Tuesday 27 February 2018

Bible Book:

to spring up before all the nations.” (v. 11)

Isaiah 61:8-11 Tuesday 27 February 2018

Psalm: Psalm 24


Today’s passage is a continuation of yesterday’s, which spoke of God’s promise of redemption for the people of Israel as they returned from exile in Babylon. But now the perspective shifts slightly as we primarily hear the voice of God, rather than of the prophet. And the focus shifts from what God will do, to who God is as the text addresses the question of God’s character. We encounter a God who hates robbery and wrongdoing, and who loves justice and delights in blessing people. And, as sure as a garden grows, so it is in God’s nature to bless, to “cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations”. The implication is that God simply cannot do otherwise – God is so naturally good and beautiful and perfect that God will naturally generate good and beautiful and perfect things.

We hear also the promise of a renewed and lasting – “everlasting” even (v. 8) – covenant between God and God’s own people. This covenant will see the full reconciliation of God and Israel, a sign that will be witnessed not only by the parties to the covenant, but by other nations too – no one will be able to deny that those who were once called ‘cursed’ have been transformed into “a people whom the LORD has blessed” (v. 9).

Scripture passages like today’s are always encouraging and uplifting. They speak of the hope for a better tomorrow, the surety of God’s love and the promise that we haven’t been forgotten, even when things seem desperate. Yet they also seem to awaken our hunger for change, our discomfort with the way things are. I often find myself reading such passages and thinking, “Yes, Lord, but when? When will we see the full reality of your promises?” A foretaste of the blessing and reconciliation spoken of here has been seen in the earthly life and ministry of Jesus, but we live in the not-quite-yet, crying out to God, “Your kingdom come!”

To Ponder

  • What do you think God is like?
  • What ‘covenants’ have you made in your life, formal or informal? Do they need renewing? If so, take the opportunity to renew them today?
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