For the Love of Zion

The impassioned call of God in Isaiah 62 has full application for the church today.

Gonzalo Sepúlveda

In some way, the message of Isaiah 62 has been present in our hearts these last thirty years. There is a grace in this word, which has captivated our hearts in such a way that it has never ceased to be a source of inspiration for service in the work of the Lord.

The broken ones become the restorers

By way of introduction we will look at some things from Isaiah 61: 1-3. The same passage that our Lord Jesus Christ read, as recorded in Luke 4: 16-21:

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; He has sent me to preach good news to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and freedom to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s goodwill ... to comfort all who mourn, to order that the afflicted of Zion be given glory instead of ashes, oil of joy instead of mourning, the mantle of joy in place of an anguished spirit; and they shall be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, for his glory. "

We are those afflicted, mournful, broken and downcast, on whom the Lord has had mercy. We have been healed and set free from our anguish and affliction. Our first desire was for the Lord to heal the broken-hearted; maybe we looked for Him because of our pain or difficult situations in life. But the Lord had much more to give us. He not only wanted to forgive us and heal us: he sought us out that we might serve the purpose of His heart.

With these broken men and women, the Lord intends to rebuild old ruins, restore ruined cities and remove the rubble from many generations (v. 4). What does this mean? It means that in the past it was badly built; therefore, the building collapsed and now it is necessary to remove a lot of rubble. The Lord has a purpose with us. He has always wanted to have a people that glorify His name.

"And you will be called priests of the Lord, ministers of our God you will be called ... and with his glory you will be sublime" (v. 6). The idea of the sublime is the ultimate, that is, God wants to take his servants to the maximum possible expression of their capacities for service and life. Let us recognize our natural difficulty in understanding what is meant by glory. But, the Lord Himself is our glory! and he calls and uses those who rejoice with his glory (Isaiah 13: 3, 60:19).

In the days of the prophet Jeremiah, we find the most dramatic words recording God’s complaint against his people: "Be appalled, O heavens, at this, and shudder, be very desolate,” declares the Lord. “For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me... My people have changed their glory for that which does not profit."(Jer 2: 11-13). This the Israelites did, and they went after what does not profit. As a consequence, great ruin came upon the people of God.

They had the calling to be a kingdom of priests and holy people. But they did not fulfil that role; therefore the kingdom was taken from them. But today we are concerned about the state of the church. We are not Jews, we are Gentiles, we are the believers, the Christians of this generation.

If we look at the plans of God and seek to find where his joy and delight lie with his people, we have to go to the book of Acts. There was a day when 120 brothers and sisters who had gathered together knew what the glory of God was. in that place a glorious church was manifested, which came to be respected, not by the political power or by the eloquence of its representatives, but by the power and the manifest presence of God among them. Because God was with them, the doors of prisons were opened, the sick were healed, the crowds were evangelized, many obeyed the faith, believers left everything for the Lord's sake and sin was judged harshly.

But how is the state of Christianity today? What is the role that we must play today? The answer is that God wants those of us who were distressed and broken, to now rise up and rebuild old ruins, to remove the waste of many generations, because the Lord has not given up on having a people where He is truly glorified, and He wants to show to the nations, to this society, what he wants to do and is capable of doing with His people.

What is the restoration of the church, but that the Lord Himself being present, presiding over everything and really occupying the first place in our hearts and in the church and in all things? The Lord is our glory; He had much more to give us than we ever imagined.

Isaiah 61:10: "I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels." Here the purpose of the Lord is revealed: a bridegroom and a bride. We are waiting for the marriage supper of the lamb whose bride we are. God’s hope is not only that we have a mental understanding of this. The Lord wants to capture our heart! If our relationship to the Lord doesn’t fill up the measure of this love, being like a bridegroom to his bride, then we are found wanting. May the Lord deepen our understanding of Isaiah 61.

Until the fulfilment of His purpose

Let's now turn to Isaiah 62: 1-12: "For Zion's sake I will not keep silent and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest until ..." This word was written by Isaiah, however it is not his own poetic inspiration, but the voice of God Himself. He says: «For Zion's sake I will not keep silent ...». Motivated by His love, he does not tire, he has not stopped speaking or working "until ...".

This expression - "until" - is very important for us, because it means that something has started to be carried out, which is then in development, in the hope of its conclusion. And that has to do with our spiritual history. We had a blessed beginning: We met the Lord Jesus! We have known God's salvation! But there is a purpose at the end of this race, which has not yet been fulfilled. The Lord has allowed many trials in our individual lives and in the life of the church.

Assuredly God is working, and He will continue his work until He achieves his goal: "Until her righteousness goes forth like brightness, and her salvation like a torch that is burning.". There is a strong emphasis in the language, which reveals a sure purpose of the Lord.  Zion is God's dwelling place (Psalm 132: 13-16). We are not Jews, and we have not come as they did to the mountain that could be touched, that is, to Sinai; we have come to Mount Zion, the city of the Living God, the heavenly Jerusalem; so that Zion is the church and Jerusalem is also the church (Hebrews 12:22).

"The Gentiles are fellow citizens together with the saints, members of the family of God and those who in Christ Jesus are being edified together as the dwelling place of God in the spirit" (Ephesians 2: 19-22). In this way, we see how the Lord opens our understanding so that we can understand the Scriptures. Isaiah 62 agrees with Ephesians 2 and 3 and 4, with Hebrews 12, and with Revelation 21: 3 and 10. Isaiah is prophecy, Ephesians is development, the "until", and Revelation is fulfilment.

For us, in a spiritual sense, Zion and Jerusalem represent the church. Let us remember that our Lord wept over Jerusalem in the days of His visitation: "... you who kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you, how many times I wanted to gather your children ... and you were not willing!" Today he comes to us ... Will he have tears in his heart? How many today are rejecting his word? It is good to ask ourselves: "How much have we treasured of what the Lord has spoken to us? Are we also among those who resist the word that He sends through his prophets? " However, be that as it may, the Lord will not be silent, nor will He rest ... until ... His righteousness goes forth as a radiant beam.

Christ is the radiance

The word 'radiance', what idea does it provoke in us? A light? Lightning? Let us remember the episode on the mountain of the transfiguration "... and his face shone like the sun" (Mt 17: 2), and the vision of John on Patmos "... and his face was like the sun when it shines in its strength" (Ap 1:16) The radiance is Christ formed in us!

And here we remember the "until". The same expression used by Isaiah is also used by Paul in Galatians 4:19: "My little children, for whom I am again in labor pain, until Christ is formed in you." There is a radiance that must emerge from the church, and heaven is working to make it happen. There is also the expectation that his salvation will be lit up like a torch, and this speaks to us of hearts that are either ignited or extinguished. You know very well if your heart is on fire or not . "Do not quench the Spirit" (1 Thessalonians 5:19), says the Lord.

The Lord’s delight

Let's continue, because the word is very rich. Verses 4 and 5 take us back to the figure of husband and wife, bride and bridegroom: "You will never be called helpless or desolate again, but you will be called Hefzi-bá, (meaning" My delight is in her ") ) and Beula (that is, Bride) ». How God changes our name! Just as we once were afflicted and broken, the Lord changed us into redeemed ones, into ministers and priests, with a mantle of joy and oil of gladness, happy to be with him!

My delight is in her. Look at the dream that the Lord has in His heart! He wants to delight in his beloved! And your land, Beula, that is, Bride, "because the love of the Lord will be in you." Oh, how precious the church is to the Lord! Many times we become sad when we see that we are not what He wants, but the Lord will not rest until He achieves that which is in His heart.

"And as the husband rejoices with his wife, so will your God rejoice with you." God wants to find contentment. Many times our vision is very narrow. We say: "I am content in the Lord"; we want to be happy and we do not realize that “we” are still the centre of attention. We want to be alright, but the Lord wants more. He wants to be gratified, as in the relationship between a husband and his wife. What intimacy! What rejoicing!

The Lord makes us fall in love with Him; He does not settle just for being the Savior, although we will praise Him for eternity because of his wounds that gave us life. His wounds speak of love, because Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. Here, "she" is you and me. We cannot understand the greatness of His love! He is not satisfied with having power and dominion over all things. He wants us to fall in love with Him, for his delight is in His Beloved!

In recent years we have seen the pyramidal leadership systems fall. Because the Lord does not want a carnal man, a leader who decides everything. The Lord at this time is raising up corporate ministries. Hallelujah! We like to see 4, 5, 6, or 10 servants appear, each one serving with his measure of grace. We might think that this or that is one is the main person; but no, because the only one who is in the first place is the Lord Jesus Christ himself, and He is seated at the right hand of God the Father on high. Blessed is the Lord!

The watchmen

"On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have put watchmen, all day and all night, they will never be silent ... those who remember the Lord do not rest or give him respite, until He re-establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise on the earth »(V. 6) The watchmen, who are they? How many things we have been through together! How many have been left behind! The watchmen are not left behind. There are brothers who disappear after a while. They are not watchmen. Some of them were eloquent. But they are gone. A guard cannot leave, God has put them there, and no one can remove them!

«On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have placed watchmen ...». They cannot leave, their work does not stop, and they cannot keep quiet. Do you know their voice? You may not know it, because to know it you must be one of them. Many times the groans of these watchmen are not audible. They are not the ones who fight for leadership, they do not impose their position. They are men who cry out: «... those who remember the Lord, do not rest, do not give him a truce, until ...».

These servants walk like the wounded, they are sentinels on the walls; they watch while others rest. They are feeling what God feels, crying over the things that God cries over, and rejoicing in what God rejoices. And because of them, the work of the Lord is sustained. The Lord does not rest, "until He restores Jerusalem and makes it a praise on the earth." Even if hell opposes it, the Lord will prevail.

A call to young people

We speak to the young people: there’s so much that the world offers them, so much deception that surrounds us! It may seem that true happiness is in that corrupt world that is out there, but all that is nothing but rottenness! The Lord wants to captivate your heart for what really counts. This is what you were born for, to take the testimony of the Lord to the ends of the earth.

God is raising up these men and women. We are witnesses that a new generation is rising up these days, young people who love the Scriptures. The Lord Jesus has become the Love of their loves and the Song of their songs. Why do they remain? Because the Lord, "within them," not by their own strength, does not allow them to deviate to the right or to the left.

Why do the guards not rest or give up? Because there is still a path to be swept, there is a road to be paved, there are stones to remove (62:10).

He will have the church he wants

In Revelation 21, at the end, when earthly history is at its close, we find the bride of the Lamb, the heavenly Jerusalem. We are that city. Today we are being built up for the dwelling place of God in the Spirit. May Christ continue to be formed in each one of us, until we all reach the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph.4: 13). This wonderful work of our God has its culmination in that city whose brilliance is similar to that of a precious stone (Revelation 21:11).

There is a part of this restoration work that must be done in our time. Today is our day. Maybe another generation will come later or perhaps we could be the last; but, if we do not have the privilege of being the last one, the young people will have to carry forward this testimony. You are called by the Lord, to cry out, until you see the glorious church in which the Lord will have His delight.

Restoration is the work of God. He will get the church he wants. Thus His promise will be fulfilled: "The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former" (Hag. 2: 9). If we admire the church in Jerusalem, let us be filled with hope: what the Lord is going to get for Himself will be even better than the church of the first days. Let's dream with that church in mind.

"Behold, your Savior is coming, behold, his reward is with Him." Let us be very clear that the reward is not heaven or celestial mansions. Our reward is the Beloved himself. We only want Him.

Let Him continue to speak to every heart. So that, although we may see things as very weak and poor in the reality of our congregation, the Lord would allow us to see things as He sees them. This is what He says: “... and they will call them a Holy People, the redeemed of the Lord and you will be called the city of longing and not forsaken”  Glory to the name of the Lord!

Synthesis of a message shared in Callejones, January 2008.
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