Isaiah 63 Commentary

Isaiah 63 Commentary

In chapter 59 verse 16, the LORD was appalled that there was no one to intervene. Consequently, His arm achieved salvation for the oppressed, and His righteousness sustained them.

In this chapter and having started the rescue mission, the LORD is appalled that there is no one to help, so His own arm achieves salvation for Him, and His own wrath sustains Him. Verse 5.

The New Testament saint knows that salvation is initiated in the heart of the LORD. He presents it as a gift to mankind. It is a special car; basic yet everything for us. It is meant to be driven by everyone but alas, no one does and the LORD is appalled at our failure.

Holiness isn’t achieved by resolutions, no matter the emphasis. The LORD comes down to help the saint achieve it.

“LORD, I want to be holy today but I cannot do it by myself. Help me.” It should be every saint’s prayer every morning.

And the LORD shows up at the end of the day with His garments stained crimson. It is the blood of the enemies of holiness. The saint can look back and see just how the LORD did it. It is amazing!

It should be simple to understand. Edom represents the enemies of Israel. But Isaiah is a complex situation – a book is brilliantly woven together to deliver God’s message to a global audience for all time. Edom or indeed Assyria; Babylon or any other physical opponents are not exactly the issue here. It is Israel’s wickedness that Isaiah blames for Israel’s separation from the LORD. She is divorced not because Edom has interfered in the marriage but because of her own infidelity.

The reader is encouraged to decode Isaiah’s message by looking at the New Testament. And it is beautiful! And why not? Indeed why not. Praise the LORD for the many good things He has done for Israel, according to His compassion and many kindnesses.

Let the sinner know that the LORD is equally distressed about the sinner’s situation. The discomfort that the sinner feels is probably a strong message from the LORD prompting the sinner to look to the LORD who alone can save.

“Why, LORD, do you make us wander from your ways and harden our hearts so we do not revere you?” A heart that throws itself on the LORD and subjects itself to the manipulation of the LORD can always know the meaning of salvation. The LORD is always knocking at the door.

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Isaiah 62 Commentary

Isaiah 62 Commentary

“For Zion’s sake, I will not keep silent.” Verse 1. Who is speaking? The prophet? No. We would guess it is the same voice as in yesterday’s chapter. It appears chapter 62 is a continuation of chapter 61.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor;” so proclaims Chapter 61 verse 1. From the New Testament, we fully understand that the speaker here is the Servant or Immanuel – the Branch, otherwise called Mighty God, the LORD Jesus Christ.

He won’t keep silent. It is a strong reference to the voice of salvation that every individual hears from the LORD Jesus Christ.

The Servant has posted watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem. Their job is to watch over Jerusalem in prayer. They too won’t keep quiet. If the saint won’t keep silent, let it not be on account of the many projects, children, income, sickness, or other concerns. The primary concern is for Jerusalem’s salvation – her righteousness.

It is interesting that the LORD thinks of righteousness as well-being or good health. The physical parameters of good health follow the path of holiness.

This good news, the breaking news on all the channels is for the nations: “See, your Savior comes! See, His reward is with Him, and His recompense accompanies Him.” There is a reward for holiness.

Yet Isaiah isn’t a call for hard work in righteousness or holiness. And let not verse 11 appear like a prize-giving day for the serious and committed workers of righteousness. Refer to chapters 52 and 53 and see how the Servant has achieved salvation for the nations! They simply accept the rule of the Servant in their lives – the offer of salvation. Then begins a journey into the boundless graces of the Creator God.

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Isaiah 61 Commentary

Isaiah 61 Commentary

Back in the days of the Judges, the Spirit of the LORD would come upon an individual and they would rise up and save Israel. Samson is one individual who would single-handedly save Israel under the power of the Spirit of the LORD. Is Isaiah following the same script in his statement in verse 1?

In chapter 60, we saw how the prophet sampled unique experiences and interventions of the LORD in Israel’s long history. Chapter 61 wouldn’t be different. But who exactly is speaking; the prophet? Probably no. The task list for the Spirit-empowered speaker is too high to fit a mortal. The Servant, perhaps.

Yes, the Servant-cum-King. Immanuel, the Branch. He is especially empowered to proclaim God’s good news to the poor. How does the proclamation of the good news relate to the time of Israel’s redemption? In chapter 61 we heard, “in its time, I will do this swiftly,” Could it be that the proclamation of the good news coincides with the mending of broken hearts and the release of prisoners?

Again, the answer is yes. It is the same task list by the Servant-cum-King otherwise called Immanuel or simply the Son. Check the title-bound functions of Immanuel: the government will be on his shoulders; He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace; of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end; He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness.

As we all can see, the task list is not anything close to having the most complicated motorcade with buttons to nuclear weaponry at your fingertips! This is salvation in its real manifestation!

It is true; those that have come to Jesus Christ have not known desperation. The Spirit speaks peace to them. Days of mourning are over. Instead, they live trustfully in the presence of the LORD. Yes, they still live under the harsh conditions of earthly existence but theirs is way above and is definitely heavenly – a crown of beauty it is.

Verse 6 is a direct reference to Peter’s claim that believers are a royal priesthood – royal because of the son/daughter relationship with King Jesus who doubles as the High Priest.

There is the mention of the double portion. Then we have the example of the bridegroom and the bride. Isaiah is winding down his long work beautifully. Isaiah’s future was always full of God’s promises of a restored relationship with the Creator God – hinged on righteousness. The Servant would provide the means – the how and what of the grand plan of restoration. The LORD Jesus Christ is always ‘big time’ for the nations. What a blessing it is to experience these times when our knees can bow and our tongues can confess this name.

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Isaiah 60 Commentary

There aren’t many visions as complicated as Isaiah’s visions. In verse 1, the prophet announces the breaking news with a live, happening-right-now feel to it. In the last verse of the chapter, the good news isn’t at all current. At an appropriate time, the LORD will do it.

Of course, the author is aware of the decree by Cyrus to rebuild Jerusalem. But definitely, the prophet is referring to some other time when the LORD shows up in glory.

The fact that the author of the Book of Revelation relied on this prophecy is significant. He pointed to a time when God’s people won’t need any physical lights other than the brilliance of the presence of the LORD. It is definitely an event for the Revelator’s future. Compare verse 19 to Revelation 21 verse 23.

The reference to light brings to mind the LORD’s presence among His people in the form of a pillar of fire by night. The LORD who had said, “let there be light”, will finally be that same light to His people.

In between the opening verse and the last verse are numerous references to God’s unique presence amongst His people. We also have several references to the generosity of the LORD during the good times of Isaiah’s past. Simply put: this same God shall be your God – full-time!

“And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the Lord.” Verse 6b. It is a throwback to the great times of King Solomon when the nations brought gifts to Jerusalem. Remember the queen of Sheba!

We have also seen King David’s prosperous years when the nations brought materials for his house as well as the temple.

“Instead of bronze, I will bring you gold, and silver in place of iron.” Verse 17a. During the difficult years of the Kings of Judah, an impoverished nation would replace gold shields with bronze shields. We shall see the reversal of lost fortunes for the nation.

“The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation.” Verse 22a. Whatever the LORD means, regardless, the history-long blessing of increase or multiplication shall come to bear. We have already seen the full extent of restored Dominion as well as Prosperity – the history-long blessing on mankind in full swing.

“You will drink the milk of nations and be nursed at royal breasts.” Verse 16b. It is one little statement but fully loaded with memories of God’s eternal care for Israel. Moses’ time at the palace under the care of Pharaoh comes to mind.

Chapter 60 is one very long chapter with very few verses. It takes you places down the generations of God’s people. You pause at every stage to ponder the generosity of the LORD. Then the very last statement of the chapter: “in its time I will do this swiftly;” who wouldn’t love to ponder these thoughts with the blessed eternity in mind?

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Isaiah 59 Commentary

Isaiah 59 Commentary

It is interesting to see how Isaiah addresses himself to you, to them, and finally to us. It is about your iniquities; their evil deeds; and us looking for justice but finding none.

The passage’s ‘we’ and ‘us’ may refer to the remnant. The ‘you’ and ‘your’ may refer to you the reader, the listener, the sinner, or simply an audience that Isaiah interacts with. Interestingly, part of the listening audience is the LORD God, as in “for our offenses are many in your sight.”

All of this creates a huge amount of confusion when the reader wants to be part of the story. The reader can decide to be on the pulpit with Isaiah and enjoy the ‘us and them’ shield. And it is all fine until Isaiah says, “our offenses are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities.”

It is no longer about them. It is also about us uttering lies our hearts have conceived.

In this way, Isaiah 59 mirrors the earlier collection of visions against Israel but also against the nations. It was eventually against the entire world. Chapter 59 talks about you, them, and us. Our iniquities have created a barrier between God and us. We live in darkness. We no longer know our way.

There is a sense in which you feel Isaiah is lamenting the fate of the remnant as a consequence of the wickedness of others – the ‘them’ of the chapter. In that case, this picture would help us appreciate the pain and suffering that the Body of Christ is subjected to because of global wickedness.

We can return to the global situation involving you, us, and them. What is the reaction of the Creator God? Well, the LORD looked and was displeased. He was appalled that you, them, and we all got together and sinned and there was none to intervene. So the LORD decided to do it Himself – the Branch, Immanuel, and lately, the Servant.

He would bring justice and righteousness. Redemption would come to Zion, but only to the repentant. Probably verse 21 is referring to the repentant, the remnant – yes, them and others in each generation. “My Spirit, who is in you, will not depart from you.”

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Isaiah 58 Commentary

Isaiah 58 Commentary

The Book of Isaiah isn’t all about visions. We also have straight teaching delivered directly to the remnant. How useful this sermon would be today! And it’s a hot one!

To the ‘right-living’ lovers, those with ambitions to have God on their side: Your worship means nothing before the LORD. And here’s why. It is all for profit – what you can possibly get out of God. Nothing real concerning actual humility of heart towards the LORD and His instructions.

It explains why we fight each other while in the place of worship. We hate the people we call brothers and sisters. We mistreat our workers; we cheat. We cause pain and suffering everywhere.

God forbid! Here’s the real stuff to help you understand what the LORD expects of you. No injustice; break the cycle of oppression and wickedness. Be kind to the poor and feed the hungry. Cloth the naked and help the homeless.

Then your prayers will be answered. You will be on the same page with the God you worship. Your light will shine brightest.

This chapter has spoken to our inner ambitions and aspirations. Is God just another means to push through our selfish ambitions? Check your prayers and see how self-centered they all are! The to-do list of the LORD has everything to do with others beyond self: the hungry, the naked, the oppressed, and the poor. Are my prayers centered on these?

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Isaiah 57 Commentary

Isaiah 57 Commentary

Verses 1 and 2 are strange. All along the scripture has presented death as the ultimate punishment for evil. It is the very opposite of the blessing of increase that the LORD bestowed on mankind. It plays on the essence of life itself.

But here we are with the LORD talking about death as a good exit door out of a troubled world. The suggestion is that it is deliberate and timed for the saint to escape trouble and evil. They find rest in death.

Ponder the verses again. Death shouldn’t be bad news always. And the word rest? We thought one attains rest by observing the Sabbath! Consider the context. Check the other references to death and rest. It always appears that there is more to these terms.

Particularly in this Book, death isn’t exactly a penalty in its purest sense. The LORD is simply clearing His house – getting rid of the bad smell. But when the cleaning is deliberately delayed, let not His people suffer from the bad smell. Isolate them; shield them; or simply take them away in death to keep them safe from the bad smell. Death, therefore, could have a different taste from what we are used to.

But the story is different from the wicked. Who are they mocking? Do they know what they are doing?

What are they so scared of that they abandon the Creator God? It is a question that the vanity seeker should ask. Why have you killed someone? Why have you cheated? Why have you committed adultery? What are you afraid of? Death? Missing out? Missing what?

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake, we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans chapter 8.

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Isaiah 56 Commentary

Isaiah 56 Commentary

Salvation is at hand. The mention of the Sabbath reminds us of the rest that the LORD has always wished for His people. We saw it in the many Sabbaths that we read about in the Torah. We saw it in the LORD’s promise to settle Israel in Canaan and give Jacob rest from his enemies.

Or, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” The Servant, now identified as the LORD Jesus Christ, invites everyone to the special Sabbath – the real Sabbath. Matthew 11 verse 28.

The invitation is for everyone – the nations are included. Even eunuchs strictly forbidden from the special areas of the LORD’s sanctuary are all welcome. Is there any reason to stay away from the party? The Servant would say no. He is gathering men and women to Himself.

But there is a problem. Israel is blind. Probably the first prayer to say is for open eyes. Let the LORD show you things you must see. Don’t die in jail when the door to freedom is wide open!

The mention of eunuchs is important because we are talking about men whose circumstances excluded them from the normal worship of the LORD. No one born disadvantaged needs to complain. The LORD leaves the door wide open. The celebrating party at the LORD’s Table is united by the fear of the LORD in the participants – them that keep His Sabbaths and hold fast to His covenant.

When the LORD Jesus Christ quotes from this passage, He says more than meets the eye. “my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”

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Isaiah 55 Commentary

Isaiah 55 Commentary

The work of the Servant is described in chapter 53. It is celebrated or advertised in chapter 54. Now chapter 55 invites the nations to come and enjoy the work of the Servant.

The invitation is for the thirsty, the hungry, the haves and the have-nots; it is for everyone. The term used is buying but not with money. Probably with your faith – your child-like response to the LORD’s offer of love. Probably you buy with a coupon provided by the Servant since He has paid for you already.

Unlike the food of the world, the LORD’s food on the table is good. It gives life, hence the bread of life. The water gives life, hence the living water.

The mention of David may remind the saint of second Samuel chapter 7. The LORD had promised David an everlasting dynasty. It is a direct reference to dominion as part of the history-long blessing.

The Servant’s work is time-conscious. You don’t want to show up when the shop is closed. Therefore, seek the LORD while He may be found. Call on Him; He is near. God’s planning isn’t exactly like yours. Fit into the plan of the LORD. It cannot be otherwise.

We have been looking at the complete work of the Servant. There is no failing! But now the scripture is talking about the Word of the LORD accomplishing the purposes of the LORD – exactly the role of the Servant. Probably because they are the same – the Word becoming flesh!

It really isn’t complex at all. “Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”

The saint has forsaken his or her wicked actions. But they have also forsaken their evil thoughts. Salvation is deeper than a couple of good actions or the temporal absence of one or two bad actions. Examine your thoughts. Weigh them on the scale of Heaven. Results are always terrible!

Dare not make it expensive and unreachable. It can be had without money simply because the Servant paid for it – chapter 53.

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Isaiah 54 Commentary

Isaiah 54 Commentary

What a sequel to a very important piece of news! The story of the Servant who gladly offers Himself as a sin offering is sobering. No mortal reads chapter 53 without reflecting on their own response to the generosity of the Creator God. And when one has responded to the call of salvation, chapter 54 results.

“Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the LORD. Heavy words indeed.

This chapter celebrates the restoration of the history-long blessing on humanity – the triad: Multiply or Increase in number, Dominate or Rule, and Prosper or be Fruitful. Genesis 1 verse 28.

The birth of a child is celebrated as an important point of hope for posterity. We shall live and not die out. It points to the importance of life – yes, dear life. Hidden behind this celebration is the cancellation of death. It does no one any good if the factory is producing dead children or children who don’t live long, or whose lives are cut short. Who wouldn’t want to reflect on the words of the LORD Jesus Christ: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Yes. Yes, because of what the Servant did in chapter 53!

“Your descendants will dispossess nations.” Verse 3b. It is a direct reference to dominion. Back in the Book of Genesis and immediately after the fall, we saw how Cain lost dominion of self and instead sin sought to master him. It ruled over him and the rest is history. Genesis 4 verse 7. The Servant brings back the lost dominion. Saints can now say no to sin and live holy lives by the grace of God.

And why not? Indeed, why not? The LORD God, your Maker, is your husband! You can always increase in number; you can have life! You can have dominion. You are saved!

The mention of Noah has deeply rooted in the same history-long blessing that the LORD repeated to Noah: “Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.” Genesis 9 verse 1.

“I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with lapis lazuli.” Read it together with Exodus 24 verse 10: “Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky.” The LORD God becomes your foundation. Your decisions, ambitions, and aspiration are all shaped by this foundation. It is an entirely new world!

It is a world of new possibilities. The Creator God comes in and everything is new once again. Hallelujah!

“No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.” Or, “though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed.” Is it not just wonderful, splendidly wonderful, and actually sweet of the LORD’s generosity! Exactly the way life should be! We all agree.

See what chapter 53 opens into! Chapter 54 is the completeness of what the LORD has meant all along.

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