Saturday, First Week of Epiphany January 16

Text: Isaiah 42:18-43:13

“Listen, you that are deaf; and you that are blind, look up and see!”

God is known for asking… shall we say… difficult questions. Ever since the Garden of Eden, humans have painfully displayed their incapability of fulfilling God’s commands: “You shall not eat of the tree,” “speak to the rock,” “sell all you have and give it to the poor.” If those seem easy enough to you, God’s commandment in Isaiah 42 should at least raise doubt to the biological possibility of fulfilling the task. By definition the deaf cannot listen and the blind cannot see.

The second portion of the book of Isaiah (40-55) presents us with a cosmic shift in who really has the agency in the Israel-God relationship. Given to a people in hopeless exile under Babylon, God doesn’t leave anything up to the oppressed and impotent exiles, He’s coming to save them Himself.

When sitting by the rivers of Babylon, you’re made well aware that you need something more than encouragement or positive thinking, you need earth-shattering redemption. God makes it clear that He alone is going to save the Israelites. He—not them— will make mountains low and valleys high. And to people who have no hope for saving themselves, this is very good news.

When God asks for the impossible, it’s a good indication that God is about to do something himself. “Stretch forth your hand,” Jesus says in Mark. “And his hand was restored.” Jesus is doing something—not us — and he is inviting us along for the ride.

~ Chase Benefiel



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