Fr. David's Lent Reflections day 33
Here we come to the 33rd 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 45:11-17
For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, who has formed the things that are to come, Enquire of me concerning my sons, and concerning the works of my hands command me. 12 I have made the earth, and man upon it: I with my hand have established the heaven; I have given commandment to all the stars. 13 I have raised him up to be a king with righteousness, and all his ways are right: he shall build my city, and shall turn the captivity of my people, not for ransoms, nor for rewards, saith the Lord of hosts.
14 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Egypt has labored for thee; and the merchandise of the Ethiopians, and the Sabeans, men of stature, shall pass over to thee, and shall be thy servants; and they shall follow after thee bound in fetters, and shall pass over to thee, and shall do obeisance to thee, and make supplication to thee: because God is in thee; and there is no God beside thee, O Lord. 15 For thou art God, yet we knew it not, the God of Israel, the Savior. 16 All that are opposed to him shall be ashamed and confounded, and shall walk in shame: ye isles, keep a feast to me. 17 Israel is saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation: they shall not be ashamed nor confounded for evermore.
In this passage, Isaiah says “For thou art God, yet we knew it not…” The original, σὺ γὰρ εἶ Θεός, καὶ οὐκ ᾔδειμεν, that is, “for you are God, and we did not know,” (the word “it” in the translation is in italics because that word is not in the original, but the translator thought it needed to be added to clarify the meaning) means more than that the people thought their idols were just as authentic as God is. It means that they wanted to worship gods that made sense to them, that were simple to understand, that demanded pleasurable and superstitious worship. Our God is different. He demands our attention, our study, reflection, and effort. The worship of God is not meant to be entertaining or clever, and we do not discover His perfect will with witty one-liners. We know that God is God, the knowledge is built into our hearts from the moment we enter this world. But that's hardly the end, it’s only the beginning. When we embrace the knowledge that God exists, we begin our journey of discovery, our path to holiness. You are God, but You are hidden from us because we are dull and distracted. So the entire book of Isaiah is itself a parable from history that applies to all of us: we have missed the mark, and we have been punished by our sins. But we are “saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation: (and) shall not be ashamed nor confounded for evermore.”