Summary: Chapter 51 is an exhortation, a call to the faithful remnant to listen to God. It is a message of hope, of joy, of salvation to the righteous, to those who seek the Lord. Even in difficult times, listening to God & remembering our history with Him renews
ISAIAH 51: 1-8
LISTEN TO GOD!
Chapter 51 of Isaiah follows on the heels of what is known as “the third Servant Sermon.” In chapter 50, we heard the Servant speak of the suffering, pain, humiliation, and death He would suffer in order to bring light to the world.
Now, at the beginning of chapter 51, we hear an exhortation from God. It is a call to the faithful remnant, to those truly of Abraham, to listen to God. It is a message of hope, of joy, of redemption, of salvation to the righteous, to those who seek the Lord. Even in difficult times, listening to God and remembering our history with Him renews our confidence in His promises and His eternal salvation. Hearing God instills hope for the future.
I. LISTEN YOU RIGHTEOUS, 1-3.
II. PAY ATTENTION WORLD, 4-6.
III. HEAR YOU KNOWING, 7-8.
[THE RIGHTEOUS SEEK THE LORD] In verse 1 we learn the identification of the righteous listeners are those who are seeking God. “Listen to Me, you who pursue righteousness, who seek the Lord. Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug.
With emotion Yahweh cries out, “Listen to Me (50:10).” The Lord is now speaking to those who pursue righteousness (Deut. 16:20; Prov. 15:9; Mt. 5:6) and seek Him. (The Hebrew term tsedeq with its related term tsadiq and tsedeqah refer to loyalty and faithfulness which bring benefit -to a community of people. Righteousness indicates right behavior. Righteousness is what brings about well-being for the world (Bulter, Isaiah, 287). The Lord is addressing His faithful servants, the remnant that truly seek to obey and follow God’s will.
The believing remnant in Israel is to think back, reflect on their background. God is calling them, not to look at their present day situation and give in to despair, but to remember the promises that He made to their forefather Abraham. Look where you came from, who you came from. Find encouragement by looking back in to the beginnings of their history. God brought them forth from those who remained faithful. God will also keep His promises to those who remain faithful.
Those who are seriously pursing God, those seriously pursing righteousness, are person particularly prone to discouragement. Those whose hearts are hardened (46:12-13) are not troubled by the slowness with which God fulfills some of His promises. They never expected Him to fulfill them in the first place. For those though who trust God, who seek Him, delayed promises can be a hard trial.
The figure of the rock from which they were cut is explained in verse 2 as Abraham and Sarah. “Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah who gave birth to you in pain. When he was one I called him, then I blessed him and multiplied him.”
God started with only Abraham and Sarah, the ”founders“ of the nation. It seemed physically impossible that they would have child but they believed God (Gen. 15:6). God thus blessed him and made him many [that is, gave the patriarch many descendants as He had promised (Gen. 12:1-3; 13:16; 15:5; 17:5-6; 22:17; Ezek 33:24).] If the hallowed ancestor could accept God’s promise and trust Him through all the long wait, how much more should you who have seen the fulfillment of the promise believe this new message of hope.