Let’s talk about Axiom Verge again. Axiom Verge is a retro action-adventure computer game, and one of its weapons is called the Firewall. It launches a short-range bomb which, on impact, erupts in a vertical pillar of flame. Literalism! It’s a play on words, because computers! But God made the same play on words thousands of years ago, long before digital firewalls were even a thing.
King David led a very different life from mine. He shepherded sheep, killed a nine-foot-tall warrior using just a sling, spent years on the run from the current King of Israel, ascended the throne himself when King Saul died, faced a rebellion by his son Absalom, and somehow in the midst of all that found time to compose a bunch of songs. Me? Well, my biggest worry right now is getting this blog post done. In Psalm 124, David wrote about facing hostile adversaries, but I don’t have any hostile adversaries, so I have to write about David writing about facing hostile adversaries.
As the saying goes, stop me if you’ve heard this one. It’s “I Lift My Eyes Up,” originally written by Brian Doerksen, whose music was a staple of contemporary worship services from the mid-90s to the early 2000s–including those of my high school youth group. I couldn’t find a streamable official recording, so this one’s a live cover from UK-based Vineyard Music. Doerksen drew inspiration from Psalm 121 for “I Lift My Eyes Up;” it recapitulates the first two verses in particular almost word-for-word. But while Doerksen’s song is as much a prayer for aid as an acknowledgement of God’s power to save, Psalm 121 is pure confidence in God’s protection.
Yesterday’s chapter from Isaiah focused on God’s greatness and power. Building on the foundation that God is strong enough to come to his people’s aid, today’s chapter emphasizes that he’s good enough to come to his people’s aid.
Okay, let’s get thorough. The prophecy of Ephraim’s captivity in Isaiah 28, which we looked at yesterday, isn’t merely about drunkenness, and it’s intended as a warning for the kingdom of Judah. Isaiah addresses the second half of his message to the “scoffers who rule this people who are in Jerusalem” (28:14). The head is rotten and the leadership is subject to judgment.
At first read, it seems to me like Isaiah 27 is all over the place. We’ve got Leviathan, we’ve got a vineyard, then we’ve got judgment and forgiveness in the same breath and…women making a fire from the broken-off limbs of a calf? I’m not sure how to bring it all together, so I’m just gonna hit it point-by-point and see what we get.
Testerday we saw Asaph urging God to act against oppressors within Israel, and today he urges God to act against oppressors without. Israel’s enemies are getting on that noise. They have Gone Loud.