We have seen that these verses relate to the restoration of Jerusalem following the exile in Babylon, and to the transformation of people and their spiritual flourishing under the anointed ministry of the Messiah. So both an immediate and a long-term fulfilment are woven together in these verses. It remains true that those transformed by the Messiah, Jesus (1-3) become society’s transformers (4). ‘’They…’’ who have been worked on by God go to work on a broken world in His power. They are called and equipped to be difference-makers. Verse 4 describes a situation of profound brokenness. Change seems totally unlikely. But the transformations God brings about through His people are nothing less than miraculous. If God wasn’t in it, such devastation would never be overcome. God must first do a work in us (1-3) before He can do a work through us (4-11)
Here is a message for New Year’s Eve: God is the God of new beginnings. He gives fresh starts. Even if you feel you’ve made a mess of your life, and you are surrounded by ruin and devastation of your own making, things can change. The same applies if others have been responsible for the damage: ‘’They’ll rebuild the old ruins, raise a new city out of the wreckage. They’ll start over on the ruined cities, take the rubble left behind and make it new.’’ The Message. God has shown that He rebuilds cities; He rebuilds nations; and He rebuilds people;He rebuilds lives. What a turnaround the Jewish people were to experience in their fortunes. Verse 9 has certainly come to pass historically (even if there is still a greater fulfilment to come): ‘’Your descendants will become well-known all over. Your children in foreign countries will be recognized at once as the people I have blessed.’’ The Message. It is perhaps a great irony that a people so obviously blessed as the Jews, should also be so repeatedly and ruthlessly persecuted. Maybe, in part, envy over their blessing has caused this? Verse 6b reminds us that God owns all the wealth in the world, and He can get it to His ‘children in need.’ He knows where they are, and He knows where it is! He can get the two together!!
There is a breadth of vision here; a world vision (5, 6, 9, and 11). God is going to do a work in and through His people, and, ultimately, in and through the Messiah, that will affect the entire world. In (10, 11) Jerusalem herself ‘speaks’. Using figurative language, Isaiah describes how this city (Zion) will be clothed with ‘’salvation’’ and ‘’righteousness’’. The Lord will make His people grow like plants in a garden, and do such a work in them that ‘’all nations’’ will be affected for good. (See Genesis 12:3). We don’t save ourselves. Salvation – the gift of a right standing with God – comes from God. It is all His doing and for His glory. God dresses His people up in clothes of salvation and right living God’s purpose in choosing one man, Abraham, to become one nation, Israel, was so that through this nation the Messiah would come and bless the whole world. What a plan!
‘’I will sing for joy in GOD, explode in praise from deep in my soul! He dressed me up in a suit of salvation, he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom who puts on a tuxedo and a bride a jewelled tiara.’’ The Message. What a way this is to ‘see out the old’ and ‘ring in the new’ – with an explosion of worship!
By the way, the blessing of God is an evident thing. People can see it in a human life (9b). They can even ‘smell’ it. So here is a prayer as we stand on the verge of a new year. It’s a line from a hymn by one of the early leaders of the Pentecostal movement. The hymn is: ‘’Move me, dear Lord, and others I shall move, to do thy will.’’ Here’s the line I have in mind…
Prayer: ‘’Under the anointing daily let me live…’’