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Isaiah 40:21-31
November 24, 2020

 

 

 

CONTEXT
The prophet Isaiah contains some of the most well-known verses of scripture that are read and set to grand music during the seasons of Christmas and Easter.  The Prophets name from the Hebrew means “Yahweh is salvation.”  The God of Abraham and Jacob of old is still the personal God of their descendants. And, like with their ancient generations, the people are longing for God to save them from their many enemies.  At the time of this writing, the people were in exile in Babylonia under King Nebuchadnezzar during the sixth century before Christ was born.  2 Kings says there may have been more than 10,000 Hebrews in captivity.  They were freed in 539 when the Babylonians were defeated by the Medes and Persians.  In this passage we see God engaging the people to know that their God is the God who created the Universe and is the God who cares to restore them.

TEXT please look up and read
Isaiah 40:21-31 “To Whom Then Will You Compare the Holy One”
…but those who hope for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint…

REFLECTION

God begins by asking, “Have you not known?” What knowledge about life would you want to hear from God?
God asks, “Have you not heard?” This passage refutes that God has been faithless.  Has God left us?
God wonders, “Has it not been told you from the beginning?” What is our responsibility to hear the story?      The power of God comes in action words: “sits, stretches, spreads, brings, makes.” What is God doing still?
Compare the exalted nature of God the Creator looking down at grasshoppers to Christ with us by our side.
God “brings princes to naught.” Is the power of God to honor civic rulers or to subvert human pride?
When God “blows” on human rulers “they wither.” What does God’s Word mean to human governments?
God asks, “Who created all things and calls them by name?” Nothing is missed by God.  Do we feel missed?

God asks, “Why do you say that your way is hidden from the Lord?” Do we think we can hide from God?
If we do attempt to hide from God, or turn from acknowledging the Creator’s presence, does that work for us?
To still the exile’s doubts about God’s faithfulness God uses the term “everlasting.” What is truly lasting?
God is “the Creator of the ends of the earth.” Does this mean that God is still creating, acting in the world?
During this pandemic people have grown weary on many levels.  Is it reassuring to hear God does not faint?em>God’s “understanding is unsearchable” which means God is bigger than what we know. Does that comfort?
God “gives power to the faint, strengthens the powerless.” Is that a call to relief efforts and justice making?
In social distancing times, “even youths will faint and be weary all fall exhausted.” What does faith ask us?
“Those who hope in the Lord shall renew their strength.” What causes us to lose hope and regain hope?
God stands in contradiction to the ways of the world to be divided, to decay and die. Does that give us hope?
How can we stay close to Yahweh when we are told to protect ourselves from breathing near each other?
Is waiting passive or active?  What can we do while waiting to be liberated from what holds us captive?
Is patience a virtue or a curse in our culture?  Can we re-frame our time as living on God’s time?
God gives life where there was none expected.  Can we live with Christmas morning joy every day?
Think of a time when a special person took you under their wing to set you in a better place.
If you could soar with the eagles, what would you like to see?  Where would you like to go?
We like the exiles dream of returning home.  What will our new home look like after the pandemic?
What makes us exhausted in this pandemic?  What are we most weary of?  What has been restorative?

PRAYER
God, the Creator of all things, restore us, strengthen us, and let us soar like the eagles to our new life! Amen.