Monday, 23 April 2007

and now for part two....

Thoughts on Isaiah 4

Starting off with “In that day” and how the filth of the land is shown, how the nation is in disgrace and continues in their sin – how women debase themselves to “take away [their] disgrace”. Isn’t it true how we often prostitute ourselves to things, because we want them to take away our iniquity. Instead there is only one answer….

Found just in the next verse – “in that day” gives a complete different picture of the beauty of the Lord’s chosen one. The one question that arises is, whether it’s the same day, the same time, or a contrast to the previous time? The contrast certainly is there, since “the Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion” and will restore her by judgment, and cleanse her by fire. Whether it’s the same day, I cannot make out.

There is a “contradiction” for you: cleansing by fire and water at the same time – a washing and a judgment. Even in revelation, the final judgment will be by fire. How and what that fire is, I don’t know, yet it echoes the pouring out of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. It also echoes the pillar of fire in the desert.

In verse 5 this is depicted by the people and mount Zion being covered by a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night. The presence of the Lord surely is with His people and they will find shelter, shade, refuge and a hiding place.

“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance” Ps 32:7

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Ps 91:1

All of Ps 84 echoes the above – How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty!

"Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked" (vs10)

“I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed” Ps 57:1b

Thoughts from Isaiah

Thoughts on Isaiah 61: 4-11

Compare the passage to Isaiah 1:7+8, 28-31

I have come across the following opposites:

Isaiah 1:7 states that at the moment of writing, the country is desolate and that the cities are burning. The fields are stripped by foreigners and laid waste. Yet the promise come to Isaiah that good new is at hand that the mourning will be comforted and everything restores to its previous glory. These mourners will rebuild the ruins and restore the devastated places. The vineyards and flocks will be tended and shepherded by foreigners.

It is amazing how the destructive force of the foreign people will be turned into a servant of Israel. Instead of breaking down, they will have to help rebuild and restore.

Isaiah 1: 29 Israel is reprimanded for the “sacred oaks” which have become idols and therefore the curse was that they themselves would be a thirsting oak “with fading leaves, like a garden without water”. In Isaiah 61:3b, the people will be “called oaks of righteousness”.

Again, what an amazing restoration! That which was idolised will become nothing and the people will be righteous and flourish like an oak (a healthy one), since the Lord did the planting to display His splendour.

These two comparisons demonstrate how God uses that which was destroyed to His good purposes and restores everything to its former glory – no even more glorious, because now He will be in charge of that which He has changed.

“For as the soil makes the young plant come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations” Isaiah61:11.

Let us praise Him for ever and ever. Amen

“But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. I will praise you for ever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints.” Ps 52:8+9