Isaiah 52:1-12

Sunday Morning Bible Study

March 26, 2000

Introduction

The last chapter painted a picture of the city of Jerusalem as if it had been a drunken woman staggering about, trying to get back on her feet. But instead of staggering from wine, she was staggering from the cup of Godís anger over her sins. Yet the chapter ended with a beautiful promise that she would never again drink of Godís wrath. This is what will happen when Jesus comes back.

:1 awake; put on thy strength, O Zion

This is the third time in a row weíve seen the phrase "awake, awake". The first time was in Godís people crying out for Him to awaken (51:9), the second time was God crying to Jerusalem to awaken from its drunken stupor (51:17).

Now that Jerusalem has awakened from itís drunkenness, and God has promised to never again punish it, it is told to put on beautiful clothes.

strength Ė `oz Ė might, strength. Here, to put on like a garment

beautiful Ė tiph'arah Ė beauty, splendour, glory

:1 for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.

This is a characteristic of the New Jerusalem as well (Rev. 21:27), when Jerusalem will truly be a "holy city".

:2 Shake thyself from the dust

The phrase means to stop mourning. When the people were grieving or mourning, they would cover themselves with dust and ashes. But now that the King has come back, they will shake off the dust.

:3 For thus saith the LORD, Ye have sold yourselves for nought

(NAS) "You were sold for nothing

We have sold ourselves into sin for nothing, we will be redeemed not with money, but with blood.

Lesson

Whatís your price?

Ro 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

(Gen 25:27-34 NIV) The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was a quiet man, staying among the tents. {28} Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob. {29} Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. {30} He said to Jacob, "Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I'm famished!" (That is why he was also called Edom.) {31} Jacob replied, "First sell me your birthright."

The birthright had to do with several things. It had material value in that the first born son would get twice as much of an inheritance as the other children. It had family value in that the first born son was eventually the head of the family. It had spiritual value for this family because the birthright would also mean that the Messiah would come through that line.

{32} "Look, I am about to die," Esau said. "What good is the birthright to me?" {33} But Jacob said, "Swear to me first." So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. {34} Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.

Esau was willing to sell his future for a bowl of stew.

Illustration

Money Talks. A recent book entitled The Day America Told the Truth reported on a survey asking adults what they would be willing to do for ten million dollars. One out of four respondents said they would abandon their entire family, and almost that many (23%) said they would become prostitutes for a week for that kind of pay off. About 16% said they would be willing to leave their husband or wife and 3% would put their children up for adoption.

-- Discipleship Journal

Whatís sad is that sin can be so deceiving that we could find ourselves abandoning our family for a brief moment of pleasure, really for nothing. Even if you were to find a way to get ten million dollars in the process, you arenít going to be able to take that money to heaven. Itís all going to burn.

:3 ye shall be redeemed without money.

We may have sold ourselves into sin for nothing, and though we are bought back without money, that doesnít mean that it didnít cost God anything to buy us back.

(1 Pet 1:18-19 KJV) Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; {19} But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

:4 My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there Ö

Two previous times of captivity Ė Egypt and Assyria. Remember, Isaiah is writing one hundred years prior to the Babylonian captivity, let alone thinking of the destruction that would come from Rome.

:5 what have I here Ö my name continually every day is blasphemed.

Itís the idea that one of Godís reasons for rescuing His people is that they are being mocked and His name is being blasphemed by their oppressors.

:7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

The picture is that of a messenger running to Jerusalem to tell it that God reigns. The ultimate fulfillment is when Jesus is coming back to rescue Jerusalem from the clutches of the antichrist.

Paul quotes this verse in Ė

(Rom 10:12-15 KJV) For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. {13} For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. {14} How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?

If "calling on the Lord" brings salvation, how could a person do that if they donít believe in the Lord?

and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?

How can they believe in a God they havenít heard about?

and how shall they hear without a preacher?

How can they hear about God if someone doesnít tell them?

{15} And how shall they preach, except they be sent?

How could someone tell others about Jesus if theyíre never sent out to do it?

as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Lesson

Go and tell them.

Do you have beautiful feet?

Iíve known people over the years who are very self-conscious about various parts of their bodies. Some have been very sensitive about their feet and would just die if someone saw how ugly their feet were. I think weíve got it wrong. Beautiful feet belong to the one who is willing to go and tell others about Jesus.

I think sometimes we make things a bit too difficult. We have all sorts of reasons why we shouldnít be the one to share Godís love with some particular person. We think that we canít say anything unless weíve been to Bible College, or graduated from seminary.

Has Jesus changed your life?

Do you know that God loves you?

Do you know that our sin separates us from God?

Do you know that Jesus died on a cross to pay for our sins?

Do you know that a person needs to receive Jesusí free gift of forgiveness to be saved?

Then you know enough to share with others.

Illustration

An example of beautiful feet.

DO YOU BELIEVE IN EASTER?

Edith Burns was a wonderful Christian who lived in San Antonio, Texas. She was the patient of doctor by the name of Will Phillips. Dr. Phillips was a gentle doctor who saw patients as people. His favorite patient was Edith Burns. One morning he went to his office with a heavy heart and it was because of Edith Burns. When he walked into that waiting room, there sat Edith with her big black Bible in her lap earnestly talking to a young mother sitting beside her. Edith Burns had a habit of introducing herself in this way: "Hello, my name is Edith Burns. Do you believe in Easter?" Then she would explain the meaning of Easter, and many times people would be saved. Dr. Phillips walked into that office and there he saw the head nurse, Beverly. Beverly had first met Edith when she was taking her blood pressure. Edith began by saying, "My name is Edith Burns. Do you believe in Easter?" Beverly said, "Why yes I do." Edith said, "Well, what do you believe about Easter?" Beverly said, "Well, itís all about egg hunts, going to church, and dressing up." Edith kept pressing her about the real meaning of Easter, and finally led her to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Dr. Phillips said, "Beverly, donít call Edith into the office quite yet. I believe there is another delivery taking place in the waiting room. After being called back in the doctorís office, Edith sat down and when she took a look at the doctor she said, "Dr. Will, why are you so sad? Are you reading your Bible? Are you praying?" Dr. Phillips said gently, "Edith, Iím the doctor and youíre the patient." With a heavy heart he said, "Your lab report came back and it says you have cancer, and Edith, youíre not going to live very long." Edith said, "Why Will Phillips, shame on you. Why are you so sad? Do you think God makes mistakes? You have just told me Iím going to see my precious Lord Jesus, my husband, and my friends. You have just told me that I am going to celebrate Easter forever, and here you are having difficulty giving me my ticket!" Dr. Phillips thought to himself, "What a magnificent woman this Edith Burns is!" Edith continued coming to Dr. Phillips. Christmas came and the office was closed through January 3rd. On the day the office opened, Edith did not show up. Later that afternoon, Edith called Dr. Phillips and said she would have to be moving her story to the hospital and said, "Will, Iím very near home, so would you make sure that they put women in here next to me in my room who need to know about Easter." Well, they did just that and women began to come in and share that room with Edith. Many women were saved. Everybody on that floor from staff to patients were so excited about Edith, that they started calling her Edith Easter; that is everyone except Phyllis Cross, the head nurse. Phyllis made it plain that she wanted nothing to do with Edith because she was a "religious nut". She had been a nurse in an army hospital. She had seen it all and heard it all. She was the original G.I. Jane. She had been married three times, she was hard, cold, and did everything by the book. One morning the two nurses who were to attend to Edith were sick. Edith had the flu and Phyllis Cross had to go in and give her a shot. When she walked in, Edith had a big smile on her face and said, "Phyllis, God loves you and I love you, and I have been praying for you." Phyllis Cross said, "Well, you can quit praying for me, it wonít work. Iím not interested." Edith said, "Well, I will pray and I have asked God not to let me go home until you come into the family." Phyllis Cross said, "Then you will never die because that will never happen," and curtly walked out of the room. Every day Phyllis Cross would walk into the room and Edith would say, "God loves you Phyllis and I love you, and Iím praying for you." One day Phyllis Cross said she was literally drawn to Edithís room like a magnet would draw iron. She sat down on the bed and Edith said, "Iím so glad you have come, because God told me that today is your special day." Phyllis Cross said, "Edith, you have asked everybody here the question, ĎDo you believe in Easter?í but you have never asked me." Edith said, "Phyllis, I wanted to many times, but God told me to wait until you asked, and now that you have asked..." Edith Burns took her Bible and shared with Phyllis Cross the Easter Story of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Edith said, "Phyllis, do you believe in Easter? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is alive and that He wants to live in your heart?" Phyllis Cross said, "Oh I want to believe that with all of my heart, and I do want Jesus in my life." Right there, Phyllis Cross prayed and invited Jesus Christ into her heart. For the first time Phyllis Cross did not walk out of a hospital room, she was carried out on the wings of angels. Two days later, Phyllis Cross came in and Edith said, "Do you know what day it is?" Phyllis Cross said, "Why Edith, itís Good Friday." Edith said, "Oh, no, for you every day is Easter. Happy Easter Phyllis!" Two days later, on Easter Sunday, Phyllis Cross came into work, did some of her duties and then went down to the flower shop and got some Easter lilies because she wanted to go up to see Edith and give her some Easter lilies and wish her a Happy Easter. When she walked into Edithís room, Edith was in bed. That big black Bible was on her lap. Her hands were in that Bible. There was a sweet smile on her face. When Phyllis Cross went to pick up Edithís hand, she realized Edith was dead. Her left hand was on John 14: "In my Fatherís house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also." Her right hand was on Revelation 21:4, " And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." Phyllis Cross took one look at that dead body, and then lifted her face toward heaven, and with tears streaming down here cheeks, said, "Happy Easter, Edith - Happy Easter!" Phyllis Cross left Edithís body, walked out of the room, and over to a table where two student nurses were sitting. She said, "My name is Phyllis Cross. Do you believe in Easter?"

It doesnít take much. Just a loving heart.

Illustration

I received this through e-mail yesterday Ö

(Pastorís Note: If youíre listening to the tape of the message, at this point I read a story about a pastorís wife on board Alaska Airlines Flight 261 who supposedly was heard on the cockpit voice recorder preaching the gospel to the other passengers just before their final dive into the Pacific Ocean in January, 2000. As far as I can tell, this story has turned out to be a possible hoax. There was indeed a pastorís wife, Linda Knight, on board the flight, and her son, Jeff had apparently made a statement that he wouldnít have been surprised if his mom had been preaching in the aisle of the plane as it went down. The supposed testimony of a pilot who had heard the woman preaching on the tapes from the flight recorder are apparently bogus. I deeply regret that I got swallowed up in a hoax and passed it on to you. Please forgive me. I have taken the story out of my notes, though my comments after the story are still appropriate. My notes continue Ö)

Ö what most of us donít realize is that thereís not much difference with us. We may not be aware that the plane is going down, and for some, the plane takes a bit longer before it crashes, but the truth is, death is all around us and weíre all going to die someday. Weíre all on the same plane. One of the gals in our church buried her father last week. I did a funeral for another galís grandfather on Friday and will be doing another funeral on Tuesday. Weíre all going to die. The question is, will we bring others with us to heaven?

:8 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing:

Watchmen would be set in towers on the city wall at regular intervals to be able to give the quickest alarm or report of incoming messengers.

The Hebrew is apparently more forceful:

"The voice of thy watchmen! They lift up their voice! Together they sing."

:8 for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.

eye to eye Ė right up close, first hand.

bring again Ė shuwb Ė to return, turn back; the idea is to "return to" Zion.

(NIV) When the LORD returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes.

These watchmen will see Jesus returning to Jerusalem! Wow!

:10 The LORD hath made bare his holy arm

God rolling up His sleeves.

:10 and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

The whole world will watch as Jesus rescues Jerusalem.

How could this have literally been possible even 50 years ago?

There are other verses that are similar:

When the two witnesses of Revelation 11 are killed by the antichrist, and their dead bodies are left to lie in the streets of Jerusalem Ė

(Rev 11:9-10 NLT) And for three and a half days, all peoples, tribes, languages, and nations will come to stare at their bodies. No one will be allowed to bury them. {10} All the people who belong to this world will give presents to each other to celebrate the death of the two prophets who had tormented them.

When Jesus comes back Ė

(Rev 1:7 KJV) Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

(Mat 24:30 NASB) and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.

:11 Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence

Depart from where? Perhaps from "Babylon" (Rev. 18:4)? Perhaps from the ways of the world.

:12 For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight:

Unlike when they left Egypt.

:12 the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward.

rereward Ė 'acaph Ė (Piel) to gather (harvest); to take in, receive into; rearguard

Yahweh will go in front, the God of Israel will be at the rear. Two places at once!

:11 touch no unclean thing Ö that bear the vessels of the LORD.

that bear the vessels of the Lord Ė meaning the priests and Levites, those that carried the utensils of the temple. Part of the priestís job was to "stay clean" so that he could be used at any time to work with the "holy things".

Lesson

Be clean

The Bible says that because of Jesus, we are all now priests to God (Rev. 1:6). We too need to stay clean.

(Rom 12:1-2 KJV) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. {2} And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

There are a lot of things out in the world that can splatter us with all kinds of filth.

Illustration

The other night I was watching a TV show with lots of magic tricks with my sons. One of the tricks was the "Amazing Psychic Cement Mixer of Death Trick". One guy was strapped inside a cement mixer with a lot of loose bricks, and he was supposed to pick out a certain marked brick as the mixer was turning with him and the other bricks inside it. To make things worse, they spray painted his goggles so he couldnít see.

Thereís a lot of things out in the world that will spray paint our goggles so we canít see who weíre with, where weíre going, or what weíre doing.

I was reminded this week again of the filth thatís out on the Internet. Focus on the Family had an article in their monthly magazine stating that every month, at least 9 million people visit pornographic web sites. If youíre struggling with this, you need to get serious about stopping it. Making it difficult to see clearly is the least it will do.