Prepare to Listen. As you light the 1st and 2nd purple candles, let these words still your heart and mind: In him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
Prayerfully Read Isaiah 42:5-9
5Thus says God, the LORD
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people upon it
and spirit to those who walk in it:
6I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness,
I have taken you by the hand and kept you;
I have given you as a covenant to the people,
a light to the nations,
7to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.
8I am the LORD, that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to idols.
9See, the former things have come to pass,
and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth,
I tell you of them.
God’s work of creation is a frequent topic in the Bible, which means it’s important! In Isaiah’s text God’s work is described in graphic images. Use your imagination and see: God stretching out the heavens, spreading out the earth, giving breath and spirit to the people who walk the earth. The picture is stunning, giving the sense of room for all, everything, everyone. God didn’t hold back or limit creation.
The prophet then turns to redemption. He’s not changing the subject since creation and redemption belong together, and both are key biblical themes. Like creation, God’s redemptive work is expansive, including the nations, plural. God’s redemption isn’t limited to any one nation or people group. All nations are and always will be included. And always it’s the most vulnerable, the weak and the imprisoned, who will experience God’s redemptive newness—sight for their blindness, freedom from imprisonment, light instead of darkness. The former things that corrupted and crippled creation, including each one of us, have passed. God has declared new things, openly not secretly. We know about them because God tells us of them.
Perhaps we fail to hear about the new things God openly declares because we’re still holding too tightly to the former things that have passed. We must let go the old so that we can see and accept the new, with all the change it brings.
How does Isaiah’s view of redemption affirm or correct your view?
Respond to Jesus
Creator-Redeemer Lord, still my heart and mind to hear your declaration of new things for all people so that I live in your expansive and inclusive way. Amen.
Live obediently. Be attentive to God’s newness around you today.