adonai Commands Tziyon to Wake Up in Yesha’yahu 52:1-12.

Click here for the PDF version.

Everlasting Salvation for Tziyon ~ Part 2 ~Yesha’yahu 51:9-16

In my last post, we learned about Everlasting Salvation for Tziyon ~ Part 1 in Yesha’yahu 51:1-8. In this post, we continue in Everlasting Salvation for Tziyon ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 51:9-16.

9 Awake! Awake! Arm of Adonai, clothe yourself with strength! Awake, as in days of old, as in ancient generations! Wasn’t it you who hacked Rahav to pieces, you who pierced the sea monster? 10 Wasn’t it you who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep; you who made the sea bottom a road for the redeemed to cross?

Although not mentioned in any known text outside the Bible, Rahav is comparable to the chaos monster Leviathan, which also takes the form of a twisting serpent (Job 26:12-13). Rahav is also used synonymously for Egypt. Rahav is paired here with Bavel in terms of importance.

Adonai is encouraged to wake up from slumber and go about His redemptive work. Past victories are then recounted in the form of the defeat of Rahav. The sea and its monsters represent the forces of chaos that are against Adonai and His creation.

11 Those ransomed by Adonai will return and come with singing to Tziyon; on their heads will be everlasting joy. They will acquire gladness and joy, while sorrow and sighing will flee.

In verse 10, Yesha’yahu wondered why Adonai wasn’t working. Here, in verse 11, he is sure that Adonai will work. What caused him to change his mind? I suggest it was in the very act of pouring out his heart to Adonai in prayer that the answer to his question, the solution to his frustration was found. You dried up the sea, he said in verse 10.

One of the most significant advantages of prayer is that, as we talk to Adonai, we begin to get insights and understanding that will see us through another day – maybe just one more day, but that is all we need. It is an excellent thing to pour out your heart to Adonai because, as was the case with Yesha’yahu, so often the answer is found in the very questions and frustrations we share.

12 “I, yes I, am the one who comforts you! Why are you afraid of a man, who must die; of a human being, who will wither like grass?

It is utter folly to fear humans who die rather than Adonai who endures forever.

13 You have forgotten Adonai, your maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth. Instead, you are in constant fear all day because of the oppressor’s rage, as he prepares to destroy! But where is the oppressor’s rage?

Adonai constructed the heavens and the earth like a person would build a tent (stretched out) or a house (laid the foundations).

14 The captive will soon be set free; he will not die and go down to Sh’ol; on the contrary, his food supply will be secure.

While most of those who had been deported to Bavel would not have been imprisoned, there would have been some political prisoners. Pits were used as prisons in most of the ancient Near East. Those in debt, criminals awaiting trial and political prisoners were held in confinement of one sort or another – the Israeli thought of the grave and the underworld as a large pit.

15 For I am Adonai your God, who stirs up the sea, who makes its waves roar – Adonai-Tzva’ot is my name.

Adonai is in charge of the sea. This shows metaphorically His ability to control the forces of evil.

16 I have put My words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of My hand, in order to plant the skies [anew], lay the foundations of the earth [anew] and say to Tziyon, ‘You are my people.’” ~ Isaiah 51:1-16 (CJB)

Through Yesha’yahu, Adonai asks His people why they fear man and forget Him. Yeshua would speak to this same issue. My friends, I tell you: don’t fear those who kill the body but then have nothing more they can do. I will show you whom to fear: fear him who after killing you has authority to throw you into Gei-Hinnom! Yes, I tell you, this is the one to fear! ~ Luke 12:4-5 (CJB)

How foolish we are to fear what others think of us or will do to us when Adonai holds life and eternity in His hand.

In my next post, we learn about The Cup of the Lord’s Wrath in Yesha’yahu 51:17-23.

Click here for the PDF version.

Everlasting Salvation for Tziyon ~ Part 1 ~ Yesha’yahu 51:1-8

In my last post, we learned about Isra’el’s Sin and the Servant’s Obedience in Yesha’yahu 50:1-11. In this post, we learn about Everlasting Salvation for Tziyon in Yesha’yahu 51:1-8.

1 “Listen to me, you pursuers of justice, you who seek Adonai: consider the rock from which you were cut, the quarry from which you were dug – 2 consider Avraham your father and Sarah, who gave birth to you; in that I called him when he was only one person, then blessed him and made him many.

Yesha’yahu called to the righteous among Adonai’s people and reminded them of their heritage. Avraham was the rock from which the people of Adonai were cut and Sarah the quarry from which they were dug. From the one, man Avraham came many descendants according to the promise of the Avrahamic covenant (Genesis 12:1-3).

Here, Adonai is saying, “Look back and remember where you came from, the pit from which you were rescued.” If you think it’s hard to be a Believer, pause and remember what it was like before you invited Yeshua into your heart – the meaninglessness, the emptiness, the frustration and insecurity you felt before Yeshua took up residence.

3 For Adonai will comfort Tziyon, will comfort all her ruined places, will make her desert like ‘Eden, her ‘Aravah like the garden of Adonai. Joy and gladness will be there, thanksgiving and the sound of music.

On the foundation of the ancient promises to Avraham, Adonai will transform Tziyon’s suffering and devastation to joy and prosperity.

4 “Pay attention to me, my people! My nation listen to me! For Torah will go out from Me; I will calm them with My justice as a light for the peoples. 5 My righteousness is at hand; My salvation goes out. My arms will judge the peoples. The coastlands are putting their hope in Me, trusting in My arm.

According to the Avrahamic promise, his descendants were to be a blessing to the nations. The coastlands represent the distant nations. There is an implication that all the countries of the world will put their hope in Adonai.

6 “Raise your eyes toward the skies, look at the earth below. The skies will vanish like smoke; the earth will wear out like clothing. Those living on it will die like flies, but My salvation will be forever, and My justice will never end.

This is not an apocalyptic verse concerning the end of the earth. From a human perspective, the skies and the earth look permanent. People die, but the skies and earth endure. But Adonai’s salvation and righteousness make even the heavens and the earth appear temporary.

7 “Listen to me, you who know justice, you people who have My Torah in your heart: don’t be afraid of people’s taunts, don’t be upset by their insults. 8 For the moth will eat them up like clothing, the worm will eat them like wool; but My justice will be forever, and My salvation for all generations.”

If the skies and the earth are temporary, so are even shorter-lived human beings. Why then should anyone fear another? The only One who is the proper recipient of our fear is Adonai Himself. Those who revile the Word of Adonai, those who ignore the commands of Adonai shall be eaten up.

In my next post, we continue to learn about Everlasting Salvation for Tziyon ~ Par 2 in Yesha’yahu 51:9-16.

Click here for the PDF version.

Isra’el’s Sin and the Servant’s Obedience ~ Yesha’yahu 50:1-11

In my last post, we learned about The Restoration of Isra’el ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 49:15-26. In this post, we learn about Isra’el’s Sin and the Servant’s Obedience in Yesha’yahu 50:1-11.

1 Adonai says: “Where is your mother’s divorce document which I gave her when I divorced her? Or: to which of My creditors did I sell you? You were sold because of your sins; because of your crimes was your mother divorced.

Adonai had neither divorced nor given up on His people. It was they who had left Him to chase after other gods. He would still reach out to them and send Messiah to them. Tziyon continues to be described as the mother of Adonai’s people. Adonai is the father of His people. He put away Tziyon but did not divorce her (see Deuteronomy 24:1-4). Adonai sold His children, but not to settle a debt (so there are no creditors). Why did He do it? Because of their sins.

When one took out a loan or mortgage in the ancient Near East, the security took the form of a pledge of a personal item. Where there was no security to forfeit, debtors or their family members could be sold into slavery.

2 Why was no one here when I came? Why, when I called, did nobody answer? Is My arm too short to redeem? Have I too little power to save? With My rebuke I dry up the sea; I turn rivers into desert, their fish rot for lack of water and they die of thirst;

Adonai expressed wonder that His children did not expect redemption. He did not divorce Tziyon, and He did not sell His people to a creditor so that He could get them back. Further, Adonai is certainly powerful enough to save them. The act of drying up the waters reflects an ancient Near Eastern understanding that the waters stood for the forces of chaos. Adonai controlled them and could decimate them at will. His control of the waters and the reference to His redeeming hand recall the Exodus.

3 I dress the heavens in black to mourn and make their covering sackcloth.”

Sackcloth was a very rough material, irritating to the skin, worn as part of mourning rites. The heavens mourned because of Adonai’s acts of judgment.

4 Adonai Elohim (the Lord God) has given Me the ability to speak as a man well taught, so that I, with My words, know how to sustain the weary. Each morning he awakens My ear to hear like those who are taught.

The first-person speaker (Me) is the Servant (Yeshua). The speaker is a student of Adonai, trained to encourage those who are weary. Each morning Adonai awakens Him with new insight.

How did Yeshua have so much wisdom? How did He know just what to say? Morning by morning, He listened to His Father. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Yeshua got up, left, went away to a lonely spot and stayed there praying” ~ Mark 1:35 (CJB). In other words, while others were sleeping, Yeshua was seeking His Father. If He needed to do that, how much more do you and I have to do it?

5 Adonai Elohim has opened My ear, and I neither rebelled nor turned away.6 I offered My back to those who struck Me, My cheeks to those who plucked out My beard; I did not hide My face from insult and spitting. 7 For Adonai Elohim will help. This is why no insult can wound Me. This is why I have set My face like flint, knowing I will not be put to shame.

All I can think about in reading these 3 verses is the suffering and humiliation that Yeshua endured during His trial at the hands of the Romans and P’rushim.

Anticipating a fuller development in Yesha’yahu 52:13-53:12 (I can’t wait until we get there in our study), the Servant is one who suffers, though Adonai will keep Him from shame.

Why did Yeshua endure the shame, the spitting, the plucking of His hair, the beating of His back, the whipping, the brutality, the pain, and agony? The writer of Hebrews tells us it was for the joy set before Him that He endured the Cross, despising the shame (see Hebrews 12:2).

8 My vindicator is close by; let whoever dares to accuse Me appear with Me in court! Let whoever has a case against Me step forward! 9 Look, if Adonai Elohim helps Me, who will dare to condemn Me? Here, they are all falling apart like old, moth-eaten clothes.

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him,”Job declared (13:15 KJV). Yeshua would live out that which Job professed, knowing that, ultimately, Adonai Elohim, His Father, would help Him.

10 “Who among you fears Adonai? Who obeys what His servant says? Even when He walks in the dark, without any light, He will trust in Adonai’s reputation and rely on his God.

Yeshua would trust the Father even when the sky turned dark, and it seemed He had been forsaken (see Matthew 27:46). The Light of the world would trust His Father even in the darkness of the tomb.

11 But all of you who are lighting fires and arming yourselves with firebrands: go, walk in the flame of your own fire, among the firebrands you lit! From my hands, this [fate] awaits you: you will lie down in torment. ~ Isaiah 50:1-11 (CJB)

Opposite of the one who fears Adonai and leans on Him is the self-reliant person who tries to create light by his hand. He kindles his fire to produce light. Such people will experience torment from Adonai.

The lesson for us is to see how much better it is to walk in seeming darkness in obedience to the Father than to walk in the short-lived light of our understanding. Remember even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me ~ Psalm 23:4 (ESV).

In my next post, we learn about Everlasting Salvation for Tziyon in Yesha’yahu 51:1-16.

Click here for the PDF version.

The Restoration of Isra’el ~ Part 2 ~ Yesha’yahu 49:15-26

In my last post, we learned about The Restoration of Isra’el ~ Part 1 in Yesha’yahu 49:8-14. In this post, we continue to learn about The Restoration of Isra’el ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 49:15-26.

15 Can a woman forget her child at the breast, not show pity on the child from her womb? Even if these were to forget, I would not forget you.

Adonai responded by reflecting on the persistent memory of a mother. Indeed, verse 18 may imply that Adonai addressed Tziyon as a husband treats a wife. He understood what she was going through and would soon address her complaints.

16 I have engraved you on the palms of My hands; your walls are always before Me.”

To inscribe something on one’s hands (tattooing perhaps) placed the writing on a bodily location that would be readily seen. The defensive walls of Yerushalayim were a concern of the Lord.

Jon Courson writes: “Whenever I am tempted to think Adonai has forgotten me, I need only to go to the Cross of Calvary, for there I’m reminded that He engraved me on the palm of His hands when in them He absorbed nails and paid the price for my sin.” [1]

17 Your children are coming quickly, your destroyers and plunderers are leaving and going. 18 Raise your eyes and look around: they are all gathering and coming to you. Adonai swears: “As surely as I am alive, you will wear them all like jewels, adorn yourself with them like a bride.”

Tziyon‘s children, the people of Adonai, will soon gather as they return to Yerushalayim. The picture of Tziyon wearing her children like wedding jewelry suggests that the passage understood Adonai to be her husband. The returned children were a wedding gift.

An Israeli bride sometimes wore embroidered garments, jewels, a special girdle, and a veil. There are scores of texts from Mesopotamia that describe the exchange of gifts between two families for marriage, but little is said of the attire of the bride or of the ceremony itself.

19 For your desolate places and ruins and your devastated land will be too cramped for those living in it; your devourers will be far away. 20 The day will come when the children born when you were mourning will say to you, “This place is too cramped for me! Give me room, so I can live!”

The passage envisions a return so significant that Yerushalayim will not be big enough to hold all its inhabitants.

21 Then you will ask yourself, “Who fathered these for me? I’ve been mourning my children, alone, as an exile, wandering to and fro; so, who has raised these? I was left alone, so where have these come from?”

Tziyon will be amazed and will wonder who has fathered all these children. The implied answer is none other than Adonai Himself.

22 Adonai Elohim answers: “I am beckoning to the nations, raising My banner for the peoples. They will bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their shoulders. 23 Kings will be your foster-fathers, their princesses your nurses. They will bow to you, face toward the earth, and lick the dust on your feet. Then you will know that I am Adonai – those who wait for me will not be sorry.”

The deportation that began the exile saw the people of Adonai dragged off in chains by foreign armies. The picture of the return views the nations carrying them back to their land and showing subservience.

Far from forgetting His people, the Lord seems to be saying, “I’m going to bring you back into the Promised Land. Kings and queens of other nations will fall at your feet. Even Gentiles will assist you in your return. You don’t see the whole picture. All you see are the immediate obstacles, but I see down the road. I’m going to bring you back into your land. In fact, there will be so many of you and so prosperous will you be that it will be too small for you.”

Yet, another great promise of restoration. When your down and out, remember this promise for your own life.

24 But can booty be wrested from a warrior? Can a victor’s captives be freed? 25 Here is Adonai’s answer: “Even a warrior’s captives will be snatched away, and the booty of the fearful will be freed. I will fight those who fight you, and I will save your children. 26 I will feed those oppressing you with their own flesh; they will be drunk on their own blood as with wine. Then everyone will know that I, Adonai, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Ya‘akov.” ~ Isaiah 49:8-26 (CJB)

To be released from Bavel would have seemed an impossibility to the Jews. They will doubt that they can be delivered from their bondage and oppression, but Adonai will make it clear that He is able not only to rescue them but also to subject their captors to the punishment they deserved.

As we know from history, Adonai did indeed rescue them and restore them to their land. He has been doing it repeatedly for centuries, and in our lifetime, He has restored the State of Isra’el in preparation for His Second Coming.

In my next post, we learn about Isra’el’s Sin and the Servant’s Obedience in Yesha’yahu 50:1-11.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Jon Courson’s Application Commentary Old Testament Volume 2.

The Restoration of Isra’el ~ Part 1 ~Yesha’yahu 49:8-14

In my last post, we learned about The Servant of the Lord in Yesha’yahu 49:1-7. In this post, we begin to learn about The Restoration of Isra’el ~ Part 1 in Yesha’yahu 49:8-14.

Unfortunately, I have had to break the topic into two separate posts to maintain a readable length.

8 Here is what Adonai says: “At the time when I choose, I will answer you; on the day of salvation, I will help you. I have preserved you, and I have appointed you to be the covenant for a people, to restore the land and distribute again its ruined inheritances to their owners,

The covenant is a reference to the covenant made with Avraham in Genesis 12:2-3. Adonai will restore His people to the land He gave them and which they forfeited.

Sha’ul quotes this verse saying to the Corinthians: “As God’s fellow-workers, we also urge you not to receive His grace and then do nothing with it. For He says, ‘At the acceptable time I heard you; in the day of salvation I helped you.’” ~ 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 (CJB)

to say to the prisoners, ‘Come out!’ to those in darkness, ‘Show yourselves!’ They will feed along the paths, and all the high hills will be their pastures.

In His first sermon, Yeshua declared that His mission was, among other things, to preach deliverance to the captives, here prisoners (see Luke 4:18). Yeshua not only talked about doing this but accomplished it when He healed those who were bound by HaSatan (see Matthew 8:16) and, ultimately freed all of humanity from the stranglehold of sin through His death on the Cross.

 10 They will be neither hungry nor thirsty; neither scorching wind nor sun will strike them; for He who has mercy on them will lead them and guide them to springs of water.

What a great promise! The people of God have been in desperate straits, but Adonai will deliver them.

11 I will turn all My mountains into a road; My highways will be raised up. 12 There they come, some from far away, some from the north, some from the west, and some from the land of Sinim.”

The prophecy again uses language drawn from the Exodus and wilderness wandering traditions. Sinim is typically associated with modern Aswan in Egypt.

13 Sing, heaven! Rejoice, earth! Break out in song, you mountains! For Adonai is comforting his people, having mercy on his own who have suffered.

Yesha’yahu began with a prophecy calling on heavens and earth to serve as witnesses to testify that Adonai’s people deserved their punishment; now they rejoice in their restoration. The land is commanded to break into song at the prospect of the coming Messiah.

14 “But Tziyon says, ‘Adonai has abandoned me, Adonai has forgotten me.’

Tziyon, personified as a woman, represents Yerushalayim. She complained or lamented that Adonai had abandoned her. The verses that follow suggest that what she missed was her children or the inhabitants of Yerushalayim. Their absence in exile led her to suggest that Adonai had forgotten her.

In my next post, we will continue to learn about The Restoration of Isra’el ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 49:15-26.

Click here for the PDF file.

The Servant of the Lord ~ Yesha’yahu 49:1-7

In my last post, we examined Isra’el Freed in Yesha’yahu 48:12-22. In this post, we learn about The Servant of the Lord in Yesha’yahu 49:1-7.

Chapter 49 is a Messianic prophecy. It portrays the Prince of Peace, Yeshua HaMashiach.

1Coastlands, listen to Me; listen, you peoples far away: Adonai called Me from the womb; before I was born, He had spoken My name.

Coastlands is the same word translated islands in Yesha’yahu 41:1. It refers to the distant places of the earth. The Servant (see 49:3 below) spoke here and addressed all the peoples of the earth. He began by recounting His calling that started even before He was born.

In Psalm 22:9, another Messianic prophecy, we read that Yeshua had confidence in the Father even as an infant. Here, Yesha’yahu reiterates that, even as an infant, Yeshua knew the Father called him.

2 He has made My mouth like a sharp sword while hiding Me in the shadow of His hand; He has made Me like a sharpened arrow while concealing Me in His quiver.

The sword imagery is also used for the prophet’s word and Adonai’s Word in the Brit Hadashah. Since the sword was an offensive weapon, the implication is that the word is in some sense aggressive. One of the Hebrew words for the mouth (peh) also signified the term edge, as in “edge of the sword.” Thus, there may be a play on words in this verse.

The Servant was made to be a weapon in the arsenal of Adonai; the warrior to wage war against the chaos of the world. Indeed, His spoken Word was, like His written Word. See, the Word of Adonai is alive! It is at work and is sharper than any double-edged sword – it cuts right through to where soul meets spirit and joints meet marrow, and it is quick to judge the inner reflections and attitudes of the heart.” ~ Hebrews 4:12 (CJB)

3 He said to Me, “You are My servant, Isra’el, through whom I will show my glory.”

The Servant is identified as Isra’el. However, the Brit Hadasah authors recognized a second and more profound identification of the Servant as they associated these texts with Yeshua (see Matthew 8:17; 12:17-21; John 12:38; Acts 8:30-35).

4 But I said, “I have toiled in vain, spent My strength for nothing, futility.” Yet My cause is with Adonai; My reward is with My God.

Did Yeshua think He labored in vain? Humanly, He would have had a reason. He was betrayed by one of His disciples. And there was only one at the Cross. Indeed, our Lord must have struggled with the whispers of HaSatan, saying, “You failed. The masses have rejected You and even Your disciples have forsaken You.” [1]

5 So now Adonai says – I formed You in the womb to be His servant, to bring Ya‘akov back to Him, to have Isra’el gathered to Him so that I will be honored in the sight of Adonai, My God having become My strength –

In verse 3, the Servant identified himself as Isra’el; here, the Servant speaks as if He is the agent of Isra’el’s restoration. This seeming inconsistency is resolved once it is realized that it is the remnant, and ultimately the remnant of one – Yeshua – who functions in this way.

6 He has said, “It is not enough that you are merely My servant to raise up the tribes of Ya‘akov and restore the offspring of Isra’el. I will also make You a light to the nations, so My salvation can spread to the ends of the earth.”

As a nation, Isra’el’s original mission was to be a light to the rest of the world. But she turned inward. Not wanting to be polluted by the heathen, she lost compassion and vision for them. The nation of Isra’el failed. But the true Isra’el -Yeshua HaMashiach – never lost sight of His calling. He lived His life as the Light of the entire world and died to save all humanity.

7 Here is what Adonai, the Redeemer of Isra’el, His Holy One, says to the One despised, whom the nations detest, to the servant of tyrants: “When kings see You, they will stand up; princes too will prostrate themselves, because of Adonai, who is faithful, the Holy One of Isra’el, who has chosen You.” ~ Isaiah 49:1-7 (CJB)

Although Yeshua was despised and rejected in His First Coming, when He comes again, every knee will bow – in heaven, on earth, and under the earth – and every tongue will acknowledge that Yeshua the Messiah is Adonai – to the glory of God the Father. ~ Philippians 2:10-11 (CJB)

In my next post, we learn about The Restoration of Isra’el in Yesha’yahu 49:8-26.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Jon Courson’s Application Commentary Old Testament Volume 2.

Isra’el Freed ~ Yesha’yahu 48:12-22

In my last post, we examined Stubborn Isra’el in Yesha’yahu 48:1-11. In this post, we examine Isra’el Freed in Yesha’yahu 48:12-22.

12 Listen to Me, Ya‘akov; Isra’el, whom I have called: I am He who is first; I am also the last. 13 My hand laid the foundation of the earth; My right hand spread out the heavens; when I summoned them, at once, they rose into being.

The One who created heaven and earth would surely have the means to deliver His people.

14 All of you, assemble and listen: which of you has foretold what is coming? Adonai’s friend will do his will against Bavel, using his arm against the Kasdim.15 It is I who have spoken, I have summoned him, I have brought him, and he will succeed.

The immediate reference to Adonai’s friend would have been to Koresh, King of Persia. But the ultimate fulfillment would be found in Yeshua.

16 Come close to Me and listen to this: since the beginning, I have not spoken in secret, since the time things began to be, I have been there, and now Adonai Elohim has sent Me and his Spirit.”

Verse 16 is one of the great proof texts of the Trinity. Yesha’yahu concluded this section by affirming that Adonai was the One who had brought Him to the people. Who was the One who was sent? Yeshua. Therefore, here we see God the Father, God the Holy Spirit, and God the Son.

17 Thus says Adonai, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Isra’el: I am Adonai, your God, who teaches you for your own good, who guides you on the path you should take. 18 If only you would heed My mitzvot! Then your peace would flow on like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

Isra’el’s past judgment was the result of their refusal to follow Adonai.

19 Your descendants would be numerous as the sand, your offspring countless as its grains. Their name would never be cut off or destroyed from my presence.”

Yesha’yahu had earlier announced that Isra’el’s population would be reduced to a remnant. The allusion to sand goes back to the patriarchal promise that Avraham would have numerous descendants. It was Isra’el’s sin that led to a reduction of the population.

From the days in the Garden of Eden until the present, HaSatan’s greatest lie has been that Adonai is out to condemn and restrict humankind. Here, we see the truth – that He teaches us so that we may profit, prosper, and do well.

The chapter ends with a divine directive to leave Bavel, the nation that was the source of Y’hudah’s oppression. The assumption is that the people should do this after the work of Adonai’s messiah, in this case, Koresh.

20 Get out of Bavel! Flee the Kasdim! With shouts of joy announce it, proclaim it! Send the news out to the ends of the earth! Say, “Adonai has redeemed his servant, Ya‘akov.” 21 They weren’t thirsty when He led them through the deserts; He made water flow from the rock for them – He split the rock, and out gushed the water.

Before Koresh ever decreed that the Jews could return to their land, Adonai paved the way. And just as He miraculously provided for His people during their Exodus from Egypt, so He would provide for them in their return from Bavel.

22 But there is no peace, says Adonai, for the wicked. ~ Isaiah 48:12-22 (CJB)

Wow, how many times have we quoted that last verse without realizing it is scriptural?

Though Adonai will bring salvation to His people, He will not back down from His judgment on the wicked. Chapter 48 ends with an absence of peace for the wicked. Chapter 49, however, will prophesy of the coming of the Prince of Peace to the world.

In my next post, we learn about The Servant of the Lord in Yesha’yahu 49:1-7.

Click here for the PDF version.

Stubborn Isra’el ~ Yesha’yahu 48:1-11

In my last post, we examined The Fall of Bavel in Yesha’yahu 47:1-15. In this post, we explore Stubborn Isra’el in Yesha’yahu 48:1-11.

Whereas chapter 47 dealt with Adonai’s judgment against Bavel, chapter 48 deals with Adonai’s grace toward Isra’el.

1 Listen to this, house of Ya‘akov, called by the name of Isra’el, who have come from the spring of Y’hudah, who swear by the name of Adonai and invoke the God of Isra’el! – it is not sincerely or justifiably

Yesha’yahu addressed those connected to Adonai by their genealogical descent from the patriarchs. Avraham was the father of Isra’el, the first Jew. He had a son named Yitz’chak (Isaac 0, who had a son named Ya‘akov (Jacob). Ya‘akov had twelve sons who became the fathers of the twelve tribes of Isra’el. Ya‘akov’s name, which means heel snatcher or supplanter, was appropriate because he was one who lived by his wits – conning and tricking people. But one night, seeing no way out of his circumstances, he wrestled all night with the angel of Adonai, saying, I won’t let you go unless you bless me. Genesis ~ 32:26 (CJB)

In the morning, the man said, From now on, you will no longer be called Ya‘akov, but Isra’el; because you have shown your strength to both God and men and have prevailed. ~ Genesis 32:28 (CJB)

2 that they call themselves people of the holy city or rely on the God of Isra’el – Adonai-Tzva’ot is His name: 3 I announced things that happened at the beginning, long ago; they issued from My mouth, I proclaimed them. Then suddenly, I acted, and they occurred.

The past events refer to the judgment of Adonai on His people. He announced what would happen to sinful Y’huda through Yesha’yahu, Yermiyahu, Yechzk’el (Ezekiel), and other prophets. He proclaimed what He would do and then acted on His words.

4 Because I knew that you were stubborn, your neck an iron sinew, your forehead bronze,

Nothing can get through a bronze forehead. An iron neck is stiff and cannot turn around. This imagery shows the refusal of Adonai’s people to hear Him or to repent.

5 I announced it to you long ago; before it occurred, I proclaimed it to you; so that you could not say, ‘My idol did it; my carved image, my statue, gave the order for it.’ 6 You have heard and seen all this, so why won’t you admit it? Now I am announcing new things to you, secret things you have not known,

Up to this point, Adonai has been announcing judgment, but soon He will announce new things – a message of grace after the judgment. Why had Adonai kept the news of eventual restoration hidden? The new items include Adonai’s use of Koresh to deliver His people that we will examine in the next post.

7 created now, not long ago; before today, you did not hear them: so you can’t say, ‘I already know about them.’ 8 No, you haven’t heard, and you haven’t known; these things have not reached your ears before. For I knew how treacherous you were – you were called a rebel from the womb.

Adonai’s people had been so seduced by idolatry that Adonai said, “I’m speaking prophetically so that when events unfold, you won’t think they happened according to your idols’ predictions.”

9 Yet for the sake of My own reputation, I am deferring My anger; for the sake of My praise, I am patient with you, so as not to cut you off.

Adonai will not completely destroy His people. A remnant will survive the judgment.

10 “Look, I have refined you, but not [as severely] as silver; [rather] I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.

Silver in the ancient world was refined by a process in which it was melted to rid it of base components. Silversmiths, as well as goldsmiths, used blowpipes to ventilate their furnaces and cast their products with the aid of soapstone or clay molds. The image of refining is often used in the Bible to refer to removing sin from a person or a community, in this case, through affliction.

11 For my sake, I will do it, for My own sake. I will not let [My reputation] be tarnished; I will not yield My glory to anyone else. ~ Isaiah 48:1-11 (CJB)

Sometimes we wonder why we face one affliction after another. Could it be it’s because we’re not learning our lesson? Could it be that we’re so stubborn that Adonai has to take us through the fire of affliction continually? Has He been speaking to you about some issue? Is there something He has told you need to be changed but about which you persistently say, “Maybe later, Lord”? We all go through fiery trials, and many are mandated. But, as we watch the people of Isra’el, we see that other tests are the result of our stubbornness concerning lessons Adonai wants to teach.

In my next post, we examine Isra’el Freed in Yesha’yahu 48:12-22.

Click here for PDF version.