Tuesday 10 January 2012

Bible Book:

they shall walk and not faint." (v. 31)

Isaiah 40:25-31 Tuesday 10 January 2012


In yesterday's passage the exiled Jews werereminded that God had not forgotten them, had forgiven them and wasoffering them the hope of a return home, preparing a way for themthrough the wilderness. Today Isaiah reminds his readers why theyshould place their trust in God: the God of Israel is the creatorof the world (verse 28) and has no equal (verse 25).

For a people who have been held captive by the most powerfulcountry in the region it would have been natural to conclude thatthe gods of Babylon were more powerful than the God of Israel.Terrestrial battles were not only won or lost on visiblebattlefields, but also through the heavenly battles between gods.And whilst the Jews had a long history of recognising thesuperiority of the God of Israel, they did not discount thepresence of other gods who favoured other peoples.

It is only in the Babylonian exile that a more explicit monotheism(the belief that there is only one God) starts to emerge.Previously they understood that the God of Israel had chosen themand was far more powerful than other gods such as Baal (1 Kings18). Now, and throughout the coming chapters, the prophet makesit clear that there is only one God. No one and nothing can comparewith him.

If the exiles have any doubt at all they should turn to theeverlasting God who created the ends of the earth (verse 28). Theymay still feel weak and powerless, but God will give them thenecessary strength to overcome any challenge. Whilst they currentlymay be physically constrained in a foreign land, if they put theirtrust in God they will be able to fly freely and with power like aneagle. Earthly rulers will not be able to prevent this.

To Ponder

Look out at the world around you. Consider God,the creator of the world, and give thanks.

Think about times when you have felt weak orpowerless to change things and then imagine God lifting you up likean eagle. How does it feel?

We can feel helpless when faced with huge issuessuch as climate change. How does this reading give us hope that wecan make a difference?

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