Tag Archives: Isaiah

1 Advent Wonder, his coming, from Isaiah 61

24 Nov

The Book of Isaiah has different ‘voices’ for the people of Israel at deep points of their journey, from their exile to their return; from judgements to healings. Yet all these voices have one central theme: a Messiah is coming. And He is coming in power. Thus Isaiah’s book is a song of power; it is a book of promise.

What is promise? It is the coming Messiah’s promise: all will have an everlasting relationship from, with, an all powerful saviour.

These are words of joy,the song of joy and it is a healing voice of joy.

Wikipedia also speaks of the power of Isaiah words as the ‘5th gospel’ and how this book influenced culture ‘from the libretto of Handel’s Messiah to a host of such everyday phrases as “swords into ploughshares” and “voice in the wilderness“.’ Yet, for the people of the 8th century BCE, they heard one voice: a voice describing the coming, the advent of a saviour, the Messiah, as here,

Isaiah 61

“ The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,

2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,

3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor….”

In exile the people were in silence and loneliness. They are, were, separated from their lands and homes. Their capital’s, centre city Jerusalem’s walls were destroyed. A city without walls is a as child alone, without a mother, a parent. And yet, here, they have returned and Isaiah both acknowledges their despairs (‘ darkness; ashes ‘ ) and, speaking in the voice of the Messiah, promises healings: a ‘ crown of beauty ‘ & ‘ year of favour ‘.

It is telling. Why?

Isaiah writes of the coming blessings before he acknowledges the hurts. Comforts and joys promise comes in his text before the mourning of the past. On their return they daily see their devastated homes and temple. ( verses 2 & 3 ). Yet while these aches and absences of the past are quite present, the Messiah focuses on future healings, promises and love,

“…And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,

    and everlasting joy will be yours.

8 “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them.”

Their Lord loves them and justice. He will be theirs as one essential word repeated twice in these closing promises: ‘everlasting’ – everlasting joy and covenant.

They, we, will never be separated from Him. He will be theirs, and ours, from everlasting to ever everlasting- together, we hear His voice.

This is Advent: This everlasting is coming.

Rejoice.