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June 23, 2023 - Isaiah 5-9

The prophets, it seems were always having to address wrongs committed by the people. Maybe that’s why, when we hear a sermon that is particularly hard-hitting, we tend to label it as “prophetic preaching.” Of course, the prophetic books are filled, also, with all sorts of wonderful promises of God’s grace and patience and, of course, about Messiah. There is one statement, here, that Isaiah makes, though, that seems particularly a right-on-the-target commentary on our day: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (5:20)

Things were an absolute mess in Isaiah’s day. An absolute mess! His response: “Bind up the testimony; seal the teaching among my disciples. I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him” (8:18). Isaiah knew that one was coming who would be his and Israel’s salvation: “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (9:6). The prophet would wait and hope in the Lord: “I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him” (8:17).

In the mess that we find ourselves, our hope is the same as Isaiah’s, only that child, for us, has already come! Don’t ever forget this! The hymn writers certainly did not forget as they patiently and hopefully waited for the day that is yet to come when we gather with him in Emmanuel’s land.

The sands of time are sinking;

the dawn of heaven breaks;

the summer morn I’ve sighed for,

the fair sweet morn awakes;

dark, dark, hath been the midnight,

but dayspring is at hand,

and glory, glory dwelleth

in Emmanuel's land. --Samuel Rutherford & A. R. Cousin (1857)

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