Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Isaiah 12: 4-6


And in that day you will say,
Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name.
Make known His deeds among the peoples;
Make them remember that His name is exalted.”
5 Praise the Lord in song, for He has done excellent things;
Let this be known throughout the earth.
6 Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Matthew Henry considers our passage today the second part of an "evangelical song" in which the singers show thanksgiving to God through prayer ("call on His name," vs 4); by preaching and writing ("Make known...Make them remember"; "Let this be known," vss 4 and 5); and, by expressing our joy ("Cry aloud and shout for joy," vs 6). As we will see from looking at the verses, it is a song the Israelites will sing upon their ultimate reunion with "the Holy One of Israel," (vs 6) but it is a song that has been sung and needs to continue to be sung until that Day.

As we saw with the first part of Isaiah 12, the overall theme of the passage is thanksgiving. The remnant has been preserved and given passage safely home to the final Promised Land and covenant redemption in God through His Son. Only the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, could have brought the people to this place. The response is an outward expression of overwhelming gratitude. 

This idea of giving thanks and sharing the message of God's goodness reaches back to the earliest of days for the people of God. We looked at a small portion of song of Moses in last week's post, written in thanksgiving for God's hand in delivering the Israelites out of the hands of Pharaoh and into safety. It was not enough to just thank God in the moment, but to remember and to share--share through the generations--the works of God. One of my favorite Old Testament Scriptures is Deuteronomy 6: 5-9, in which we are commanded to love God and to teach others to do likewise as we "talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." It's not a message for today, only, but for every day and everyone.

"One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts."

--Psalm 145:4

The psalmists wrote poems and songs that were meant to be sung in the moment, but, also, to be passed down through the ages. How many contemporary Christian songs are based on their words, offering today's generations the opportunity to praise, give thanks and remember the "mighty acts" of God? We are called to "praise the Lord in song" (vs 5) and even to sing to Him a "new song" (Psalm 33, 96, 98, among others), but in doing so, are we remembering the works done of old, not just that done in the moment? In making known His deeds, we establish that the Lord has been doing good things FOREVER, not just today. Not only that, but we exalt the name of the God who Himself is goodness, not just today, but FOREVER! (vs 4)

"We must not only speak to God, but speak to others concerning him, not only call upon his name, but (as the margin reads it) proclaim his name; let others know something more from us than they did before concerning God, and those things whereby he has made himself known.... When the apostles preached the gospel to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem, then this scripture was fulfilled, that his doings should be declared among the people and that what he has done should be known in all the earth."
--Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

For Israel, in that Day, they shall surround the now-realized Hope of their salvation, Jesus Himself, and worship Him with shouts and cries for joy! (vs 6) For those who know this Hope already, the cry is that more might know Him--through our calling on Him, and making Him and His works known--before that Day arrives.

"Until the whole world hears, Lord, we are calling out
Lifting up your name for all to hear the sound
Like voices in the wilderness, we're crying out
And as the day draws near
We'll sing until the whole world hears...."

--Lyrics from Until the Whole World Hears, by Casting Crowns

Change of tune as Chapter 13 begins many chapters of Isaiah focusing on God's word against the nations. We start with Babylon.... 'Til next Wednesday!


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Next week: Isaiah 13: 1-5

Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation,
specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB).
I will quote other sources if used in a post.

I also use
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
(with notes from the King James Version).