Thursday 28 November 2013

Bible Book:

"I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle and the olive; I set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together, so that all may see and know, all may consider and understand, that the hand of the LORD has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it." (vv. 19-20)

Isaiah 41:8-20 Thursday 28 November 2013


Chapter 41 of Isaiah's prophecy is set within a trial of thenations. Today's passage however, is a moment of refreshment in themidst of the condemnation of Israel. It offers assurance, groundedin past testimony, of God's provision. God's rearrangement ofcreation will take place, not just to supply Israel's need, but totestify to God's lordship over creation - "so that all may see andknow".

The prophet's message was not just for then, but forever. There ispromise of an end to God's judgement and the sending forth of a newagent for a new time is central to the testimony. It is the pointof the whole message - guarding God's sovereignty; the freedom toopen stopped ears and the ability to send alongside agents ofjudgement agents of grace and favour.

It is good to try and remember this when we find ourselves inplaces of darkness or doubt. Like the proverbial hunting dog thatmust return to where it lost the scent, God will return us to theplace where the divine plan was revealed and will show us how Godmeans to make good on promises. God may be about to do a new andstrange thing in commissioning something we simply could not haveimagined when we were first shown the way.

The prophet reasserts that all things and all times are in God'shands. We are not to welcome times of hardship and judgement, norare we to search them out. But God will use them to make us clingto God as our source of life, strength and hope. It is up to us,therefore, to press our case before God. Suffering and disregardare never simply relieved, but they are redeemed and pressed intoservice for the glory of God.

To Ponder

  • How does, or should, the Church help to announce the presenceof God in times of hardship and darkness?
  • What situations in the life of the world must we address withour message of hope?
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