Thursday 13 September 2012

Bible Book:

in the land of uprightness they deal perversely and do not see the majesty of the Lord." (v. 10)

Isaiah 26:1-12 Thursday 13 September 2012


Isaiah was always looking for God to intervene in human affairs:expecting vindication, the restoring of right order, and indeed,righteous punishment for those who deserved it. The converse of thequestion why do bad things happen to good people is why don't badthings happen to bad people? Our sense of justice demands it, eventhough God's justice is often not easy to perceive. Isaiah tells usthat sometimes God does act in accordance with our sense ofjustice: "for he has brought low the inhabitants of the height; thelofty city he lays low" (v. 5).

But we look for not only the bringing down of the mighty, butalso the corresponding raising up of the poor and needy. Isaiahpromises peace and hopes for righteousness in his vision of victoryover evil. But deliverance is in God's hands, and the faithful waitfor God to act.

Even some with no claim to religious faith view the financialcrisis that marked 2008 as the time when market practices based onrampant greed were shown to be disastrous. In the years which havefollowed, those who have suffered most have been the poorest insociety: they are the ones who have lost their homes and jobswithout a nest egg to help them weather the storm. And whilegovernments around the world have done what they can, the loss andsuffering of the poor continues.

Just as God's people in the time of Isaiah were powerless to actagainst the wicked, so human efforts today seem inadequate in theface of the immense problems we face. We wait for God's justice andGod's deliverance, just as the people of Israel in Isaiah's timewaited, yearning for God's righteous judgement.But in thatyearning there is hope, grounded in the expectation that God, the"everlasting rock" (v. 4), will act and will prevail.

To Ponder

  • Isaiah's vision here does not envisage human action againstsecular forces of evil; it is God who will act, and this is thebasis for hope. But if this deliverance is still in the future, asit was for Isaiah, how do you understand the Resurrection?
  • Is it your experience that God punishes the wicked and rewardsthe righteous, as Isaiah seems to expect here? If not, how do youunderstand God's justice?
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