There may be no joy in our wicked society, among the ungodly, or even in dead, formal churches. But Isaiah speaks a word of hope to the righteous: “Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, you people in whose heart is My law” (51:7). God is speaking here to all those who know and obey him.
We who know Christ’s righteousness are not to live as those who are without hope. We have been blessed with both the love and fear of God, and his will for us in the darkest times is to obtain his joy. Even as we see judgment falling around us, we are to sing, shout and rejoice — not because judgment has come, but in spite of it.
God reminded his people, “[I] made the depths of the sea a road for the redeemed to cross over” (51:10. He was saying, “I’m still the Lord, the worker of miracles, and my arm is still strong to deliver you.” So, what does God want his people to know in light of this truth? He says it all in one verse, Isaiah 51:11:
- “So the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing.” In other words, “I’m going to have a people who return to me with trust, faith and confidence.”
- “With everlasting joy on their heads.” The joy of God’s people won’t be just for a Sunday morning, or a week or a month. It will last even to the very end.
- “Sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” This doesn’t mean all our suffering will end but it means our trust in the Lord will put us above every pain and trial.
God looked down through the ages and said, “I’m going to have a people who will obtain joy.” You can lay hold of it and it will be yours — forever!