Blog 19: Isaiah 54 Second Sunday of Lent
Wake up – and see what is happening
Sunday24 February 2013 11.00am

Chapter 54 is the second Scene of the tenth Act of Isaiah – addressed to the people of Jerusalem it is a call to recognise that God is at work. They are no longer, since Darius intervention, simply a small pathetic group battling overwhelming odds to rebuild Jerusalem – the numbers have increased they are spilling out into the villages around the city where they once lived before –the temple is almost ready for worship again.

An outline of the chapter may help:[1]

  • 1-6 Jerusalem is encouraged by heavenly messengers, by the LORD himself and also by the policy of Darius King of Persia to expand into the local villages and towns that have long since been abandoned. Verses 2 and 3 have become the charter for world mission – they were used by William Carey to challenge English Baptists to World Mission two centuries ago – and are still relevant as the emphasis is on starting where you are reaching out into your neighbouring community. The theme of 406 is that there is a reconciliation between the lovers The Lord and Judah – note the triple emphasis on verse 5 of the LORD’s relationship with his people.
  • 7-10 The Lord pledges everlasting devotion in these verses. In the times past he has permitted Assyria and Babylon to be the instruments of his chastening to his people (as he did in the time of Noah) but now the peace that Persia has brought will be his instrument for the restoration and up-building of his people.
  • 11-15. Commentators differ as to whether these words should be in the LORD’s mouth or that of Darius – I feel that since Darius in all this is the Lord’s servant and instrument then the argument is false. The Lord intends it and Darius will be instrumental in bringing it about. It is a reminder to us all to look at what the LORD is doing behind the events and politics of the present.
  • 16-17 The Lord proclaims an end to his opposition to his people and his promise of protection. No weapon formed against you will succeed. That is quite a promise for the people of God.

[1] This outline is mostly from the Word Biblical Commentary though I have expanded it somewhat and expressed some reservations about its conclusions.