Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Oct 31 2019 - Isaiah 62 – Zion's new name

When the Babylonians captured Jerusalem they ransacked the city, removing all that was of value and then burning down the temple and the other buildings and breaking down its walls. The city had been left in ruins. Now the Lord promises to restore the city and to bring back its inhabitants.

Zion and Jerusalem are used in this chapter as shorthand for the people of God. The speaker in these verses seems to be different from the Lord (see, for instance, vv. 1-3), and yet also seems to play a key role in ensuring the restoration of the city (see vv. 6-7). Who then is speaking in this chapter? In light of the opening verses of the previous chapter, it is perhaps best to read these words as the voice of the Messiah, the Suffering Servant and triumphant Saviour. It is our Lord Jesus who, on the basis of his death and resurrection will not remain silent until all whom he has ransomed are vindicated and their salvation shines out like the dawn (v. 1). The risen Lord wants his people to share in his risen and ascended glory and will not be satisfied until they do.

Nor is the Lord Jesus alone in this work of intercession. In verses 6-7 he declares:

I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem;
    they will never be silent day or night.
You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest,
and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem
    and makes her the praise of the earth.

The Lord has appointed people to act as intercessors for the kingdom. Just as the Lord Jesus himself takes no rest from his work of intercession, so they are to take no rest. They are to call upon God day and night, giving him no rest until "he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth."

What does this mean? These watchmen are to keep watch over the safety and wellbeing of the people of God – they are watchmen upon the walls, ever alert to the danger of attack. They are to pray continually for the coming of God's kingdom and for the arrival of the day when the earth shall be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea. They are to refuse to be satisfied by the present state of the people of God but are constantly to plead with God for more – more of his glory to be seen in his people and more to be added to their number. In the homely but remarkable language of these verses, they are to allow God no peace until his kingdom comes.

Who are these watchmen? It might be comfortable to see them as a special class among the people of God, maybe Ministers or Pastors whom the Lord Jesus has called to watch over and intercede for the people of God. That is indeed an important aspect of the task of such Pastors. But I would suggest that, just as the Lord taught all his disciples to pray "Your kingdom come…", so this also is, in measure, part of the calling of every Christian. Our prayers for the coming of God's kingdom are to be ceaseless, fervent and are to give God no rest. This is prayer that delights his heart for it is firstly the prayer of his Son and secondly the prayer that his Spirit prompts in our hearts.

And this is prayer that receives a speedy reply from the Lord. He has already given us his Son to be Saviour of the world (v. 11). And what he is now doing among his people will attract yet more to "pass through the gates" of salvation and enter into the fellowship of his redeemed people (v. 10). Make unceasing prayer a priority: prayer for God's glory to shine unhindered in the church; prayer for the expansion and coming of God's kingdom.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Peter Misselbrook