God’s Word of Hope
Isaiah 52:1-12: Today’s reading is an oracle about the restoration of Jerusalem, the Holy city of God. Jerusalem, the capital of Judah, the southern kingdom, had been destroyed by the Babylonians. The Babylonian army stole treasures from the royal palace and the Temple, and the people of Judah were forced into exile (587 B.C.). Now a messenger comes to announce the good news that the people can return home because God will rescue the city.
God Will Rescue Jerusalem
1 Jerusalem, be strong and great again!
Holy city of God, clothe yourself with splendor!
The heathen will never enter your gates again.
2Shake yourself free, Jerusalem!
Rise from the dust and sit on your throne!
Undo the chains that bind you,
captive people of Zion!
3The Sovereign Lord says to his people, “When you became slaves, no money was paid for you; in the same way nothing will be paid to set you free. 4When you went to live in Egypt as foreigners, you did so of your own free will; Assyria, however, took you away by force and paid nothing for you. 5 And now in Babylonia the same thing has happened: you are captives, and nothing was paid for you. Those who rule over you boast and brag and constantly show contempt for me. 6In time to come you will acknowledge that I am God and that I have spoken to you.”
7 How wonderful it is to see
a messenger coming across the mountains,
bringing good news, the news of peace!
He announces victory and says to Zion,
“Your God is king!”
8Those who guard the city are shouting,
shouting together for joy.
They can see with their own eyes
the return of the Lord to Zion.
9Break into shouts of joy,
you ruins of Jerusalem!
The Lord will rescue his city
and comfort his people.
10The Lord will use his holy power;
he will save his people,
and all the world will see it.
11 Be sure to leave Babylonia,
all you that carry the Temple equipment.
Touch no forbidden thing;
keep yourselves holy and leave.
12This time you will not have to leave in a hurry;
you will not be trying to escape.
The Lord your God will lead you
and protect you on every side.
Today’s Key Verse: Isaiah 52:10
The LORD will use his holy power; he will save his people, and all the world will see it.
In verses 1 and 2, Jerusalem is described as being clothed “with splendor” and as a city rising “from the dust.” The city of Babylon, however, must now “sit in the dust” and be stripped of her fine clothes (see Isaiah 47:1, 2). In contrast to Babylon’s degradation, Jerusalem is to be restored. How is the exodus from Babylonia back to Jerusalem described (verses 7-12)? How is God’s judgment and justice revealed in today’s reading?
God of comfort and joy, I sing your praises and rejoice in the good news of your salvation. I acknowledge that you alone are God and the source of true peace and restoration. Thank you for your steadfast love and care. Amen.
Isaiah 54:1-17: The restoration of Jerusalem is promised.