Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Isaiah 12 – The Remnant’s Thanksgiving and Praise

“Surely God is my salvation: I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.” ~Isaiah 12:2 (NRSV).

A punchy six-verse chapter elicits thanksgiving and praise for what has taken place in the vision of Isaiah in previous chapters, noting the righteous reign of the coming King (Isaiah 9:1-7), the action of repentance by the remnant of Israel (Isaiah 10:20ff), and reflections over the ensuing peaceful Kingdom (Isaiah 11:1-9). Descriptions of the return of the remnant are given in the Isaiah 11:10-16.

The Urgency of Repentance

There is nothing divisive in the New Testament in the hearing of Isaiah’s theology. Throughout the entire Bible the urgency of the call to repentance is made known. No one can become “Christian” without first having repented; then having committed to ongoing repentance.

To repent, then, is a necessary precursor to the availing stream of the power and blessing of God—to redeem us, spiritually, as part of that repentant remnant.

The urgency of repentance is, really, at its most fundamental, the call to truth; to live a life aligned more and more with the truth; to allow God to establish us in truth. Truth turns us back to God. Whatever winding road we find ourselves on, we are still destined for the holy path of truth if we are committed in repentance.

Repentance Invites Thanksgiving and Praise

Any human being, not just Christians, will know the peace that comes when they account for themselves in truth, not hiding the slightest detail.

Once such a peace is invoked, the mind empties itself of transgression, and the heart begins to fill with something so positive as to transmit thanksgiving and praise. No longer is guilt or shame or resentment fighting for a piece of the cognitive action; our part to account has been given over to the Lord in truth—God deals with the rest.

Free of any sense of negativity—at least for the time being—the above phenomenon takes place. We imagine a flowery field on a summer’s day with space and time to move, lay and ponder. Forgotten—at least for the time being—are those wrangling visions; any number of closeted realities where darkness shone its vacuous scourge through us, expunging our hope.

Proof of God

Chapter 12 of Isaiah is a wonderful testimony to the salvation of God. This is the faithful response from a covenant Lord toward a remnant who have responded as this Lord has commanded.

There is proof of God—and of the faithfulness of God to bless us, spiritually—when we repent. Peace is hence known. Further proof of the Lord by the welling of thanksgiving and praise from within our beings. Then there is no darkness. The light has shone it away.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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