Thursday 15 July 2010

Bible Book:

"In the path of your judgements, O LORD, we wait for you; your name and your renown are the soul's desire." (v.8)

Isaiah 26:7-19 Thursday 15 July 2010


Today's passage presents us with a song to be sung in the middleof a crisis. This chapter comes part way through a section ofIsaiah which seems, in some way, to stand alone (24:1 -27:13). There is less reference to the historical events wehave seen unfolding all week, but rather a series of metaphors andpredictions that seem more general and could apply to many times inIsrael's history, or to the end of time.

But this song takes on a new vividness if we remember the historyagainst which Isaiah prophesied. At least one biblical commentatorsuggests that we could imagine today's reading as a song sung bypilgrims to Jerusalem, part way through the disastrous events wehave been reading about.

The northern kingdom of Israel has been invaded and the southernkingdom of Judah is now under attack. The land and other citieshave been ravaged and only Jerusalem remains relatively unscathed.And in the midst of this the pilgrims affirm their faith. Thechapter opens by celebrating the "strong city" and asking that thegates of the city be opened for the pilgrims. In this passage thepilgrims proclaim that God seeks righteousness and justice; thatGod is seeking to teach the world the way of righteousness, eventhough God's way is hidden to many; and that they will continue toacknowledge God's reign even though they are suffering. You mightwant to imagine yourself as one of those pilgrims and read thepassage through slowly, asking yourself if you could say theseverses in such a situation.

It could also be that verse 19 should be read as God's promise to abroken people. In a dry climate, dew is an important source ofmoisture and thus becomes a symbol for new life. The song for themiddle of a crisis ends on a note of hope. Those now living in dusthave a reason to sing.

To Ponder

Does God always "make smooth the path of therighteous"?

When you are at points of crisis, what aspect ofyour faith do you find it helpful to affirm?

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