Awake, awake, O Zion, clothe yourself with strength! Put on your garments of splendour, O Jerusalem, the holy city. The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again. Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, O Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck, O Captive Daughter of Zion.
Chapters 40 – 55 of Isaiah focus on the comfort and hope of God’s people in exile in Babylon and far away from Jerusalem the holy city. The opening of chapter 40 brings good news that ‘her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, and that she has received form the LORD’s hand double for all her sins,’
Consequently there is now time for action set out in today’s verses above! The call here echoes chapter 51.9 where the people are appealing for the ‘arm of the LORD’ to awake except that that plea is now turned back on them with the onus of action firmly in their court.
Awake, awake O Zion, clothe yourself with strength (put on your strength ESV). By the grace of God that strength was available to them, so they were to put on that which God had provided and live as what he declared them to be.
The same theme carries through into the New Testament so we cannot escape the challenge! Hear what Paul says to the Ephesian church in chapter 4 and verses 22-24.
‘You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its sinful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.’
So today , the call to action, to awake, rings loud and clear. The day promised in scripture of final freedom from the captivity of sin draws nearer. The day when there will be a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness and holiness reign. We have no time to loose we must ourselves wake up and call all mankind to awake to the good news of the gospel for without that there is no comfort and no hope.
Do you feel inadequate for the task? Are you perhaps still asleep or at least only partially awake? Then wake up and be strong in the strength that God supplies.
Soldiers of Christ, arise,
And put your armour on,
Strong in the strength which God supplies,
Through His eternal Son;
Strong in the Lord of Hosts,
And in His mighty power,
Who in the strength of Jesus trusts
Is more than conqueror.