This chapter has much hope and encouragement, not only for Israel but also for us. God’s plan to save Israel and man are referred to simultaneously as more is revealed about the suffering servant.
In the dialogue of this prophetic book, the time is fast approaching for God to act. God’s people need to prepare for what He has prepared: physical salvation for them first, then spiritual salvation through Jesus for all. Jerusalem will be released of its’ bonds and God’s people will return to the holy city.
The Lord describes how Israel went into Egypt and was oppressed. God laments their suffering and the blaspheming of His holy name. Due to this neglect, God will make His people know His name and that His is the voice of absolute authority.
In verse 7, there is a statement about feet that might be surprising. Most people do not think of feet as beautiful, but they are described here as such: “How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”” Isaiah 52:7
The feet of the messenger are beautiful because the message itself is beautiful and desired. The delivery of the message is highly valuable because it is the good news of God saving the people. In this verse, it not only applies to God’s saving the remnant of Israel, but it also applies to the good news of Christ’s coming.
Continuing our review of the analogy, the picture of feet coming over mountains signifies the difficulty of the journey and the endurance needed to deliver the message. Feet coming down from mountains signifies the delivery of a message from on God on high. This singular picture of the beautiful feet of God’s messenger is also used elsewhere in the Bible. The apostle Paul used it to describe taking the gospel of Jesus to (ironically in this case), Israel: “And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”” Romans 10:15
The conclusion of the idea of beautiful feet is that God’s message is something that we need and long for. When it arrives, it is cause for celebration because it will bring peace.
The passage continues with more exposition on God saving Jerusalem. When God saves Jerusalem and re-establishes His people, it will be known. There will be singing and there will be comfort for Israel when God redeems Jerusalem.
The Lord making bare His holy arm represents God revealing His plan to all people. The arm represents the extension of God that has completed His plan of salvation for both Israel and mankind through Jesus.
God admonishes His people to be clean people, “the vessels of the Lord.” As vessels of God, they are receptacles of His message, pouring it out so that others may know God’s awesome plan. At last, the people are comforted to go forth and to not hurry, for God is with them.
Jesus is glorified in these verses and more is revealed about Him. He shall be fair and ultimately He shall be exalted. There is a comparison here of Jesus to Israel that serves to illuminate the power of God: “Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men;” Isaiah 52:14.
People were astonished at the great acts that Israel performed with God’s providence. Jesus will also astonish people with His final appearance. Indeed, on the cross, His appearance must have been unsettling. God is showing us how His work on earth makes an impression, and let there be no mistake that Jesus will leave an impression!
The blood of Jesus and His sacrifice will save many and the news of Him will dumbfound kings. This “new thing” that God brings forth will be surprising, everlasting and invaluable:
“So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; For what had not been told them they shall see, And what they had not heard they shall consider.” Isaiah 52:15
We can never put too high of a value on the words or message of God. When God sent us Jesus, the world changed and mankind changed. God has reached out to all people through His Son. It is up to you what you will do with Him.