#200 Joy in the Juxtaposition

As with last week, I’m continuing to ponder on the book of Isaiah. Reading further into the book now, it can feel as though it becomes a little repetitive.

God is going to use the nations to judge Israel. God is going to bring judgment on the nations.

Rinse and Repeat.

At times it seems even bloodthirsty, but it’s not. It’s judgment on those who are oppressive and deny justice to those who are in need. That’s being in opposition with those who are bloodthirsty.

At times it seems chaotic and random but it’s not. Various places on the map of the ancient world crop up in the list of nations, but it’s not as random as it seems. God clearly expounds that there is a timeframe for this judgment. And it’s a timeframe that he controls.

Yet again, amidst all the bloodshed, there is hope, brought out through poetry:

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

There’s nothing like dark and light as metaphors. Ultimately this verse points ahead to Jesus, who claimed to be ‘the light of the world’. Here, for me there is also a sense of release from captivity; an end to slavery; a release from the destructive power of sin and its stronghold.

My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines.

This image to me is one of Eden and Canaan rolled into one. If that symbolism is meaningless to you, think ‘heaven on earth’. The vineyard in Isaiah is such a beautiful expression of life, fertility and growth. There is nothing deathly about it, yet Israel we are told, have rejected the metaphorical vineyard that God has painstakingly set up for his people.

All the lands are at rest and at peace; they break into singing.

It’s hard to read this verse when it’s mixed in with all the verses of bloodshed and war. However, perhaps because it’s surrounded by such verses, the strong contrast makes it even more powerful.

The lands singing? It’s such beautiful imagery but so distant from what our world feels like right now.

Our world right now feels a lot like the days of Isaiah with nations plotting against other nations and volatile super powers vying for ever greater potency.

Frankly, I wouldn’t mind the lands singing and being at peace. It reminds me of C S Lewis’ The Magician’s Nephew and the creation of the world that Polly and Digory witness. There’s something evocatively spiritual about the lands singing. Something so eternal and other worldly about it.

Perhaps because it’s juxtaposed with the raging nations and their judgment that it seems even more so.

God is going to use the nations to judge Israel. God is going to bring judgment on the nations.

Rinse and Repeat.

But one day, The Day of the Lord, will be different. The lands will be at peace.

When you know the end of the story, then you can know – as I wrote last week – all will be well.

The contrast may be painful for a time, but the lands will one day sing.

Yours in finding joy in the juxtaposition,


Photo by Justin Hamilton on Pexels.com

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