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Read Isaiah 51

Everlasting Salvation for Zion

51 “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness
    and who seek the Lord:
Look to the rock from which you were cut
    and to the quarry from which you were hewn;
look to Abraham, your father,
    and to Sarah, who gave you birth.
When I called him he was only one man,
    and I blessed him and made him many.
The Lord will surely comfort Zion
    and will look with compassion on all her ruins;
he will make her deserts like Eden,
    her wastelands like the garden of the Lord.
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
    thanksgiving and the sound of singing.

“Listen to me, my people;
    hear me, my nation:
Instruction will go out from me;
    my justice will become a light to the nations.
My righteousness draws near speedily,
    my salvation is on the way,
    and my arm will bring justice to the nations.
The islands will look to me
    and wait in hope for my arm.
Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
    look at the earth beneath;
the heavens will vanish like smoke,
    the earth will wear out like a garment
    and its inhabitants die like flies.
But my salvation will last forever,
    my righteousness will never fail.

“Hear me, you who know what is right,
    you people who have taken my instruction to heart:
Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals
    or be terrified by their insults.
For the moth will eat them up like a garment;
    the worm will devour them like wool.
But my righteousness will last forever,
    my salvation through all generations.”

Awake, awake, arm of the Lord,
    clothe yourself with strength!
Awake, as in days gone by,
    as in generations of old.
Was it not you who cut Rahab to pieces,
    who pierced that monster through?
10 Was it not you who dried up the sea,
    the waters of the great deep,
who made a road in the depths of the sea
    so that the redeemed might cross over?
11 Those the Lord has rescued will return.
    They will enter Zion with singing;
    everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
    and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

12 “I, even I, am he who comforts you.
    Who are you that you fear mere mortals,
    human beings who are but grass,
13 that you forget the Lord your Maker,
    who stretches out the heavens
    and who lays the foundations of the earth,
that you live in constant terror every day
    because of the wrath of the oppressor,
    who is bent on destruction?
For where is the wrath of the oppressor?
14     The cowering prisoners will soon be set free;
they will not die in their dungeon,
    nor will they lack bread.
15 For I am the Lord your God,
    who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
    the Lord Almighty is his name.
16 I have put my words in your mouth
    and covered you with the shadow of my hand—
I who set the heavens in place,
    who laid the foundations of the earth,
    and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’”

The Cup of the Lord’s Wrath

17 Awake, awake!
    Rise up, Jerusalem,
you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord
    the cup of his wrath,
you who have drained to its dregs
    the goblet that makes people stagger.
18 Among all the children she bore
    there was none to guide her;
among all the children she reared
    there was none to take her by the hand.
19 These double calamities have come upon you—
    who can comfort you?—
ruin and destruction, famine and sword—
    who can console you?
20 Your children have fainted;
    they lie at every street corner,
    like antelope caught in a net.
They are filled with the wrath of the Lord,
    with the rebuke of your God.

21 Therefore hear this, you afflicted one,
    made drunk, but not with wine.
22 This is what your Sovereign Lord says,
    your God, who defends his people:
“See, I have taken out of your hand
    the cup that made you stagger;
from that cup, the goblet of my wrath,
    you will never drink again.
23 I will put it into the hands of your tormentors,
    who said to you,
    ‘Fall prostrate that we may walk on you.’
And you made your back like the ground,
    like a street to be walked on.”

Go Deeper

Sometimes it is hard to see clearly. Our vision can get blurred by a pandemic, jobs, elections, addictions, racial strife, and the grind of daily life. It is easy not to see the promises of the Lord. His unwavering goodness, never tied to circumstances or conditions, can be hard to see in the midst of difficulty. We know He is righteous (Psalm 145:17), patient (2 Peter 3:9), and faithful (2 Timothy 2:13). Yet we would all say it is way too easy to forget all these truths about the Lord. There are times when we cannot see clearly as though we’re driving in a thick fog.

 Isaiah 51 reminds us of who God is and what He promises to His followers. This chapter is like a visit to the eye doctor that allows us to see clearly again. We’re pointed back to the story of Abraham and Sarah and reminded of the Lord’s incredible work in their lives. In Genesis 12, the Lord tells Abram he will make him into a great nation and that all people on earth would be blessed through him. Yet, Abram and Sarai were just shy of a combined 190 years of age, and they still had no children together. How could God possibly fulfill His promises to Abram and Sarai?

 God’s people probably felt the same way in Isaiah 51. They were supposed to be God’s people, blessed by Him and different from the rest. Instead they sit in suffering, no different than the rest of the world. However, God says just as He called one man and blessed him and made Him many (Isaiah 51:2), so God will comfort Israel and look upon her with compassion. God will fulfill His promises.

And the same applies to you and me today. God gives us powerful reminders that He will do exactly what He said He was going to do even while our vision might be blurred. Do you feel like you are in a thick fog unable to see God’s promises? Isaiah 51 gives us hope God will do everything He says He is going to do. If He can use an old, barren couple like Abraham and Sarah (God changed their names in Genesis 17), then He can use us. If He can restore His own people in the midst of suffering, then He can bring “dead people,” like you and me, back to life. He can put us on a mission for His glory and our good.


  1. How can you tell if your vision is blurred? How can you know if you are not seeing life clearly?
  2. What do you do to remind yourself of truth and of the goodness of God when you are discouraged? 
  3. In Isaiah 51:3, the Lord shows compassion and speaks of the joy and gladness found in His followers. What’s one way you can show compassion to others today? What is one way to fill yourself with joy and gladness?

Did You Know?

While most of this devotional is about our vision, we also need help listening. James 1:19 says that we should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. Maybe God is trying to get our attention through all our senses!

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4 thoughts on “Isaiah 51”

  1. Isaiah uses strong language as he issues a call to trust the Lord—listen to me & wake up are active verbs seen throughout the text that spur the faithful remnant on in their faith journey. Those who put their faith in God for deliverance, comfort in the barrenness of life, justice for the nations, and reprieve from people’s scorn would now experience his comfort, joy, gladness, mercy & justice. They, who had cherished his law and walked in obedience, would be tenderly cared for and loved through the storms & suffering. Today, whatever we are facing needs to be informed of how great our God is! Suffering & sorrow do not have the final say, God does! Thank you, Nate, for reminding us so beautifully of this in your message on Sunday.

  2. The grace of God is doing for His people what they do not deserve and can not do for themselves. They were to “hearken” or listen to God for justice was coming. Heaven and earth will pass away but God’s righteousness and salvation will last forever! Jesus will come WOOHOO!!!! BUT GOD will also make the way for us now and has been sending His Son to take our punishment so that we are able to access Him more easily than all those old testament rules. BUT GOD also wants us to “hearken” do right things, make right choices, Love His people so that they might have the opportunity to serve and love Him.

    Thank You God for listening ears and awake moments to serve You. Thank You that I do not just go through without speaking to people along my way today. Thank You for Your words and Love goggles to see and know how to speak in Jesus name amen

  3. I awoke, or awakened, to the thought of wishing I would have taken the commentary’s advice in the beginning of Isaiah to take notes. I would have liked to have written down all the scriptures of Isaiah’s prophecy of Jesus. We just began our reading in SS and church of John-the gospel most known for foretelling of Christ—the Messiah—as Isaiah. It’s been enlightening to read in both the OT and the NT to see how the truths and promises came to be fulfilled that Isaiah spoke of. To really dissect scripture in John when Jesus began His ministry and asking His disciples to follow Him. How everyone’s reaction, especially John the Baptist, to Jesus actually being the Messiah! The true Light! The Word! The Lamb of God! But of all the men in John 1, Nathanael/Bartholomew was my favorite. Jesus SAW his days under the fig tree in mediation with God, having his heart prepared for the visit from Jesus (scholars say). He was surprised, but it didn’t take much convincing. Spending time with God proves to give you clarity of truth, wisdom, and preparedness for when troubles/joy come. Like Nate mentioned Sunday: God desires to hear, be near, and to deliver us.

  4. Christi, a few years back when I studied Isaiah, I underlined in green all the prophetic words about the Messiah. It’s beautiful to leaf back through the book and read those prophesies. What an encouraging look at God’s sovereignty and Jesus’ incredible obedience and love for humanity!

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