A Daily Dose of Good News
Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Additionally, if you’d like to talk about this Daily Dose of Good News further, or previous ones, have questions, or additional thoughts, please feel free to email me at . I’d love to interactively engage with you about them.
Good morning! It’s May 4 and it’s time for our Daily Dose of Good News which is from Isaiah 32:9-20 and it’s a bit of a continuation of yesterday’s theme, which was from Isaiah 5: 1-7. So, as you hear me read this today, I’d like you to try and count, the number of times that there is a call to action, by God.
Rise up, you women who are at ease, hear my voice;
you complacent daughters, listen to my speech.
In little more than a year
you will shudder, you complacent ones;
for the vintage will fail,
the fruit harvest will not come.
Tremble, you women who are at ease,
shudder, you complacent ones;
strip, and make yourselves bare,
and put sackcloth on your loins.
Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields,
for the fruitful vine,
for the soil of my people
growing up in thorns and briers;
yes, for all the joyous houses
in the jubilant city.
For the palace will be forsaken,
the populous city deserted;
the hill and the watchtower
will become dens forever,
the joy of wild asses,
a pasture for flocks;
until a spirit from on high is poured out on us,
and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,
and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.
The Peace of God’s Reign
Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,
and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.
The effect of righteousness will be peace,
and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.
My people will abide in a peaceful habitation,
in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.
The forest will disappear completely,
and the city will be utterly laid low.
Happy will you be who sow beside every stream,
who let the ox and the donkey range freely.
Here ends the reading.
There’s not always a call to action in the Bible. Sometimes there is. But the amount of times there’s a call to action in this passage, is striking. Specifically complacency is addressed three times and named as complacency. We are urged not to be complacent. We are urged to rise up, beat our breasts and sow by the stream.
It’s interesting to think about this in connection with the passage from Isaiah 5 yesterday. While I knew this information, I didn’t think it fit as well, as an explanation, to describe it yesterday. But I’ll revert for just a moment, to it now. At the end of that passage in Isaiah 5, there’s a bit of a pun at the end. The words used at the end of the text, sound the same, but are very differents words with very different meanings. So for example, justice and bloodshed are very similar words in Hebrew. But justice and bloodshed are dramatically, two very different things. Righteousness and a cry, again follow that pattern, of two very similar sounding words in the Hebrew. And again, polar opposites, of righteousness or crying out in pain or suffering. I think that’s interesting to think about in this text, with the context of: the beginning of this passage is about hearing My voice, listening to My speech. Can we distinguish between what sounds like righteousness and what sounds like bloodshed? What is justice and what’s a cry? And I might have said those in reverse, but I think you understand- at least- my thinking, right? Can we distinguish between what is painful suffering and what is fairness, justice and righteousness that God would name as such, and that God is after?
I think that’s another piece that’s helpful for us to think about- that we may not always talk about as frequently. Our God is a God of justice. Our God is a God who desires action for those who are suffering- whether those are marginalized people, or oppressed people, or unfair treatment, or whatever that may be. God cares about righteousness and we saw this in Jesus’s ministry. Jesus, forever, was going for healing. Jesus, forever, was going for making someone whole.
And Lutherans are called to that, particularly in missions. Lutheran World Relief is one of the best mission organizations in the world. It’s one of the most impactful. I don’t know if you know this, but generally speaking, the Lutheran mentality is that we’re all equipped for missions. There’s no hierarchy of some people are able to do missions and other people aren’t. It is simply, no, this is something that all of us can do, as God’s hands in the world. Something that we’re all capable of and that we’re all called to do, out of an overflow of our love for God. Recognizing God’s mercy towards us and sharing that with one another- whether that’s someone nearby locally, regionally, or globally. God’s love overflows out of us, into areas of unrighteousness. Our job is to sow beside every stream, our job is to hear the voice of God, and rise up and be responsive to whatever God is calling us and saying to us in those moments. So, there’s good news in that- with all the strife in the world, and all the news that can be horrific and hard to look at and is so discouraging. We cringe for India- which is suffering so much- and so many places in the world right now, which are suffering so much. Can we listen for God’s words and how God would instruct us to act? What is God’s call of action for us? So that we can sow beside streams. So we can help enact God’s purposes in this world to reduce the suffering. So that the wilderness becomes forest. It’s a beautiful and powerful image. It is creating lushness out of desolation, and that’s what God does continually. The great thing is, we get to be a part of that with God. We get to see God’s work in the world, in the lives of others. I think that’s strengthening for our own faith.
So, that’s our text for today. I hope you enjoy the imagery and the idea that God wants God’s people growing up in fertile soil, not in thorns and briars which injure them. Enjoy the day everybody. Bye-bye.