Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Songs of Justice and Victory (Isaiah 12)
The first part of Isaiah’s book, the prophesied judgment and redemption of Judah, ends with a beautiful description of God’s restoration of Judah after her humiliation (Isaiah 11), and then in this short chapter, with an exclamation of praise for the goodness of God manifest in this salvation.

Isaiah 12:1-2 (ESV)
You will say in that day:
“I will give thanks to you, O Lord,
    for though you were angry with me,
your anger turned away,
    that you might comfort me.
“Behold, God is my salvation;
    I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
    and he has become my salvation.”

Though we once were enemies of God, by his love we have been made his own. He was angry, but has become our salvation. His love has driven away our fear. We are not slaves, but adopted children, swept by grace into the family of God.

The steadfast love of God never ends. It is a well with no bottom, the depths of which only draw us closer to his heart. For eternity we will never cease to sing praise with joy for God's infinite goodness.

The chapter follows after a tradition of songs of praise from the people of God. These first verses remind us of the song of Miriam on the shore of the Red Sea after God miraculously brought Israel through, liberating them from their slavery.

Exodus 15:1b-2 (ESVUK)
“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
    the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my song,
    and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
    my father's God, and I will exalt him.

In Jesus’ victory over death, these songs may become ours as well. The promise of the life and freedom of all the earth as described in Isaiah 11 will be ours because of Jesus. What an appropriate response to sing and dance for the goodness that is already ours, and the Promised Land that is already being prepared and we long to see.

Isaiah 12:3-6 (ESVUK)
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day:

“Give thanks to the Lord,
    call upon his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples,
    proclaim that his name is exalted.
“Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;
    let this be made known in all the earth.
Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
    for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”

Of all the beauty and goodness that we hope to one day see fulfilled, the best will be the presence of God truly among us, a presence we will know like we know our family now. Now we see God like a poor reflection. In eternity, we will see God face to face. The Holy One of Irael, Immanuel, will be in our midst. Now we only know a part. In eternity we will know fully, and be fully known (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Mary, mother of Jesus, sang of justice and peace at the announcement of her coming child. We call her song the Magnificat.

Luke 1:46-55 (ESVUK)
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
    and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
    For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
    and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
    to Abraham and to his offspring for ever.”

Until he returns, let us never cease to sing the song of our salvation, and the salvation of the earth the groans for justice. Let us dance justice, life and peace upon this fragile earth, and work in her the life Jesus has purchased for us all, resisting oppression, working for life, and doing it all in freedom and joy.

Thursday, July 3, 2014: 1 Peter 2:21-25 - Following our Lord, the Suffering Saviour
Tuesday, July 8, 2014: Isaiah 13 -Flee Babylon, All You Arrogant Kings
Click the image for the entire series from Isaiah.

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