In the history of the world the enticement of power has created wars, fostered injustice and resulted in pain for generations. Our text is timely, as we focus on Isaiah's words of hope that portray the ultimate sovereign who embodies the deepest longings of the human heart.
My favorite Christmas movie is "A Christmas Story," which tells the story of Ralphie Parker, a nine-year-old boy and his desire to receive an official Red Ryder carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and a sundial for Christmas.
The problem that Ralphie faces is all of the adults in his life are against him receiving the gun as a Christmas present because, as they say, "he'll shoot his eye out."
In this series about finding God as you face grief we read from Obadiah for an example of anger as Judah raged against the Edomites for siding with their enemy. Lamentations 1 composed a song of despair at Judah's fall. In Lamentations 3 the writer tried bargaining with God to bring vengeance on Judah's enemy. None of these common stages of grief healed or erased the pain of Judah's situation. But today Isaiah will remind us, as he speaks to Judah, that in the trials and tragedies of life God offers us encouragement and hope.
When I was a kid the only time I heard the word “fast” was from Catholic friends sometime around Easter. They talked about giving up chocolate or movies until after Easter. Made no sense to me! But Isaiah’s words are faith underlined, in capital letters, highlighted in red, shaped in the bold action of living, leaving religious words and usual rituals behind.
Reading the prophets from Israel’s most volatile and tragic period of history uncomfortably reminds me of our tumultuous world. Our world resembles the eighth century BC when Judah and Israel were on the brink of collapse and exile.