Mediations: Isaiah 4

The family and I just returned from a quick tour of Amy's side of the family in Michigan. We had a great time but logged in too many highway miles, at too many ribs, and consumed a little too much coffee on the way back to Pennsylvania to stay awake. I remembered that this was my week to supply the meditation here at Burnside and wondered what to post on limited time. I have a weekly ritual that I've mantained most years since I was in high school. I meet with friend each week for coffee. Each week we read the same book of the Bible and come together to discuss what we've learned.

It was time for Isaiah-- which means that we're giving ourselves a few extra weeks to read that massive book and some commentaries so we have a chance of keeping up. I recently read Isaiah 4, a brief apocalpyic chapter that contains a prophesy about the siege of Jerusalem and the future work of the Messiah. I remembered reading that chapter about the time that my son Nathan was born ten-years ago. I recall struggling with wild swing of emotions that occurred in just four verses. The brutality in verse one offended my paternal instincts. My son was entering a world capable of unspeakable evils and a God who didn't necessarily stop them from occuring.

I wrestled with the themes of judgment, discipline, and redemption found in the chapter and ended up writing my son a lullaby that Amy and I performed at church. Amy sang and I played the piano. Here's Isaiah 4 and then my response to it...

Isaiah 4 (New International Version)

Isaiah 4

1 In that day seven women
will take hold of one man
and say, "We will eat our own food
and provide our own clothes;
only let us be called by your name.
Take away our disgrace!"

The Branch of the Lord
2 In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. 3 Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem. 4 The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit a]">[a] of judgment and a spirit b]">[b] of fire. 5 Then the LORD will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory will be a canopy. 6 It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.

On that Day

On that day
You’ll pick us up and wash away our guilt
You’ll scrub away the mud we wore while playing in our sins
And in the Father’s basin the children are clean again

On that day
You’ll quilt clouds to cover us at dawn
And weave fire for a blanket at night
You will wrap us in your presence and tuck us into light

On that day
You’ll be shelter from the heat of sun and refuge from the storm
And even though the winds may blow
The children all sweetly sleep

Sorry for the leftovers. I promise I'll have something fresh next time.

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