Awake!

12219495_10102916792765935_6243168120663063339_n“Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have taken my instruction to heart: Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals or be terrified by their insults.   For the moth will eat them up like a garment; the worm will devour them like wool. But my righteousness will last forever, my salvation through all generations.”   Awake, awake, arm of the Lord , clothe yourself with strength! Awake, as in days gone by, as in generations of old. Was it not you who cut Rahab to pieces, who pierced that monster through?   Was it not you who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep, who made a road in the depths of the sea so that the redeemed might cross over?   Those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.   “I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mere mortals, human beings who are but grass,   that you forget the Lord your Maker, who stretches out the heavens and who lays the foundations of the earth, that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor, who is bent on destruction? For where is the wrath of the oppressor?   The cowering prisoners will soon be set free; they will not die in their dungeon, nor will they lack bread.   For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord Almighty is his name.   I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand— I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’ ” – Isaiah 51:7-16

For some reason this passage has been hard to get inspired about.  It falls in the midst of some amazing parts of Isaiah, but this one just seems to be missing me or I am missing it.  God is speaking and appears to be reassuring the people of Israel that if they commit to Him all will be well in the end: “Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have taken my instruction to heart: Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals or be terrified by their insults.”  Those opposing God will have a different fate: “the moth will eat them up like a garment; the worm will devour them like wool”.

The pronouns and who is speaking here is a bit confusing to me.  God is reminding the people that “my righteousness will last forever, my salvation through all generations.”  I assume this is God talking about Himself.  Then God asks the “arm of the Lord” to awaken.  I am not so sure what this means.  In the passage yesterday the “arm of the Lord” seemed to refer to a coming Messiah or God’s Spirit.  This “arm of the Lord” is the one Who “dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep, who made a road in the depths of the sea so that the redeemed might cross over?”  It sounds like this is referring to the God’s power or the Spirit of God that helped the Israelites to escape from Egypt.

God is asking the people of Israel to wake up from their slumber and act in a way that is consistent with their role as rescued people: “Those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”  God seems to make sense of the confusing pronouns by saying “I, even I, am he who comforts you”,  So it is God who comforts the people of Israel and all those who follow Him.

God promises to set the captives free, “The cowering prisoners will soon be set free; they will not die in their dungeon, nor will they lack bread.”  The One who will set us all free is the God-man, Jesus.  He is the Lord Almighty “who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar”.  Paradoxically, He is also the one who calms the storm.  He says that we are “his people” and He will put words in our mouths and cover us with the shadow if His hand.

Prayer: God you are the God who was, is, and is to come.  Help us to know you by all of Your names, and to be confident that we are all Your people.

 

This entry was posted in Covenant, Following God, Isaiah, Obedience, reconciliation, The Nature of God and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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