on Isaiah chapters 56-66

on chapter 56
Everyone may taste salvation, –
gathered, blessed and honoured too
– all who bind themselves to serve him,
love and worship; will not do
evil, but what’s just and righteous,
hold his covenant, Sabbaths pure,
trusting in his perfect sacrifice,
his salvation, certain, sure.

Though the world despise, reject you,
your hearts are known, and God will bless you.

Watchmen loll, and dream, and sleep,
gorge and drink, don’t tend their sheep.

on chapter 57
Many are spared who are upright and righteous,
dying before the great trouble disasterous.

Mockers, rebelling, and following lies, –
idols pathetic: why do you despise
the One who in heaven is lofty and holy,
but also will live with the contrite and lowly?

He heals, creates praise, guides to comfort and peace;
but those who refuse won’t know rest or release.

on chapter 58
Demanding of the LORD, with show
of godliness and praise,
and grumbling that this God must owe
them better, though their ways
are as they please, with gestures merely,
not kindliness that costs them dearly.

Delighting in God’s worship, honour,
not idle talk at whim,
– then, when they call, the LORD will answer,
they’ll taste true joy in him.
Well satisfied, and blest Repairers
of damage, God-equipped Restorers

on chapter 58
If we fast, then he will bless us –
we’ll persuade him to be kind.”
“Are you generous, just, and thoughtful
to surrounding needs, or blind?”
If you’re one who loves and shares,
then you’ll know a God who cares.

What’s your attitude and pleasure
to the Sabbath, special day?
If you’re those who honour God,
now delight to serve, obey;
then his gift you will possess –
brightest jewel, joy in Christ.

What we are is what’s important, –
fully serving, for we own
life anew with obligations;
blessings of obedience known.
Chosen rituals cannot buy
grace for which Christ had to die.
Tune: 87 87 77 Gounod tune of ‘One there is  above all others’

on chapter 59
The arm of God is not too short,
his ear is never dull,
but sin a barrier builds, – admit
its implications full.

They’ve lips that mutter wicked things,
and hands that hurt and harm,
and plans that hatch out snakes with fangs,
spin clothes that cannot warm.

Acknowlege then how bad things are,
for he alone can come
and scorch out evil near and far,
bring praise for all he’s done.

All who repent he will redeem,
his arm brings great salvation,
his Spirit and his Word sustain
through every generation.

on chapter 60
The LORD with his loved ones, attracting from far
– bright light in the darkness – they come more and more
to serve to God’s glory. Salvation protects.
They praise the Almighty, he quickly perfects,
his people then splendid, the LORD is their light,
and sorrow is banished, – and all will be right.

But those who refuse this,
will be ruined, and lose this.

on chapter 61
Great blessings soon would be their lot
when they came home, returned
from lengthy stint in exile, but
for more than this they yearned.

This One would come, anointed, preaching
gracious message, gospel word;
and they would flourish, with rejoicing,
clothed with the righteousness of God.

As the soil makes seeds to germinate and grow,
so the Sovereign LORD himself makes praises flow,
and righteousness spring up on earth below.

Anointed for the greatest task, the best of news to preach –
of liberty, and comfort, cheer, the guilty’s full release;
of favour, joy, for those who feel their failure and their sin,
despair removed and praise inspired: all glory be to him.

All power to lift and bind up wounds, announce God’s day of wrath,
eternal grace for those who ask and know they’ve earned but death.
All power to give, provide, create, to plant strong, stable trees,
with righteous life, displaying grace of him they want to please.
Tune: DCM

on chapter 62
God wants his Zion splendid, glorious,
the Holy People, sought;
a crown in God’s right hand, and precious,
all those redeemed, and brought.

His love for Zion ardent, strong,
a husband’s love will long,
and perfect progress that matures,
to glory that endures.

The land no longer Desolate,
and we, as watchmen, pray,
and call, point many to the gate,
and clear and show the way.

especially v.7
I will not give Jehovah rest,
I cannot hold my peace
until his church, revived and blest
experiences increase,
and brings him praise throughout the earth –
a blazing torch to shine,
and show his righteousness and truth,
his saving grace divine.

Desire intense have I to see
no longer Desolate,
no more Deserted, made to be
a crown of splendid state;
and for her sake I will not keep
from praying, will not rest.
Come, clear the path, for crowds will seek
salvation, and be blest.

Tune:Kingsfold, Ellacombe

on chapter 63:1–6
Holy judgment, retribution,
righteous vengeance, vindication,
Day of God’s examination,
reckoning for every nation,
for misuse of life, protection –
(– wasted); malice and corruption,
rebellious life removed, poured out,
and then, redemption vast will last.

on chapter 63:7–15
History of love, rebellion,
but repentance and salvation,
Spirit giving rest, compassion.

on chapter 63:16 – 64:12
Prayer needs trust in God’s ability,
and contrition in sincerity,
prayer for mercy, and God’s honour,
with desire his might be shown,
and the glory of his grace
with his people, holy place;
living God now seen to do,
wonders  as of old, anew.
Prayer needs earnestness and labour,
clinging confidence, and vigour,
waiting for his righteous answer.

on chapter 65
God called to those who were not seekers.
Grace will cease to God-provokers,
but he sees those who are serving, –
remnant for the LORD are living.

But dried-up grapes within the cluster
will be destroyed – the luck they lust for –
gambling, fortune cannot last for
ever, destiny is in God’s hand,
God of truth who knows the end.

A new creation, no frustration,
God’s people then a joyful nation,
ever glad, with satisfaction,
living long with full provision
by a caring, heavenly Father –
the former things they won’t remember.

on chapter 66
‘I am great and rule the cosmos,
not confined to any place.
Does your spirit, contrite, humble,
at my awesome teaching tremble?

‘Outward form of love, if hiding
deafness to my words and will,
fear and harshness will be finding.’

For God’s church all will be well –
strength and comfort, peace, expansion –
new birth and many brought to serve,
worship in the new creation,
and the rebels’ end observe.

But for his glory, and in grace
he makes a people and a place,
restored, and sanctified – what bliss
– eternal perfect kingdom this!

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