The Same Only Different
Is 51:1 “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the Lord: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. First, notice that God calls us. Specifically, he’s calling on those who seek righteousness. To me, this says that if we go looking for Him, He will respond by calling out to us, giving us the direction we need to find Him. He will not abandon those who come after Him. I also like the way Isaiah uses the rock and quarry analogy. According to this we need to look at our roots. Jesus is referred to as a chief cornerstone. He is the main rock, if you will. We are called to be joined spiritually with Christ through our faith and the subsequent indwelling Holy Spirit. When we come to believe we become hewn from the same quarry as Christ, so to speak. Something of an extended thought here, but I think it is interesting to realize individual stones have many purposes, though they are all hewn from the same quarry and share certain characteristics.
Is 51:3 For the Lord comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song. Zion is, in scripture, the place where the faithful gather. It is home to the children of Abraham. Often thought of as a strictly Jewish community, I think in scripture Zion is home of all the true (spiritual) children of Abraham (see Is 51:2) who share faith the Lord. It is a promise of something far greater than the wasteland we live in our present earthly woes. It is our eternal hope. There will be singing and joy. This seems to be a basis for the common myth that in heaven we all stand around singing all day. While I don’t think that’s quite accurate, I do think there will be occassion to sing praise to our Good King who is the foundation and cornerstone of our faith. Indeed, we look forward and have hope in restoration. Restoration is the very thing we have hope for, the very promise God made in the Garden, that He made to Moses, that David laid up hope for, that Isaiah and Ezekiel and the prophets looked to, and that Christ came to make way for. The kingdom awaits.
Good News — No Fear
Is 51:7 Listen to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their revilings. This thought echos one of my favorite verses, Ps 118:8. See also Mt 10:28. There’s crap in this world. There’s crappy people and crappy luck and crappy things happen. There’s sin. Its a fallen world. We are all cut from inferior cloth. Even so, we know where our hope lies. The fact remains that no human being can keep us from it. Jesus defeated death by rising from the tomb. He tore down the gates of the grave and we know what we have faith in is real. There’s nothing anyone can do to take it away from us, except to fail in our faith. The only person who can keep me from heaven is myself. The same goes for you.
There’s a great deal more we could sit and dwell on, and in this chapter of Isaiah it speaks at some length about what Christ will accomplish and more about the nature of what exactly we hope for, but the critical points have been made.
• Seek God and He will be faithful to call you to Him and direct your way.
• He will restore you to how you should have been – sinless and physically perfect as before the fall from Eden.
• Eternal life includes eternal joy and gladness and no more of the tragedy of earthly life as we currently know it.
• Our Lord will live among us in Zion, our eternal home.
• Finally, as we struggle through this life, working ever toward our hope, we should not get discouraged and we must take heart, for no man can divide us from our God or the things we have hope for, so long as we are faithful to believe.