Monday 12 December 2016

Bible Book:

of rich food filled with marrow, of well-matured wines strained clear.” (v. 6)

Isaiah 25:6-10 Monday 12 December 2016

Psalm: Psalm 71:1-11


Isaiah is a complex book with multiple parts to it and withoutuniversal agreement about how it came about. Generally, though,this passage is seen as part of a section from Isaiah24:1 to 27:13 known as 'The Apocalypse of Isaiah'. And withinthat, this passage is the second half of a song of thanksgiving,where it anticipates a heavenly banquet.

Living in a very different time and culture our view of abanquet is likely to be different to those who first heard theprophet, especially for those who were living at a subsistencelevel, where such plenty and variety might have seemed beyond theirimaginations. Certainly, the sorts of feasts we commonly enjoywould be incomprehensible to them.

Today, with all that is happening around us, during a greatrefugee crisis when hate towards immigrants is not uncommon anddifference is attacked rather than celebrated perhaps the song hasother challenges for us - particularly its images of a welcome tothe feast for all peoples.

The image of God's kingdom being like a feast is a common one,Psalm 23 and the feeding of the 5,000 (John6:1-14) being among the best known. These feasts often reflecta welcome for those who are excluded, or oppressed, or poor.

So here Isaiah looks forward to God's kingdom being like awonderful rich feast at which all are welcome, a feast that doesnot end, for death has been destroyed along with all suffering, andyet a feast that is still to come.

As we consider this feast and the one in Psalm 23 in the lightof the teaching and example of Jesus then maybe we can imagine thatit includes not just those who are poor, excluded etc but also ourenemies. Jesus challenges us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44), he ate with those manyconsidered to be enemies (Luke19:1-10) and he forgave those who killed him (Luke23:34). Maybe the greater challenge to us is not to imaginewonderful food, but to visualise sharing it with those we currentlythink of as our enemies.

To Ponder

  • Who are the people we would most struggle to share a feastwith?
  • How do you feel about God challenging us to imagine thosepeople sharing God's feast with us?
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