This small chapter opens with a wonderful gospel theme for a day of praise. ‘Though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me.’ The ‘day’ Isaiah is consistently speaking of is the day of grace and salvation by Christ. The church in past ages looked wholly and solely to the day of Christ’s victory for deliverance and comfort.
A song to sing
Isaiah speaks of our song and singing. Our song is the praise of our heart for God’s mercy and pardon by the death of Christ. This is our comfort. True comfort is that spiritual comfort that refreshes and sustains the soul of a sinner because of the blood of Jesus Christ. A man or a woman can bear a lot of hardship when they know they have peace with God and are comforted in Christ.
The people of Zion
We may consider the church collectively to be in view in this chapter but also the church comprised of its individual members. The title, ‘thou inhabitant of Zion’ distinguishes the Lord’s people from those who live outside the ‘holy city’. These redeemed saints have a personal and distinctive confession and testify, ‘God is my salvation, my strength and my song’.
Faith drives away fear
These are the Lord’s covenant people and they are identified by faith. They say, ‘I will trust, and not be afraid’. God’s gift of faith enables, informs and protects His people by revealing Christ to them as their only Saviour. He assures them of the efficacy of Christ’s blood to cleanse their sin. In trusting Jesus Christ believers deploy faith to drive away fear.
Our Well of Salvation
It is helpful to see Jesus Christ as the well of salvation from which the water of divine grace is drawn. The Lord told the Samaritan woman, ‘the water that I shall give … shall be … a well of water springing up into everlasting life’. As we trust the Lord to help us day by day so faith draws grace from Christ.
Sometimes we speak of preaching and worship and the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s supper as ‘means of grace’, yet these activities in themselves are nothing without the Lord. There is dead ceremony and there is spiritual life. Christ is both the fountainhead and the water, the well of salvation and the water of life to our soul.
‘Declare his doings’
Isaiah calls the Lord’s elect to joyfully praise the perfections of Christ and to engage others to do the same. We long to see others saved. The Lord’s people personally thank the Lord for His great salvation and are eager to tell others about what the Lord has done for them. ‘Declare his doings among the people’ says the prophet, which we are happy to do. True worship is praising the Lord for His perfections while commending the great work of salvation to others.
Our excellent Saviour
The song of the Lord’s people is the excellence of Christ. Isaiah tells us the Lord Jehovah has done excellent things. Hebrews tells us Christ has an ‘excellent name’ and an ‘excellent ministry’. His excellent name is the divine glory of His person. His excellent ministry is all His wonderful works. When the Pharisees criticised the Lord’s disciples for worshipping Him the Saviour replied, ‘I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out’. No one can silence Christ’s praise.
This is known
In the previous chapter Isaiah said, ‘the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea’. Here he tells us the excellence of Christ is known in all the earth. This worldwide testimony brings Isaiah’s ancient prophecy right up to date for us now. There has never been a time when the excellencies of Christ and the knowledge of the gospel were more widespread and widely known as they are today.
Through the technology available to us in the providence and wisdom of God, our own little Sunday service can be heard by anyone, anywhere. We are involved in the confirmation of the prophet’s words! Whether it is speaking to our neighbours or broadcasting to the world let our mission be to honour Christ by exalting His excellent name and His excellent ministry.
Peter Meney is the Pastor of New Focus Church Online and the Editor of "New Focus Magazine" and publisher of sovereign grace material under the Go Publications imprint. The purpose and aim of the magazine and books is to spread as widely as possible the gospel of Jesus Christ and the message of free, sovereign grace found in the Holy Bible, the Word of God.