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Saturday, February 9, 2019
Today’s Scripture Reading | Isaiah 6:9–13
And he said, “Go and say to this people: ‘Keep listening, but do not comprehend; keep looking, but do not understand.’ Make the mind of this people dull, and stop their ears, and shut their eyes, so that they may not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and comprehend with their minds, and turn and be healed.” Then I said, “How long, O Lord?” And he said: “Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is utterly desolate; until the Lord sends everyone far away, and vast is the emptiness in the midst of the land. Even if a tenth part remain in it, it will be burned again, like a terebinth or an oak whose stump remains standing when it is felled.” The holy seed is its stump. (NRSV)
Why in the world would God ask Isaiah to do this? Why would he send forth a prophet to speak to a people he already knew weren’t going to listen? Doesn’t that seem like a waste of everyone’s time?
God tells Isaiah from the very beginning that his words won’t bring anyone to healing. People won’t see or hear his message. And not only that, God’s asking Isaiah to do that for the rest of his life—until all people are gone and the land is destroyed. I can’t imagine Isaiah was particularly excited about this calling. What’s the point?
Fortunately for us, we’re not supposed to understand everything God does. But sometimes we can look back and figure it out. In this case, when I look back, it’s much easier to understand God’s plans. I can see that part of God’s plan was to have someone prophesy about the coming of the messiah so that hundreds of years later, when Jesus was born, there would be a prophecy to be fulfilled. And here we are reading about Isaiah’s service thousands of years later. Generations of people have read his story and heard his words. And so even though he may not have felt it at the time, all those words Isaiah spoke that fell on deaf ears at that moment in time had, and continue to have, a profound effect on us today.
Omniscient God, you are more powerful than I could ever hope to understand. Grant me faith and courage to say yes when you call me, even and especially when I don’t understand your plan. Give me strength and perseverance to do your work, and bless me with people to support and nourish me along the way. In your Son’s name I humbly pray. Amen.
Written by Nicole Spirgen, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church
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