Isaiah 52 – Liberation Theology

Isaiah 52 Bible with Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Espresso Beans

Today’s ChocolateEndangered Species Dark Chocolate with Espresso Beans

Today’s PassageIsaiah 52

In today’s chapter, encouragement for Israel continues. Isaiah’s got some hope to deliver to his countrymen.

You may recognize verse 7 from way back when we were reading Romans. Paul quotes it in Romans 10: “How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!’” (Romans 10:15). In this verse, Paul underscores the importance of spreading the good news of God’s salvation once you’ve heard it, of being a messenger. If we were Jews in the 8th century BC and we only read the passage from Isaiah, we might be forgiven for supposing this particular salvation is just for Israel, specifically from their destitution in the wake of the Assyrian invasion and the prophesied Babylonian captivity. After all, Isaiah says that the watchmen announcing this salvation “will see with their own eyes when the Lord restores Zion” (52:8) and that the Lord has redeemed the waste places of Zion (52:9). But he concludes: “The Lord has bared His holy arm in the sight of all the nations, that all the ends of the earth may see the salvation of our God” (52:10). And if this refers to the restoration of Israel following the Babylonian captivity, how much more does it refer to the restoration of human beings writ large through the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Still, like yesterday’s chapter, it’s a very Jewish passage. Take a look at verses 11-12:

Depart, depart, go out from there,
Touch nothing unclean;
Go out of the midst of her, purify yourselves,
You who carry the vessels of the Lord.
But you will not go out in haste,
Nor will you go as fugitives;
For the Lord will go before you,
And the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Exodus from Egypt under Moses. After the plagues, Pharaoh lets the Israelites go willingly, saying, “Rise up, get out from among my people, both you and the sons of Israel; and go” (Exodus 12:31). And all throughout Exodus 12-13, we see all sorts of purifications and rituals to observe that God commands his people. The sense that I believe Isaiah intends to convey here is that God will lead his people out of captivity, just as he did in Egypt– and just as someday, in Jesus Christ, he will lead people from all nations out of the captivity of their sin.

At the end of the chapter we really start getting into a picture of the Messiah as the Servant, a picture which continues into chapter 53. We’ll get into that on Monday. Until then, you guys have a good weekend.

 

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