Is. 42:10 Sing to the LORD a new song,
his praise from the end of the earth,
you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it,
the coastlands and their inhabitants.
Is. 42:11 Let the desert and its cities lift up their voice,
the villages that Kedar inhabits;
let the habitants of Sela sing for joy,
let them shout from the top of the mountains.
Is. 42:12 Let them give glory to the LORD,
and declare his praise in the coastlands.
Is. 42:13 The LORD goes out like a mighty man,
like a man of war he stirs up his zeal;
he cries out, he shouts aloud,
he shows himself mighty against his foes.
Is. 42:14 For a long time I have held my peace;
I have kept still and restrained myself;
now I will cry out like a woman in labor;
I will gasp and pant.
Is. 42:15 I will lay waste mountains and hills,
and dry up all their vegetation;
I will turn the rivers into islands,
and dry up the pools.
Is. 42:16 And I will lead the blind
in a way that they do not know,
in paths that they have not known
I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I do,
and I do not forsake them.
If I told you that God was holding back, or restraining Himself, what would you think? Thanks to the bullhorn guy or some fiery preachers, you might think God is holding back His judgment or wrath. That is true—sometimes.
In this passage in Isaiah, God says He is no longer holding back. He’s been holding back for about 41 chapters while Israel ignored Him and chased after idols. From Isaiah 40 onward, though, the tone changes because it’s written to the Jewish people after the Babylonian captivity. It’s written for nuture after the horrible events foretold in chapters 1–39.
Look at the zeal God has to save His people. He is waking up and springing into action. He is rousing Himself and not holding back any more! He is healing and guiding and helping with no restraint.
This, of course, is a prophecy about what happens after Jesus dies on the cross for our sins. If God is showing them mercy and taking away their sins for good, He is in a spot to never forsake them. He is shouting and powerful as He saves His people and the nations.
So we sing for joy as we a led by Him. We seek Him out and trust His zeal to accomplish His task.