Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our Old Testament reading from Isaiah 35:4-7a brings encouragement to those who fear. I expect if we are honest with ourselves we can all name times when we had little or no hope. We felt overwhelmed. And in those situations we wanted to run and hide. This is why in verse 4 the person addressed is usually called “fearful” or “timid.” By the way, I do have to say that of all the translations I surveyed, the Christian Standard translation of “cowardly” seems the most extreme. Most of us could say we have never been cowards, but we can freely admit to being timid or frightened at times. Let’s stay there.
What hope do we have when we are afraid? Well, what do we normally do in our normal daily lives when we are afraid? We call upon help which can ease the fear. Sometimes that means we lock the door because there are sometimes criminals in our neighborhood. Sometimes that means we call for a friend or relative because we find safety in numbers, especially against the arachnid climbing up our walls. Sometimes we call the police, the doctor, or the lawyer. We need a special kind of help or protection that we wouldn’t have on our own. That’s what we do. We call out for help.
In Isaiah 35, God is the one who comes to the aid of his people. He brings “vengeance” or “retribution.” But let’s notice what kind of work that is. He makes the deaf hear. He makes the blind see. He brings speech to those who couldn’t speak. He makes the lame able to leap and dance. He provides water where there was none before. This doesn’t sound quite like the way we usually get vengeance. What’s God doing? He is correcting the situation which would cause us to call out for help. That’s all he is doing. He sees and understands our frailty. He knows what troubles us. He comes and takes care of it.
When we are in trouble, big trouble or little trouble, we can call out to God in Christ. He is ready to answer our call and take care of us in our trouble. He’s that kind of a God.
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