God’s Word Goes Forth: Spread Tidings of Joy to Everyone
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 and the people of Judah forced into exile (586 B.C.). Now a messenger comes to announce the good news that the people can return home because God will rescue the city.
Today's Scripture: Isaiah 52:10
The LORD will use his holy power; he will save his people, and all the world will see it.
1 Jerusalem, be strong and great again! Holy city of God, clothe yourself with splendor! The heathen will never enter your gates again. 2 Shake yourself free, Jerusalem! Rise from the dust and sit on your throne! Undo the chains that bind you, captive people of Zion! 3 The 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. 4 When 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. 6 In 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!” 8 Those who guard the city are shouting, shouting together for joy. They can see with their own eyes the return of the LORD to Zion. 9 Break into shouts of joy, you ruins of Jerusalem! The LORD will rescue his city and comfort his people. 10 The 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. 12 This 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.
In verses 1 and 2, Jerusalem is described as a bride to be clothed “with splendor” and as a city rising “from the dust.” 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 are 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. Amen.
News reporters and journalists
Jeremiah 33:1-26: God promises to restore the fortunes of Judah and Israel.