Leap frog a few generations from last week’s reading and you’ll land in this morning’s passage from Isaiah. The past two weeks we were knee-deep in palace intrigue when King Ahaz of Judah buckled, making common cause with the enemy only to find the holy city in ruins.
A few kings later, and God’s people find themselves conquered and enslaved by the Babylonians. This has been their recurring national nightmare. Those who’ve seen the movie know that God’s people were enslaved in Egypt. Then they wandered lost in the wilderness for 40 years before finding the land that God promised them.
And, like last time, the people called to the prophet Isaiah for a word from the Lord. When will they be rescued from slavery?
This Isaiah, which many scholars call “second Isaiah” doesn’t have any inside information for his people. He doesn’t know the “when” or the “how.” He can’t tell them at what time they’re supposed to pack their bags. He only brings large promises. When first Isaiah brought grand visions for the history of the world, this second Isaiah has a word that is more personal than that of his ancestor in name.
This Isaiah talks about how the land and the people will be transformed. Deserts will have swimming pools. Arthritic hands will be like vice-grips, those with bad knees will throw away their walkers, blind folks will paint murals, and deaf people will update their CD collections.
In other words, the...(whole thing here)