Today the people have a question for the Lord – “‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?’”
God does see and does take notice, but what He sees and notices is just a bunch of people not eating while oppressing their workers. Once again the Lord makes clear that He is not interested in religious acts if a person’s heart is not surrendered to Him. He desires them not to be wicked, but to lift heavy burdens, feed the hungry, and clothe the poor. “Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer.” He also tells them to honor the Sabbath by turning from doing their own ways to delighting in the Lord.
Isaiah says that the Lord is capable of saving the people, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” And for the ones walking in their own ways and not the ways of the Lord, there will never be peace – “The way of peace they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace.”
Therefore, the Lord is sending His Son to redeem them from their sins -“‘The Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,’ says the Lord. ‘As for Me,’ says the Lord, ‘this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,’ says the Lord, ‘from this time and forevermore.’”
Later in the story, Paul will quote these words from Isaiah when explaining the future restoration of Israel (Romans 11:26-27). And Jesus will also quote Isaiah during His first sermon in the synagogue in His hometown Nazareth – “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:16-19, Isaiah 61:1,2). After reading from the scroll of Isaiah, Jesus will say, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21); which will cause quite an uproar, as we will read later.
Isaiah says when the Lord shines light into darkness through His Son Jesus, we are to “Arise, shine; for your light has come!” Christians are called to be the light in this dark world by sharing the Good News of Jesus and loving others well, looking forward to the day when Jesus will return and will make all things new. Isaiah speaks of the New Jerusalem – “The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; but the Lord will be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory. Your sun shall no longer go down, nor shall your moon withdraw itself; for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended.” The Lord will give John a similar vision of the New Jerusalem in the Book of Revelation where the Lamb, Jesus Christ, is the Light, and there is no more pain or suffering (Revelation 21).
Isaiah says the Lord will restore Jerusalem as His bride, “and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” Jesus loves the church as His bride, and John tells us in the Book of Revelation that one day He is coming back for her – “‘Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.’ And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, ‘Write: Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true sayings of God.’” (Revelation 19:7-9).
The Lord sees all. And just as the Lord was warning His people about the impending judgment in the Divided Kingdom Era, He is warning us today about the impending judgment coming at Jesus’ return. For those who ignore the word of God, there will be no peace. For those who have accepted Christ as our Savior, we are to prepare ourselves as a bride would for her wedding day, daily growing in our relationship with Jesus through prayer and by allowing His word to transform us into His likeness through the power of the Holy Spirit. So keep reading! (Isaiah 58:1-63:14)