July 5, 2014 Leave a comment
Stumbled across this gem of a chapter in Isaiah 62
1 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch.
Who is Zion? The people of God. The church, both Jew and gentile united together as one body, one people, one holy nation…
And it’s for Zion’s sake, for the sake of the church, that God will not keep silent. At least I think its God speaking but it may be the prophet (quick check of commentaries shows both views are argued but there is certainly good scholarly backing for it being God. In any case just like in the Psalms and of course Isaiah 61, prophetic words can find their fulfilment on the lips of Jesus). He has to speak out. So what does he say? What will make the righteousness of the church shine out? It’s the gospel. As it is heralded, proclaimed and preached, the church is built. People from every tongue and tribe and nation are called forth from the far reaches of the earth and are clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Her salvation shines out the dazzling glorious grace of God.
2 The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give.
The glory of the church will be seen in all the nation, and reach even into the thrown rooms and council chambers of rulers and kings. But here’s the thing. The people of God will be given a new name by God. A name that defines and encapsulates her identity. Are you apart of the church? Then listen up for your name!
3 You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
We are kept in suspense as the church’s destiny is described. A crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD. Crowns designate authority and riches and power and such is the destiny of God’s people but why in the hand?
1) Maybe because God is intimately involved in its construction,
2) Maybe because it is under his care and control
3) Maybe God delights to look upon his people and enjoy them,
4) Maybe God wants to show her to others. Draw their attention to it. Look at my beautiful church. My people. See her glory shine in my hand.
4 You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married.
To take on a new identity, the old must be done away with. The city of God will no longer be called Forsaken and Desolate. This may have once characterised her, at least in the eyes of others, but no longer because here is perhaps the most amazing statement in the whole bible. The name by which God’s people will be called, the thing that will define them and shape them will be “My-delight-is-in-her”. That’s worth seeing in the Hebrew script. Someone should make a poster of it.
“My delight [is] in her.”
God the Father loves the Son, and his focus is on the son, he is pleased with his son. Yet God’s delight is also in his people. The church. How is that possible? The son delights in his bride and the two will be united.
The word translated “married” also means “belongs to” or “dwelt in”. There will be an eternal owning and a dwelling in of the land by God’s people.
5 For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.
I’m not to sure about this bit but I guess “marry” may not be the best translation of “your son’s will marry you”. Maybe it’s “belong to” you again or be “dwell in”. My best shot is that there is a strong unity being spoken of here between the people of God. A high view of being joined to the church? (better check commentaries again. Mmm, not sure I quite get it but it looks like the people who are part of Zion/church/God’s people will be delighted about it and really be joined forever to her. Kind of the oposite of when people talk about the church as “they” or “why can’t the church do such and such”. God’s people who are part of the church will have a real deep sense of “we/us”. )
The second half is easier and surely finds it fulfilment in Jesus and his bride, the church. The bible starts and ends with a marriage. First there is Adam and Eve, being united together, both imaging God and prophetically pointing forward to a time when the church is finally united to Jesus. The book of revelation, the last book in the bible, joyfully proclaims “the wedding of the lamb” Rev 19:17.
Haven’t got time to write up the rest but its worth a read!
6 On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You who put the LORD in remembrance, take no rest, 7 and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth. 8 The LORD has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm: “I will not again give your grain to be food for your enemies, and foreigners shall not drink your wine for which you have labored; 9 but those who garner it shall eat it and praise the LORD, and those who gather it shall drink it in the courts of my sanctuary.” 10 Go through, go through the gates; prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway; clear it of stones; lift up a signal over the peoples. 11 Behold, the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Say to the daughter of Zion, “Behold, your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.” 12 And they shall be called The Holy People, The Redeemed of the LORD; and you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken.