Thursday 05 December 2013

Bible Book:

“Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob” (v. 22)

Isaiah 43:14-28 Thursday 5 December 2013


Verse 22 brings us to attention and is very apt in the busy-nessof this time of year. Advent is a time of waiting and a time forpreparation. But in all our activity we can too easily lose sightof what we are preparing for - Christmas - a celebration of thecoming of the Christ child. Our relationship with God is put onhold in the midst of the Christmas preparations.

Quite why the Israelites did not call upon God is not evidentfrom this passage. It could have been out of forgetfulness, itcould have been out of guilt and shame due to sinful behaviour. Itis not clear.

Yet God remembers them. And at the beginning of today's passagepeople are invited to remember God and what God has done for them.In verse 16, The example given is the Exodus and specifically Godparting the Red Sea and allowing the Israelites to escape fromtheir Egyptian slavemasters.

God invites us to remember but then in verse 18 says exactly theopposite: "Do not remember the former things". Why? Because "I amabout to do a new thing" (v. 19).

Just imagine what the original recipients of these words mighthave felt. The Exodus was something that defined and united theJewish people, that indicated that they were God's chosen people.But now God is telling them that they 'ain't seen nothing yet".

To try and suggest the magnitude of what will happen, Isaiahcontinues with the imagery of water, but reverses the idea. Insteadof the water disappearing for the Red Sea to allow the people tocross, now water will appear in a dry land. Instead of the returnof the water to drown the Egyptian army, the water will bring lifeto the wilderness and quench the thirst of the wild animals there.Not just that - it will be "drink to my chosen people" (v. 20). Allin all it points to a dramatic change.

The second half of today's passage is also one of contrasts fromthe disobedience of people (verses 22-24) to the forgiving natureof God (verse 25), in spite of the evident guilt of the people(verses 26-28).

And the one who will do this is Jesus. How can we possiblyforget?

To Ponder

  • If you are a person for whom life is hectic in December (or atother points), find some time even a few moments for God. You cantry and use some trigger points as a reminder or an opportunity -such as waiting for the kettle to boil, queuing in the supermarket,doing the washing up.
  • God reveals a dramatic change in the way that God will interactwith people. How has God worked in your life? Dramatic or subtly?And what has the effect been - minor or major?
  • God "give[s] drink to my chosen people". What does therefreshing God-given water of life mean to you? And how might youdescribe it to others?
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