Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Wake Up and Shout for Joy!

Isaiah 25-27 marks a transition, moving from a series of invectives against rogue nations to a triad of praises to the LORD. The author is a war survivor, he's seen the LORD destroy the enemy and thus earn their respect. But this strong God who destroys is also one who is a refuge for the poor, a shelter from the storm. This God of violent justice also knows how to throw a fantastic feast, as well as wipe away the tears. The author declares: this is the LORD we trust in...yes! Wake Up and Shout for Joy!

Men: what kind of vision do you hold out for yourself? What kind of man do you want to become? A strong man who is a shelter for the weak? An agent of justice to the wicked and one who wipes the tear of the oppressed? A feast-giver of generous reputation who is trustworthy and celebrated?

The author goes on to ruminate, not only about the failure of the enemies to overcome the LORD, but also the failure of God's people to bring the blessings of peace and righteousness to the world. Only God was good and already described, but not enough men and women.
He laments:
"We have not brought salvation to the earth, and the people of the world have not been reborn."

It is important to note that the theme of a bodily resurrection does not occur very often in the Hebrew Scriptures, so when it does - though we almost automatically think of Jesus - we ought to consider how vital and significant is the mention. In a sense...the failure of mankind - both the good and the bad, has left the author almost on the verge of despair. If we die a that it?
The author writes with immense hope - almost daring anticipation:
"But your dead will live, LORD; their bodies will rise -
let those who dwell in the dust wake up and shout for joy -
your dew is like the dew of the morning;
you will make it fall on the spirits of the dead."

Men: do you know of any fellows who are down in the dumps, face in the dirt, dusted with failure and shame? What kind of man do they need to come alongside them? What kind of strength do they need for another man? What kind of justice or mercy do they need from another good man? What kind of feast do they need, to have their head lifted up once more by a generous man?

Jesus walked amongst dust-drenched men, and through his Way, his Instruction, his Life he woke them up to Joy. His tragic death is in one sense symbolic of the death of humanity to being able to save itself. But his resurrection is a picture and a promise of what is to come to those that say "Yes" to his grace.

There are men all around us who dwell in the dust...and God calls out to them through you: Wake Up and Shout for Joy!

Men: do you hear his morning call?

Men: do you see the dust-dwellers?

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