6 I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem;
they will never be silent day or night.
You who call on the Lord,
give yourselves no rest,
7 and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem
and makes her the praise of the earth.
8 The Lord has sworn by his right hand
and by his mighty arm:
“Never again will I give your grain
as food for your enemies,
and never again will foreigners drink the new wine
for which you have toiled;
9 but those who harvest it will eat it
and praise the Lord,
and those who gather the grapes will drink it
in the courts of my sanctuary.”
10 Pass through, pass through the gates!
Prepare the way for the people.
Build up, build up the highway!
Remove the stones.
Raise a banner for the nations.
11 The Lord has made proclamation
to the ends of the earth:
“Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your Savior comes!
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.’”
12 They will be called the Holy People,
the Redeemed of the Lord;
and you will be called Sought After,
the City No Longer Deserted.
Points of Interest:
Image of the Day–Chattering watchmen
I don’t know who ‘I’ is at the beginning of this passage, the Servant or God, but one or the other of them hires watchmen to the task of pestering God. Every few minutes, they’re supposed to yell out, ‘I still don’t see anything,’ and then, ‘No, still nothing,’ and after a brief pause, ‘Important update: nothing’s happening.’ It’s a whole crew of them, so that they can work around-the-clock shifts until God acts.
I think the point is to nudge God more in the ‘quickly’ direction, over the ‘when it happens’ side of the equation.
Promise of the Day–The one who does the work gets the reward
This feels like a small but important promise from God: freedom from the bullies and the oblivious.
Imagine a patient and industrious wine-lover. They grow the grapes all the way from vine cuttings. They wait all season until the grapes are perfectly ripe. They press the grapes, let them ferment, age the wine, bottle it, and wait for the perfect occasion to uncork that first bottle–only before they ever get the chance to taste it someone else comes along and, either out of malice or simply out of ignorance, gulps down the whole bottle. Maybe you feel like something like that has happened to you one time or another. Maybe you feel like it’s the story of your life.
God’s promise here is that that will never happen again. You don’t need to be afraid of being scooped. There’s no need to pre-emptively gulp it down yourself, no need to install a security system for the wine cellar. You will have the chance to savor the fruits of your labor, at your leisure.
Announcement of the Day–Open for business
Send out the news, have a banner made, hire people to wear those sandwich boards and hand out fliers. Let everyone know, ‘God’s new Zion is now open for business.’
Jerusalem’s Nickname of the Day–Daughter Zion
Isaiah keeps piling on the images to describe just how dear Zion is to God. It’s like God is a famous architect, and Zion is God’s masterpiece. No, it’s more like Zion is the love of God’s life, and it’s their wedding day. Or maybe God is a doting parent, and Zion is God’s favorite daughter.
Taking it Home:
For our church: I think there are ways where our church feels like the watchman: waiting, and looking, checking the clock, walking in circles, and keeping our eyes peeled; waiting to see God act and fulfill promises made to our community of faith. Talk to God about church. Are there promises you feel like God has made to our church? Remind God about them. Would you like to see God act in a specific way in our church? Tell God so. As we get closer to the end of Lent, ask God to act quickly and in an affectionate-Zion-loving way toward our church in the year ahead.