Monday, January 31, 2011

One Way All Must Come – Turn Away From Idols

“Turn to me and be saved,

all the ends of the earth!

For I am God, and there is no other.

By myself I have sworn,

from my mouth has gone forth righteousness

a word that shall not return:

‘To me every knee shall bow,

every tongue shall swear’.”

~Isaiah 45:22-23 (NRSV).

Has not humankind constantly insulted the Lord its God? Generation after generation it has gone its own way and sought after flights-of-fancy in attempts at the divine—and ‘all ways’ failing but for the intent of the search.

Such times—most often—have featured no turning to the Lord of glory. The turning has been toward idols that cannot save.

In Isaiah’s context (45:21a-b) it’s like being charged of a crime and going to an incompetent lawyer for a defence. As the case is prepared and the day at court comes little does the accused know that the lawyer will represent them in powerlessness. They’ll be found guilty as charged. Only a righteous Lawyer—One owning the right ways of the Law—can acquit.

Not Just Israel’s Saviour

The Lord, of course, is not just Israel’s Saviour—as if God was only interested (ultimately) in favouring one people. This is just another case of pre-Jesus Scripture that signals what is to come... a New Covenant to invitees of all nations.

This is surely old news to us. No, not for some. To the person who’s never had knowledge of God, through family or descendent, now is the time. God’s yours as much as the pastor’s kid whose family has a generations-old faith.

Such Absolute Truth ‘Shall Not Return’

Like a trusted emissary who goes out into a pilgrimage, not to return having an unfulfilled mission, this Word of the Lord resonates eternally.

As emissaries ourselves, but perhaps with amnesia of our eternal identity, we have no source besides God—and we can’t even remember. Spiritual transactions of the eternal are impossible to reconcile with veracity in a physical world. It would be like shoving a VHS format tape into a DVD player. The copy is unrecognisable apart from God’s miraculous will.

This Word is reminding us of from where we came and to where we’re going.

At this place everyone falls to the knee and everyone confesses the greatness of God.

This is no more evident than by the manifestation of physical conception-to-birth and physical death. For where the spirit came and to where it goes is an utter mystery. Death speaks volumes for eternity... “Where have they gone?” To another world.

To this one way all must come. To this one way all must return. The Owner of spirits has ordained it. Turn away from idols and turn to the Lord.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

General Reference: J. Alec Moyter, The Prophesy of Isaiah: An Introduction and Commentary (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1993), pp. 366-67.

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