Isaiah 60The Voice (VOICE)
Once again the scene shifts. The exile is receding in the past and the remnant of Israel—those who survived God’s judgment and Babylon’s cruelty—are working hard to rebuild their lives and communities. But life back in Jerusalem under Persian rule is not faring as well as they hoped. So once again a prophetic voice breaks the silence to address a discouraged population. Most people are facing terrific difficulties. Despite what their prophets have spoken, Jerusalem is a mere shadow of the great city their parents and grandparents knew. People doubt whether God is really alive, or really all that powerful, or really even cares. But the faithful know that God is powerful and does care; they are determined to convince their countrymen that He has their well-being in mind. He can make this people and this place great again, if they just trust and follow Him. Soon the whole world will be caught up in this brand new thing God is doing.
This section of Isaiah is written to a singular female as if she is the mother of the Jews. But this woman isn’t just any woman—she is Jerusalem. Cities are often described as female because they are like mothers supporting a brood of children (the population). This capital city of God’s special favor, of God’s presence, is filled with His people of the promise and is poised to become something new and glorious.
60 Arise, shine, for your light has broken through!
4 Don’t be shy; don’t be doubtful; lift up your eyes and look around.
Eternal One: When they are offered on My altar, I will accept them.
8 Who are these sailing to our ports like clouds through the sky,
9 Breezy coastlands will wait expectantly for Me; the ships of Tarshish arrive first
Eternal One: I punished you because I was furious with you,
11 Now your gates will stay open to a constant stream of gifts;
13 Eternal One: Meanwhile, the most beautiful materials will arrive from Lebanon—
14 And all the children of those who had bullied you, attacked and abused you,
15 Eternal One: Although you have suffered abandonment, hatred, and hopeless despair,
17 I will bring you gold instead of bronze, silver instead of iron,
18 You’ll never hear again, “Help! Call the guards!”
19 You won’t need the sun to brighten the day
This Hebrew title “Messiah” is based on a verb rightly translated “to anoint.” Kings and priests are “messiah-ed” during this period. But prophets like Isaiah and those who stand in the tradition of the great Hebrew prophets are also anointed. Living and working in Jerusalem in these days is much different than in earlier times. Wracked by the ages and ruined by overt destruction and covert neglect, the citizens of the holy city face disillusionment and disappointment. The people who come back after exile in Babylon do not return to a gloriously restored city and temple, but to a difficult land and contentious neighbors. The prophet is inspired by the spirit of God to restore hope, to help, and to comfort. As a spiritual guide he is compelled to convince people that God remains with them and that He still desires what is good, right, and true for and within them. Centuries later, in a synagogue in Nazareth, Jesus will pick up the scroll of Isaiah and read these inspiring words. He will say in no uncertain terms that the Scriptures are being fulfilled right then and there in their hearing (Luke 4:16-21). The year of jubilee will have arrived.
The Eternal One will be all the light you ever need.
Eternal One: I will plant them there like a sturdy sapling with My own hands.
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