Thursday 21 December 2017

Bible Book:

“Say to daughter Zion, ‘See, your salvation comes.’” (v. 11)

Isaiah 62:1-12 Thursday 21 December 2017

Psalm: Psalm 144


This passage was written in the early years after 538 BC when a few Israelites made their way back to Palestine from exile in Babylon. Times were hard for the returnees. Jerusalem (or Zion) was still in ruins, as it had been since it had been overrun 50 years previously. The prophet believed that the exile had been God’s just punishment for people’s disobedience. But now restoration for Jerusalem and Judah was at hand – because God promised this! Retribution will be replaced by a restoration to something even more wonderful than had been the case before.

Many of the images the prophet used reversed the images used earlier for God’s retribution in Deuteronomy 28:30-34.

Isaiah 62 is rich in two poetic techniques:

  • Verse 1 illustrates parallelism: the second line repeats the first; the fourth line repeats the third, but moves on a step in its thought – so during the night (when the torch is burning) as well as the day (represented by the dawn) Jerusalem’s restored beauty will glow.
  •  The construction of new names to express profound meaning (verses 2, 4 and 12).

In verses 1-7 (break it into sections, verses 1-3, 4-5 and 6-7), the prophet cries out ceaselessly for God to regenerate Jerusalem and Judah. They will reveal God’s glory; they will be like God’s bride. This will amaze the wider world.

Verses 8-9: God’s promise assured the returning exiles of a just redemption: they would enjoy the fruits of their labours.

Verses 10-12: the prophet, therefore, renews his urgent prayer for the restoration to happen! He re-mints images from Isaiah 40 to urge more exiles to return and to repair the road into the city. Then God will enter and declare freedom, now that their sentence has been more than served (“reward” and “recompense” in verse 11).

To Ponder

  • Throughout Christian history today’s passage has inspired a vision of God constantly renewing the Church. In your own congregation, what signs do you discern of hope and of God’s joy being discovered?
  • Where in the city you know best are human and personal values nourished? What would most improve your experience of urban life?
  • The prophet’s vision of a restored and glorious Jerusalem has inspired Christian thought about eternal life. Does it figure in your picture of heaven? If not, what other picture captures your hope and prayer?
Previous Page Wednesday 20 December 2017
Next Page Friday 22 December 2017