God’s Saving Word: Encouragement
Isaiah 52:1-12: Today’s reading includes a brief account of how, around a thousand years earlier, Israel’s ancestors (the family of Jacob, grandson of Abraham) had gone to live in Egypt (Genesis 46:1-4). The Israelite people were treated as slaves in Egypt, but the LORD saved them (Exodus 1—15). Centuries later, Assyria defeated the northern kingdom of Israel, and then Babylonia captured the southern kingdom of Judah. But now Jerusalem is summoned to rise up and celebrate God’s promise to rescue the people and free them from captivity.
Words of Comfort to Jerusalem
God Will Rescue Jerusalem
52 Jerusalem, be strong and great again!
Holy city of God, clothe yourself with splendor!
The heathen will never enter your gates again.
2 Shake yourself free, Jerusalem!
Rise from the dust and sit on your throne!
Undo the chains that bind you,
captive people of Zion!
3 The Sovereign Lord says to his people, “When you became slaves, no money was paid for you; in the same way nothing will be paid to set you free. 4 When you went to live in Egypt as foreigners, you did so of your own free will; Assyria, however, took you away by force and paid nothing for you. 5 And now in Babylonia the same thing has happened: you are captives, and nothing was paid for you. Those who rule over you boast and brag and constantly show contempt for me. 6 In time to come you will acknowledge that I am God and that I have spoken to you.”
7 How wonderful it is to see
a messenger coming across the mountains,
bringing good news, the news of peace!
He announces victory and says to Zion,
“Your God is king!”
8 Those who guard the city are shouting,
shouting together for joy.
They can see with their own eyes
the return of the Lord to Zion.
9 Break into shouts of joy,
you ruins of Jerusalem!
The Lord will rescue his city
and comfort his people.
10 The Lord will use his holy power;
he will save his people,
and all the world will see it.
11 Be sure to leave Babylonia,
all you that carry the Temple equipment.
Touch no forbidden thing;
keep yourselves holy and leave.
12 This time you will not have to leave in a hurry;
you will not be trying to escape.
The Lord your God will lead you
and protect you on every side.
Today’s Key Verse: Isaiah 52:10
The LORD will use his holy power; he will save his people, and all the world will see it.
What is the “good news” that is cited in verses 7 and 8? According to verses 9 and 10, what does God promise? In what ways does your community of faith celebrate God’s faithfulness?
God of power and might, thank you for your faithfulness and for leading me each day and sheltering me with your protecting love. I rejoice and shout for joy and praise you for your good news of salvation and steadfast care. Amen.
Philippians 1:1-30: The apostle Paul, writing from a jail cell, shares the good news about Christ.