The Word Made Fresh
1Rise and shine, for your light has come!
The glory of the LORD has risen upon you!
2The earth shall be covered with darkness,
with thick darkness over the peoples,
but the glory of the LORD will rise above you.
3Other nations shall come to your light
and rulers will be drawn to your dawn’s brightness.
4Raise your eyes and look around;
the peoples join together and come to you.
Your sons shall come from afar
with your daughters on their arms.
5Then you shall see, and your face will shine.
Your heart shall be thrilled, and you will rejoice.
All that is in the sea shall be brought to you
and the wealth of the nations shall be yours.
6Your land will be covered with herds of camels,
young camels of Midian and Ephah.
And the ones from Sheba shall come
loaded with gold and frankincense,
proclaiming the LORD’s praise.
7All of Kedar’s flocks shall be yours.
Nebaioth’s rams shall serve you
and will be acceptable on my altar.
And I will glorify my wonderful temple.
8Who are they that fly like clouds,
and enter their windows like doves?
9The coastlands shall await my arrival.
The ships of Tarshish will arrive first
to bring your descendants from far away.
They shall bring silver and gold with them
to honor the name of the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, who has gloriously lifted you up.
10Foreigners shall repair your walls,
and their leaders shall be your ministers.
I struck you down in anger,
but my mercy shall bring my favor to you.
11Your gates shall always be open, night and day,
and the other nations will bring their wealth to you,
led in procession by their kings.
12Any nation or kingdom that refuses to serve you will perish;
they shall be completely wasted.
13Lebanon’s glory shall be yours –
cypress, plane tree, and pine shall be used in my sanctuary
to make it even more beautiful,
and I will bring glory wherever my feet rest.
14The descendants of your oppressors shall come bowing down to you,
and all the nations that hated you shall bow down at your feet.
They shall call you the LORD’s City,
the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
15Yes, you have been forsaken and hated,
and no one gave you any attention,
but I will make you majestic forever,
from age to age you will be the joy of all the peoples.
16And you shall drink the milk of the nations.
You shall be nursed at the breasts of royalty.
You shall know that I am the LORD, your savior.
I, the mighty One of Jacob, have redeemed you.
17I will bring you gold instead of bronze.
I will bring you silver instead of iron.
I will bring you bronze instead of wood
and iron instead of stones.
I will make peace your guardian
and you will be ruled by righteousness.
18There shall be no violence in your land.
There shall be no destruction within your borders.
Your walls shall be called Salvation
and your gates shall be called Praise.
19The sun shall no longer be your light by day,
and the moon’s brightness shall not give you light by night.
Instead, the LORD will be your light forever
and God shall be your glory.
20Your sun shall go down no longer,
nor will your moon disappear,
for the LORD will be your light forever
and your days of mourning shall be brought to an end.
21Your people shall be righteous, all of them.
They shall be the eternal possessors of the land.
For they are the work of my own hand,
the very shoots I myself planted with my own hand
so that I will be celebrated.
22The least of them will become a huge clan
and the smallest of them will become a mighty nation.
For I am the LORD,
and will do this quickly when its time arrives.
1-3: The sinfulness of the people is described as a great darkness that has settled over the land; the redemption God is planning for Jerusalem is described as a light shining in the darkness.
4-7: The scattered tribes of Israel will begin to return. Trade will be reestablished across the known world, with caravans from Midian, Ephah, Sheba, Kedar, and Nebaioth — all of which are Arab tribes mentioned in the genealogical records of Abraham. Perhaps the prophet is drawing a parallel between the unfolding of God’s redemption of Israel and the initial covenant made with Abraham.
8-16: Isaiah goes on to describe the changing fortunes of Israel once God’s redemption has taken place. The city will prosper with international connections and become the foremost city in the world.
17-18: Peace and prosperity will rule when that time comes.
19-22: God will be so honored that the city will never see darkness. The people will be righteous, and God’s plans for Jerusalem will be fulfilled in full measure.
We, too, are sinners in need of redemption, and that redemption is available through prayer and, for Christians, in the person and presence of Jesus Christ. Today is a good day to give thanks and to meditate on the goodness of our LORD.