God will rejoice in Zion. 62:1-5
Our passage for study falls in the last section of the book of Isaiah known as Trito-Isaiah, chs.56-66. This section of Isaiah is a selection of prophetic poems, most probably from the hand of Isaiah, but possibly reworked by one of his disciples. It is most likely that a disciple of Isaiah has selected and edited the collection at the time of the return of the Jews to Jerusalem around 450BC. There are hints that the temple has been rebuilt, but the city walls are still broken down. Chapter 62 falls within a section dealing with Zion (chs.60-62) and serves as a prayer for Zion, with a fore-shadowing of its glorious fulfillment. Chapter 61 speaks of the Servant of Jehovah who will work to bring in the day of glory, while chapter 60 pictures the glorious fulfillment of that day in Zion.
The Anointed One of the Lord ("I") proclaims the coming day of glory for Jerusalem. This glory will shine out before all people (the "nations"). The vindication ("righteousness") of Israel will be seen by all. Zion will then be God's beautiful possession; no longer a forsaken ("deserted") people, but a desirable and beautiful bride for the Lord. The Lord's bride will be called "Hephzibah", my Delight (the name of Hezekiah's wife) and "Beulah" my Spouse. Just as a husband delights in his young bride, so will the Builder (the Lord. Not "sons") delight over Zion. In that day, Zion will have a new name and be showered with royal dignity.
v1. We are again confronted by the first person singular, "I", addressing the people of Zion (Jerusalem). Some commentators argue that it is the prophet speaking, but it is far better to see this person as a messianic figure, the Anointed One. He is determined to act on behalf of Zion, setting the people right before God and rescuing ("salvation") them in the face of danger. His not keeping silent, and his not remaining quiet, reminds us that he will ceaselessly act for his people and this action will be brilliantly displayed.
v2. The people of Zion will be a light to the nations and the Lord will call them by a new name. The Lord himself will pick out a new name. The name serves to describe the new nature, which along with the name, is given to the people by the Lord.
v3. The people of Zion do not wear the crown, they are the crown. Zion will be a possession of the Lord, a possession of royal worth and dignity.
v4-5. The nations once saw Zion as an abandoned people, their lands forsaken and desolate. This will no longer be said of God's people. The loss of the past will be replaced by plenty. Instead of being "forsaken", "my delight is in her" (hephzibah). Instead of being "desolate", the people are "married" (Beulah) to the Lord and he will fulfill the bridegroom's promise to love and cherish. Those saved and made righteous by the Anointed One will share in the cherishing love of the Lord.
The phrase "so will your sons marry you" is a bit of a mystery. In what sense is Zion the focus of the love of her sons, particularly if we understand Zion as a corporate entity? Some commentators suggest that "builder" should be read for "sons". Just as a husband delights in his young bride, so will the builder (the Lord) delight over Zion. Although the marriage imagery is a bit tricky, the point is that the people of Zion will soon experience the Lord's cherishing love.
Arise and shine Zion
For the people of Israel, Jerusalem was something more than their capital; it embodied the Nation and its institutions, its people, and in particular, the abiding presence of God. The temple in Jerusalem was the place where God revealed his glorious presence.
In prophecy, Jerusalem was often called Zion. Zion was originally the name of the hill on which the citadel stood, or even possibly the name of the fortress itself. In any case, when the prophets spoke of the future of Jerusalem they often used the title Zion. With the destruction of both the Northern and Southern kingdoms, Jerusalem lay in ruins. This ruin represented the state of the nation and the people. So, the prophets spoke of a coming time when Zion would again be great - blessed and at peace. During the time of the restoration of Israel, when many Jews returned from Babylon, there was a limited restoration of the national and religious life. Yet, it is clear that the fulfillment of the prophets words is something beyond the restoration of the state of Israel.
In Jesus and in his church, there is another level of fulfillment for Zion. Jesus himself represents the city and its people. He is faithful Israel and upon him God's blessing is bestowed. In Jesus, the church shares the status of the new Zion and thus, the right to appropriate its blessings. We now bear the name of "my delight", "spouse", "daughter of Zion", "holy people", "redeemed", "sought after", and "city no longer deserted." Also, on another level, we look to the day when all of God's people will be gathered together in the heavenly assembly, in the heavenly Zion, blessed in the presence of the Lord.
This passage reminds us of the nature and function of the church: We are the Lord's delight, an entity which radiates his glory to a broken world. As we gather together in worship each Sunday, let us remember how special we are in the sight of God.
Consider the marriage imagery of v5. How does it apply to the church?
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