Today’s Chocolate: Chocolove Coffee Crunch in Dark Chocolate
Today’s Passage: Isaiah 44
Yesterday we ended on a cliffhanger. After two chapters of God declaring his favor for Israel, he expresses frustration that they still don’t honor him, and then he drops this bomb on us: “So I will pollute the princes of the sanctuary, and I will consign Jacob to the ban and Israel to revilement” (43:28). Where did the favor go? I’m glad to report that in Isaiah 44, the favor is back. God sandwiches this business of polluting the sanctuary’s princes between declarations of forgiveness. He tells his people, “I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud and your sins like a heavy mist” (44:22). The revilement is just a single verse, just a blip of frustration on God’s radar. Today we return to blessing.
You’ve probably noticed that water coming to the desert is a recurring theme in Isaiah. It showed up in yesterday’s passage, along with the desert fauna we’ve seen before: “The beasts of the field will glorify Me, the jackals and the ostriches, because I have given waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My chosen people” (43:20). Curiously, the creatures of the wilderness may be praising God here, but it’s not because he’s giving water to them–it’s because he’s giving water to Israel! And in today’s chapter, God again promises water for his people: “For I will pour out water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring” (44:3). I’m inclined to think that the water in this verse is a metaphor for God’s Spirit and his blessing. Perhaps throughout Isaiah the water that God has promised to bring to the desert has been metaphorical along. I’m willing to entertain that idea. What do you think?
The water comes up one more time near the end of this chapter. In a passage declaring his power to reverse men’s fortunes, God states, “It is I who says to the depth of the sea, ‘Be dried up!’ and I will make your rivers dry” (44:27). This isn’t a threat for God’s chosen people; just one verse earlier, he promises, “It is I who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited!’ and of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built.’ And I will raise up her ruins again” (44:26). Restoration, not dehydration, is on the horizon for Israel; it would seem the drought is intended for the nations that oppose her. In any event, I note the verse for completeness’ sake on the topic of water.
In that vein, I’d like to briefly mention verses 6-8, where God again riffs on the theme of “‘I am the first and I am the last and there is no God besides Me” (44:6), echoing the section of Isaiah 43 where he establishes his uniqueness through negative statements. There is no other being worthy of the designation of “God.”
The meat of this passage concerns idolatry, and I don’t want to give it short shrift. But before I go to my evening job, I have some promotional work to do for the digital sci-fi comic book that my brother and I released today. I’ll be back on Monday to cover Isaiah’s critique of idolatry; I may even break out the Strong’s Concordance for some Hebrew word study. I’m looking forward to it.
See you then, fam. Meanwhile, Sabbath’s coming, so have a good Sabbath.