Friday

“Our Redeemer – the Lord of hosts is his name – is the Holy One of Israel” (v. 4)

Isaiah 47:1-15 Friday 13 December 2013


Background

The business of Christmas is in full swing: tills are ringing,cards are being written, joy and goodwill are wished to all andsundry. We are preparing to celebrate the coming of theChrist-child born as a helpless, defenceless baby in a Bethlehemcowshed.

And now in the middle of December we read this passage! Theverses can shock us and being us up short. What has this got to dowith Advent and Christmas?

But Advent is as much about preparing for the coming of Jesus asa baby as it is about the second coming of Jesus as the ruler andjudge (although the second tends to be overlooked). Yet today'spassage is a reminder of that latter aspect.

The Jewish people has been conquered and taken into exile inBabylon. But now is the time for Babylon to face the consequences... The mighty city will be reduced from being likened to abeautiful queen (verse 5) to comparisons with a servant girl orprostitute (verse 8). It will be reduced to menial tasks ("takemillstones and grin corn" (v. 2)) and may even be exiled itself, assuggested by the need to "lift up your skirts, bare your legs andwade through the streams" (v. 2) in an undignified journey.

All these words are heartening for the Jewish exiles as theyhear the fate of their oppressors, but they are not excluded. In areference in verse 6 they are reminds of the reason for their exiletoo - "I was angry with my people and desecrated my inheritance".The laying of a heavy yoke upon the aged (verse 6) could easily bethe fulfilment of Moses' curse for disobeying the covenant (Deuteronomy 28:49-50).

In all that is happening, God is in control (whether we like itor not)!


To Ponder

  • How do you react to uncomfortable passages in the Bible likethis one? What part does it play in your relationship withGod?
  • When in your life have you felt God in control? What did itfeel like?
  • How do you relate to the idea of God as judge?


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