Thursday, February 15, 2007

And God has not divorced us - Isaiah 50

Isaiah 50 is one of the passages that talks about why we have faith. And we have faith because of God’s faithfulness. No matter what we do God will not divorce us. No matter what happens God will not abandon us. We may be rebuked and chastised, but that will not be forever. We are chosen; we are saved, we are children of God and will be so forever. And so the rough times will not be forever.

And we will go through times that are problematic. Whether it is the Babylonian exile or a depression; whether it is serious illness or loss of people one loves; what ever happens we will be in some turmoil during our lives. What Isaiah reminds us of is that we are never abandoned by God even in the roughest patches. We aren’t promised a life of ease. We are told that God is there with us through all that happens.

There is no bill of divorce from God. God with us is the Emmanuel promise of the Greek Testament and the hope of the Hebrew people through the matriarchs and patriarchs, the prophets and priests, through long generations of hope unseen. As Hebrews 121so eloquently puts it, by faith all these people moved to follow where God led.

And as Isaiah says, in so many words, don’t worry God has not left any of us behind.

Isaiah 50:1-11 [1] Thus says the LORD: Where is your mother's bill of
divorce with which I put her away? Or which of my creditors is it to whom I have
sold you? No, because of your sins you were sold, and for your transgressions
your mother was put away. [2] Why was no one there when I came? Why did no one
answer when I called? Is my hand shortened, that it cannot redeem? Or have I no
power to deliver? By my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a desert;
their fish stink for lack of water, and die of thirst. [3] I clothe the heavens
with blackness, and make sackcloth their covering. [4] The Lord GOD
has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary
with a word. Morning by morning he wakens--wakens my ear to listen as those who
are taught. [5] The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did
not turn backward. [6] I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to
those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting.
[7] The Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore
I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; [8]
he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up
together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me. [9] It is the Lord GOD
who helps me; who will declare me guilty? All of them will wear out like a
garment; the moth will eat them up. [10] Who among you fears the LORD and
obeys the voice of his servant, who walks in darkness and has no light, yet
trusts in the name of theLORD and relies upon his God? [11] But all of you are
kindlers of fire, lighters of firebrands. Walk in the flame of your fire, and
among the brands that you have kindled! This is what you shall have from my
hand: you shall lie down in torment.

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