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Janet's Corner

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Listen, Awake, Depart

Lesson 12: Isaiah 51:1-52:12 


As we look toward the end of Isaiah, we continue to see the message of comfort from God to his people, bringing them hope and promise as they endure the sufferings of captivity in Babylon.

To whom is the message written?

These people, the remnant of God’s chosen people, are described in three verses.

Isaiah 50:10

Who among you fears the LORD
       and obeys the word of his servant?
       Let him who walks in the dark,
       who has no light,
       trust in the name of the LORD
       and rely on his God.

Those who have a reverent fear of their Lord and obey His Word even though they cant’ see their way right now, are admonished to trust in the name of the LORD and rely on their God. Don’t give up on the LORD now. When you are in the dark, you can’t see or can’t understand, you need him more than ever!

Isaiah 51:1    

Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness
       and who seek the LORD :

These people are seeking God and His ways despite their captivity. And we will see these are the people that God will arouse!

Isaiah 51:7

Hear me, you who know what is right,
       you people who have my law in your hearts

They know what is right because they have the law in their hearts. The basis of knowing what is right to do, is knowing God and His Word. We can’t live righteously with out knowing God and His Word.

Are you one of these remnant people –fearing God, obeying His Word, pursuing righteousness, having Gods law on your heart?

Well then, listen to God, wake up and get dressed, and leave your captivity behind! God’s on the move. Don’t doubt Him no matter what or who seems to be against you.




This section of scripture contains several admonitions from God to His people:

“Listen to me”      Isaiah 51:1, 4, 7

“Awake, awake”   Isaiah 51:9, 17, 52:1-6

“Depart, depart”   Isaiah 52:7-12

The first admonition is to listen to God:

        Isaiah 51;1-3 Look back to Abraham. He was only one man who was called, and blesses and multiplied. The remnant leaving Babylon would be small and weak, but God would be able to multiply them into a mighty nation and restore their land! The best was yet to come!

        Isaiah 51:4-6 Look ahead and realize that justice would come to the world. The Lord would vindicate His people. Look at the times that the word “my” is used to refer to the things of the Lord…my people, my nation, my justice, my righteousness, my salvation, my arm. God was promising to do for them what they did not deserve and they could not do for themselves. They needed God! Remember that “the arm of the Lord” is a key phrase in Isaiah’s prophecy! Verse 8 says that heaven and earth will pass away, but God’s salvation and righteousness will last forever!!!

        Isaiah 51:7-8 Look within – do you see fear or faith? The seeds of destruction were already planted against their enemy, Babylon. And just as the moth and the worm do their work conspicuously and had already begun. The leaders didn’t see it yet! The enemy would be destroyed and God’s salvation and righteousness would endure!

Oh you who are pursuing God – listen to Him! Look back, look ahead, look within to find the faith to carry on!


Now as we transition to the wake up call, we see three different calls.

        Verse 9 is the people praying to God to wake up and show himself strong just as he has done before! God answers them by calling them to remember your maker – the creator of the universe who has given you His word. He’s on your side. Your enemy is just like grass to Him. Grass withers and dies. God will cover you with the shadow His hand (vs 16).

        Verse 17 calls the people to rise up out from under the suffering allowed by God for their sin. God will defend them! Look in verse 21 and 23. His people are described as afflicted and tormented. God will comfort and strengthen them. The tables are going to turn – verse 23 – your tormentors will no longer walk all over you. God will take the cup of judgment from you and give it to your enemies. Things will be made right.

        Isaiah 52:1-6 the people are called not just to wake up, but dress up. Have you ever just hung around in your bathrobe in the morning and before you know it, it’s noon time and you haven’t done anything? It’s one thing to rise up out of bed, but it’s another to get dressed and get going. What will we dress in spiritually? The strength of the LORD. Whatever is holding you back or covering you like dust, shake it off! You are enthroned as a queen and dressed like one too! If you have believed, you are dressed in the righteousness of Christ. God will defend you! And in the end he his making his name known (verse 6)!!

         ‘Therefore my people will know my name; therefore in that day they will know
           that it is I who foretold it. Yes, it is I."  


The last admonition to his people is in verse 11. “Depart, depart …”

Leave that place that has you trapped, that place of complacency, that place where you know God, but you’re not singing the praises of your God. Jesus came to set the prisoners free, to bind up the broken hearted, to bring light where there was darkness, to comfort and provide for those who mourn. Why would God say this to his people? Why would he have to urge them to leave their captivity? Some of them had grown accustomed to their surroundings and were reluctant to leave. But God says I have something better for you and I have something for you to do! He’s redeemed you and he wants you to bring the good news, proclaim peace and salvation, declaring, “Your God reigns!”  (verse 7) And he promises to go before you and be your rear guard. (verse 12) There is nothing to fear when you fear God, obey his ways, pursue righteousness, and seek Him with all of your heart to do what is right, as you hide his Word in your heart.


So what’s the question for today?

Are you listening: looking back, ahead and within?

Are you awake enough to be getting dressed in your God given garments to live in the restored land he’s promised you?

Have you departed, leaving those things behind so that you life can bring the good news to those around you?