17 December 2011

"On that day his burden will be removed from your shoulder, and his yoke will be destroyed from your neck." (v. 27)


And if you've got this far this week - well done.

These words from Isaiah have been difficult to hear. God is angry. God corrects and punishes God's own people using the might of other nations. Not only does foolishness and sinfulness carry its own reward of unhappiness and pointlessness, but injustice and exploitation will be punished. But there is still hope! There is hope because God is angry with us, and has not given up on us. There is hope because it is God's doing and not the powerful Assyrians who've taken over. There is hope because God loves us and the purpose of God's anger (we are worth being angry with), and painful lessons (they don't just happen by chance) is that a new future is now possible. The burden will be lifted. There will be those who pull through. All this may strike us as strange; A wrathful God? A punishing God? How can this be? But Isaiah is speaking into the lives of people who feel punished and feel God is angry with them. He challenges their fear that God has abandoned them by making it clear that God is still part of their situation, and therefore hasn't lost control. God's good purposes will triumph in the end.

To Ponder

What burdens would you like to be lifted?

Where do you think God might be 'indignant' (v. 25) with the Church?

A challenge:
Dare we live with the hope that one day love "o'er the universe shall reign" (verse 3, God is love let heaven adore him (StF 103, HP 36)?

Bible notes author: The Revd Dr Mark Wakelin

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