Read Isaiah 49-51.

Rich, poetic imagery flows throughout the book of Isaiah, and is very evident again in these chapters. The passages crest with the undeniable power and inevitable redemption of the Lord’s hands, then dip in troughs of dark exile, terror and separation from the Lord, only to swell once more with the Lord’s everlasting commitment to his people.

Notice a set of bookends in today’s reading selections:

Chapter 49:2

“He made my mouth like a sharpened sword,
in the shadow of his hand he hid me. . .”

Chapter 51:16

“I have put my words in your mouth
and covered you with the shadow of my hand—”

These lines seem to set the theme for this passage. God’s word, or law, demands justice when His people stray. And yet, His love and grace are overwhelming forces that bring protection, deliverance and redemption.

The brokenness of our world and our own souls is indeed dark and dismal, but it is not permanent. There is hope. The ransomed of the Lord will be elevated and crowned with eternal joy. “Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord.” (50:10)

– Jesslyn DeBoer


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