Wake up, wake up, O Zion! Clothe yourself with strength. Put on your beautiful clothes, O holy city of Jerusalem, for unclean and godless people will enter your gates no longer. Rise from the dust, O Jerusalem. Sit in a place of honor. Remove the chains of slavery from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion. For this is what the Lord says: “When I sold you into exile, I received no payment. Now I can redeem you without having to pay for you.” This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “Long ago my people chose to live in Egypt. Now they are oppressed by Assyria. What is this?” asks the Lord. “Why are my people enslaved again? Those who rule them shout in exultation. My name is blasphemed all day long. But I will reveal my name to my people, and they will come to know its power. Then at last they will recognize that I am the one who speaks to them.” Isaiah 52:1-6 NLT
The Israelites suffered under Babylon and Assyria and they blamed God for this. They claim that they are victims and will not admit their shortcomings before God. “O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights?” (Isaiah 40:27). Unless people experience true salvation that comes from the reign of God over one’s life, they will not have an appreciation of the freedom that God provides. This is why the message of salvation through the preaching of the gospel should be proclaimed over and over again. This is what Isaiah was calling the Israelites from the text when he admonished them to “wake up, wake up.” God provides freshness, dignity, and distinction. “Rise from the dust, O Jerusalem. Sit in a place of honor. Remove the chains of slavery from your neck” (Isaiah 52:2). This is also what Christ calls us to experience. The salvation that God provides by having a personal relationship with Him results to a new position in Christ. “So Christ has truly set us free” (Galatians 5:1a). If you had made the decision to know Christ as Lord and Savior, you are free indeed and should not be again be under the yoke of sin. This freedom was obtained by God and does not require payments on our part. “I can redeem you without having to pay for you” (Isaiah 52:3). Salvation is not about our ability to acquire moral advantage for we do not have anything to offer. This is why anyone can come to God and receive redemption. It is by His sheer grace that we are saved and freed. The Israelites, because they rebelled and resisted God, they were enslaved again. “Long ago my people chose to live in Egypt. Now they are oppressed by Assyria” (Isaiah 52:4). It is either we accept God’s offer of free gift of grace or to live again under the yoke of sin. Once we receive His grace, we start to display His glory and our grateful hearts will express the joy of knowing Him to others who need to be awakened.