The Book of Isaiah Bible Study Chapter 51 Part 3

Isaiah

This next reading concludes this chapter: Isaiah 51:17-23

v17: Awake: Literally: wake yourselves up: The word used here is different to the word for waking up found in Isaiah 51:9. In Isaiah 51:9 G-d was doing a work to bring about an awareness. It was G-d who was waking people up – making them aware. The word used in this verse implies that G-d has done the work so that we, through faith, can now do our part (a similar example to this would be Messiah’s work of redemption. It is something already done. G-d’s work is complete. We become aware of it. The onus then falls on us to accept, by faith, His work and to walk in it). G-d has given us revelation to wake us up – the onus is now on us to wake up. 

  • You…have drunk…the cup of His fury: G-d disciplined His people. Exile happened due to sin and disobedience (Isaiah 59:2). Exile was not G-d’s perfect will and plan from the beginning (ie He did not desire us to be in rebellion to Him so that He could use exile as a tool for punishment – similarly we do not desire our kids to be disobedient to us so that we can smack them. We would prefer them to be obedient so that we wouldn’t have to use the rod to bring about a change in their hearts). G-d however, in His Sovereignty, used exile to prepare the people for redemption.
  • The dregs: Drinking the cup right to the very bottom. 
  • Cup of trembling: G-d sometimes gives us a bitter cup (poison) to drink down. Why? Because of our stubbornness, lack of repentance and not taking G-d’s truth and applying it to our lives. 
  • Drained it out: Literally: Sipping to its very end. There is coming a day when there will be an end – an end to rebellion and exile. 

v18: No one to guide (manage) her: None of the children that she has brought up want to manage or administer the truth of G-d among their people. 

  • Takes her by the hand: Strengthen her or give her stability. No one, belonging to Israel, will give stability to her. 

v19: Who will be sorry for you: Who among the nations will be grieved about the suffering that Israel has experienced? No one in the nations is going to be grieved by this. None will do anything to bring about change for Israel or attempt to lessen her suffering. This is the first of the two things mentioned in this verse.

  • Desolation: This is a word for something being taken away or removed (something has been stolen). This is the second thing that is going to happen to Israel. 
  • Destruction: A change in the condition of something. 
  • By whom will I comfort you?: The answer is: No one (Isaiah 63:5). The Son of G-d is the only One who will bring comfort to them (Before this happens, Israel is going to go through another very difficult time). 

v20: Head of all the streets: At the intersections.

  • Lie down at the head of all the streets: Many see this as an expression of death. There will be a great loss of life before Israel’s final redemption. 
  • Full of the fury of the L-rd: Israel are going to experience the fullness of the anger or the wrath of the L-rd. The scholars all agree that this is referring to the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer 30:7). ‘Jacob’s trouble’ is a time of tribulation that will come upon Jacob (Israel) in the last half of Daniel’s final week (ie the last 3½ years of the seven-year period spoken about in Dan 9:27). This is going to be a time of destruction, hardship, famine and the sword. The people of Israel are going to be humiliated. This is all being brought about by the rebuke of G-d. G-d allows it. 

v21: Please hear this, you afflicted: G-d is speaking to His people in their state of turmoil and affliction. 

  • Drunk: They are not functioning correctly. Sin has placed them in this state of intoxication. The punishment that they endured, because of their sin, caused them to be moved away from the place that they should have been in. 

v22: L-rd: The first word used for L-rd is the word ‘Adonai’ which means Master. This name speaks of G-d being our ultimate authority. 

  • L-rd: The sacred Name of G-d is the second word translated ‘L-rd’. This name refers to the transcendent G-d. 
  • G-d: Elohim – this is the name of G-d that speaks of Him being Supreme.
  • Pleads: G-d is going to plead and contend for a different outcome for His covenant people. This is another poetic expression of the change that is coming to Israel in the last days.
  • The cup of trembling (reeling): The cup of poison

v23: You: Israel. 

Note: G-d is going to speak to and deal with those who terrorized and humiliated Israel – those who put her down on the street and walked over her as if she was the ground beneath their feet. G-d is going to deal with the terrorizers through the wonderful change that His work is going to bring about – the establishment of His Kingdom, His new creation. 

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