Author: Joan Harman
January 28, 2022

The events of my experiences always are infused by my Bible reading at the moment.  As the facts surrounding the anti-semitic attack on the synagogue in Texas unfold, I'm thinking how God talks about God's chosen people in the closing chapters of Isaiah.  Very encouraging about blessing them and 49:15-16 “I will not forget you.  Behold, I have graven you on the palms of my hands."

God's community includes Israel and proselytes.  And in 55:12-13 God talks about them going out in joy (this exodus was from Babylonia back to their land) and being led forth in peace.  God talks about heavens, hills and mountains singing and trees clapping their hands for the joy of it.

Israelites and their community are told in 58:10 plus "If you pour yourself out for the hungry, etc. the Lord will make your bones strong ......and you shall be called the repairer of the breach."   I would wish to be a repairer with strong bones.  How about you?

I'm remarking to myself anew as I read Isaiah this time how authors hark back to the prophetic writers for inspirations.  In Ephesians 6, Paul expounds about putting on the whole armor of God, a concept that jumps off the page to me toward the end of Isaiah 59, with 2 of the exact same phrases that Paul uses (righteousness as breastplate and helmet of salvation).  The commentator says that chapters 63-66 are written in the same time frame as Haggai and Zechariah, 520-518 b.c.  Don't be too surprised to see some comments from those two writings next week as the suffering servant no longer appears and these chapters are dealing with the realities of living the restoration period:  assurance and hope in times that are in God's hands.  60:1 reads, "Arise, shine, for your light has come."

 Right now, I'm reading through a book of poems by Amanda Gorman, all pertaining to the lived experience we've had in these pandemic times, CALL US WHAT WE CARRY.  I think Amanda is familiar with Isaiah, for 63:3-7 and consecutive lines have the style that I read in Amanda's poems.....For examples, "trod them and trampled them,       life's blood sprinkled and stained all my raiment,       I was appalled but there was no one to uphold,      granted to us and to the great goodness of the house of Israel."  Reading those aloud, our ears hear sounds, as well as meaning, repeated.

There is great comfort and reassurance for me in this last section of Isaiah.  The writer recognizes we all sin and our sins are smoke in God's nostrils.  I get that picture.
This poor clay that we are deserves worse, but God our potter restores many because of faithful intercession.  One of many instances where God blesses many because of the faithfulness of a few (the remnant).

There is an image in the final chapter that is Big Comfort to me as I think back to my own mother, "As one whom her (his) mother comforts, so I will comfort you."  Thus says the Lord.
Not only comforted but given a glimpse of hope for restoration and the continuing creation of the new heaven and the new earth.

Joan K. Harman   <><

9200 Dietz Elkhorn Road | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX 78015 | 830.208.4322

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