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ISAIAH - Chapter 51:17-52:12 - AWAKE, AWAKE, PUT ON YOUR STRENGTH! Print E-mail

ISAIAH Chapter 51: 17-Chapter 52:12

Pastor Carolyn Sissom

“Awake, “Awake”- “Put On Your Strength”

“Our God Reigns”

January 13, 2015, the Year of Our Lord


The verses in 51: 17-23 are very personal to me and I speak these verses often into those who are abused, abandoned, rejected, and unloved.


 In the literal picture of this drama, God calls on Jerusalem to awake because the end of her suffering is approaching.  A graphic picture of that suffering is given in which she has been deprived of her children and overtaken by desolation and destruction.  The hour is come in which the cup of staggering and fury is taken out of her hand and put into the hand of those who afflicted her.


51:22-23: “Thus says your Lord, the Lord and your God that pleads the cause of His people, Behold I have taken out of your hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of My fury; you shall no more drink it again.  I will put it into the hand of them that afflict you; which have said to your soul, bow down, that we may go over; and you have laid your body on the ground, and as the street, to them that went over.”


During the darkest time of my life when I felt totally abandoned, rejected, unloved and even abused by family, friends, and church, the Lord spoke this scripture to me.  It was after a time of “breaking”.  However, I now count the breaking all joy.  You have heard me confess that I was “self-righteously rigid”, and “straight-laced” to the point of being obsessive compulsive in my strict adherence to the Word of God.  This was from a “fear” that if I made a mistake, it would bring trouble down on my family.


I was not able to give myself grace to make a mistake.  With this warped view of my “duty” and “responsibilities”, I took on a victim spirit and permitted everyone to walk all over me to keep the peace.  This is known as “false-responsibility”.  This false responsibility meant that it was my responsibility to keep everyone happy and fulfill all demands placed on me.  By my own choice, I was everyone’s scapegoat and doormat.  I was stupefied and exhausted.


I do not blame anyone for my “state of being”; my soul was distorted by “false-perfectionism” and my own religious demands on myself.


51:17-19: “Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem which have drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of his fury; you have drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out.  There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she has brought forth; neither is there any that takes her by the hand of all the sons that she has brought up.  These two things are come to you; desolation, destruction, and the famine, and the sword; by whom shall I comfort you.  Your sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, as a wild bull in a net; they are full of the fury of the Lord, the rebuke of your God.  Therefore hear now this, you afflicted, and drunken, but not with wine.”


This was my state of being and where I was in the decade of the 1980’s.  I was a moral, good mother, good wife, good Christian, Sunday school teacher, scout leader, room mother, P.T.A. leader, etc. I had to be “perfect” to please all these people.  It was 1983 when the “perfect” world I had glued together fell apart and I fell apart with it.


It was probably in 1987, when the Lord spoke this scripture to me.  Immediately my life changed.  I was delivered from my bondage of being a people pleaser, a victim, and false-responsibility.  When the Lord spoke this “Word” to me, just as He here speaks to Jerusalem, my life changed and I became another woman.


I had once been somewhat glamorous, successful and happy.  But I had become so “duty” bound that I was dressing frumpy, hiding from any lime-light, and becoming very sacrificial (God forbid).  I had lost the respect of my family because I had become so selfless.


I know this sounds terrible, but I am transparent today to give all the Glory to God; to His Holy Word and the sovereignty of the power of that Word.  He has an appointed time to deliver us from our captivity whether of our own making or from other forces.  Either way the arrows of captivity are sent from the demons of Hell to steal, kill and to destroy.  


52:1-2: “Awake, awake; put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for hereafter there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean.  Shake yourself from the dust; arise and sit down, O Jerusalem; loose yourself from the bands of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.”



Jerusalem is represented as a dejected female---a woman in her weeds, or a prisoner of her prison garments, with chains (the symbol of degradation and captivity) around her neck, sprinkling her head with the dust in which she sits; degraded, powerless.


As one of the commentator’s expresses it, “She is lying on the ground, stupefied with the wrath of God, and exhausted with grief.” 


In chapter 51:9, her cry to the Lord was, “Awake, awake; put on strength, O arm of the Lord”.  Here the answer comes a second time.  It is a fresh verbal echo of her prayer---“Awake, awake; put on your strength O Zion; put on your beautiful garments.”  Lay aside that somber attire, those robes of grief; and put on festive raiment of gladness and joy.”


She is farther summoned, not only to arise from this dust of humiliating servitude, to gather up her loose, soiled garments, and undo her shameful fetters,---but to “sit down” on a royal throne as an honored queen.


Jerusalem is aroused to Glory.  God appeals to her that she might prepare herself for glory.


51: 3-5: “For thus says the Lord, You have sold yourselves for nothing; and you shall be redeemed without money.  For thus says the Lord God, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause.  Now therefore, what have I here, says the Lord, that My people is taken away for nothing? They that rule over them make them to howl, says the Lord; and My name continually every day is blasphemed.”


In strong poetic language, Jehovah is represented, in verse 5 as if He felt her degradation to be a reflection on His own greatness and power.


What have I here” or “What have I to do here”?  His glory is implicated in the continuance of Zion’s oppression.  While on the one hand, the tyrants who enslave her “Make her to howl” and His “name continually every day is blasphemed  His name is taunted that He is powerless to deliver Zion.


51:6: “Therefore My people shall know My name; therefore they shall know in that day that I am He that does speak; behold, it is I.”


They shall know My name.  My honor shall be vindicated.  My arm shall be bared.  The cities of Judah shall “behold their God!”


Verse 7 is a beautiful and abrupt transition in the shifting drama.  A new a brilliant picture rises before the Prophet’s eye.  On the heights of ruined Zion, amid the decaying walls and towers of the old Temple.  Watchmen are seen pacing up and down casting a wistful eye in the direction of the great northern highway---which was trodden by a band of weeping captives on their way to Babylon.


On the distant slopes of the Mount of Olives a trumpet like that of their old Jubilee is heard waking the echoes of the silent hills “round about Jerusalem.”  Messengers are described approaching the city; the Kedron valley is all that separates them from these “Temple warders”. 


They are bearing joyful tidings.  Weary and dust-covered though they be with their long journey, they are described as bounding over the mountains like the gazelles spoken of in the Song.  In that clear, still air, they can proclaim the object of their mission.


The sentinels on Zion, who have waited for month’s even years, burst out into exclamation:


52:7-9: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings, that publishes peace; that brings good tidings of good, that publishes salvation; that says to Zion, Your God reigns!  Your watchmen shall lift up the voice with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion.  Break forth into joy; sing together, your waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted His people.  He has redeemed Jerusalem.”


In verse 8, the Prophet is represented calling attention to the voice of the watchmen---“Hark! Your watchers, they lift up the voice; together they sing, for they see “eye to eye” how Jehovah brings Zion home.  Prophets and intercessors are “watchmen”. 


As today, the prophets of old probably did a lot of surmising, prognostication, and presumptuous speaking.  But all is now made plain to that faithful remnant of patriot Jews, regarding the manner of the long predicted, long looked-for restoration.


They see “eye to eye” how Jehovah’s sure word of promise is to be verified.  Doubtless merging all their pre-conceived opinions and ideas in the happy realization of “hope deferred”, they now “lift up the voice, and together sing” “When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like that dream…the Lord has done great things for us, whereof we are glad.” (Ps. 126: 1, 3)


The heralds from the exile have a short and blessed message to give.  It is three words:  Our God Reigns”.  It is the coronation cry used when oriental kings ascended their thrones: “Zion!  Your God is again to reign royally within thee; peace is to be within your walls, and prosperity within your palaces.


The Lord reigns! Let the earth rejoice.  Let the multitude of isles be glad thereof.  The Lord reign!.  Let the people tremble.  He sits between the cherubims.  Let the earth be moved. The Lord is great in Zion; and He is high above all the people.


Verse 9 is an appeal from the prophet.  It is an invocation to the dumb, voiceless stones and ruins of Jerusalem to keep silence no longer.  These are summoned to join in the jubilant anthem---“Break forth into joy; sing together, ye waste-places, for the Lord has comforted His people.  He has redeemed Jerusalem.”


The grand possession is seen leaving the gates of Babylon (our place of captivity), slowly and deliberately bearing the holy vessels which had been sacrilegiously taken by Nebuchadnezzar from the temple.


52: 10-12: “The Lord has made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.  Depart you, depart you, go you out from there, touch no unclean thing; go you out of the midst of her; be you clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.  For you shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight; for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.”


These Holy vessels will be carried by a great “sacramental host’, the armor-bearers of Jehovah.  Jehovah Himself, the God of the ancient pillar-cloud, is still in the Sinai desert.  He is the Guardian of their march, in front and in rear, and making bare His holy arm for their defense and safety.


Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from here and touch no unclean thing.


Such is the literal picture.  But this is pure Gospel.  The literal meaning is subordinate to the Gospel message.  We have the express testimony of the Apostle Paul in Romans 10:15.  He gives these words an entirely, evangelical meaning referring them to the preaching of the gospel by the apostles, and other ambassadors of Christ.


How” says he “shall they preach, except they be sent?”  As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things.”


The truest interpretation of the passage points to that mighty deliverance to the world from the bondage of sin---the glad tidings of “great joy to all people,” of which the return from Babylon (captivity to bondage) was the pledge and earnest of the deliverance of the Church throughout the ages.  


The eye of the Prophet beheld a symbol of the human race in a state of degradation and ruin (of which I was one- such as they).


None can by any means save himself or redeem his brother.  Humanity, like a dethroned monarch---a captive queen, sat powerless in the dust.  Many continue to solve the problem of her self-restoration; but all the wisdom of man, human reason and philosophy has failed to undo the iron fetters, and let the oppressed go free.


The prophet in heavenly vision saw my deliverance far beyond the historical application; and deliverance from nation to nation and race to race carrying the tidings of salvation around the world.


Isaiah sees a whole world brought under the reign of the Prince of Peace and can exclaim ---“The Lord has made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.”


In Paul’s application to The Church, there is included a call to Zion to go forth everywhere and evangelize.  The Church is not to rest until every mountain on earth’s surface be gladdened with the feet of gospel messengers, with trumpet-tongues proclaiming the salvation of our great King.


When this universal triumph of Christ and His Gospel is consummated, there will be no more division by unworthy jealous or competitions.  The church will be brought in unity in divine and holy harmony.


The common interest of Zion will be dearer than all of our narrow doctrines.  They shall see eye to eye”.


Over His church those lovely-footed messengers will declare “Our God Reigns”.  Jesus Christ rules over His church and over the nations.  I have set my King on my holy hill of Zion.”


He is controlling every event for our ultimate welfare.  That sacramental host, His Holy remnant throughout the entire world have as their rear guard our Almighty guardian.


The armor-bearers of Jehovah, His ministers, need never fear the ultimate success of their proclamation of the good tidings; for the battle is the Lord’s and with His own glorious arm made bare, He will surely bring Zion home.


Verse 13 commences a prophecy which extends through 53:12.  This is pure gospel and prophesies of the Messiah.  This section of scripture is one of the most outstanding portions of the Old Testament.  We will begin with 53:12 next week.


Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church

scripture from K.J.V. – I entered into the labors of John Ross MacDuff – “Comfort Ye, Comfort Ye.” – Public Domain.







From: Betty Amante [mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ]


Yesterday I thought about this poem I wrote years ago. Your message was “out of this world” On target!!!!:O)






By Bet Amante




From the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, Chapter 52




Awake, awake! Put on thy strength


Oh beautiful daughter of Zion


Henceforth there shall no more come unto thee


The unclean, the jackal, the cowering  lion




Put on thy beautiful garments


Rise and shake thyself from the dust


Arise and sit down , oh Jerusalem


Loose thyself from the neck bands of Rust




Oh captured daughter of Zion


Ye have sold yourselves for naught


And ye shall be redeemed without money


Your freedom, the Lamb’s blood has bought




How beautiful upon the mountains


Are the feet of those who speak


Good tidings of great salvation


To the captives the oppressed and the weak




Thy watchmen shall lift up their voices


As together they sing, “Thy God Reigns”


And together they shall see eye to eye


When the Lord shall bring Zion again




Break forth into joy, sing together


All ye waste places and bare


For the Lord hath comforted His people


And redeemed them from hopeless despair




The Lord hath revealed His holy arm


To the eyes of every  nation


All the ends of the earth shall see and behold


The greatness of God’s creation.









Ye shall not go out with haste nor flight


For the Lord shall go before you


And the God of Israel  shall gather you up


In His arms to heal and restore you




Behold, my servant shall deal prudently


He shall be extolled and exalted high


Though His visage was marred more than any man


He shall come with His saints in the sky




So shall He sprinkle many nations


And the mouths of Kings will He close


And as many as were astonied with Him


Shall see the defeat of His foes




For that which had not been told them


Shall they see, for it shall be revealed


And that which had not been heard with their ears


Shall they consider , that they may be healed




Awake!!! Awake! Oh Jerusalem!


Rise and sing,  holy city, with one accord


Hosanna! Hosanna!  Blessed  is He


Who comes in the name of the Lord!!!!!




And on that day you shall know the Lord’s name


And when He speaks you shall know His voice


When His feet touch the Mountain of Olives


Oh Israel!!! Awake and rejoice!!!!

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