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Isaiah 51:1-3 reads, “Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness, You who seek the Lord: Look to the rock from which you were hewn, And to the hole of the pit from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father, And to Sarah who bore you; For I called him alone, And blessed him and increased him. For the LORD will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the LORD; and joy and gladness will be found in it, Thanksgiving and the voice of melody” (NKJV).

In this passage the Lord is appealing to the faithful in Israel, to those who long to see Israel restored to her land and blessed according to all the promises of God that He promised through Isaiah and other Old Testament prophets. In verses 1-2 the Lord would have them to LOOK BACK to see how God had blessed Abraham and Sarah in spite of their hopeless circumstances. Abraham was “the rock from which you were hewn” and Sarah was“the hole of the pit from which you were dug.” The nation of Israel began with these two who, humanly speaking, were as good as dead as far as bearing children. Yet God promised Abraham in Genesis 12:2, “I will make thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing.” We learn in Romans 4:19-20 that Abraham “…considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.” God responded to Abraham’s faith, for Hebrews 11:12 tells us “Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.”

In verse 3 the Lord is encouraging them to LOOK FORWARD, for just as He had made good on His promise to Abraham, He will indeed fulfill His promises to Israel. They may think, “But our land is in ruins, like a barren wilderness and a desert.” But just as the Lord brought life out of Sarah’s barren womb, He will, by His power and His grace, “comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the LORD.” God has PROMISED it, and He will PERFORM it! Israel has suffered greatly for two thousand years, and they must still pass through a time of “great tribulation,” but a faithful remnant will appear who will, like Abraham, stagger “not at the promise of God through unbelief.” Their faith will be rewarded, for their Messiah shall come and usher in the long-awaited kingdom, and unspeakable blessings shall follow, as we see in verse 11, “Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.” What a day that will be! Praise God for all the blessings He has in store for Israel! We who comprise the church, God’s “heavenly people,” will also be blessed beyond measure in that day, but we can and should rejoice in the blessings that Israel, God’s “earthly people,” will experience in that glorious day.  (151.1)  (DO)