I read these latter chapters of Isaiah and I can’t help but be stirred with anticipation for Israel. I believe the prophesied promises of redemption and restoration among the tribes of Jacob are to be understood literally. I also believe that God has made Himself known as the Keeper of His Promises. Thus, I believe there will be a day when Messiah returns to reign, when the nations shall see Zion’s righteousness and all the kings of the earth will behold her glory (62:2). But beyond reading the promises and knowing the Promise Keeper, the anticipation stirred within me is due to a special connection I have with the ancient people of promise. It’s a connection that comes from having tasted what they will one day experience.
You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. (Isaiah 62:4-5 ESV)
Isaiah speaks of a day when the land of Israel will be called Beulah, or Married. A day when the sons of Israel will embrace the land not simply because of heritage, tradition, or national pride, but because it is the place of the throne of their Bridegroom. Having themselves been clothed by Him with the garments of salvation, covered by Him with robes of righteousness, like a bride adorned with jewels (61:1), they will consecrate themselves to the land of the One who has called them to Himself.
The land shall be married, says Isaiah, and God’s people will be God’s joy . . . as a bridegroom rejoices over the bride.
And that’s the connection.
. . . Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV)
Just as Israel is a bride in waiting, though that is largely hidden from her today, so too am I as part of the church. Having experienced, when I was yet in darkness, the Bridegroom’s call, I’ve known something of the redemption that awaits the sons and daughters of Jacob. Having heard His voice, and then gifted with faith to receive His word, I was brought into relationship with the Father and betrothed to His Son. I have come to know the life changing reality, by His grace alone, of putting on garments of salvation and robes of righteousness. I have become more and more confident that the day of consummation will come, perhaps sooner than I expect, when I will know by sight what I know currently by faith, the Bridegroom rejoicing over the bride. God rejoicing over me. God delighting in me.
I read God’s promises to Israel and I can’t help but see those promises as mine. I think of what awaits that remnant and I can’ help but worship the Redeemer for the rescue I’ve already known. I imagine what it looks like for God to delight over His people of promise, what it looks like for God to rejoice over those He views as His bride, and I can’t help but photobomb the picture. There I am. I’m in the midst of this prophecy concerning Israel. There by God’s grace alone. There with all those called to be the Bride of Christ. There awaiting that day.
Let us rejoice and exult and give Him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His Bride has made herself ready . . . (Revelation 19:7 ESV)