Saturday 11 February 2012

Bible Book:

and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest,"

Isaiah 61:10 - 62:5 Saturday 11 February 2012


This passage rises in a crescendo with a series of reflectionsthat bring into sharp relief the tensions in the previous chaptersbetween the despair and bleakness of the human condition, and thehope and grace of God's kingdom. 

The use of the word 'crescendo' is a deliberate one. There issomething wonderfully musical about this passage. Indeed, thecommentator Webb explores this with direct reference to thehymns Amazing Grace and And can it be.

Throughout Scripture, songs and melodies are ways of engagingpeople's emotions, and also the means by which people respondemotionally to God's gracious provision. Here is no different, aswe see Isaiah's poetic response to the words and visions that Godhas shown to him. 

Once again, the kingdom of God is described with great intimacy ofrelationship. The metaphor that Isaiah uses is that of a bride andbridegroom (verses 10, 5). The hope of Israel is that God is wooingher towards godself, and does so through God's abundant andinexpressible love and care and compassion. 

The actor Ralph Fiennes has said: "So much of movie acting is inthe lighting. And in loving your characters. I try to know them,and with that intimacy comes love." Given what has been said aboutthe shift from the shadows in Isaiah58 into the light of Isaiah60, perhaps we can see in a renewed way the importance of lightin the relationship of Israel to God, and ourselves to Christ. Withintimacy grows love. From this love grows greater grace andcompassion, songs of hope and of surrender, and experiences of the'amazing grace' which have been articulated by the hymnwriters JohnNewton and Charles Wesley - and continues to be our songtoday. 

As the music of this passage begins to swell, Isaiah encouragesIsrael, and so too his contemporary reader, to see themselves aspeople who are crowned with beauty - even on our most grubby days.The promise remains. No longer will you feel deserted or desolate,but you will be a delight (Hephzibah), and God delights in andsings over you. (Zephaniah 3:17). 

To Ponder

Which piece of music expresses your relationshipwith God today?

How do you respond to the intimacy of the bridalmetaphor that Isaiah uses to describe God's relationship to God'speople?

How intimate is your relationship with God today?What do you need to do to increase that intimacy and deepen yourdiscipleship?

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