Sermon Notes

June 19th 2022

Thoughts on the Sunday School Lesson June 19th

God's Restored People Shall Prosper / Isaiah 49:18-23 (MSG)

18Look up, look around, look well! See them all gathering, coming to you? As sure as I am the living God”—God’s Decree—“you’re going to put them on like so much jewelry, you’re going to use them to dress up like a bride. 19-21 “And your ruined land? Your devastated, decimated land? Filled with more people than you know what to do with! And your barbarian enemies, a fading memory. The children born in your exile will be saying, ‘It’s getting too crowded here. I need more room.’ And you’ll say to yourself, ‘Where on earth did these children come from? I lost everything, had nothing, was exiled and penniless. So who reared these children? How did these children get here?’” 22-23 The Master, God, says: “Look! I signal to the nations, I raise my flag to summon the people. Here they’ll come: women carrying your little boys in their arms, men carrying your little girls on their shoulders. Kings will be your babysitters, princesses will be your nursemaids. They’ll offer to do all your drudge work—scrub your floors, do your laundry.
You’ll know then that I am God. No one who hopes in me ever regrets it.”

INTRODUCTION

Our lesson is a continuation of last week’s look at Isaiah 49. Isaiah 49-53 provides a clear picture of the coming of God’s Messiah, described here as the Servant. The long-term meaning of the passage is prophecy pertaining to Jesus, given 725 years before He was born as a Man of history. But the specifics of the short-term reference is unknown to us—even if it is a reference to an individual or the restoration of Judah as a whole.
According to, The Old Testament and Apocrypha (Fortress Press), “A major emphasis of Isaiah 49-55 is on Zion/Jerusalem … the biggest challenge was to convince the exiles that God is not only willing to save them but also has the power to do so. However, Zion remains unconvinced by these claims.” Thus, God reviews the record of His relationship and concludes that redemption is not only possible but pronounced.

BACKGROUND OF THE PASSAGE

Early in this transitional chapter, the servant is called by God to restore the survivors of Israel, but he laments that his work has been in vain. The servant’s life is a pattern of rejection, misery and continual violence from birth to death. But in the end, he will see his descendants prosper, and he will be numbered with the great ones. This lesson comes from the latter part of the chapter and offers God’s assurance that restoration will take place.

INTO THE LESSON

18Look up, look around, look well! See them all gathering, coming to you? As sure as I am the living God”—God’s Decree—“you’re going to put them on like so much jewelry, you’re going to use them to dress up like a bride.
Though verse 18 is a part of our printed lesson, it belongs to the previous paragraph, which begins with verse 14. It is a lament of Zion. Laments frequently call upon God to remember that, in the past, He has forgotten. The ancient Israelites were more prepared to make direct accusations against God that are most modern believers, especially in Christian tradition.
The charge of forgetfulness is indignantly denied by God in this verse. The command to lift your eyes and see is a command to raise/change our perspective. The change called for is not merely physical but is spiritual. It reminds us that our view of God and Gods involvement in human affairs is often distorted by our choosing to look at things from our perspective rather than Gods perspective.
The promise is clear: Those who once rejected and devastated Zion will embrace her and honor her. This is the promise of restoration.
19-21 “And your ruined land? Your devastated, decimated land? Filled with more people than you know what to do with! And your barbarian enemies, a fading memory. The children born in your exile will be saying, ‘It’s getting too crowded here. I need more room.’ And you’ll say to yourself, ‘Where on earth did these children come from? I lost every-thing, had nothing, was exiled and penniless. So who reared these children? How did these children get here?’”
Through the Prophet, the Lord declares His purpose in the this restoration—to bring Zion to wholeness. God’s sovereignty is declared and affirmed. The One who permitted the trouble to descend will be the One who lifts the trouble and restores the people to wholeness.
There is a more then physical habitation being described here. God is talking about the inhabitation of His Holy Spirit in the lives of His restored people. Just as God made provision for us physically, so He has done spiritually. He has given us the means for our spiritual provision and deliverance in the person of His own Spirit. Through Him, all our needs are provided.
22-23 The Master, God, says: “Look! I signal to the nations, I raise My flag to summon the people. Here they’ll come: women carrying your little boys in their arms, men carrying your little girls on their shoulders. Kings will be your babysitters, princesses will be your nursemaids. They’ll offer to do all your drudge work—scrub your floors, do your laundry.
You’ll know then that I am God. No one who hopes in Me ever regrets it.”
The restored Zion, which will come out from the hand of the oppressors, will experience unprecedented favor from God. They will be carried by the nations in their arms, and by the people on their shoulders. This and parallel passages (Isaiah 60:4; 66:20) refer to the return of the Jews to their own land by favor of the non-Jewish people, either when the decree of Cyrus went forth, or at some still future period.

CONCLUSION

Unlike the usual meaning of “restoration,” which is to return some-thing back to its original condition, the biblical definition of the word has greater connotations that go above and beyond the typical everyday usage. The biblical concept of “restoration” is to receive back more than has been lost to the point where the final state is greater than the original condition. The main point is that someone or something is improved beyond measure.
Repeatedly throughout the Bible, God blesses people for their faith and hardships by making up for their losses and giving them more than they previously had before. This is the promise of Isaiah 49. It is also the promise of Jesus. When we come to Christ, we are given more than we could ever imagine—regeneration, justification, salvation, forgiveness, contentment, transcendent peace, etc.

Want to get more involved at Shiloh?

Browse our Ministries