Wednesday 14 December 2016

Bible Book:

the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.” (v. 9)

Isaiah 26:7-9 Wednesday 14 December 2016

Psalm: Psalm 71:17-24


The hymn (within what is known as 'the Apocalypse of Isaiah')continues but these verses begin a change to becoming more like aPsalm of Lament. These few verses are beautiful and very personalas God's people draw close to their God while waiting for God'skingdom. Isaiah 40:3 (made so popular in Godspell) that is quoted inLuke 3:4 as a prophecy coming true with Johnthe Baptist might even be built upon verse 7 here:

"The way of the righteous is level;
O Just One, you make smooth the path of the righteous."

However the emphasis is different. Instead of preparing the wayfor the Lord, the Lord is smoothing the way for the righteous. Whatthat means is something that people have understood in manydifferent ways over the years can still be understood in a widevariety of ways today.

The personal nature of these verses, especially the first halfof verse 9, might seem to fit very well with a modern faith that isunderstood as being personal and inward. However, there is also astrong community focus "we wait for you" (v. 8) and an impactbeyond the local "inhabitants of the world". This inward desire forGod's kingdom is a desire for a kingdom shared by the whole world,not just a kingdom of our hearts and souls.

This idea of waiting for God's kingdom is very clearly one thatwe have made a central theme of Advent with the dual hope of God'skingdom in the world begun at the incarnation and the hope of God'sKingdom coming in full with the return of Jesus. Although ourAdvent traditions don't generally include much yearning during thenight (maybe because we have got so busy during the days) we seethat aspect in the popularity of 24x7 prayer weeks, where manypeople find the prayer time through the night very powerfulexperiences.

To Ponder

  • How do you feel about the idea of God making smooth yourpath?
  • How does the idea of your soul yearning for God feel to you(day or night)?
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