14 December 2011Isaiah 9:8-17 (Looking for God in hard lessons)
"For all this, his anger has not turned away; his hand is stretched out still." (v. 12)
This is a passage about pride and anger; God's anger and human
pride. It is difficult to hear. People know why things are going
wrong for them - they sense a message from God as the sycamores are
cut down and as the buildings collapse. But instead of responding
to the lesson that God is teaching them, they simply replace the
sycamores with cedars and the bricks with dressed stone.
Unsurprisingly God's anger is not "turned away". The lesson isn't
being learnt. We may well understand their response; the
difficulties their disobedience has got them into are unbearable.
The simplest thing appears to be to try and plaster over the
problem. The deeper lesson is that by hearing the word God has sent
upon Judah that falls upon Israel (verse 8), they will do far more
than reduce the symptoms of their dis-ease. God's anger is not
gratuitous but intends all the wonderful things that are heard in
the verses before. Paying attention, even to
difficult lessons, is thus a challenge to both our capacity to
trust God's goodness, and to follow God's pathway for us.
Where can love and anger go together?
What difference does love make to that anger?
Am you papering over the cracks of problems that you need to solve?