Those the LORD has rescued will return.Isaiah 51:11 NIV
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
The history of Israel was one of near-constant rebellion against God. Ultimately, it resulted in the destruction of the Jewish nations and exile to Assyria and Babylon. And it was during the Babylonian exile that this message of hope came to God’s people. They would return home once his judgment against them was complete. And it would be a time of great joy. All of the hardships of exile would be forgotten.
But the hope held out here is not just for the Jews living in exile. It is a hope for all of God’s people, whether Jew or Gentile. We are foreigners and exiles (1 Pet. 2:11), living in a place that is not our home. Life as an exile can be very challenging. If we are faithful to the one who called and redeemed us, we will not fit in with the world around us. And we can expect that the world will treat us like they did Jesus (John 15:18-21).
But someday, our exile will come to an end. And when it does, we will enter Zion, the new Jerusalem (Rev. 21:1-4), with singing, gladness, and crowned with everlasting joy. What a day that will be, a time of great joy! And looking forward to that day should give us encouragement to remain faithful to our Lord during the trials we face in this life.