It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Continuation, a Reflection on Isaiah 65:1-9

After they returned home after exile, they gave mixed responses. Some gratitude, yes, but also some complaints.

I wrote that paragraph before I looked the passage up in my New interpreter's Study Bible. There I found out that scholars assert that God is speaking not to the returning exiles but to the ones who never left.

Of course, they had complaints too.

God is addressing these complaints.

We can infer that they are blaming God for their troubles, asking "Why didn't you do something sooner?"

God's response, "I was ready to come and to help even those who didn't bother to ask. When I held my hand out, you were too busy doing other things to notice me. How can I help anyone who doesn't accept my offer?"

Then, more ominously, God says,"I have been paying attention to you, and you will reap the consequences for your lapses."

But, even then, God holds out hope. Total destruction may have been deserved, but instead, God is promising continuing survival and relationship.
Thus says the Lord: As the wine is found in the cluster, and they say "do not destroy it, for there is a blessing in it" so I will do for my servants' sake (8).

This do-over after the exile allows these people to live in the land given to them by the Lord and in the way that the Lord has devised. They had messed up the first time, but now the Lord has given them another chance.

This isn't just history. It's a reminder to us as we acknowledge our failings and look to God for renewal and continued support.

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