The passage that we just read was written when Jerusalem was destroyed by Babylon and it is a prophecy of recovery that the Savior will once more rebuild Jerusalem. It is at the same time a promise of recovery for us Christians. When a situation is bad, we tend to immediately become depressed and keep silent. We think that it’s useless to do anything, or that no matter what we do it won’t go well, or that it’s impossible in the age that we are living in, etc. Therefore, we become silent. However, no matter what the situation is, no matter what the age is like, we must not keep silent. We must always, at all times preach the Word of God.
- God who doesn’t keep silent (Vs. 1-5)
First of all please look at verses 1 to 5. I will read verse 1. “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch.”
Here is says, “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent.” (1) “I” (1) is the Messiah. This is Jesus Christ’s appearance before he was born as a man. He also appears in 61:1. I for Zion’s sake “will not keep silent.” (1) “Zion” (1) is Jerusalem. Therefore, Christ is saying that for Zion’s sake he “will not keep silent.” (1) “Till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch” (1) Christ will work for the sake of Jerusalem.
Please look at Hebrews 7:24 and 25. Here it says, “but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” (Hebrews 7:24, 25) “Jesus lives forever…to intercede for them.” (Hebrews 7:24, 25)
For your sake Christ “will not keep silent.” (1) Until your “vindication shines out like the dawn,”（１）and your “salvation like a blazing torch” (1) Christ will work for your sake. What encouragement! Humans aren’t like that. If you look at Isaiah 59:16 you will see that humans can’t intercede. “He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene.” (Isaiah 59:16) They always think only of themselves. As long as it’s good for themselves, its o.k. Even if they pray for themselves, they can’t pray for others. “He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene.” (59:16) However, Christ is different. “Jesus lives forever…to intercede for” (Hebrews 7:24, 25) us.
How Christ intercedes is written in verses 2 to 5. “The nations will see your vindication, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow. You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate, But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the LORD will take delight in you, and your land will be married. As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.”
The “your” in “The nations will see your vindication” (2) is Jerusalem and is also us Christians. At that time, in other words, at the time of Jerusalem’s restoration, all the people in the world will see God(s mighty acts performed upon us and will rejoice in God. Then “you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.” (2) “A new name” (2) is a new nature. Jerusalem’s name will be changed to a new name. Jerusalem’s new name will be “Hephzibah” (4) which means “my delight is in her”. Now is different. Up until now “they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate.” (4) That name will be changed to “Hephzibah,” (4) “my delight is in her”.
“Hephzibah” (4) appears in II Kings 21:1. It was the name used by the wife of the King of Judah, Hezekiah. She was for Hezekiah, his delight. How happy a wife is to be called like this. If you are told by your husband, “my delight is in you”, then you probably would be so happy that you’d be on cloud 9. In reverse if you are told that you bring me sadness, you would probably want to die. Until now they were called “Deserted” (4) or “Desolate” (4) but they no longer will be called that. They “will be called Hephzibah,” (4) “my delight is in her.”
That’s not all. “Your land” (4) will be called “Beulah” (4) which means “married”. You will be married to Jesus Christ. We have met Christ and have become Christ’s bride. No matter what situation we are in, we are Christ’s bride. Also our husband, Christ, looks at us and says, “my delight is in you”. How glorious this is! We don’t deserve to be told this. We betray the Lord over and over again, and make the same mistakes over and over again. We can’t look into the face of the groom Christ. To such a wife, the Lord says, “my delight is in you”. “As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.” (5)
There is no other god who will delight over you. Only the God of the Bible, only Jesus Christ will “rejoice over you.” (5) That is because Christ gave his life for you. He redeemed you with his life. Therefore, no matter how many times you repeat the same mistakes, if you believe God from your heart, then God will love you.
Please open your Bibles to Zephaniah 3:17. “The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who save. He will take great delight in you, in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
This is a wonderful promise! In Jesus’ eyes he sees us like this. “He will take great delight in you, in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17) The Lord isn’t angry with you. Neither does he hate you. He takes “delight in you.” (Zephaniah 3:17) You believed in Jesus and became the child of God so the Lord is within you. You may be finding it difficult to do the will of God. You may be making the same mistakes over and over again. Even so God “will take great delight in you.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
Therefore, we must not look away from God. We must never separate ourselves from Jesus. We must not become depressed thinking that we are a terrible person and refuse to come to the Lord. We must open our hearts to the Lord who made us his, extremely loves us, and who delights in us. Like an intimate couple we need to come before the Lord as we are and share everything.
- Do not be silent (Vs. 6-9)
The second point is that if the Lord delights in us then we must not be silent. Please look at verses 6 to 9. “I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem;
they will never be silent day or night.
You who call on the LORD,
give yourself no rest,
and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem
and makes her the praise of the earth.
The LORD has sworn by his right hand
and by his mighty arm:
‘Never again will I give your grain
as food for your enemies
and never again will foreigners drink the new wine
for which you have toiled;
but those who harvest it will eat it
and praise the LORD,
and those who gather the grapes will drink it
in the courts of my sanctuary.’”
Here it says, “I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem.” (6) “The watchmen” (6) were “watchmen on the walls” (6) that were watching to see if there were any enemies coming or not. In Isaiah’s age this was Isaiah and the other prophets. In other words, it could be said to be the people that gave warnings to the Israelites. They were warnings that God’s judgment was near. They couldn’t “be silent day or night.” (6) Till God “establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth,” (6) they couldn’t be silent.
We, Christians, are the same. God has sent us as watchmen into this world. At all times until this hope is fulfilled we must be watchmen in the world. We must not be silent. We have been put here to warn that the end of the world is near and also to encourage others to repent and believe in God.
Mark 13:33-37 says, “Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back-whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone; ‘Watch!’”
“That time” is the time of the end of the world. In other words, when Jesus comes again. That time is just like when the master of the house leaves on a trip “and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.” (Mark 13:34) They don’t know when the mater of the house will return. However, so that whenever he comes back, it’ll be o.k., you have to stay awake. The doorkeeper must be on the watch out. Like this when the master returns the servant that he sees awake will be blessed.
About this Paul said, “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”
“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season.” (II Timothy 4:2) This is the Word of God that I received when I was called to be an evangelist. When I received this Word of God, I was shown strongly that as an evangelist I have to “preach the word…in season and out of season.” (II Timothy 4:2)
Now is it in season or is it out of season? There are times of in season and times of out of season. It may be more of out of season. That’s because this age is like Paul says here “people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (II Timothy 4:3, 4) Paul prophesized that such and age would come. However, even at such a time, we must “preach the word”. (II Timothy 4:2) We must “endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” (II Timothy 4:5) We shouldn’t be pessimistic thinking that no one believes and so it’s of no use, but we must “preach the word…in season and out of season.” (II Timothy 4:2) That’s what God desires of us. We must “correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction.” (II Timothy 4:2) If so the Lord will work. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (55:9) If we follow God’s command “preach the word”, (II Timothy 4:2) then God will do mighty works. What God asks of us is to accomplish the commission as a “watchman”. (6) As a “watchman” (6) we must give God’s warnings. We must not be silent. God says, “I have many people in this city.” (Acts 18:10) We must believe the Word of God who said this and “preach the word”. (II Timothy 4:2)
Please open your Bibles to II Cor. 5:17-21. “Therefore, is anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf; Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
“God… reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” (II Cor. 5:18) “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors.” (II Cor. 5:20) We as Christ’s ambassador, “on Christ’s behalf” (II Cor. 4: 20) must “preach the word” (II Timothy 4:2) saying, “Be reconciled to God.” (II Cor. 4:20) “Believe in Christ and be reconciled to God. If so all your sins will be forgiven.” We have to say like this. We must not be silent. That’s because for your sake God “will not remain quiet.” (1) Christ is making intercession for you now. If that is so, we too like Christ we must make intercession on other people’s behalf. We must pray for Jerusalem.
Near the end of verse 9 it says, “those who gather the grapes will drink it.” This is a prophecy that at the end of the world Jerusalem will be restored. However, this isn’t just only material recovery. This is spiritual recovery. Those who believe in Christ will in the course of time be given the glory of drinking wine in God’s Holiest of Hollies. We must preach this.
- Your Savior comes!
Lastly let’s look at verses 10 to 12. “Pass through, pass through the gates!
Prepare the way for the people.
Build up! Build up the highway!
Remove the stones.
Raise a banner for the nations.
The LORD has made proclamation
to the ends of the earth:
Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your Savior comes!
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.’
They will be called the Holy People,
the Redeemed of the LORD;
and you will be called Sought After
the City No Longer Deserted.
Verse 11 says, “The LORD has made proclamation to the ends of the earth.” It is not just to the Jews. It will be proclaimed so that all the people living on the earth can hear it.
“See, your Savior comes! See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.” (11)
These words are quoted at the end of Revelations. In Revelations 22:12 it says, “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.” At the end of the world Jesus Christ will come as the Lord of judgment. At that time the Lord “will give to everyone according to what he has done.” (Rev. 22:12) This is not a reward for what we have done in the past, but is a reward for our labor of faith.
Please look at verse 12. Here again it says that they will be called by a new name. “They will be called the Holy People,
the Redeemed of the LORD;
and you will be called Sought After,
the City No Longer Deserted.” (12)
Until then they were not like that. They were called “Deserted” (4) and “Desolate”. (4) However, in the course of time, when Jesus Christ comes, you “will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the LORD; and you will be called Sought After,
the City No Longer Deserted.” (12) That is because you were redeemed by Jesus Christ. This is only by Jesus Christ that you have become God’s. It is not because you have some advantages. It’s not because you have something wonderful. It is not because you have done something special. In Japan people who do some kind of meritorious service are awarded a National honor award. For example a person who got successive gold medals at the Olympics or someone that broke a world record of the number of homeruns or someone who was awarded the Nobel prize, such people are awarded the National Honor Award. However, Heaven honor awards are not received because you have done something special. God delights in you. You are precious to God. It is the grace of God from His side. The day will come when you will receive it. You will receive it from your Savior. “See, your Savior comes!” (11)
If that’s the case, even if now you have many problems in front of your eyes, even if at the present time you have tears all of the time, as a result of this certain hope, we can with patience overcome it. You are redeemed. You will receive God’s salvation. It will be accomplished soon. Let’s remember this and wait expectantly for the Lord’s salvation.
We have been put here to preach this wonderful salvation. We must preach this wonderful news of joy. We must not be silent. Like Jesus called so that the ends of the earth could hear, Let’s proclaim this word of salvation in a huge voice, “See, your Savior comes! See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.” (11)