We note often that noticing repeated words, phrases and ideas is a good way to sniff out a writer’s priorities. It’s also helpful to notice when a new idea interjects itself into the conversation, making you ask, “Where did that come from?” Let’s assume that the writer (or compiler) knows what he’s doing, and consider that the jolt is intentional.
Yesterday’s attention was on the LORD’s promised servant, and his dissimilarity with the present leaders of Israel. Today, the prophet shifts abruptly to the failure of idolatry. There is a mixture of metaphor and literal practices that grant vivid images of both idolatrous activities and of God’s perspective on them. Listen, especially in the first half of today’s reading, to the emotion the LORD conveys: anger, disappointment, even frustration: “Have I not held my peace, even for a long time,” He asks, “and you do not fear me?
However, as we saw earlier in Isaiah, the prophet cannot keep quiet about the future restoration for long. “A Redeemer will come to Zion,” he proclaims in chapter 59, “And as for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth…” Later, the prophet decrees to Israel, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you… Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, with no one passing through, I will make you majestic forever, a joy from age to age.”
And again you’ll note that the prophet’s eyes seem to be looking beyond, “The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.”
Our verse for this week is Acts 1:8: But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Isaiah 57 through 60. Now let’s read it!
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”