Here’s another psalm about God’s work in Israel’s history throughout their journey to the Promised Land. And also about God’s work in the lives of repentant fools and merchant sailors, and how he controls the water cycle.
There’s a lot of good stuff in this chapter about the Suffering Servant. So I hope you’ll forgive me that I spent the past hour doing something incredibly silly.
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.
Here Isaiah describes a restored future for his homeland. He begins with a prediction that the wilderness will rejoice and blossom like a crocus. Don’t know what a crocus is? Neither did I. Fortunately, we live in a world with the internet.
There are two scenes in today’s five-verse psalm; a throne room and a flood. What are they doing there? If you want to find out, you’ve got to get into the throne room, you’ve got to get down into the flood.
Yesterday, in Psalm 62, David let us know that when his enemies are out to kill him, he wants his stronghold to be not a tangible, brick-and-stone stronghold, but the invisible, non-physical God of Israel, YHWH. Today, as we read Psalm 63, we discover that when he is on the verge of dehydration, he is thirsty not for actual thirst-quenching water, but the non-potable, undrinkable God of–you see where this is going, right?
So Jesus gets to the city of Sychar in Samaria, and he’s straight-up exhausted, so when a woman comes up to the well there, he asks her to get him a drink. Mindful of the hostility between the Jews and Samaritans, she starts asking him questions, and when he starts talking about some “living water” that only he can give, she’s doubly baffled. Then Jesus says: “Everyone who drinks of this water [from Jacob’s well] will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” (13-14). This is Jacob’s well we’re talking about here. You know, the patriarch Jacob, from Genesis? To a first-century Hebrew, it’s the most famous well imaginable. And Jesus is saying that he’s got a source of water that’s even greater than this.