Journey Through The Scriptures
Lesson 3: The Faithful Comforted
(Scripture to Read: Isaiah 51:1–53:12)
Among the people there has always been a righteous or faithful remnant, those who kept to their faith in God. These are addressed in chapters 51–52, and encouraged to remember their past. The same powerful God who miraculously birthed a great nation from Abraham and Sarah would also redeem His people from captivity. Thus the call came to Zion to wake up from the long slumber of exile and get ready for restoration.
Isaiah prophesied the city of Jerusalem would be rebuilt—and when the people returned to the holy city, it would signify that the Lord Himself had returned (52:8). Following the good news of Israel’s restoration, the call came again to the exiles to leave the land of their captivity under God’s protection. As was indicated in the previous study, this text includes the last and most well-known of Isaiah’s four servant songs (52:13–53:12). Many Jewish sages identify the servant as Israel, the people of God, while others see this as a reference to the Messiah. The Jewish people have certainly been despised and rejected in their history, which would fit the description given here. But this song may also refer to the career of the Messiah, whose struggles on behalf of God’s people will result in victory and exaltation.
- Why was Israel’s birth from Abraham and Sarah a miracle?
- Why were God’s people told to wake up and ready themselves for what was to come?
- How would the Exodus from Babylon differ from the Exodus from Egypt (Hint: compare Isaiah 52:12 with Exodus 12:11)?
- Why does Isaiah 53:1 indicate that not everyone would believe the prophet’s report of Israel’s future restoration?
Something to Think About
The “arm of the LORD” (Isaiah 53:1), a symbol of His mighty power, is still being revealed today on behalf of His people. We can see this in the history of modern-day Israel, which has been delivered time and again from the hands of her enemies. Let us praise God for His care and protection for His own!