Major Prophets – Isaiah 61-64

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
    that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
    foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the Lord,
    you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
    and in their riches you will boast.
Instead of your shame
    you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
    you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
    and everlasting joy will be yours.
“For I, the Lord, love justice;
    I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
    and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be known among the nations
    and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
    that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”
I delight greatly in the Lord;
    my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
    and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up
    and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
    and praise spring up before all nations.

  • Isaiah 61:1-11

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
    for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet,
till her vindication shines out like the dawn,
    her salvation like a blazing torch.
The nations will see your vindication,
    and all kings your glory;
you will be called by a new name
    that the mouth of the Lord will bestow.
You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand,
    a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
No longer will they call you Deserted,
    or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah,
    and your land Beulah;
for the Lord will take delight in you,
    and your land will be married.
As a young man marries a young woman,
    so will your Builder marry you;
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
    so will your God rejoice over you.
I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem;
    they will never be silent day or night.
You who call on the Lord,
    give yourselves no rest,
and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem
    and makes her the praise of the earth.
The Lord has sworn by his right hand
    and by his mighty arm:
“Never again will I give your grain
    as food for your enemies,
and never again will foreigners drink the new wine
    for which you have toiled;
but those who harvest it will eat it
    and praise the Lord,
and those who gather the grapes will drink it
    in the courts of my sanctuary.”
Pass through, pass through the gates!
    Prepare the way for the people.
Build up, build up the highway!
    Remove the stones.
Raise a banner for the nations.
The Lord has made proclamation
    to the ends of the earth:
“Say to Daughter Zion,
    ‘See, your Savior comes!
See, his reward is with him,
    and his recompense accompanies him.’”
They will be called the Holy People,
    the Redeemed of the Lord;
and you will be called Sought After,
    the City No Longer Deserted.

  • Isaiah 62:1-12

Who is this coming from Edom,
    from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson?
Who is this, robed in splendor,
    striding forward in the greatness of his strength?
“It is I, proclaiming victory,
    mighty to save.”
Why are your garments red,
    like those of one treading the winepress?
“I have trodden the winepress alone;
    from the nations no one was with me.
I trampled them in my anger
    and trod them down in my wrath;
their blood spattered my garments,
    and I stained all my clothing.
It was for me the day of vengeance;
    the year for me to redeem had come.
I looked, but there was no one to help,
    I was appalled that no one gave support;
so my own arm achieved salvation for me,
    and my own wrath sustained me.
I trampled the nations in my anger;
    in my wrath I made them drunk
    and poured their blood on the ground.”
I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord,
    the deeds for which he is to be praised,
    according to all the Lord has done for us—
yes, the many good things
    he has done for Israel,
    according to his compassion and many kindnesses.
He said, “Surely they are my people,
    children who will be true to me”;
    and so he became their Savior.
In all their distress he too was distressed,
    and the angel of his presence saved them.
In his love and mercy he redeemed them;
    he lifted them up and carried them
    all the days of old.
Yet they rebelled
    and grieved his Holy Spirit.
So he turned and became their enemy
    and he himself fought against them.
Then his people recalled the days of old,
    the days of Moses and his people—
where is he who brought them through the sea,
    with the shepherd of his flock?
Where is he who set
    his Holy Spirit among them,
who sent his glorious arm of power
    to be at Moses’ right hand,
who divided the waters before them,
    to gain for himself everlasting renown,
who led them through the depths?
Like a horse in open country,
    they did not stumble;
like cattle that go down to the plain,
    they were given rest by the Spirit of the Lord.
This is how you guided your people
    to make for yourself a glorious name.
Look down from heaven and see,
    from your lofty throne, holy and glorious.
Where are your zeal and your might?
    Your tenderness and compassion are withheld from us.
But you are our Father,
    though Abraham does not know us
    or Israel acknowledge us;
you, Lord, are our Father,
    our Redeemer from of old is your name.
Why, Lord, do you make us wander from your ways
    and harden our hearts so we do not revere you?
Return for the sake of your servants,
    the tribes that are your inheritance.
For a little while your people possessed your holy place,
    but now our enemies have trampled down your sanctuary.
We are yours from of old;
    but you have not ruled over them,
    they have not been called by your name.

  • Isaiah 63:1-19

Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
    that the mountains would tremble before you!
As when fire sets twigs ablaze
    and causes water to boil,
come down to make your name known to your enemies
    and cause the nations to quake before you!
For when you did awesome things that we did not expect,
    you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.
Since ancient times no one has heard,
    no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
    who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
You come to the help of those who gladly do right,
    who remember your ways.
But when we continued to sin against them,
    you were angry.
    How then can we be saved?
All of us have become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
    and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
No one calls on your name
    or strives to lay hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us
    and have given us over to our sins.
Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
    We are the clay, you are the potter;
    we are all the work of your hand.
Do not be angry beyond measure, Lord;
    do not remember our sins forever.
Oh, look on us, we pray,
    for we are all your people.
Your sacred cities have become a wasteland;
    even Zion is a wasteland, Jerusalem a desolation.
Our holy and glorious temple, where our ancestors praised you,
    has been burned with fire,
    and all that we treasured lies in ruins.
After all this, Lord, will you hold yourself back?
    Will you keep silent and punish us beyond measure?

  • Isaiah 64:1-12

Noted Biblical Scholars, Teachers, and Preachers Comments

Isaiah 60-61 ‘Israel in the Messianic Kingdom’: “Verses 1-3 describe the Shekinah glory that will now return to Israel. This Shekinah light will come when the darkness reaches greatest blackness (verse 2)—that is, the darkness of the Tribulation. Afterward the Lard will ‘rise upon you’ and the glory ‘will appear upon you’—these are references to the second coming. As a result, Israel will become the center of world attention (verse 3).
“According to verses 4-9, the Gentiles will aid in the regathering of the Jewish people, and all the nations will be brought to Israel. This will lead to the subservience of the Gentiles (verses 10-14). The Gentiles, who will be the servants of Israel, will also be used in the building up of the millennial Jerusalem (verse 10). The 12 gates, named after the 12 sons of Jacob, will continually remain open, never to be closed throughout the messianic kingdom. The Gentile nations and kings will bring their wealth through these gates (verse 11), and failure to do so will bring swift judgment (verse 12). The Gentile nations will bow in submission to Jerusalem’s authority when they pass through Jerusalem (verses 13-14).
“Isaiah then describes the exaltation of Jerusalem, when nations and kings will restore their vital energies upon the city (verses 15-16). Jerusalem will be beautified with stones and be in service to the leader of peace and righteousness (verse 17). Violence and desolation will no longer exist, so the walls symbolize salvation and the gates will sing praise (verse 18), and the Shekinah glory will be the light in the kingdom (verses 19-20). Isaiah concludes with a word about the status of Israel, stating that the whole nation will be righteous (verses 21-22).
“In Isaiah 61:1-11, the prophet again focuses on the Servant of Jehovah and again brings together events that were either covered by Christ’s first coming or refer to His second coming. The purpose of the first coming was to fulfill the five elements mentioned in verses 1-2a. The second coming will be for the purpose of restoring Israel (verses 2b-3). It is then that the restoration of Israel will be brought about. All the wasted cities will be rebuilt (verse 4), the Gentiles will become servants to the Jews (verse 5), Israel will at long last become a nation of priests and receive the wealth of nations (verse 6), and in place of double punishment (Isaiah 40:1-2) it will receive double blessing (verses 7-8). The result is that Israel will receive Gentile acknowledgment that it is the offspring of the Lord (verse 9). Isaiah 61 concludes by describing the righteousness of Israel in that day (verses 10-11). Righteousness is given to them when they are clothed with the garments of salvation and the robes of righteousness.”

  • Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, Exploring Bible Prophecy

Isaiah 61:1 ‘preaching’: “Our Lord’s anointing (see Lk 4:16-21) was with a special view to his preaching of the gospel. Such honor does the Lord of heaven and earth put on the ministry of the word that, as one of the old Puritans said, ‘God had only one Son, and he made a preacher of him.’ It should greatly encourage the weakest among us, who are preachers of the gospel also, to think that the Son of God, the blessed and eternal Word, came into this world so that he might preach the same good news that we are called to proclaim.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Isaiah 61:2 ‘acceptable year’: “The same as ‘the day of salvation’ (49:8) and ‘the year of My redeemed’ (63:4). This is where Jesus stopped reading in the synagogue (Luke 4:19), indicating that the subsequent writing in the rest of the chapter (vv. 2b-11) awaited the Second Coming of Christ. day of vengeance. As part of His deliverance of Israel, the Lord will pour out wrath on all who oppose Him (59:17-18). Cf. Revelation 6-19.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 61:10 ‘seeing Jesus in us’: “When God looks at his people, he does not see them—he sees his Son. He looks through that heavenly medium and sees them in his Son. The Lord has covered them with the robe of righteousness. The children of God who weep because of their sins can be joyful in the Lord. We are righteous in the righteousness of Christ that God has imputed to us by faith in his Son.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Isaiah 62 ‘Redemption of Israel and Judah’: “The millennial Jerusalem will be characterized by brightness and righteousness (verse 1). Her righteousness will be recognized by all the nations of the earth (verse 2a). At that time Jerusalem will be given a new name (verse 2b), the one mentioned in Ezekiel 48:35: Jehovah Shammah, ‘the LORD is there.’ Jerusalem will be further characterized by beauty (verse 3), never again to be forsaken or desolated by God (verse 4a). The city itself will be God’s joy and delight (verses 4b-5).”

  • Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, Exploring Bible Prophecy

Isaiah 62:1 ‘not hold My peace … not rest’: “The Lord expresses His determination to make Jerusalem a lighthouse for the world (58:8; 60:1-3).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 62:6-7 ‘never hold their peace … do not keep silent .. give Him no rest.’: “The prophets of Israel issued constant warnings about lurking enemies and prayed for Jerusalem to be ‘a praise’ (60:18; 61:11). There will be more prophets in the kingdom who continually proclaim the honor of the Lord.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 62:10, 12 ‘removing stumbling blocks’: “All Christians need to clear the road to make room for coming sinners. We must take away all stumbling blocks. We must make the gospel plain and simple and come to the help of those who find hindrances and impediments in their progress to the Savior. Such stones are there, and Satan tries to increase their number. The Lord’s servants must gather them and take them out of the way. This is one of our primary objectives. We must try, with great simplicity of thought and speech, to deal with those things that prevent sinners from getting to Christ, for perhaps while we are trying to do this the eternal Spirit may bring them to Jesus so they may find salvation on the spot. To that end let all who are already saved cry mightily to the Lord for his saving health and consoling grace. When poor souls are coming to Jesus, they are generally their own worst enemies. They have a singular ingenuity in finding out reasons they should not be saved. A strange infatuation seems to possess them so that they ransack heaven, earth, and hell to find discouragements. They become inventive of difficulties where difficulties do not exist. It is therefore a holy and necessary work to endeavor to remove some of the stumbling blocks out of the poor sinner‘s way. When we attempt this good work, we will point the coming sinner to him who in his own person has effectively removed every real stumbling block, so now nothing can keep a sinner from God if that sinner is but ready to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Isaiah 62:11 ‘Say to the daughter … Behold.’: “Matthew may also have alluded to these words when he was quoting from Zechariah 9:9 as it related to Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (see Matt. 21:5). His reward … His work. See 40:9, 10.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 63:1-6 ‘Triumphal Return of Christ’: “In a prophetic vision, Isaiah was standing on a high point or mountain in Israel looking eastward toward the land of Edom when suddenly he saw a magnificent but bloodstained figure approaching him in glory and splendor. At that point a question-and-answer  s session ensues between Isaiah and this marching figure. This figure is coming from the land of Edom and from the city of Bozrah, and His features reflect His glory and there is greatness in His strength.  There can be little doubt that this figure arrayed with the Shekinah glory is the Jewish Messiah Himself.”

  • Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, Exploring Bible Prophecy

Isaiah 63:1 ‘Edom … Bozrah’: “Edom represents a God-hating world (34:5). Bozrah was a capital city in Edom at one time (34:6). Conquering Messiah, approaching Jerusalem to reign after having avenged His people, is presented in imagery taken from the destruction of Edom, the representative of the last and most bitter foes of God and His people. He alone is ‘mighty to save.’ ”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 63:3 ‘anger … fury … blood’: “The Savior explains the red coloring of His clothing (v. 2) as resulting from His judgmental activity against Israel’s enemies (61:2). The splattered ‘grape juice’ staining His clothing is, in reality, blood from those destroyed in judgment. John alludes to verses 1-3 in describing the Second Coming of Christ, the Warrior-King. See notes on Revelation 19:13, 15.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 63:7-64:12 ‘Prayer of the Remnant’: “Isaiah 63:7-14 contains a remembrance of God’s manifold gracious acts on behalf of Israel in the past. With confidence in God’s past faithfulness, the remnant of the Tribulation will now plead for God to take note of their situation and rescue Israel from the oncoming enemy’s. This plea for the second coming appears in Isaiah 64:1-I2. The passage begins with the pleading for the Lord to ‘come down’ and let the nations realize His presence (verse 1-2). The remnant of Israel will remember God’s mighty works from the past (verses 3-7) and will seek those mighty works of God again (verse 8). They will also ask for the forgiveness of their sins (verse 9). The Jewish people’s disastrous plight is shown by the fact that Jerusalem had been made a desolation by the nations (verses 9-10) and the temple is still defiled (verse 11). The passage ends with a plea for God to intervene lest they, too, become ruined (verse 12).”

  • Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, Exploring Bible Prophecy

Isaiah 63:7 ‘The great victor over God’s foes’: “This chapter opens with a declaration of our glorious Lord concerning his ultimate overthrow of his foes. He declared that he would tread down all the enemies of his people, as grapes are stomped in the winepress. Verse 1 asks, ‘Who is this coming from Edom in crimson-stained garments from Bozrah?’ The prophet, having seen the glorious vision and heard the proclamation of the victorious hero, felt his soul stirred within him. It is usual for saints’ hearts to burn within them when Christ is near. The glowing flames of Isaiah’s heart unloosed the bonds of his tongue. He had to speak, and the theme that suggested itself to him was the ‘faithful love’ of the Lord. He was overwhelmed with what he saw coming in the future, with the future triumphs of Immanuel and the overthrow of Israel’s foes.
“But he felt he must not forget the glorious victories of ages past or the triumphs of that present time either. There were some in the prophet’s time whose business it was to mention the Lord. He told them they must not be silent day or night (62:6). They were people who spoke to him, who kept the Lord in remembrance and mentioned his mercies to them. It was in both senses that Isaiah resolved to mention the faithful love of Jehovah—to the people that they might love God and to God that he might not forget his people but continue to smile on them in the days to come, just as he had done in years past. God’s acts of faithful love in the past help us in three ways in the present: first, they aid us in prayer to know what God has done for his people in the past; second, they support our faith because we know God can accomplish anything he wishes; and third, they provide happiness for his people in the present when we rest in what he has already done for us.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Isaiah 63:7-9 ‘Reflections’: “Goodness is the source of mercy. I must apologize here for my necessity to use human language to speak of God. Language deals with the finite, and God is infinite. When we try to describe God or talk about God we’re always breaking our own rules and falling back into the little semantic snares which we don’t want to fall into but can’t help. When I say that one attribute is the source of another, I’m not using correct language, but I’m putting it so you can get hold of it. If I tried to use absolutes, you‘d all fall sound asleep.
“God‘s infinite goodness is taught throughout the entire Bible. Goodness is that in God which desires the happiness of His creatures and that irresistible urge in God to bestow blessedness. The goodness of God takes pleasure in the pleasure of His people. I wish I could teach the children of God to know this. For a long time it has been drummed into us that if we are happy, God is worried about us. We believe He’s never quite pleased if we are happy. But the strict, true teaching of the Word is that God takes pleasure in the pleasure of His people, provided His people take pleasure in God.
“ ‘I will mention the loving kindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his loving kindnesses. For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old’ (Isaiah 63:7-9).”

  • A. W. Tozer, The Attributes of God I

Isaiah 63:9 ‘A Suffering God’: “I said before that God takes pleasure in the pleasure of His people and suffers along with His friends. ‘In all their affliction he was afflicted.’ If you are a good tight thinker, you may ask, ‘How can a perfect God suffer?’ Suffering means that somewhere there is a disorder. You don’t suffer as long as you have psychological, mental, and physical order; when you get out of order you suffer.
“As long as it is declared in the Bible, you must take it by faith and say, ‘Father, l believe it.’ And then because you believe, you try to understand. And if you can understand, then thank God; your little intellect can have fun leaping about rejoicing in God.
“But if you read it in the Bible and your intellect can’t understand it, then there‘s only one thing to do, and that is to look up and say, ‘O Lord God, thou knowest’ (Ezekiel 37:3). There is an awful lot we don’t know. The trouble with us evangelicals is that we know too much! We’re too slick; we have too many answers. I’m looking for the fellow who will say, ‘I don’t know, but oh Lord God, Thou knowest.’ There’s someone who is spiritually wise.”

  • A. W. Tozer, The Attributes of God I

Isaiah 63:9 ‘shall they fear’: “The angel, who delivered the Israelites from Egypt, was none other than the Lord Himself (Ex. 14:19; 23:20-23; 33:12, 14, 15; Num. 20:16). He is sometimes identified as the Angel of the Lord. He was close enough to His people that He felt their afflictions as if they were His own. See … Exodus 3:2.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 63:11-13 ‘he remembered … might not stumble’: “The Lord, in spite of their perversity, did not forget His covenant or forsake them (Lev. 26:40-45; Ps. 106:45, 46). In contrasting their present state of destitution with that of blessing experienced by Moses’ generation, the people of Israel lamented the loss of God’s mighty works on their behalf and pleaded with the Lord that He would not forsake them. brought them up out of the sea … put His Holy Spirit within them … Dividing the water. Mighty works of God were letting the people pass through the sea as on dry ground (Ex. 14:29, 30) and the ministry of the Holy Spirit was among them (Num. 11:17, 25, 29). Within does not refer to individual indwelling but would best be translated with a corporate sense of ‘among’ or ‘in the midst.’ Another reference is made to the miracle of the Red Sea (Ex. 14:21, 22).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 63:17 ‘made us stray … hardened our heart’: “The sense is that God allowed the Israelites to stray and be burdened in their hearts. They were not denying their own guilt, but confessing that because of it, God gave them up to the consequences of their iniquitous choices. Cf. 6:9, 10; Psalm 81:11, 12; Hosea 4:17; Romans 1:24-28.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 64:1-2 ‘rend the heavens … shake at Your presence’: “Israel’s response to her own complaint (63:19) was a plea that God would burst forth to execute vengeance suddenly on His people’s foes (cf. Pss. 18:7—9; 144:5; Hab. 3:5, 6), manifesting Himself in judgment again as He did at Mt. Sinai (Ex. 19:18; Judg. 5:5; Ps. 68:8; Heb. 12:18—20). As God’s name is to receive glory through His redemption of Israel (63:14), it also is to have widespread recognition because of His judgment against Israel’s enemies (Ps. 99:1).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 64:6 ‘unclean thing … filthy rags’: “As in 53:6 (cf. 6:6, 7), the prophet included himself among those confessing their unworthiness to be in God’s presence. Isaiah employed the imagery of menstrual cloths used during a woman’s period to picture uncleanness (cf. Lev. 15:19—24). This is true of the best behavior of unbelievers (cf. Phil. 3:5-8).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 64:7 ‘taking hold of God’: “The prophet revealed that the essence and soul of prayer is a stirring up of one’s self to take hold of God. If in prayer we do not take hold of God, we have prayed but feebly, if at all. The soul of devotion lies in realizing the divine presence, in dealing with God as a real person, in firm confidence in his faithfulness that is, to ‘take hold’ of him. People do not take hold of a shadow. They cannot grasp the unsubstantial fabric of a dream. Taking hold implies something real that we grasp, and it is necessary to have the grip and grasp of a tenacious faith that believes God is and that he is the rewarder of those who diligently seek him (Heb 11:6). Taking hold implies a reverent familiarity with the Lord by which we use a holy force to win a blessing from his hands. Because there was so little of this in Israel, the nation had fallen into a sad state.  And if you trace the evils of the church of the present day to their source, it will come to this—that few people stir up themselves to take hold of the living God, few who grapple with spiritual matters in downright earnestness and bring them before the Lord with resolute faith. There are many whose religion is nothing but a mere outward performance. It consists in attendance at a place of worship a certain number of times, the reading of prayers with the family, the repetition of a form of devotion both morning and night, and perhaps the mechanical reading of a chapter in the Bible. But there is no consciousness that God is near, no conversation with him, no taking hold of him. They believe there is a God, but they act as if there is none.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Isaiah 64:8 ‘to be like Jesus’: “[God] wants us to be just like Jesus.
“Isn’t that good news? You aren’t stuck with today’s personality. You aren’t condemned to ‘grumpydom.’ You are tweakable. Even if you’ve worried each day of your life, you needn’t worry the rest of your life. So what if you were born a bigot? You don’t have to die one.
“Where did we get the idea we can’t change? From whence come statements such as, ‘It’s just my nature to worry’ or, ‘I’ll always be pessimistic. I’m just that way.’ … Who says? Would we make similar statements about our bodies? ‘It’s just my nature to have a broken leg. I can’t do anything about it.’ Of course not. If our bodies malfunction, we seek help. Shouldn’t we do the same with our hearts? Shouldn’t we seek aid for our sour attitudes? Can’t we request treatment for our selfish tirades? Of course we can. Jesus can change our hearts. He wants us to have a heart like his.”

  • Max Lucado, Just Like Jesus

Isaiah 64:11 ‘burned up with fire … laid waste.’: “Through prophetic revelation, Isaiah uttered these words many years before the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple in 586 B.C. Yet, he lamented over the fallen state as though it had already occurred. God’s people were in desperate straits and their prayers were urgent and persistent: ‘How can You stand by when Your people and Your land are so barren?’ ”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)


My Thoughts

Isaiah 61 starts with a very familiar verse, proclaiming good news to the poor, binding up the brokenhearted, proclaiming freedom for the captives, and releasing from darkness for the prisoners.  While Rev. Spurgeon reads this verse that we all are to make proclamations, each in our own way, Rev. MacArthur refers to Jesus reading this and it was speaking of Him making this proclamation, but Jesus stopped before the prophecy shifted from the first coming of Christ to the second coming, about verse 4.

The new Israel, or with the new names of the people being Hephzibah (my delight is in her) and the land being Beulah (bride), will receive a double portion during the millennial reign.  Near the end of Isaiah 61 and the beginning of Isaiah 62, there are indications of the marriage between God and His church, in this case the Promised Land.

The Watchmen will declare the praises, but God will not rest until the entire world will worship in Jerusalem.

Then Isaiah 62 ends with a harkening to see that their Savior is coming.  In Isaiah 63, he comes from Edom with bloodstained clothing.  He had no aide, so on His own He trampled the enemy.

Again there is a review, but a prophecy of similar great works.  God reminds them that He showed them great works in bringing them out of Egypt.  It is almost as if He is saying, “And you have not seen anything yet.”

The people turned from God, even though they saw those great works.  They lost their names as being God’s people, but they will again be considered God’s people.

Some Serendipitous Reflections

“Isaiah 61: 1. Who does ‘me’ refer to in verse 1?
“2. What stories from the gospels portray Jesus‘ ministry in terms of verses 1-3? (See Lk 4:18-19, for starters.) How do those verses relate to your experience of the good news?
“3. Do you feel as though you are ‘wearing ashes’? Are you ‘trying on new clothes’? Why? ln what way do you especially want to see God bring this freedom to you?
“4. How do you feel about being called a priest? What would it mean for you to live like a priest this week? What is one specific way the group could pray for you in this regard this coming week?
“5. Ln your response to God’s promises, are you like a woman preparing for marriage, or one wondering whether to go out on a second date? Why?
62: 1. Of the new names God gives to the people he saves, which one means the most to you right now? Why?
“2. Do you normally tend to think of God’s relationship with you as that of a bride to her waiting bridegroom? Or a judge to a criminal? Why? How does each picture affect your view of him? Of yourself? What does it mean to you that the bride and bridegroom image is the one he invites us to consider in his relationship with us?
“3. ls there anything you want so much that you will neither rest, nor give God rest, until you see it come to pass? What does this mean for your prayer life?
“4. How might the prayer to establish Jerusalem relate to the request in the Lord’s prayer, ‘Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done’? if you prayed that consistently and sincerely, how might that begin to affect your priorities? Your perspective on life? Your plans? How might it lead you to ‘prepare the way’ for God’s kingdom?
“5. Many think God’s wrath is an Old Testament idea. How would you respond to that in light of Revelation 19:11-16? How do you feel about this as a description of Jesus (see also Ro 2:5-9; 2Th 1:6-10)?
“6. Isaiah 60:1-63:6 portrays what the coming Kingdom of God will be like, He will include judgment of those who rebelled against him. ls this what you are praying for when you pray ‘Thy Kingdom come’? Why or why not?
63-64: 1.What is the ‘exodus event’ that you fondly recall in your life when it was clear that God was working in you? How do you feel now when times of spiritual emptiness occur? Does it encourage or discourage you to recall the past? Why?
“2. When have you felt that God must need new glasses because he just doesn‘t seem to see what you are going through? How do you account for his silence in those times? How do you pray then?
“3. When you pray, do you express to God the full range and intensity of your emotions (joy, anger, sorrow, doubt, fear) or just a narrow band of them? Why? How does your church tradition affect the emotional range present in your prayers? Have you ever wanted to say something like 63:17 or 64:12 to God? Why?
“4. Where in your life now do you wish God would do something? How does that affect your prayers?
“5. Was there a time when all your righteous acts became as dry leaves or menstrual rags because you lacked humility or did not call on God‘s name? What did that do to you? in that case, what hope do you have that he will relate to you with mercy and grace (see Ro 3:21-26)?
“6. Learning from the prophet, choose one area of your own prayer lite which might benefit from attention: repentance, faith, zeal, relationship, boldness, humility, contentedness, concern for God’s honor. How will you strengthen this area?”

  • Lyman Coleman, et al, The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups

Isaiah 61 and 62 have one set of questions, and Isaiah 63-64 are combined into one set of questions.

Substitute whatever group for any reference to a small group or ask who could come to your aid.

If you like these Thursday morning Bible studies, but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Thursday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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