Awake, awake, Zion, clothe yourself with strength! Put on your garments of splendor, Jerusalem, the holy city. The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again. Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck, Daughter Zion, now a captive. For this is what the LORD says: "You were sold for nothing, and without money you will be redeemed." (Is. 52:1-3)
The call of this passage is to awaken, shake off, and be free. To awaken means that there is a stirring within that rouses one from slumber or apathy. Why was Israel being asked to wake up? I think they had come to a place in their walk with God that they had become a little "numb" to the nearness of their God and they were unconscious of his willingness to help them no matter the circumstances of their lives. Sometimes, we are like Israel, finding ourselves so totally unaware of the nearness of our God - not really seeing him or hearing his still small voice. To us, God speaks, "Wake up".
Shake off your dust! Go is saying, "Go ahead. Disturb yourself from your security - that place that has made you feel so secure all this time. Shake off the dust that has gathered there!" Things that are immobile gather dust. That is what happens to us when we are no longer moving in a forward motion with God - growing in our daily walk. We gather "dust" - worldly attitudes and sinful patterns soon gather on the garments of righteousness that were once so pure and undefiled. As with Israel, we are totally unaware of our condition until we begin to "wake up" and examine our present state. Whenever we find ourselves so comfortable with our present condition, we are in danger of drifting into a place of spiritual slumber that will allow for "dust" to gather. Unless you leave your house doors or windows open during a dust storm, dust tends to gather gradually. Miss one week of dusting and it is not real noticeable - but miss the second or third and everything that moves across the surface of that furniture soon leaves a tell-tale sign of what has gathered there.
Be free! Many things can bind us in a place of captivity when our spiritual acuity is numbed by our spiritual slumber, lethargy or apathy. God calls for a separated church - fully awakened from its slumber - awakened to the call of this hour. It is a call to be free from the things of this world and to be set apart for our God's use. Apathy is defined as a state of disinterest - we may find ourselves less interested in the things of God or the interests of other believers. Apathy results in a "drifting" in our spiritual state until we become numb to the things God wants to do in and through us. God's call is to come out of that place of spiritual drowsiness, indifference and laziness. He knows that as long as we remain in our spiritual slumber, we will be powerless. God wants his people to know and move in his power.
Clothe yourself - put on that which will cover your nakedness! Allow God to take possession of your heart, your will and you emotions. Clothe yourself with his strength. Did you know that when you spend enough time in slumber, you become weak? God is inviting us to rise from our slumber and to regain our spiritual strength that comes from being rightly related to him once again. As long as we are asleep spiritually, we never really see the state of our "clothing" - we don't see that that which is "slept in" becomes wrinkled, baggy, all pulled out of shape. What kind of witness can we give to the world in "wrinkled, baggy, shapeless" robes? That is why God tells us to clothe ourselves in his righteousness - garments of splendor that adorn us with holiness and righteousness.
Let's heed the call today to awaken, shake off the dust, be free from that which clouds our minds, and be clothed in the holiness of our God. Then let the praises of God fill our day - giving witness to the greatness of our God.