For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,
until her vindication shines out like the dawn,
and her salvation like a burning torch.
The nations shall see your vindication,
and all the kings your glory;
and you shall be called by a new name
that the mouth of the Lord will give.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
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 builder marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice over you.
This is a passage of profound hope for a community that has been decimated and degraded. The people of Israel, having been dragged off to Babylon to live in exile, hear the words of God that come through the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah will not “keep silent” or “rest” because the good news that he has is so compelling.
He speaks of vindication . . . a sweet prospect for a nation that has been humiliated by its enemies. The images of marriage continue the promise, for what could be more promising than a couple just beginning its life together? This passage serves us particularly well on Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunday . . . as we remember a modern day prophet who could not “keep silent” or “rest.”
Have you ever had the experience of coming to a truth so compelling that you simply could not keep silent about it? What effect has Dr. King’s life had on you? When a people has been oppressed for a long time, what does vindication look like? What is the difference between vindication and revenge? If we were to offer similar promises for America, what would we say?