This post will be my last for the book of Isaiah. For any new readers, a friend and I have been blogging through our reflections on this book for the last couple of months. It’s been an awesome thing and I would encourage others to go for it, too. I feel like recording our thoughts before we talk (in a deeper way than just taking general notes) makes the conversation deeper and more productive. You can read Crystal’s posts here.
I’ll just make a few comments about these last six chapters (which won’t begin to do justice to their rather intense and sometimes confusing message).
Isaiah 61:11: “For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, And as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up, So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.”
Okay, I’m going to do something I despise, here, but I’m disclosing it, which makes it different. I hope. 🙂 I’m going to take this verse out of context and nitpick it to make a point that it might not make on its own. I frequently wonder how directly involved God is in my daily life. I don’t doubt His presence, but I have a hunch that he doesn’t always reveal my keys to me when I lose them and pray, “God, please help me find my keys.” What I like about this verse is that it seems to indicate that God creates things with the capacity to do something, and then… it does it. So, God gave the garden the ability to grow things, He doesn’t necessarily weave and summon every weed and flower. Just an interesting thing to think about. Sometimes I think we’re too quick to place responsibility (for good things and bad) directly or solely on God.
Isaiah 62:7: “And give Him no rest until He establishes And makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” This verse instructs the “watchmen” of Jerusalem not to let up – to remind God of his promise to redeem Jerusalem. I love this reminder (and Isaiah has been full of them) that we affect our God. We can ask Him for that which we need and he hears us.
And in the same vein, Isaiah 65:1: “I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me; I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me. I said, ‘Here am I, here am I,’ To a nation which did not call on My name.” So, again, if we want Him, we should seek Him. For example, if I want someone to answer a question, I have to give them the opportunity. I have to ask it.
Finally, I’m not well-read in this department, but I really wonder about the nature of the new heavens and new earth. Chapter 65:20, indicates that despite the new earth being a joyful place, people will still die. So, how does this work? Do all who live in the new earth go to the new heavens after death? Just made me curious.