Advent-ure Calendar Day 10: Peace – Isaiah 42:1-9 – running on empty?

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Another beautiful prophecy about Jesus from Isaiah today:
 

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will bring justice to the nations.

He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.

A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out.

In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”

This is what God the Lord says—
the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it:

“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

“I am the Lord; that is my name!
I will not yield my glory to another
or my praise to idols.

See, the former things have taken place,
and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
I announce them to you.”

In amongst all the glory and the ‘terrible vengeance’ of our God that is spoken of in these prophecies we’ve been reading is an undercurrent of another part of God’s character: his tenderness. This is particularly evident in this verse:

A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out.

The Message translation of the Bible puts it this way:

He won’t brush aside the bruised and the hurt and he won’t disregard the small and insignificant, but he’ll steadily and firmly set things right. (Isaiah 42:3 MSG)

This recalls for me the passage we read where I talked about our desire for everything to be made OK.

God is a ‘details’ person. Just as I can spot an errant apostrophe in an advert or shop window at ten paces(!), God automatically notices the small and insignificant, those who no one else notices. This message is played out over and over again in the Christmas narrative and the whole bible. Who is it who hears the heavenly host declaring Christ’s birth? The insignificant outcasts, the ‘unclean’ shepherds. Who is chosen to be parents of Christ? A humble carpenter and a young girl from the back of beyond.

Jesus shows how he does not snuff out a smouldering wick when he heals the haemorrhaging woman who touches his cloak. The disciples and the crowd don’t notice this woman, but Jesus does, and where everyone else, including her doctors, have written her off as a lost cause, Jesus heals her and restores her.

This is the tenderness of our God who became flesh. Someone who comes along and grasps us by the hand and coaxes a spark back out of us when our light is just about to go out.

 

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If you are bruised or running on empty – God has noticed and He won’t give up on you.

 

 

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