Cry Day and Night
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 62:1-7
When we see the word ‘Israel’, ‘Zion’ it also refers to the Church, Christian because we are the spiritual Jews. Isaiah 62 can be summed up like this. The Lord will no longer remain quiet until the church’s righteousness and salvation shines forth to other nations. The church will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand. The Lord will bestow a new name on the church of Hephzibah (my delight is in her) and Beulah (married) and be rid of Deserted and Desolate. God will rejoice and be married to God. Watchmen will be on the Church’s walls who will never be silent. Call on the Lord and give him no rest until he establishes the church and makes her the praise of the earth (keep asking God for His glory to shine). The Lord has sworn never to allow the Church to be conquered again (to have their food and wine taken by others). Instead, the Church shall praise the Lord and eat and drink in the courts of the Lord’s sanctuary. Prepare the way for others to come to the church. Raise the banner for nations. The Savior will come bringing His reward and recompense with Him. The Church will be called the Holy People, Redeemed of the Lord, Sought After, and the City No Longer Deserted. What can we learn from Isaiah 62?
- 1. The Speaker
The speaker in verse 1 tells us that he will not keep silent until Jerusalem’s ‘righteousness goes forth like brightness and her salvation like a torch that is burning’. There is debate as to whom is actually doing the speaking in the first section of this chapter. The choices for who could be doing the speaking are the Prophet Isaiah, God’s ‘ideal’ servant, the Messiah, and the Angels. There is a clue to who this speaker is in verse 6. The speaker now reveals here that he is divine for he says that he has appointed watchman on the walls of Jerusalem who will never keep silent. The speaker in verse 6 is definitely one of the godhead for he says, “I have appointed watchman.”
- 2. The Watchmen
Then there are the watchmen. Please note it is not a watchman but watchmen. The watchmen had a job of watching for the invading enemy army. They would sound an alarm to summon the troops if an enemy came against a city. I call them the gatekeeper. I was watching together with Pastor Lily on the movie ‘Thor’. I was telling her about this giant size guy, fully armored with a sword on both his hands. He is the gatekeeper. He watches the entry and exit into the City. Nobody can enter and exit without his approval. He protects the city. This church literally has a gate right now. So we can understand what a gatekeeper is better. Our building committee is also the watchmen. They are formed to ensure that Evangel Tabernacle is built with the utmost safety, to ensure that the trustee and the foundations are strong. They also check against cheating in the materials quoted by the contractor. You can say that they are literally protecting our physical church. Their first priority is the goodness of Evangel Tabernacle. These are all the functions of the watchmen and there is nothing wrong with it. But these watchmen don’t sound trumpets in Isaiah 62. God is asking the watchmen to enter the spiritual realm. The watchmen in Isaiah 62 are prayer warriors. The watchmen God is calling are human intercessor. As they watch over the land from the walls of Jerusalem they remind the Lord in prayer to save His people. These verses speak of the importance of intercessory prayer, and what it consists of, reminding the Lord of His promises and claiming them. They pray. How must we all become prayer warriors to pray to the Lord for His favor and for His hand to work in the church. God always work in conjunction with the prayers of His people. What are the characteristics of these watchmen?
Firstly they take no rest for themselves. We see here that there is urgency concerning prayer, for God’s watchmen, which we are as God’s people, are told to ‘take no rest for yourselves.’ We need more prayer warriors, people who have their eyes open, people who respond to the enemy’s advance by praying. Secondly they are to remind God of His promises. God is saying that He’s set these watchmen on the walls, and their job is to remind Him, God, of His promises regarding Jerusalem. These “watchmen” are to keep “reminding” God of His promises. The key phrase is in verse 6 & 7. ‘Keep not silence’ There should be no cessation. We are not to keep quiet, not to rest, be in silence, pause and in peacefulness until God’s promises came to pass. What people are you being a watchman for? Are you watching in prayer for your spouse? Are you watching in prayer for your parents? Are you watching in prayer for your children or grandchildren? I have seen with my own eyes how Pastor Lily was a watchman for my two children. She bombarded heaven concerning God’s promises for Joy and when all hopes seem lost, and Joy was settling for a course in the Arts and Social Sciences, God allowed her to get into the School of Biological Sciences. And today Joy is working in a prestigious government funded agency. When Jan’s received her result for her ‘A’, level, she couldn’t stop crying and her teachers were unable to tell her that her result is not that bad. She was so devastated that she crumbled her results paper. Today if you look at the paper, it is not a clean piece of paper but a crumbled one. But Pastor Lily would bombard heaven and reminded God of His promises for our two daughters and the news came that she got into a scholarship in France. Are you watching in prayer for those who are without a relationship with Jesus and without hope? You need to give the Lord no rest, keep reminding him, ask and keep on asking, for him to bring that person to Christ, to keep them safe, to make them whole. I believe we have managed to settle the physical construction of Evangel Tabernacle. I believe God wants us to enter into another phase for Evangel Tabernacle; a watchman for your spouse, your parents, your children, grandchildren, your family and most important of all, a watchman for Iloilo City. God has a plan for the end-time. Are you praying, “Lord, come quickly?” Are you asking the Lord to move his end-time plans forward and redeem this world for himself? Are you watching our nation and the nations and the news and the upheavals in politics and oceans and tectonic plates and social issues for the hand of the Lord? Are you standing before him on behalf of nations to come to know Christ? Are you asking the Lord to come and establish his kingdom? He will do it, but we are called to join him in his Great Commission to take the name of Jesus to the nations and to our next door neighbor.
Thirdly they are under a divine command. Observe what manner of watchmen we ought to be. It is written in verse 6, “I have set watchmen.” We are under divine command. In the old Roman days, when a sentry was placed in his position by his centurion, he never thought of quitting his post. Rocks might roam, but not the sentinel of the empire. There was found in Pompeii, among the ashes, a sentry, standing in his place with his javelin in his hand: he had not flinched amid the deadly shower which fell from the volcano and buried the city. His centurion, in the name of the emperor, had set him there, and there he stood. In connection with his church! It is Jehovah who says, “I have set watchmen upon thy walls.” By a divine arrangement, and by a sacred command, saints are set in their positions, and they must stand fast, and, having done all, must still stand; for they have received their charge from the King himself.
- 3. The conditions of the people of God
The people in Jerusalem that are listening to this message seemed to be in doubt. They have gone through a lot and on the contrary it seems that the promises of God could hardly come to pass. In the first place they are in Babaylonian exile. Circumstances are not favorable to them. They had been blundered. They are desolate and forsaken. They dare not believe the promises of God anymore. But the Lord came in and assured them that He would surely fulfill these promises. The Lord revealed that He had appointed watchmen, whose job it was to remind Him of His promises to Israel, so that He would not forget them. Obviously the Lord does not forget His promises, but this assurance, in the language of the common practice of the day, underscored the fact that He would not forget.
- 4. Till we are established
Another key word is ‘establish’. Verse 7 says ‘give him no rest, till he establish. Many of our lives are not established. Many of you are still not establish in your career. Your family is still not established. Your home is not established. You are still living in a rented house. There are some of us who live in the shadow of Deserted and Desolate: rejection, fear, hopelessness, depression. This morning you walk into this church and you say that you are depressed. Some of you are deeply troubled by your marriage. For some of you, your family is not complete. We have embraced so much less than that Lord has planned for us. Isaiah 62 is crying out and calling us to new purposes without shame. God is pursuing you and wants you to walk in the light (62:1-2) he has provided. Evangel is definitely not an established church. We are far from an established church. God isn’t finished with you. Sometimes I have a hard time finishing something once I’ve started it. A Pastor said: ‘I once replaced an exhaust fan in our bathroom, but accidentally left a hole in the ceiling when I did it. It took me well over five years to get that hole fixed. I’ve got projects all over the place that I’ve started, but I don’t always get around to finishing things. Looking at Evangel Tabernacle physically. Yes we have finished the construction of the main sanctuary. But how about the church office, the Rzone & the TKK meeting place. How about the garden, the four walls of the church, the leveling of the ground. Evangel Tabernacle is far from being established as a physical church. God isn’t like that. He plans on finishing the work He’s done in you. I believe God has helped us to construct this church and He is not finished with Evangel Tabernacle yet. And definitely He is not finished with the people that are coming to this church. Have you ever watched a show on TV that really draws you in, the story is intense, and you wonder how the show will end, when you see the words “To Be Continued…”? Those watching Korean Drama and even Filipino Soap Opera understand what I am talking about. You like the story, you are very interested in the ending, but it has to be continued next week. You feel kind of let down, wishing you could see how the story ended. But you tuned in the following week to see how the story did end. Sometimes we hit spots in our lives where it looks as if things are going to end on a really bad note. Hold on. God isn’t finished.
In what way will we be established?
Firstly a new name. Look at the promises of God. Verse 2 says ‘Thou shalt be called by a new name.’ Jerusalem will be so transformed that she will be called by a new name. Since the LORD is the author of the transformation, He is also the author of the new name (which the mouth of the LORD will name). The thought is extended in Isaiah 62:4, where the LORD “exchanges” the old names of Jerusalem for her new names of glory and security. The idea of a new name also extends to Christians, in passages like Revelation 2:17 and 3:12. In heaven, when our transformation is complete, we will receive a new name that matches our completely transformed nature. I just finished reading the book of Acts this week. As I was studying the book of Acts, I realized the Church was called ‘the way’. That was their name. Well we are forced to come out with a new name for our church. We are not allowed to be called Evangel Family Church. So we call ourselves Evangel Tabernacle. It is a new name. The word ‘new’ is ‘chadash’ which means new, new thing, fresh. A name in the Bible often speaks of a person’s nature. It’s possible that there will be an actual renaming of the city of Jerusalem, but I think that God is referring to the things of verse 4, how people will change the way they talk about Jerusalem/the church. Jerusalem/the church will have a “whole new look”. People will change the way they talk about us. We definitely have a new look but God is not finished with us yet.
Secondly a praise in the earth. I told you all a few weeks ago that Pastor Lily told me that I must covenant with her to make Evangel a renowned church. I was taken aback and she seems a little bit out of line. But that is what God told her. She did not come out with that idea by herself. It comes from God’s word. Verse 7 says ‘And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.’ Isn’t that a renowned church? Israel and Jerusalem occupy such a very small piece of real estate on the globe. However just think about how much of the world’s attention is constantly being taken up with this one piece of land. I have heard that over 1/3rd of the discussions that the U.N. has entered into since Israel became a nation has centered around Israel. President Obama is in Jerusalem this week. Is that just a coincidence, or is this scripture being fulfilled? Truly, the prophesy of Zech. 12:3 is being fulfilled in our very sight, for Jerusalem is that burdensome stone to all of the nations of the earth in these last days. God is concerned with that area as an actual material place, it also stands as a representation of Israel, and in an even more general sense, as a representation of all God’s people. Isn’t Israel and Jerusalem the fulfillment of Isaiah 62:1-7? If God is so interested in Israel, as a physical place and the Jews as a people, God is equally interested in Evangel Tabernacle as a physical church in Tabu Subac as well as the Christians in this church as His people. And we are the Spiritual Church. If God can fulfill what he intends for Israel and Jerusalem, God can fulfill what he intends for the church. I Cor 2:9 says But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him ‘.
Thirdly the Gentiles shall see your righteousness: When God lifts up Zion, then the nations see it and brought to trust in the LORD themselves. The work God would do for Jerusalem was intended to have an effect for more than just Jerusalem, but would extend to the Gentiles and unto all kings. When God lifts a church up, no one can pull it down. No matter how you try to down a church, when God lifts it up, even outsiders will see. We don’t have to praise this church. Because people from the outside will praise this church. And it is the work of the Lord.
Fourthly you shall no longer be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall your sons marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. Jerusalem knew the experience of war and defeat and desolation. Evangel has tasted the experience of conflict and defeat and desolation. God’s people knew what it was like to feel Forsaken and Desolate, so it is as if they could take those names. But you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah: The days of Forsaken and Desolate will one day pass. There will come a day when Zion and God’s people will know that God delights in them (Hephzibah means “My delight is in her”). There will come a day when Zion and God’s people will know the unbroken presence and love of God, as a wife should know the presence and love of her husband (Beulah means “Married”). The LORD has sworn by His right hand and by the arm of His strength: No more will Jerusalem/the church be plundered by those who would steal here grain or new wine. Instead, those who have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the LORD.
When God is said to established his church, it meant a few things.
- Abundance of light and knowledge
- High degree of holiness
- Abundance of peace
- A multitude of converts
- A rich supply of all temporal good things
It also means men’s nature shall be changed. Their corrupt lust and passion shall be subdued. And all their riches, honor and power shall be employed for the support of Christ’s cause and kingdom.
In conclusion, we have to be watchmen, human intercessor to see the fulfillment of all that Isaiah has prophesied about Jerusalem and the Church of Jesus Christ. Evangel Tabernacle is the church of Jesus Christ. We want to gather all Evangelites to a one month, 24 hours prayer chain, that must not be broken. In the month of April. The watchmen have a constant duty. They shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest until He makes Jerusalem/Evangel Tabernacle, a praise in the earth. The watchmen are not critics; they are prayer warriors, who constantly pray, giving God “no rest” until God’s people and His city are restored. When God says ‘I have set watchmen upon thy walls, there is a threefold rich thought: Firstly the Lord Himself does not rest with regard to Zion/Church; Secondly, He does not want His petitioners to keep silence in their prayers for Israel/Evangel Tabernacle; and thirdly He does not want His people to leave Him alone concerning Israel’s deliverance.” “A restless Savior calls upon his people to be restless, and to make the Lord himself restless – to give him no rest till his chosen city is in full splendor, his chosen church complete and glorious.” “‘Give him no rest’ is our Lord’s own command to us concerning the great God. I do not suppose any of you ever advised a beggar to be importunate with you. Did you ever say, ‘Whenever you see me go over this crossing ask me for a penny. If I do not give you one, run after me, or call after me all the way down the street. If that does not succeed, lay hold upon me, and do not let me go until I help you. Beg without ceasing.’ Did any one of you ever invite applicants to call often, and make large requests of you? No. But God does. We are the beggars and He does in effect say, ‘Press me! Urge me! Lay hold on my strength. Wrestle with me, as when a man seeks to give another a fall that he may prevail with him.’ All this, and much more, is included in the expression, ‘Give him no rest.'” The LORD has sworn by His right hand and by the arm of His strength: No more will Jerusalem be plundered by those who would steal here grain or new wine. Instead, those who have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the LORD.