Who are we, and why we are here? These questions haunt men of ancient times and men of modernity. Certainly, you were not born on this world just to take up space, use the world’s dwindling resources, go on shopping or holiday, get married, have children, and then die. When God created us, He has a specific purpose in mind for each one of us.
Isaiah is called 5th Evangelist (like Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John) and the book of Isaiah is called the 5th Gospel. The book of Isaiah presents Jesus Christ as the main theme. In the book, the prophecy on Christ’s virgin birth, character, life, suffering, death, and resurrection, are presented with stunning clarity.
The Book of Isaiah has 66 chapters: 39 chapters are devoted to the Law, and 27 chapters talked about Grace and Salvation from the LORD. Can you see the parallelism of the Book of Isaiah with the Bible? The Bible has 66 books – 39 from the Old Testament and 27 from the New Testament.
As a background to our text, let’s read Psalm 137:1-4, “By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion! How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land?”
During the Babylonian exile, the Jewish people had to re-think their beliefs system. Like the Jewish people in captivity, we were once prisoners, too. Captive to sin, hostage to an ugly past, prisoners to an uncertain future. But when we believe the good news of salvation and made Jesus Christ the Lord and Saviour of our lives, our belief systems have changed and our lives have changed.
In Isaiah 52:7-10, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns”! Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When the LORD returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes. Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the LORD has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem”. “The LORD will lay bare His holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.”
Our text in verse 7 talks about messengers of good tidings: their feet looks beautiful even though they are probably dirty and with worn out shoes or worn out sandals. They are beautiful because they proclaim peace and salvation. Most of all, they proclaim a wonderful reality that God reigns.
Because “God reigns”, we don’t spin out of orbit or crash into the sun. It means the earth is established and the planetary laws of gravity remains constant. It means there is peace in the midst of turmoil, hope in the midst of desperation.
When the people of Israel were taken captive to Babylon, they felt God has abandoned them, and they wept with heaviness of the heart; but now God has returned to Zion, and the captives returned to Jerusalem. Now they can worship the LORD in His temple once again. And they shout for joy. God’s plan is to bring salvation to all the peoples of the earth. When He returns, He will redeem His people and set them free from whatever has enslaved them. He will comfort His people but He is also ready to fight for His people. It also signifies a benevolent shepherd willing to lay down his life for his sheep, especially the weak sheep. (Isaiah 52:8-10).
God wants us to rise above the struggles of our human existence. He wants us to become His ambassadors of good tidings. We know that grace is available not only in the New Testament but even in the Old Testament. Meaning that in the Old Testament times, God’s grace is available partially only to God’s chosen people – the Israelites. But in the New Testament, the birth of Christ signals the fullness of God’s grace because even the Gentiles or the non-Israelites are now co-heirs of the blessings of Abraham through Christ (cf. Ephesian 3:6; Colossians 3:29).
To share the gospel is to tell a dying world that we have a living Lord. Do we have the kind of life testimony that could help lead others to Christ? If we are going to use our life as a yardstick in bringing others to Christ, would our lives pass as a compelling evidence of God’s sustaining grace? Would our faith shine brightly in the darkness, or, silently fade away? Without a purpose, life has no meaning. And a man without a purpose has nothing.