While the “sin” problem may have been dealt with by the suffering Messiah (chapter 53), and a banquet of peace offered without charge to the people of God (chapter 55), the blessings will not just appear. They will only come to a people who change their lives. Chapter fifty-eight contains the best summary of what is needed in the entire book.
Before we look at that chapter though, there is an important matter that must not be missed.
The “sin problem” will not be dealt with in the lifetime of Isaiah – or that of the people who heard him, nor those who first read him. It will not be dealt with until the servant who is the Lord comes.
That, of course, was Jesus.
So whatever requirements God makes here of His people are really focused on us, Christians, upon whom the ends of God’s promises have come. What does God require of us?
He requires a devotion to His values.
It means generosity to those who depend on us rather than exploiting their dependence.
It means turning the other cheek toward those who would hurt us, and a refusal to strike those who have provoked us.
It means standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.
It means providing for the needy.
It means a devotion to family – especially those of the family of God.
It means we trust in God. That was always the purpose of the Sabbath. God took a day off. We should too. God’s people don’t have to work all the time, because their hope is neither in their work nor in their income, but in the Lord who provides the work and the day to do it.
It means that the People of God, as the People of God, the Church, is known for living these values. It means those values must be found in us as individuals so they can be found in the collective nation of His holy people.
This is important. When God’s people, cleansed by God’s sacrifice, live God’s way, only then will He satisfy our needs in a sun-scorched land and strengthen our frame. Only then shall we be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.