What does it say?
Following the amazing and detailed prophecies of Christ’s work on the cross, Isaiah 54-55 is an invitation to enter into the great salvation. These chapters are filled with hope and encouragement.
On the basis of this great salvation, Isaiah 56 informs God’s people of their need to live lives of righteousness in the power of God’s grace. Also, God will not let them forget that this salvation is for all who will come, and that his temple be a house of prayer for all people (56:7).
Amidst the glorious scenes of future salvation, Isaiah 57 returns to the reality of Israel’s current spiritual adultery and idolatry. The chapter concludes with the same refrain as in 48:22, there is no peace, says my God, to the wicked.
Isaiah 58 is a call to revival, calling upon the nation to set aside the false formalities of religion that they trusted. Fasting has become a ritualistic formula and not a genuine heart attitude of seeking God. This chapter clearly spells out what true biblical fasting is designed to accomplish.
What does it mean?
The majestic language of Isaiah is often quoted, and this passage is no exception. Isaiah 54:1 is quoted by Paul in Galatians 4:27, and 54:17 is likewise a great promise. Isaiah 55 opens with an amazing invitation to all and is coupled with 55:6. Isaiah 55:8-11 speaks to the power of God’s wisdom and word.
This journey through the Bible is one we have called chronological and missional. As such, it would be a mistake not to pay close attention to God’s mission that springs up from every part of this section. Rather than being oppressed by the Gentiles, Isaiah 54 opens with Israel expanding outward as God has always intended. The next chapter (55) with its grand invitation speaks of the nations coming to Israel to worship God (55:5). Isaiah 56:6-7 follows the same thread.
How will I respond?
In these images of glory, salvation and hope, I must always remember that while I am a part of the story, the story is not about me, but about God’s glory. What can I do today to bring glory to God among people that are not necessarily like me?