Wednesday 08 February 2012

Bible Book:

"This is my covenant with them, says the Lord; my spirit is upon you, and my words that I put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth ... from now on and forever." (v. 21)

Isaiah 59:15-21 Wednesday 8 February 2012


In the middle of this dark passage, God seems to be entirelyabsent to God's people. There is a lack of justice, and God'speople have been shown to be hypocritical in their worship andtheir repentence. We are told that into this situation, God lookedand was displeased (verse 15). 

In the topsy-turveyiness of the kingdom, however, we should not besurprised that the apparent absence of God is actually the verypoint of the discovery of God. When there is no-one else left tomake the difference - when God appears to have lost hope even inGod's own people - God girds himself, and enters into thesituation.

God does not leave the people alone and in distress, but insteadgives the people what they need. God will bring forth a redeemerwho will bring about a kingdom of justice, and who will demonstratewhat it is to live in a grace-filled way. The light will dawn inthe darkness, and the shadows will have nowhere to hide their powerover people and places any longer. 

God offers a promise to the people - a promise that God will moveinto the neighbourhood, and will transform the difficulties oflife. And as that happens, God's people will be offered the chanceto respond afresh to this act of compassion. The laments ofprevious chapters will no longer be hollow hymns of sanctimony, butinstead will be heartfelt declarations of repentence. 

All of this will come to pass because of the Spirit of God (inHebrew 'the ruach') that has been spoken here by Isaiah, and towhich the Israelites had experienced themselves. This is thepromise, the story and the hope that will continue to transformevery generation. This is because God is not an absent God, but aGod of great compassion, grace, mercy, love and justice. This willcome about through the Spirit of God, as God's people continue tobe transformed into God's likeness - people who are full of graceand truth. 

To Ponder

How have you experienced the topsy-turvyiness ofGod's kingdom?

Do you agree that it is often in the absence ofGod that God is to be found? Why/why not?

How are you helping others to be transformed intoJesus' likeness today?

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