Today’s Chocolate: Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with 88% Cocoa
Today’s Passage: Isaiah 62
Wine Watch: v.8, “Nor will foreigners drink your new wine”
Welcome to 2017, and to Isaiah 62. The chapter continues to look ahead to Zion’s restoration, and as lines do, a few lines jumped out at me. Isaiah begins the chapter with a promise to keep prophesying; he tells us, “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent” (62:1). He also promises that the watchmen of Jerusalem will not be silent either. And then we come to this bit: “You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves; and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (62:6-7). Now, God is omniscient, so we humans shouldn’t need to remind him of anything, and he’s going to refrain from resting whether we allow him to rest or not (Psalm 121:4). In short, these are eyebrow-raising verses.
I turned right to my Strong’s Concordance, hoping a glimpse into the original Hebrew for “remind” would shed some light on these jams, but not so much. We’re looking at the verb zakar here. Based on my limited knowledge of Hebrew, in this context you might literally translate the phrase in question “You who make the Lord remember.” You might also render it “You who make mention of the Lord,” as the New King James does, which alleviates the questions about God’s omniscience that the NASB’s translation raises. It’s like, “you who cause the Lord to be remembered.” But I don’t know enough about Hebrew to make a case for one translation over the other, so I gotta deal with both contingencies.
So: what if the watchmen really are reminding God of stuff? In what sense are they reminding him? You look at their insistence, not allowing God to rest until he sets Jerusalem on a firm foundation, and if you’re anything like me, you recall the parable of the unjust judge. In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus tells a parable of a widow who bothers a corrupt judge to uphold her case against her opponents. The widow’s persistence wins the day. Jesus’ point is that if even an evil judge can be swayed by persistence, then how much more will God, who chose us, loves us, and invites our prayers, bless us for our persistence and endurance in speaking to him?
And perhaps that’s what it means for the watchmen to remind God. They’re specifically reminding him of his promise to restore Jerusalem’s security now that they’ve served their punishment at the hands of foreign nations: “I will never again give your grain as food for your enemies” (62:8). When the watchmen remind God, are they keeping what they’re looking for at the forefront of their conversation? Do they come to the king each day to report that they’re still looking for the thing he promised? The king knows; he’s omniscient and forgets nothing. And it’s not as if the information is stored in his memory and it’s the watchmen’s job to bring it to the front of his mind, either. There’s no background knowledge for God. But perhaps the watchmen are keeping the promise in the forefront of their conversations with God, on their end of the prayers. Perhaps they’ve made this promise a part of their relationship with God: eyes on the horizon all day, an established Jerusalem all night in their dreams, and God aware of where they’re at 24/7, God at work in the world, never resting.
You know. Perhaps. Some days I come in here in the blog and I speculate.