And Yet, A Message Of Hope

by Barry Newton
According to one of my professors, who earned his doctorate at Hebrew Union, the rabbis claim every forecast of doom upon God’s people also contains a message of hope. This view of God certainly seems to be the case in the verbal mural of Isaiah 24-27. In the midst of doom, a message of hope exists.
> Isaiah 24 opens with the scene and stench of doom descending upon Judah for breaking God’s everlasting covenant. (Isaiah 24:5-6). “Look! The LORD is stripping and destroying the land, turning it upside down and scattering its inhabitants … The land will be completely stripped, completely plundered. … Therefore a curse is devouring the land, and its inhabitants are punished for their guilt. It is why those living there waste away, …” (Isaiah 24:1,3,6). CJB Following God’s judgment upon the land, only a remnant would remain (24:6) with Jerusalem “left in ruins” (Isaiah 24:10).
> Nevertheless, in the midst of this darkness comes a message of hope for the remnant to seize. The LORD would cause a reversal of fortunes.
> Echoing themes already established in Isaiah, God would turn the capital of Judah’s oppressors, Babylon, into “a heap of rubble, … never to be rebuilt” (25:2), while Jerusalem would be exalted hosting a typical Ancient Near Eastern kingly banquet as the LORD would visibly reassert his rule (Isaiah 24:23; 25:6).
> With Babylon’s demise, death’s march is halted, tears give way to joy and the reproach borne by God’s people is removed (24:8). Accordingly because of his great deeds, God would be revered even by the ruthless nations (25:3) and Judah appropriately would break forth in praise to God “in that day.” Isaiah 26:1 As in Ezekiel 37, dead Israel comes to life (Isaiah 26:19).
> The devastation his people would experience would not be like what God would eventually pour out upon their oppressors (Isaiah 27:7). God’s people would again take root (27:6) and their guilt would be atoned (Isaiah 27:9).
So, how do you describe God? About 100 years ago a common perspective seems to have claimed that God was a vengeful, angry God eager to zap sinners. Conversely, a seemingly current prevalent view about God has swung the pendulum to the other extreme epitomizing God as love, period.
Paul presents a more balanced view of God, “consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God” (Romans 11:22). Certainly the principles of judgment and hope are woven together in the gospel as well (Romans 2:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-2 ).
The basic principle of the rabbis’ dictum rings true for the gospel. God will judge again. Yes there is a day of doom coming, but through Christ, God offers us the message of real hope.

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Barry Newton

Married to his wonderful wife Sofia and a former missionary in Brazil, Barry enjoys trying to express old truths in fresh ways. They are the parents of two young men.

2 thoughts on “And Yet, A Message Of Hope

  1. Great thoughts! Just as the water spelled doom for the people of Noah’s day, the same water delivered obedient Noah and his family.

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