Isaiah 51:17-53:9

Isaiah 51‑53  •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 10
It is worthy of note that in the passage before us there are three calls to hearken and three to awake. Those called upon to hearken in the early part of the chapter— verses 1, 4, 7— are those who “follow after righteousness... that seek the Lord”; those acknowledged as “My people”; and those “that know righteousness... in whose heart is My law”. The emphasis clearly is on righteousness, for nothing that contravenes that is going to stand.
The first call to awake is addressed to the “Arm of the Lord” (verse 9), for all is dependent upon Him. When the hour strikes for Him to awake and put on strength, there will be witnessed the awakening of Jerusalem, as indicated in verse 17, and again in the first verse of Isaiah 52. The awakening that will come to pass will not be merely a political or national one, but will rather involve a deep spiritual work, as is made plain when chapter 52 is reached. It will come to pass only when Jerusalem shall have suffered to the full the chastising government of God, having drunk to the dregs the cup of His fury and of their trembling.
So first of all, in the closing verses of chapter 51, we get a recital of the effect of these disciplinary dealings, and then the declaration of how God will reverse the process, and chastise those who inflicted judgment upon Israel. But there will have been not only the sword of their enemies afflicting them but also famine, which comes from the hand of God. Under the affliction they are depicted as “drunken”, but it is added, “not with wine”. When the Arm of the Lord awakes on their behalf, the hour of their deliverance will strike, and the “cup of trembling” be taken out of their hands and put into the hands of their oppressors.