Thursday 15 December 2016

Bible Book:

all those alert to do evil shall be cut off.” (vv. 19-20)

Isaiah 29:17-24 Thursday 15 December 2016

Psalm: Psalm 73:1-14


This selection of verses comes as a message of prophetic hopeimmediately after a darker part of Isaiah (Isaiah29:1-16). Following a judgement in the form of a siege ofJerusalem we have this message of hope. It begins with fertilityand transformation of the land and then moves to transformation forpeople.

One common feature of these messages of hope in Isaiah is thathope is for the people who need it most. Isaiah doesn't prophesythat the rich will pay lower taxes or that those enjoying greatprivilege will be blessed. Instead this is a hope that the peoplewho need lifting the most will be blessed the most. Some of theexamples are common in Scripture for instance that the deaf willhear and the blind see (Luke4:16-20, where Jesus quotes Isaiah, and Jesus' various healingmiracles). Others are less so, such as the meek obtaining fresh joyand the neediest exulting.

In contrast to these hopes the hymn sees the end for tyrants,for scoffers, those "alert to do evil" and those who denyjustice.

So "hope for the future" is both a building up and a tearingdown. Perhaps this vision from stands in contrast to the rhetoricin the UK today, where we might expect to see tabloid headlinesabout scroungers being treated better than hard-working families,and of people not getting what they deserve.

Instead of 21st-century tabloid values Isaiah is laying out hopein terms of kingdom values. In God's kingdom nobody gets leftbehind, nobody is left disadvantaged, nobody is ignored and all arecelebrated. In our world this can be twisted by the rich andpowerful to make them appear as victims themselves.

Whereas in God's kingdom, we can experience life, freedom, joyat new higher levels because those who are currently suffering alsoget that life, freedom and joy. Isaiah challenges the viewprevalent today that we can't be happy unless it is at the expenseof others. The beauty of God's kingdom is that the joy of othersmakes our joy complete.

To Ponder

  • Where have you found joy when others have been lifted up?
  • Where in the world today do you see the greatest need for thehope that Isaiah offers?
  • Imagine a world where tyrants are no more. What might that looklike for you?
Previous Page Wednesday 14 December 2016
Next Page Friday 16 December 2016