For the Love of God, Volume 2/June 30
From Gospel Translations
Joshua 2; Psalms 123—125; Isaiah 62; Matthew 10
MUCH OF THE POETRY OF ISAIAH 62 picks up the circumstances of earthly Zion. But the language is so exalted and the promises so sweeping it soon becomes clear that much more than the restoration of empirical Jerusalem after the exile is in view.
At the end of chapter 61 Isaiah delights in the triumph of the Servant-Messiah who transforms the people of God. Here Isaiah still speaks, and then increasingly in this chapter it is the Sovereign Lord who speaks. Initially Isaiah says that, in light of the glorious promises for Zion, he “will not keep silent” until Zion’s peace and glory are established. This means more than that Isaiah will continue in faithful proclamation. Intrinsic to the task of the “watchmen” posted on the walls of Jerusalem (62:6) is the warning of judgment to come where there is no repentance, or where there is thoughtless lapse into sin (cf. Ezek. 33). But if there is horizontal proclamation—i.e., preaching to the people—there is also vertical intercession: “You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth” (62:6-7). Like Daniel interceding with God in light of the promises God himself had made (Dan. 9), Isaiah wants faithful men and women to pray to God, giving him no rest till all his glorious promises regarding Zion are fulfilled. Here, then, is a call for fervent and persistent intercession: “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).
This Zion will be “called by a new name” (62:2, 12); it will have a new identity. It will no longer be called “Deserted” and “Desolate”; now it will be called “My Delight Is in Her” and “Married” (62:4)—picking up the massive typology found so often in the Old Testament: the Sovereign Lord is the husband; the covenant people, here represented by Zion, is the bride (cf. 62:5). Verse 12 rolls out more names: “the Holy People,” “the Redeemed of the LORD” (which reminds us again how they have been transformed), “Sought After,” “the City No Longer Deserted.” This is far more than empirical Jerusalem after the exile. This is the covenant people themselves, and this community raises a banner “for the nations” (62:10). This is the anticipation of “the Jerusalem that is above” (Gal. 4:26-27, where Isaiah is quoted), of “Mount Zion,” “the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God” (Heb. 12:22), of “the Holy City, the new Jerusalem,” “prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Rev. 21:2).