The Week Leading Up to the First Sunday in Advent: Isaiah 64:1-9

Isaiah 64:1-9

64:1 O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence–

64:2 as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil– to make your name known to your adversaries, so that the nations might tremble at your presence!

64:3 When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.

64:4 From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for him.

64:5 You meet those who gladly do right, those who remember you in your ways. But you were angry, and we sinned; because you hid yourself we transgressed.

64:6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

64:7 There is no one who calls on your name, or attempts to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.

64:8 Yet, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

64:9 Do not be exceedingly angry, O LORD, and do not remember iniquity forever. Now consider, we are all your people.

“… who works for those who wait for him…” Donald Booz says that “The season of Advent has always held in tension the combination of God’s judgment and God’s promise.” Judgment and anticipation of promise. You know I find it peculiar that, today, many Christians talk about God’s judgment as if it is the last thing on earth they want to attend. With a weak understanding of the grace of God, we are riddled with guilt about our lives, and we are terrified of judgment. We also assume that judgment is the day set aside for telling people whether or not they made it to heaven. But scripture doesn’t see it that way. Judgment, for Israel, was about God enacting his justice on all creation. So often in the Psalms, the people of God cry out for God’s judgment. It is something they anticipate. In fact, in this week’s Psalm (Psalm 80), Israel is more threatened by God’s delaying of his judgment than by it’s inauguration! So, we wait. This is, as we have said, a season of waiting. Holding in tension the enactment of God’s justice (the day he will set all things right again) and his promise (that he would do so and we will be redeemed). So we wait and pray “Now consider, we are all your people!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s