Isaiah 55:10-13: Home, Sweet Home!

Growing up nestled in the embrace of a nurturing home leaves you sheltered in love with a trove of cherished memories. Such a loving place becomes a sanctuary and harbor for our hearts. Joy still resonates as the air holds onto the lingering mirth of earlier laughter. Threads of affection lace each corner, woven into every nook. The welcoming warmth of its hearth envelops you as its serenity cradles you to sleep.

Our culture is rife with these reminders. Melodies from songs hum the comfort of homecoming, such as “Sweet Home Alabama” or “Homeward Bound.” Home transcends a physical house, becoming an emotional haven in our minds with whispered words of welcome. John Denver’s song, “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” echoes this. Home resonates with Dorothy’s revelation in the movie The Wizard of Oz of “no place like home!”

In an era long past, a mighty empire, Babylon, cast a dark shadow over the southern kingdom of Israel, Judah. A tale of terror unfolded. A fierce assault shattered the peace of this land and its people. The once vibrant nation crumbled under the iron fist of an enemy, its spirit crushed, and its citizens banished to foreign lands.

Amid this turmoil, we find echoes of Prophet Ezra. This age-old seer resonated with the repercussions of this harrowing event. In 587 BC, an empire’s army assembled to destroy Jerusalem, quote, “a rebellious city, a threat to kings and provinces” (4:15). So, they annihilated the place of God.

Psalm 137 chronicles their woe.

Amid their desolation, these exiles ponder. Is their God still present? Does He bear witness to their sadness? The defeat in battle shook their faith. A question hangs in the air, heavy as a storm cloud. Why not surrender to the Babylonian gods, whose power proved unassailable? Doubt as an insidious fog seeps into their souls.

A plea arose within them as poignant as the verses of Psalm 85. “Will you be angry with us forever,” they implored to God, their words trembling with trepidation (vs. 5). In hallowed silence, their prayer echoed in an oppressive melancholy of uncertainty.

Trapped are they as exiles in an alien land. Tall Ziggurats puncture the sky, under whose shadows they dwell. Canals snake through the city, murmuring tales of strange deities and unfamiliar customs. The grandeur of the Ishtar Gate looms before them, reminding them of their glories lost. Worse, they dwelt under the gaze of a grotesque statue of Marduk, a false god leering at them from every corner.

Stripped are they of their king, their temple, and their city. Bereft of their land, their liturgy, their sacrifice. Hope becomes an elusive shadow, and their future, a bleak abyss. Can they burst out in songs of gladness? No, too foreign for them in this strange soil of captivity.

Beside unknown rivers, their sobbing turns into a torrent of their sorrows. Silent prayers form as their own tear-streaked tributary. In the depths of their despair, they remember as they weep. The splendor of Solomon’s temple, the bustle of David’s city, the serene majesty of Mount Olivet. These etch deep into their hearts. Each ache testifies to their yearning: “Home, sweet home.”

Far from their homeland, they now find themselves distant from God. The brilliance of their belief, once so bright, flickers in the encroaching darkness. A self-made rebellion turned them into their version of The Prodigal Son—they, too, expecting their divine inheritance. So they strayed in spirit and squandered everything. False gods, corruption, and injustice led to their downfall.

The harsh reality of their plight became undeniable. Jerusalem fell, their self-made music died, and they awoke to their loss. The vibrant rhythms plucking their heartstrings turn silent. Is this the end of their culture? A wayward rebellion led to this profound fall, a grim testament to their spiritual separation from God.

Does a self-spun web of exile bind you and me? Can we not be adrift in a Babylon of our own design? Do we not sometimes tread a path far from our Father’s embrace? Yes, we, too, might squander our divine inheritance on deceiving sights and trinkets. Betrayal of our baptismal birthright leaves us forlorn in our own bitter echo of the prodigal’s tale. Our eternal chorus of joy? Lost.

In this desolation, a glimmer still persists. A faint flame flickers in our shadows of despondence. In such a Babylon, a new song yearns to burst forth. Can a hymn of homecoming exist? Yes, of redemption, solid and trustworthy, to resonate within our hearts as we return to God from our self-imposed exile.

God breaks His silence, “You will leave with joy, and come back in peace. The mountains and the hills will break out into singing before you. The trees of the field will clap their hands” (55:12). God invites every exile to join in this hymn of creation!

In the hour of their darkest despair, God’s hand moved within the hush of history. God stirred the waters of destiny, allowing an unexpected servant to ascend from its depths. Cyrus, the monarch of Persia, arose as a beacon in the gloom, guiding the errant tribe of Israel back home. History’s music played on, and a new melody formed. Life breathed into their silenced song, heralding the start of an age yet to dawn.

Isaiah’s gaze reached past Cyrus, who served as but a prelude. A Liberator beyond fallen man, the Beacon of Salvation, is still to rise. This Messiah to come shall shatter sin’s chains (42:6-7). A prophecy flowed from the prophet’s lips. A destined redeemer will bear our wounds and carry our sins (53:5).

God’s formidable Word fortified those promises, keeping them in His unwavering power and faithfulness (55:10-11). The Almighty spoke. So those prophecies etched from eternity will not fade. No, they stand. God declared them, which faith embraces in open arms.

In a humble manger, the flesh-born God breathed His first breath, clothed in mortal guise. Thirty-three years, the incarnate Word wandered, a stranger in His own creation. A fox finds its den, a bird builds its nest, but the Son of Man claimed no earthly home (Matthew 8:20).

The exile reached its pinnacle. In His last hours, He stung from the bitter gall of abandonment, not only from His Father’s dwelling, but from His Father Himself. On the cross, His anguished cry echoed, “My God, why do you forsake me?” (Mark 15:34, Psalm 22:1). The sound of this lament still haunts our day, serving as a telltale reminder of His sacrifice.

In the crucible of Calvary, the Son of Man hangs, clad in mortality’s coarse fabric. No drop of comfort graces His tongue, nor His parched and barren throat. Our Savior’s voice, a ghost of its former strength, is wheezing as much as inaudible.

Rewind the clock back twelve hours. In the Upper Room, a cup passed between those lips. After His sacred sip of the New Covenant, only sweat and blood mark His path, no other liquid offering relief.

This Burden-Bearer took our sins and bore the cross. Unslaked is His thirst, His sacrifice, boundless. Such unwavering love etched his tale into time’s heart, His story now unforgettable. Amid torment and profound suffering, the song within Him grows still. In death, His melodies of life fall silent.

On the dawn of the third day, He rose, shattering the silence. A crescendo of jubilation surged and swelled in a testament of triumph. Now is the everlasting symphony of celebration. “In my Father’s house are many rooms. Will I tell you, if not, I am going to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2) “Our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20). “Our house is from God, not made with human hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1b).

Beyond the relics of our earthly homes, a celestial mansion waits. No dormitory or motel, for this transcends our every abode, far surpassing our grandest dwellings. Our Savior’s garments of grace, likewise, beckon us. The price to make this real, so steep, Jesus paid in full. The sacrifice, so unimaginable, is now complete. Not by you, me, or anyone else, but our Lord, who turns the eternal feast from a dream into a reality.

The Father’s heart swells with joy, anticipating the return of His resurrected children. Life, no more lost, shines anew. Radiant as the first glimmer of the morning, it rings of a future where shadows cease to exist.

Planted in the valley or perched atop the mountain, the echoes of redemption resound. Hills and mountains sing forth God’s praises, and forests join in their applause. With creation, we lift our voices high, for Christ came to redeem His people—and the earth itself. Jesus, the Lamb, once sacrificed, ascended to glory, lighting our way. Beyond the confines of this world, our eternal home whispers the promise of ultimate triumph, calling to us in our Lord’s victory. Welcome home! Amen.


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