The Joy of Salvation
Thank You, Father, for making everything new!
Read Isaiah 51:1–16
“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness
and who seek the Lord:
Look to the rock from which you were cut
and to the quarry from which you were hewn;
2 look to Abraham, your father,
and to Sarah, who gave you birth.
When I called him he was only one man,
and I blessed him and made him many.
3 The Lord will surely comfort Zion
and will look with compassion on all her ruins;
he will make her deserts like Eden,
her wastelands like the garden of the Lord.
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the sound of singing.
4 “Listen to me, my people;
hear me, my nation:
Instruction will go out from me;
my justice will become a light to the nations.
5 My righteousness draws near speedily,
my salvation is on the way,
and my arm will bring justice to the nations.
The islands will look to me
and wait in hope for my arm.
6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
look at the earth beneath;
the heavens will vanish like smoke,
the earth will wear out like a garment
and its inhabitants die like flies.
But my salvation will last forever,
my righteousness will never fail.
7 “Hear me, you who know what is right,
you people who have taken my instruction to heart:
Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals
or be terrified by their insults.
8 For the moth will eat them up like a garment;
the worm will devour them like wool.
But my righteousness will last forever,
my salvation through all generations.”
9 Awake, awake, arm of the Lord,
clothe yourself with strength!
Awake, as in days gone by,
as in generations of old.
Was it not you who cut Rahab to pieces,
who pierced that monster through?
10 Was it not you who dried up the sea,
the waters of the great deep,
who made a road in the depths of the sea
so that the redeemed might cross over?
11 Those the Lord has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
12 “I, even I, am he who comforts you.
Who are you that you fear mere mortals,
human beings who are but grass,
13 that you forget the Lord your Maker,
who stretches out the heavens
and who lays the foundations of the earth,
that you live in constant terror every day
because of the wrath of the oppressor,
who is bent on destruction?
For where is the wrath of the oppressor?
14 The cowering prisoners will soon be set free;
they will not die in their dungeon,
nor will they lack bread.
15 For I am the Lord your God,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
the Lord Almighty is his name.
16 I have put my words in your mouth
and covered you with the shadow of my hand—
I who set the heavens in place,
who laid the foundations of the earth,
and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectDo you ever feel in need of encouragement? This passage is full of it!
In these verses we see something of what the Lord restoring his people looks like. Fruitfulness and joy (3), becoming a source of light and justice (4,5), experiencing salvation that will last for ever (6,8), an end to “sorrow and sighing” (11)—what more could we ask for?!
Did you spot the references to “the arm of the Lord” (5,9)? When God rolls up his sleeves for action, things happen! Just as God redeemed his people from slavery in Egypt (9,10), so he is now moving to free them from slavery in Babylon—and eventually, in Christ, from all slavery forever!
Note the places in this passage where “righteousness” and “salvation” are used in parallel (5,6,8). God’s righteous rescue plan in Christ first puts us right with him, and will eventually put everything right in the whole universe (Rev. 21:3–5)!
So how should all this affect our attitudes now? We should not be afraid of anyone (12,13)! And we should live in hope because the Maker of the universe has moved to comfort us (12), liberate us (14) and adopt us as his people (16).
Maybe everything in your life isn’t in its right place at this time. But is your heart in the right place with Christ? Seek him now.
God, I thank You that I am protected by Your powerful hand and am given words to speak out (16).