Friday 09 December 2016

Bible Book:

“A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.” (v. 21)

Isaiah 10:12-23 Friday 9 December 2016

Psalm: Psalm 69:1-21


The emphasis of this passage rests on the ultimate victory ofGod over all earthly powers that come against his purposes, and theenduring nature of God's own people even though they face trial andtorment. But the passage is not without its complications to themodern reader. Assyria has acted with impunity with no regard tothe welfare of human beings they conquered; they have demonstrateda confident brutality in their dealings and will now meet theirmatch as the Lord restores order. The imagery is graphic andperhaps uncomfortable for those of us more familiar with thecompassionate Christ than with the judging Jehovah!

The Assyrians marching triumphantly on Jerusalem are in effectjumping into the fire (verse 17), and the darkness of Assyriantyranny will be destroyed by the "light of Israel".

But it is perhaps the remnant concept that is supposed to graspour attention here. Although the people of the Lord have faced,will face and are facing incredible opposition and injury thispassage asserts once more that they are not ultimately crushed. Thenaming of Isaiah's son Shear-jashub prefigured "a remnant willreturn". At times in the story of God's people that remnant hasbeen hard-pressed and the experiences of the remnant have beendifficult indeed; but the people have endured and the promise hasremained alive with them.

The declaration "on that day" (v. 20) surely has a vista moreexpansive that the immediate unfolding events concerning Assyria.Perhaps the Lord also has in view that future time when the remnantwill be brought home to God from east and west, and from north andsouth; that gathering of God's people returning to their Lord inthe fullness of time. It will be the time when God's people will"no more lean on the one who struck them" (that is 'rely on makingtreaties with those who are really against them'), "but will leanon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel" (v. 20) - when ourrelationship with the Lord is all that we need to sustain us andsecure us.

From the uncomfortable images of the brutality of God'sjudgement against Assyria flow the comforting promises of theblessings of the Lord gathering God's own people together: "Aremnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God".

To Ponder

  • How far can you go with the idea of the Lord 'smiting' thosewho stand as barriers to God's own purposes and burdens to thepeople?
  • How is your understanding of God challenged by passages likethis one?
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