Some days are filled with blessings, like sunshine, kittens, good food, great people. Others are hard days filled with painful digging in your past, uncertainty about the future, and struggling to understand how to cope. And many days are a mixture of both.
Isaiah was in the middle of a conflicting world that incorporated both judgement and promised deliverance. How do you respond? How do you keep a perspective of your place in the world, and who God really is? Isaiah responded with a praise song.
“O Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you; I will praise your name,
for you have done wonderful things,
plans formed of old, faithful and sure.”
God has had a long-term plan. He subdues those who oppose Him and saves those who identify themselves by His name.
“For you have been a stronghold to the poor,
a stronghold to the needy in his distress,
a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat;
for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall,
5 like heat in a dry place.
You subdue the noise of the foreigners;
as heat by the shade of a cloud,
so the song of the ruthless is put down.”
I love these metaphors. God is a shade from the heat, like a cloud that blocks the fiery sun that can do nothing to it! How often do we sing God’s praise? It’s a great way to celebrate.
“On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.”
This is so like Psalm 23. God doesn’t just save us, He celebrates with us, and treats us to a banquet of the best!
“And he will swallow up on this mountain
the covering that is cast over all peoples,
the veil that is spread over all nations.
8 He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
9 It will be said on that day,
“Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
In Exodus, the Israelites were afraid of going up the mountain like Moses because of the awesome display of God’s power. Moses came down with his face glowing from time with God, but he covered it with a veil. Paul talks about this veil in 2 Corinthians 3, about how those who are in the New Covenant with Christ can see the glory without it being hidden underneath another layer. And in 1 Corinthians 15 Paul exults over the fact that Jesus’ resurrection is just the first proof of God destroying death forever! God is there, He is faithful, and He is working in the world!
The pride of this world will be laid to dust, like the walls of Jericho that was just knocked over, with no apparent cause. So when you are in the middle of a hard day, pray the words of this song. They are humbling. They are stretching. And they remind us how great our God is, and how involved He is in this world. It is such a contrast to how I normally think.
God, thank You that You are God, worthy of praise, and You shower love on me like Oregon rainclouds. Amen.