Wednesday, May 22, 2013

For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places...

As I continue on with my study of Isaiah, I sometimes find myself seeing reflections of current events in Isaiah's words. Today, it is the image of a stormed raked, desolate cityscape where you might find people shaking their fists at God, or cursing, or giving thanks to Him while others might be quietly mourning and praying for a better future.

Isaiah 51 (KJV)

Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.

Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.

For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people.

My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust.

Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.

Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.

For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation.

Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon?

Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over?

Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.

I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass;

And forgettest the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?

The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail.

But I am the Lord thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The Lord of hosts is his name.

And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.

Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of his fury; thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out.

There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth; neither is there any that taketh her by the hand of all the sons that she hath brought up.

These two things are come unto thee; who shall be sorry for thee? desolation, and destruction, and the famine, and the sword: by whom shall I comfort thee?

Thy sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, as a wild bull in a net: they are full of the fury of the Lord, the rebuke of thy God.

Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted, and drunken, but not with wine:

Thus saith thy Lord the Lord, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again:

But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over.

Readings from Isaiah that are selected for Sunday worship services seem stripped of God's power and might, his wrath, and thus we often lose our fear of the the Lord. Reading Isaiah in its entirety re-clothes God in all his "awesomeness" for those of us who need to be prodded and nudged out of our self-confidence. Disasters such as the recent storms in Oklahoma are wake-up calls to those of us who are prone to feelings of being in control.

When confronted with tragedy, I often turn to the Bible for comfort, only to find a mixed message of comfort and fear such as I find in Isaiah.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10, Psalm 111:10, Acts 17:11), and for me, I need reminding of that beginning over and over.

Forgive me Lord, but I just don't like these kinds of reminders.


  1. Hi Loly,
    Over my adult life I have had occasions to be involved in, an attend Anglican churches mostly when living in Northern Virginia during the 1990s. Those churches are now a part of the Anglican Communion that I think had its dioces in Nigeria if memory serves me.
    For the last 16 years, married life, have been attending an ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, liberal) with my wife, the one I grew up in and have always had a restlessness about.
    I self-published a novel last November titled, "Winds Of Change" CrossBooks, where I fictionally laid my angst on the table as it were, but also had the thematic of empty nest syndrome therein so as to perhaps create interest and not blow readers away.
    Result: Am more clear within myself on what I believe and espouse, and what I dismiss which is a considerable chunk of Lutheran doctrine. Comments have been favorable for the most part on the novella.
    Church, has changed in purpose for me, not a tune-up or treatment for sin any longer but a place to worship, contribute and play piano for services as a part of the music team.
    I empathize with your posts and identify with your "restlessness" too, though our experiences may be of different button pushers.
    My blogs are at grafted in and on the journey also at blogspot.
    A big influence on my journey of late has been Dr. Michael Brown, Jewish believer, of Line Of Fire Ministry. His teaching of holiness and sanctifcation does not set well with most Sacramentalists.
    I am sight impaired, and have yet to figure out the new configuration at blogspot, n so do what I can and figure, "there's always tomorrow. Come to think of it, response to church life is similar.
    " At least we are not getting liberal preaching like that bishop whose last name I think is something like Shorey? Wow..
    I wish there were a Truro or The Falls Church locally in stance, but mostly moderates or liberals in my corner of blog land aside from the more conservative Protestant denominations.
    Excuse my length, but guess I needed to share with another on the same journey of faith!
    My blog name is mellow roc, my author name is the one given at birth, David C Russell.
    Nice to make your acquaintance though perhaps a bit assuming on my part per comment length. I hope you might reply. If not keep the writings coming, they help more than you may ever know.

  2. Pewster,
    "Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people." Those who have no rules live in darkness.