Thirty-Second Day of Lent

Scripture: Isaiah 52:1-12 

Today’s text continues the message of hope that began in Chapter 7 of Isaiah.  It is a hope for the promised comfort of the Lord’s salvation to a believing Remnant. Their restoration and renewal was imminent, but this new beginning was only a foretaste of what God would do redemptively at the ‘end of the age’. We see the hope of this Gospel message spelled out in the prophecy of the passion and crucifixion of God’s Suffering Servant, Jesus Christ, in Isaiah 53. This was going to be the act that would purchase the emancipation and salvation of the Remnant from their captivity to their sin nature.

A spiritual cesspool of sin is no place for a believer to take a spiritual swim (cf. Isaiah 52:11). In other words, the scripture calls for those who are saved to separate themselves from sinful lifestyles. Isaiah shows us a picture of God’s people heading back to their home in order to renew their spiritual service to the Lord. The prophet Isaiah calls our attention to three aspects of hope as we look back on the faithfulness of God through a believing remnant and as we look ahead to His future salvation in the death of His Son (Jesus Christ).

1. Hope through the knowledge of His name – Isaiah 52:1-6

The metaphors of arousal from sleep and release from captivity are used to call the Remnant from spiritual slumber to righteousness and from spiritual bondage to emancipation. His people, the Remnant, know the very character of their Lord by the fulfillment of the salvation they progressively experienced.

2. Hope through the knowledge of His message – Isaiah 52:7-10

The “Good News” promises healing from our woundedness, relief from our loneliness, freedom from sin’s captivity, God’s merciful care, and just reward at the final judgment. These are promised to all who put their trust in Jesus to be their Lord and Saviour as revealed in Scripture; the divine community of God symbolized by the terms Zion and Jerusalem.  

3. Hope through the preservation of His presence – Isaiah 52:11-12

Those who have seen His salvation work in their lives are commanded to turn aside from the uncleanness around them. Rather than even touching it or dwelling in it, they are to go out and be cleansed by God while using their gifts to serve Him as they live in the centre of His will.

As we journey to the cross this Lent with Christ, I pray that we will hear Isaiah’s call in a fresh way calling us who are in bondage to sin to leave our bondage because the LORD offers us redemption and deliverance.  The destination of Zion here in Isaiah becomes a symbol of the ultimate fulfillment of the promises. This great salvation coming to us in the person of His Christ is good news and the basis for praise. The news of the Gospel announces salvation; it is entered by faith now and realized fully at the end of the age. Those of us who have responded by faith to the call of God have begun our pilgrimage to the holy city and are bearers of the good news.

Ira Carty
Avenue Community Church
Toronto, ON