April 15, 2011 § Leave a comment
Isaiah 60:4-9a is the third of four so-called “servant songs” in the second part of the book of Isaiah (42:1-4; 49:1-6; 50:4-9; 52:13 – 53:12). The Christian tradition has often interpreted these four songs as also a reference to the suffering of Christ yet to come. However, in the context of Isaiah, it is a song about the suffering of the exiled community who are hopefully anticipating their release from Babylon and their return to Judah. Where does this hopeful anticipation of God’s liberation and restoration comes from? It comes from the ability to hear “the word that sustains the weary” (50:4). The writer of this song calls it God’s gift of awakened ears. When our ears are opened by God, we stop being rebellious in the midst of difficult circumstances (50:5). When the going gets tough, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the situation and to not have the ability to see any possibility beyond the current set of circumstances. Unless we cultivate ears that are able to hear the Word of God. Those who listen to God’s word will hear God’s promise shouted out all over the pages of the Bible. That is where we find a God who helps. That is where the hopeful anticipation is born of our God who continuously shows up in new (sometimes unexpected and surprising) ways.