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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Isaiah 52:7–10

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices, together they sing for joy; for in plain sight they see the return of the Lord to Zion. Break forth together into singing, you ruins of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. (NRSV)

There are at least three streams of the Bible’s prophetic waters running through this brief excerpt of an Isaiah oracle.

There is the stream announcing the reign of God in the face of contemporary geopolitical maneuverings (“Your God reigns!”). This one courses through the fall of Nineveh at the hands of Babylon, shouted by the prophet Nahum, “Look, on the mountains: the feet of a messenger who announces peace!” (Nahum 1:15).

Verse 9’s “Break forth together into singing” floats along another stream, one that appears dramatically in the opening plea of Psalm 98: “Sing to the Lord a new song because God has done wonderful things!” Miriam singing on the shores of the sea that has buried her people’s oppressors may be this stream’s source.

Still another prophetic tributary in these verses might be called the “Whole Wide World” stream. When verse 10 announces “all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God,” we hear a trickle out of the past (1 Samuel 2:10—”The Lord will judge the ends of the earth”) that will gain momentum on the voices of Jeremiah and Micah and Zechariah before becoming a roaring river in the words of Jesus to his disciples: “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

So scripture is like a great river. The words we see from our gravelly bank came from far, far upstream, marked by companions in faith we will never see. Now they proceed downstream, into a future that needs to hear them just as urgently as we do, as God’s people always have.

God of peace, may the announcement of your reign of peace and salvation always be in our ears and on our lips. May the song we sing strike chords of comfort for all your people, so that the whole wide world might be shaped to your purposes. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Written by Rocky Supinger, Associate Pastor for Youth Ministry

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