No longer captives
Get out! Get out and leave your captivity, where everything you touch is unclean. Get out of there and purify yourselves, you who carry home the sacred objects of the Lord. You will not leave in a hurry, running for your lives. For the Lord will go ahead of you; yes, the God of Israel will protect you from behind. Isaiah 52:11-12 NLT
From the text, it seems odd that God would have to command the Israelites to leave a place of bondage and captivity. God has to do it because some of them had grown accustomed to Babylon and were reluctant to leave. God confronted them and asked to make a choice; Babylon or Zion? Their answer will reveal their priority and identity for the people of God cannot remain as they are. As in the time of Moses, they had to leave Egypt. Same here in this text, exiles had to flee Babylon. Isaiah gave God’s warning not to linger but to get out quickly while they had the opportunity (see Isaiah 48:20). They were also told not to take any of Babylon’s filthiness with them. These include the whole Babylonian system of idolatry and occult practices that had badly influenced the Jewish nation (see Isaiah 47:11–15). The same command is given to all of God’s servants to obey, those who claim Christ as their Lord and Savior. We too must decide, get moving, and run away from every system of false teachings that provide false hope for salvation. We have to do it fast and make a clean break. God is preparing something better for us. We are “approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel” (1 Thessalonians 2:4). This means that we must be clear in our message and influence. Anything about us that might send a wrong message about the victory of God or will make Christ’s claim unattractive must go. “For the Lord will go ahead of you” (Isaiah 52:12). God through the Lord Jesus Christ has won the most meaningful victory imaginable on our behalf. He is sending us to people who are longing to hear a message of hope. He promised to be over us as we go. “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Let us get on with the work of the Lord while we still have time.