Isaiah 51:1-23



This chapter begins with “Listen” just as 48 and 49 did.

“Listen” means to hear and act on what you heard.


Encouragement for the Faithful Remnant
Here is an example of a fulfilled promise in the midst of the Israelites in 700 BC

Abraham and Sarah waited for a son and became many.

Now the remnant must wait faithfully and patiently for God to fulfill his promise to them


The people and the land will be blessed.




Justice and Righteousness for the Nations

The nations of the world will receive justice, righteousness and salvation from the Arm of the Lord.


The natural world (standards, morals, culture, etc.) of the nations will wear out and pass away. 

The example of a moth eating clothes is used to indicate the declining direction the world is going since the fall of man.

The Lord’s work and the Lord’s standards will endure now and forever.          

a)      The Lord’s Work . . . . . . Salvation by the arm of God

b)      The Lord’s standards . . . .Justice and Righteousness




The Prayer from the Remnant Waiting on Earth in Time

The faithful recall the first exodus out of Egypt and ask for a second exodus for them.


“arm of the Lord” refers to his power that brings deliverance and salvation.

“awake” indicates they felt God was not moving in their life

“Rahab” a mythical sea monster:

1)       a name for Satan, destruction and the chaos of the days of Genesis 1:2

2)      a symbolic name for Egypt in the days of Israel’s captivity

a.       Egypt was leader of the world and Satan had his power base there.

b.      The world empires transferred this power through Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome.

c.       This power will ultimately reside with the anti-Christ’s kingdom

                                                               i.      Revelation 13:1-9

                                                             ii.      The world power transfer is seen in Revelation 12:1-17 where Rahab is described as an enormous red dragon with 7 heads (the seven world empires Egypt through AC.


The confrontation in the beginning repeats itself throughout history in the major world empires, and will continue until the very end.

God will always control history inspite of Rahab and will win every contest.

Here the people recall God’s defeat of Rahab at Egypt.



The same fate awaits those who are oppressed in:

1)      700 BC

2)      in the future generations in 445 BC when Cyrus sends the people back

3)      when the Messiah comes and brings his salvation from sin by the arm of the Lord

4)      the return of Israel to their land when the Messiah returns


These are all the same war only different battles at different stages of the war.



The Speaks His Promise

This promise would apply to any of the battles along the way through history.


Promises and Exhortations (51:12-13)

1)      It is God himself who comforts you, surely he will also fight the battle for you.

2)      Do not forget God when you deal with mortal men

a.       Men

                                                               i.      Mortal

                                                             ii.      Sons of men

                                                            iii.      They are grass

b.      God

                                                               i.      The LORD, Yahweh, the covenant making and keeping God

                                                             ii.      Your maker

                                                            iii.      Stretched out the universe that we can not even understand yet today.

                                                           iv.      Laid the foundational principles and physical elements of our world.

3)      Do not live in constant terror every day


The Problem is Identified
The people are too aware of the natural world and events that they have forgotten God and his promises.

This means the people are insensitive to God’s work in:

1)      their time

2)      Through out history


The result is that they are in the world with out God because they do not know or believe God’s plans, purposes and his promises

The real problem for their oppression is they have forgotten God and have failed to use him as their foundation of reality.




The Wrath of the Oppressor, Bent on Destruction

Where is this wrath? 

In light of God’s comparison in 51:12-13 there is no power in the oppressor’s wrath.

The oppressor (the Assyrians in 700 BC, Babylonians in 605 BC, Persians in 545 BC, and situations today) indeed exists but THEY HAVE NO WRATH when compared to God



The promise:  The prisoners will be freed and fed!


The promise should be considered in these contexts:


1)      Individual people and their situations

2)      Thought individual Israelites may perish the believers know that God will fulfill his promise to them and their nation

3)      God’s promise to the church as a whole body will be fulfilled



“churns up the sea” refers to controlling history (nations are often referred to as “sea”)



The same one who stretched out the immeasurable universe and laid the foundations explains how (from 51:12) he plans on comforting his people:


1)      Put his words in our mouth

2)      Covered us with his hand that stretched out the heavens and works salvation.



Jerusalem will be Free


Same Request but God Asks This Time

Isaiah had recorded the prayer of the remnant in 51:9-11.
Here the people asked God to:

1)      “Awake, awake!”

2)      “Clothe yourself with strength”

3)      Fight today in the battles like he used to


In 51:17 Jerusalem is asked to do the same thing the people asked God to do:

1)      “Awake, awake!”

2)      “Rise Up”


God is waiting on them.

God has done all he is going to do (51:16):

1)      Given his Word

2)      Placed them in His plan


Why the Problems in Their Lives? (51:17-18)

They have drank the cup of his wrath.

This means they have gone into sin and forgot God.

He had given them his Word to guide them but all the sons of Israel where incapable of guiding their nation by that Word.  They had forgotten it and gone into sin.



The Double Calamities

47:9 refers to:

1)      widowhood – the lost of protection and provision

2)      childlessness – the loss of future security




1)      ruin and destruction – culture destroyed

2)      famine and sword – death of people


Who can comfort you here?  There is no hope since they have no perception of God and his promises.
Who can console them?  God can not help them since they will not receive his help which is for them to understand his word.


Ignore the Word of God . . . . . . . go off into sin.

Destruction of culture and life . . . . . . only the Word can bring any hope of recovery

Continue to Ignore Word of God. . . . . there is NO Comfort and No Consoling

Life is meaningless and hopeless (or, at least, it must be perceived that way)



Disaster for having rejected God’s ways and promises



1)      Israel will be punished for rejecting God’s word

2)      God will then use the oppressor to punish his people

3)      God’s faithful remnant will repent and return to his word and be delivered

4)      The nations that God used as oppressors to bring his faithful back never understood that God was using them and they also rejected God’s revelation and became arrogant.  They are now punished the same way