Beautiful Feet and One Golden Thread
The joyous proclamations of Isaiah 52:7 – 10 are a great contrast from the misery of Israel described just prior in the same chapter. Israel is encouraged in their praise for the Lord as they are delivered from Assyria, the military behemoth of that age. Assyria had dominated and punished Israel, enslaving and dragging many of them into a foreign land where the Lord’s name was “constantly blasphemed”. The celebration described is to transcend all of Israel, spreading from the watches of the borders to the most desolate “waste places” of that people’s homeland and beyond. The passage describes a process in which the wondrous salvation of God is exposed “…before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth…”. From their sufferings and oppression, Israel’s liberation will demonstrate the redemption of the Lord throughout their known world.
As believers we can see in Isaiah 52 a picture of our own salvation from the tyranny of sin both corporately as the body of Christ and as individuals. We each are being delivered from a great oppressor, from a hopelessness which may seem at times undefeatable. This is reason to sing for joy as Isaiah calls Israel to do in this chapter.
It is also a reason to align ourselves with the image of the herald, a kind of character personalized here –
As Christians we can see Jesus himself in this profile. We can see any believers proclaiming God’s salvation. Hopefully we aspire to connect ourselves with this identity. Notice the opening phrase is not “How righteous … are the deeds...” or “How articulate…are the words...” or “How secure…is the position...” but here, instead of morality, skill, or power, God’s Word evinces beauty in the feet of the person giving testimony to God’s salvation. The Creator of the Universe identifies the communication of our faith as a highest value, a highest aesthetic in His own eyes. Giving testimony is the sweetest song to Christ’s ears, the gold thread in His grand tapestry across the ages.
I tie all this together with thoughts about a dear friend of mine. His people, one of the first people groups to respond to those spreading the Word outside of the Holy land, converted to Christianity in the first century. They also became the source of the earliest Christian missions to Japan, China, and the Philippines. Evangelism has both shaped and grown out of this people despite their experience of oppression and forced diaspora from their ancient homeland which continues even today. My friend became a believer in Christ through the evangelism of Moody Bible Institute and of individual believers. He continues this line of evangelism, giving his own testimony in many ways as he works with troubled youth, raises his family, and lives here in Chicagoland.
In my friend, I see one golden thread existing in the common, everyday lives of real people, stretching back through the tapestry of God's plan even back to ancient times. He is both the product and bearer of a truly beautiful legacy of the greatest aesthetic, the beauty of the proclamation of God's salvation. My friend was born in Iraq and he is an Assyrian.
Isaiah 52:7-10 The Lord's Coming Salvation
"Go Tell it On the Mountain" - John Rutter