Fr. David's Lent Reflections Day 24
Day 24: 26:21-27:9
Now is the 24th day of our Lenten journey, God bless you as you travel the path to the Cross and to our Lord’s resurrection. Our reading from scripture is Isaiah 26:21-27:9.
For, behold, the Lord is bringing wrath from his holy place upon the dwellers on the earth: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall not cover her slain.
In that day God shall bring his holy and great and strong sword upon the dragon, even the serpent that flees, upon the dragon, the crooked serpent: he shall destroy the dragon. 2 In that day there shall be a fair vineyard, and a desire to commence a song concerning it. 3 I am a strong city, a city in a siege: in vain shall I water it; for it shall be taken by night, and by day the wall shall fall. 4 There is no woman that has not taken hold of it; who will set me to watch stubble in the field? because of this enemy I have set her aside; therefore on this account the Lord has done all that he appointed. 5 I am burnt up; they that dwell in her shall cry, Let us make peace with him, let us make peace, 6 they that are coming are the children of Jacob. Israel shall bud and blossom, and the world shall be filled with his fruit.
7 Shall he himself be thus smitten, even as he smote? and as he slew, shall he be thus slain? 8 Fighting and reproaching he will dismiss them; didst thou not meditate with a harsh spirit, to slay them with a wrathful spirit? 9 Therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be taken away; and this is his blessing, when I shall have taken away his sin; when they shall have broken to pieces all the stones of the altars as fine dust, and their trees shall not remain, and their idols shall be cut off, as a thicket afar off.
As we did before, again we come to a prophesy of the final judgement. At this time, the Dragon, the one who leads all of humanity to sin and to forsake their Creator, God, will be killed. As Isaiah says: “In that day God shall bring his holy and great and strong sword upon the dragon, even the serpent that flees, upon the dragon, the crooked serpent: he shall destroy the dragon.” At the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Dragon was trampled, as it says in the 90th Psalm (13): “Thou shalt tread on the asp and basilisk: and thou shalt trample on the lion and dragon.” And in the book of Genesis (3:14-15) the snake is told “Because thou hast done this thou art cursed above all cattle and all the brutes of the earth, on thy breast and belly thou shalt go, and thou shalt eat earth all the days of thy life. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed, he shall watch against thy head, and thou shalt watch against his heel.” That is to say, a child born of a woman would do battle with the serpent, and it would seem as if the serpent has won, or at least is putting up a good fight, but in the end, at the final judgement, he will be overcome.
The rest of this speaks of God’s punishment of Israel, specifically of Jerusalem, which is the strong city that becomes a desolate place. The final section asks the question: “didst thou not meditate with a harsh spirit, to slay them with a wrathful spirit?” And the answer? “Therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be taken away; and this is his blessing, when I shall have taken away his sin.” In other words, the blessing that has come upon Israel is the fact that God punished them, and through this they recognized their sin, and repented. It is indeed the case, brothers and sisters, that sometimes we need to suffer reproach in order to remember our sin, repent, and enjoy the forgiveness and mercy of the Lord.