Friday 01 April 2016

Bible Book:

he has become my salvation.” (v. 2)

Isaiah 12:2-6 Friday 1 April 2016

Psalm: Psalm 149


Ezekiel's vision, which we read yesterday, was addressed to exiled Judaeanswho had given in to despair. The other temptation for an exiledpeople was to become assimilated in the dominant culture - in thiscase the Judaeans. Isaiah's task was to strengthen God's people toresist both of these temptations, by offering a vision of therestored homeland - Jerusalem raised to new life and glory.

Although the first part of Isaiah (chapters 1-39) is set in theSyro-Ephraimite war (c. 735BC) after which the Israelites wereexiled to Assyria, it is addressed, like Ezekiel, to the Judaeansexiled in Babylon over a century later. Today's passage is theculmination of a whole section, much-read around Christmas, ofglorious promises that light will shine in the darkness (Isaiah9:1-7), God's people be gathered from all the ends of the earthback to their homeland in a second exodus (Isaiah11:10-16) and an ideal kingdom of peace and prosperity beestablished in Judah (Isaiah11:1-9).

Today's passage is a song of praise in response to God's promiseof rescue, a foreshadowing of the words of praise God's people willsing "in that day" (v. 1) when these promises are fulfilled. Thepoint of these promises is to remind the Judaeans who they reallyare. They are not abandoned, hopeless, godless people; neither arethey Babylonians, complacent in their night and dominance; they arethe chosen people of God, beloved of God, whose identity isexpressed in the worship of God. And God is in their midst (verse6) and never abandons them.

As with Ezekiel's vision, the parallels with the resurrectionstory are obvious. Throughout the ages God does not promise thatthere will be no disaster or destruction, but God does alwayspromise new life, and the record of Scripture shows God to befaithful to God's promises. Even when we are in the midst ofdisaster and destruction, God says that our true life is the newresurrection life; our true identity is in the presence of God andexpressed in the worship and proclamation of God's love.

To Ponder

  • In a sense, in this world we are exiles from God's kingdom. Inwhat ways are you tempted to despair? In what ways are you temptedto assimilate?
  • What evidence can you see in your own life of God continuallybringing forth new life?
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