Sermon on Isaiah 62:1-5
Text: 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. 2 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. 3 You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. 4 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. 5 As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.
Often, it seems that, at a wedding, the bride is the center of attention. The groom, the attendants and others seem to take second place. There are often special pictures of the bride. Her dress is special, bought just for the occasion, while the groom’s tuxedo is often rented for the day. When the bride comes down the aisle, usually the gathering comes to their feet. This morning, we are going to give special attention to a bride. As we study this portion of Isaiah’s prophecy, we are encouraged to BEHOLD THE BRIDE OF THE LORD. As we observe her, we will not that she is 1. Dazzling In Righteousness, 2. Royal In Standing and 3. Delightful In The Eyes Of The Lord.
Our text begins with the words, “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet.” (Verse 1) This is the Lord himself speaking. He has some wonderful news to tell, and he is just bursting to tell it. He has news to make one’s day and his message will bring joy to all those who love him.
His purpose for telling this news is, “Till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch.” (Verse 1) God’s purpose in speaking to us is the glorification of Jerusalem. He will not rest or be silent until this glory has come to pass. Before we go any further, we need to spend some time reminding ourselves about whom God is speaking. This prophecy has an immediate and a future fulfillment. Isaiah was called to warn the people of Judah that, because of their continued rebellion against God, they would go into captivity at the hands of the Babylonians. The people would be in exile for seventy years. Isaiah spoke law to the people, but he also had the privilege of sharing the message of God’s mercy with them. He told the people that one day they would return to their homeland. Isaiah is speaking, first of all, to the people of Judah.
However, Isaiah’s prophecy is not limited only to the people of Judah. His prophecy also speaks to those who are of spiritual Judah, that is, to say, those who are believers today, or what we often refer to as the Holy Christian Church. The apostle Paul speaks of this in Romans 9:6, “Not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.” Earlier Paul, in that same book wrote, “A person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit.” (Romans 2:29) All people who have been brought to faith are spiritual descendants of Abraham, or a member of spiritual Israel.
So, when God speaks of “her righteousness shining out like the dawn,” “her salvation like a blazing torch,” (Verse 1) he is not only speaking of the return of Israel from Babylonian Captivity, but also all believers who make up the Church, his holy Bride. However, this Bride was not always so beautiful. Isaiah spoke of this in chapter 1:21, “See how the faithful city has become a prostitute!” These people had prostituted themselves by following other gods. They, in essence, had sold themselves to follow these other gods. Many times in the Old Testament, God uses the picture of him being a faithful husband to an unfaithful bride, namely the people of Israel.
This unfaithful bride also describes us by nature. How many times don’t we follow after other things rather than remaining faithful to our God? We follow the riches of the world, getting every last penny, whether exactly legal or not. If someone gives us too much change back or doesn’t charge us enough, we feel like we got a good deal. This is prostituting ourselves to greed. If someone causes us to become angry and we lash out, this is being unfaithful to what God wants us to be and how we are to live. There are many examples that we could point to of being unfaithful.
So, how in the world can God talk about righteousness? We get a clue to this as we look at verse 2, “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.” At a wedding, generally speaking, the bride receives a new name, as she takes the last name of her husband to be her own. So, also, you and I receive a new name, when we became a part of the Bride of Christ, namely, his Church. At that time we were called “saint.” How can we dare to be called “saint”? How can it be that the “prostitute” has become this glorious bride? It is not that we picked ourselves out of the mud and muck, and washed ourselves clean of sin. That must come from outside. Earlier we used the term “salvation,” which means that something is rescued. A person doesn’t rescue himself. He is rescued.
In the same way, God sent his Son to be our Rescuer or Savior. In living a perfect life, he accomplished what we could not. By his perfect life, death and resurrection, he rescued us from sin, death and the devil. We were washed clean in his blood. Paul spoke of this marriage relationship in Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” When you were brought to faith, you became a part of the Bride of Christ, that is to say, “the Holy Christian Church.” Because of what Christ has done for her, because God would not rest until it happened, the righteousness that God has given “shines out like the dawn.” (Verse 1) Just as the bride’s wedding ring glitters and shines, so that righteousness that God has given his Bride is dazzling to the eye.
Another important accessory for the bride is her veil. She spends time finding just the right one. The Lord also speaks of a headpiece in verse 3, “You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.” Here the picture shifts slightly. Now the Church, the believers, is being described as being a crown in the Lord’s hand. She is a thing of beauty. The Church is the crown of his creation. You are his masterpiece. How do you know that? How can we be sure? Look at what God did to make you his own. He sent his own Son to be sacrificed for you. He gave the best that he had so that you might belong to him. You are the crown of the Lord’s creation.
As further evidence of the Lord’s joy in you, we turn to verse 4, where the Lord says, “No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah.” First, the Lord again reminds the people of what and who they are nature. He said that they were deserted, like a wife forsaken by her husband or a mother forsaken by her children. Many people would look from the outside and say that the Lord had left his people, that is why the Babylonians came and conquered. The land would be desolate, completely destroyed by her enemies. Again, by means of this picture language, the Lord reminds us of our natural state: deserted by God because of our sins and desolate.
Now, however, God says, “you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah.” Hephzibah means “My delight is in her.” Because of Jesus’ saving work, God delights in us. He is pleased with us and the things that we do for him out of love. God says, that we will be called, “Beulah.” Beulah means “married.” No longer are we lost and rejected, rather he takes us to be his own. We become part of his Bride, the Church. By means of these two names, the Lord declares the restoration of his love and blessing. No longer is Israel, spiritual Israel, forsaken or desolate, but the Bride of her Savior.
The Lord speaks of his joy for his Bride in verse 5, “As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.” The first part of this verse might seem odd to us, “As a young man marries a maiden, so will your sons marry you.” Your sons will marry you sounds like some sort of incestuous relationship. But the basic meaning of the word used for marry in Hebrew has the idea of “possessing.” We might translate the first part of the verse, “As a young man calls a maiden his own, so will your sons call you their own.” There is a certain sense of comfort and blessing when someone call you “their own.” God is taking you for his beloved possession.
Because of that, the Lord rejoices. “As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.” The supreme and sincere joy of a bridegroom in his bride is chosen to picture God’s joy in his Bride, the Church. God’s greatest joy is the glorification of his Church and his union with her. Just think about it. The fact that God makes us his own makes us glad because we know salvation is ours. The fact that we, his Church, make God happy, gives us cause for rejoicing. It is reason for us to pause in worship and wonder. How God could take such wretched sinners and make them his Bride and find great joy in them is amazing and cause for us to worship him with our entire lives. As the new bride tries to please her husband out of love for him, so we, as the Bride of God, being filled with love for him, want to do all that pleases him.
Weddings are happy days, for two people are brought together in the closest relationship that exists on this earth. Already at the creation of the world, Adam, as he was united with his wife, Eve, said, “They will become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24) So, also, when we were brought to faith and become a part of the Bride of Christ, we were brought into a most intimate and loving relationship with the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. The extent of this love is reflected in the hymn, “The Church’s One Foundation is Jesus Christ, her Lord; She is new creation by water and the Word. From heaven he came and sought her to be his holy bride; With his own blood he bought her, and for her life he died.” Behold the Bride of the Lord and rejoice that you are part of her. Amen.
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