Isaiah 29 – God Against Affliction

Bible opened to Isaiah 29 with Endangered Species Forest Mint Dark Chocolate

Today’s ChocolateEndangered Species forest mint

Today’s PassageIsaiah 29

Isaiah 29 starts with a prophecy against Jerusalem, here called “Ariel,” Hebrew for “lion of God.” Isaiah predicts siege by the city’s enemies (3) and punishment of natural disasters from God himself (6). I won’t dwell too much on that part, except to encourage you to read it for yourself–half the reason I write these posts is to encourage you to read the Bible more. The other half is to encourage me to read the Bible more.

But late in the chapter, a verse hit me: “The afflicted also will increase their gladness in the Lord, and the needy of mankind will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel” (19). There are a lot of afflicted and needy people in the world–it was true in Isaiah’s time, and it’s true today. People get afflicted by violence, sickness, hateful speech, and worse every day, and every one of us suffers to some degree from unmet needs. But God gives them a promise here, and I’m reminded of Psalm 27, in which David asks God, in essence, “Please give me You.” God doesn’t promise to take away affliction and fulfill needs; he promises to give the joy and gladness that comes when you receive him.

Still not satisfied? Good news: God promises to give more than just consolation. First, he promises justice: “For the ruthless will come to an end and the scorner will be finished; indeed, all who are intent on doing evil will be cut off” (29:20). The tormentors, the impoverishers, those who make others needy by taking and consuming the things they need–all these people will find their efforts neutralized. Justice plays the long game, and God will put an end to humanity’s physical and verbal violence against itself. Moreover, God will give light and understanding. Isaiah prophesies, “On that day the deaf will hear words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see” (29:18). I think that vv.9-12 make it clear that this blindness and deafness are metaphorical–that God promises to bring truth and revelation to these people. I’m reminded of what Paul says in I Corinthians 13:12: “Now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” God opens our eyes to see him.

There’s another mention of wine in verse 9, but I’ve talked enough about wine for the time being. I’ll leave that one for you guys to scope out on your own.

 

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