Saturday

28 May 2022

Isaiah 52:7-15

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation. (v. 7)

Psalm 110 

Background

 In Old Testament times, long before text messages and Twitter, heralds or messengers were the only way to pass on critical information.

News of a royal birth or a victory in battle only became real when a runner appeared on the horizon to shout out the good news. If it was to announce the arrival of the king himself then the messenger’s arrival would spark a outpouring of celebration.

But what if the king himself was the messenger? What if the news was carried across the nation by the one whose very action had brought the victory?

Isaiah employs such imagery to rally the people. "Listen up. God is your champion and prepare to sing out praises because he’s coming here, right now!"

At this point in the Book of Isaiah (often called Deutero-Isaiah or second Isaiah), the writings are shaped to give heart to the Hebrew exiles longing for a return from captivity in Babylon. They want God to come through for them.

So to hear "in plain sight they see the return of the Lord to Zion" (v. 8) is a reminder that they have a future hope. The prophet’s encouragement is to look and see that God’s salvation is for them and the whole world and then to sing and rejoice.

How beautiful to live in the expectation of good news being spoken over them, not by a herald but by the king in person. God is arriving among them to bring them home and to protect them on the journey: "the God of Israel will be your rear guard." (v. 12)

There are many people in our towns and villages who need to hear such a song of hope – and to recognise that there is a community of faithful believers who can still sing of the goodness of God. Can we be those messengers of hope?

 

To Ponder:

  • What message of hope will our lives carry?
  • Who in your community needs to know that God is for them?

Prayer

God our redeemer, thank you for coming to our rescue and giving us a song to sing. Amen.


Bible notes author

The Revd Gareth Hill

The Revd Gareth Hill is a Methodist minister with a particular interest in pioneer ministry and fresh ways of 'being church'. He is​ in circuit ministry in the Winchester, Eastleigh & Romsey Circuit in the Southampton District. Gareth is a published hymnwriter with three hymns in 'Singing the Faith'.

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