Isaiah 52 v1-12

Jerusalem Will Wake to A New Day of Freedom

View Isaiah II series | listen to audio

Agree or disagree: “When a Christian spots someone passed out in a public park and it is clearly due to drug abuse or alcoholism, they ought to feel nothing but pity for that person.” The previous section depicted Jerusalem as a woman drunk, but not on wine. She staggered under the cup of the Lord’s wrath due to her for her sin. Like an alcoholic or person who binged on too much wine she would be all in a terrible state of suffering and passed out in misery. But in this chapter Israel is called to wake up to a new day and new era. And instead of being walked over by all those who tormented her, she would rise to shake off the dust and put on new, beautiful clothes, and cast off her chains.

52:1-6 Jerusalem is called to awake to a new day. Recount the troubled past and condition of the people of Israel which is alluded to in this section. Read Isaiah 1:24-28 to explain why Jerusalem was confronted with such things.

  • The people had once been under the hard rule of Egypt. Lately in Isaiah’s time they struggled under attacks from the Assyrians.  After Isaiah’s time they would be led into captivity by Babylon and the city of Jerusalem would be laid to ruin.  (note: “the uncircumcised and defiled” who were allowed to enter into the city were the Babylonians who put chains on their leaders and tens of thousands of prominent people of the city and led them into captivity.

52:1-6 Use the titles given to Jerusalem in this section to explain how God still viewed her even as she suffered. 

  • “holy city” “daughter Zion” “My people… my people… my people.”

52:1-6 “You were sold and taken away for nothing… and without money.” God had nothing to gain by handing over his people to their enemies. He cannot be bribed by the devil. He does not hand us over to our enemies in order to gain something for his own personal benefit. Share why that is a comforting truth for you. Find in these verses what does influence him to act.

  • It is comforting for all of us to remember that God does not punish his enemies or discipline his people because he delights in seeing the sinner condemned or suffering. He does it for a higher purpose.
  • Note his higher purpose isn’t to serve self. He sends calamity for his holy justice over evil and out of love for those who trust in him and need discipline or refinement or other higher purposes.
  • It is for the sake of his name that he must fulfill his promises of mercy and rescue.  He is faithful.
  • He acts so that his people might know his Word is true.

52:3 “Without money you will be redeemed.” Expound on how this is not just a theme of Isaiah but all of Scripture.

  • 1 Pe 1:18–19. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

52:1-6 Identify the ways in which all the parts of this sudden turnaround will ultimately be fulfilled for all God’s people, the Church.

  • The picture is that that ungodly will no longer oppress.  This is only fulfilled in heaven.  The visible church will always have these among it.  But the Church in heaven and in the new creation will be free from them.
  • God’s people will be in robes of splendor and separated from evil and the enemies of God. Compare with Revelation 22:14-15 14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
  • We will shake off the dust of death as we awaken to the joys of heaven.

52:7-10 Good news is first announced right as God fulfills his promises! Explain how this section is literally fulfilled in history at the return from exile. Share some ways that these verses were also literally fulfilled with the events we celebrate at Christmas and Easter.

  • Like a messenger declaring their army is victorious Zion would hear the good news that the Lord lives and rules for them. They would hear the announcement that they could rebuild their city, just as the Lord foretold.
  • Consider the feet of the shepherds at Christmas announcing what they heard and saw. They saw it with their own eyes and were filled with joy.
  • Consider the women who carried the news that Jesus lives! Joy to the world, the Lord is come!  I know that my redeemer lives!

52:7-10 Find as least four crucial reminders this section gives the Christian evangelist.

  1. “those who bring good news” Still today it is the people whom God sends with his good news that are regarded as the fragrance of life to those who believe.  He doesn’t just announce it directly all the time. He chooses to send messengers to announce the good news.
  2. “beautiful the feet” it doesn’t matter how unappealing the messengers personally might be. They are beautiful in God’s sight and beautiful to those who believe because they share the gospel.  Don’t get hung up on the externals. Focus on the message!
  3. “proclaim peace” evangelist get to share good news of reconciliation with God!
  4. “burst into songs together you ruins” it doesn’t matter what our current condition or state of being is. We rejoice at the news of what God has done and what we will soon see as a result!
  5. “all the ends of the earth…” God intends to reach everyone with this announcement of victory and salvation.
  6. “the salvation of our God” he did it. It is not our job to point people to self-righteous or self-help messages. It is our job to point them to the salvation won by our God for us.

52:11-12 These verses seem to initially be addressed to the priests or captives in exile about 200 years after Isaiah’s time. They would return and bring back the looted and stolen utensils from the temple. Read Ezra 6:1-12 to see how these conditions were fulfilled when the exiles returned to Jerusalem. Explain how they also apply to every believer on their way to God’s promised eternal home.

  • The people returning could also return with the things stolen about 70 years earlier. And they could return at a leisurely pace, that is without any fear of attack.
  • The devil cannot take away what God has given us, our inheritance. And he cannot snatch us out of God’s protecting hand.  God will protect us and bring us safely to the place he has prepared for us.

Review Isaiah 52:1-12

52:1-2 Jerusalem is called to go from being a chained captive to rising, putting on her royal robes, and sitting on her royal throne as a “holy city.” Share similar pictures of God’s rescue from the New Testament.

  • 52:1 “garments of splendor”  Revelation 7:13-14 “These in white robes”
  • 52:1 “holy city”  Eph 5:25-27 “holy and blameless” & Revelation 21:2 “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”
  • 52:2 “sit enthroned”  Eph 2:6 “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus”

List some things in this chapter which will affect our attitude toward pastors, Christian teachers, and mission work.  How do those same truths change our view toward our own evangelism efforts?

  • God’s gracious invitation wakes the slumbering faithful remnant.  His messengers go proclaim salvation with beautiful feet –they are treasured because they share a treasure!  All the earth sees God’s arm working salvation.   

When God returns what will happen?  What will we see?  What will we do?

  • He comes to comfort and redeem.  We will see his arm working our salvation.  We will go out like the priests did who carried the sacred vessels of the temple, but not to flee, we will go out to march in victory behind the Lord.  
  • We will see God our Redeemer who returns to comfort his people! We do that each day with the gospel message of victory, and we will do it on the Last Day when he brings us home.