God’s Word of Justice
Isaiah 26:20—27:13: Today’s reading begins with a description of a time of judgment for the people of the earth for their sins, followed by a description of a redeemed creation.
Judgment and Restoration
20Go into your houses, my people, and shut the door behind you. Hide yourselves for a little while until God’s anger is over. 21The Lord is coming from his heavenly dwelling place to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The murders that were secretly committed on the earth will be revealed, and the ground will no longer hide those who have been killed.
1 On that day the Lord will use his powerful and deadly sword to punish Leviathan, that wriggling, twisting dragon, and to kill the monster that lives in the sea.
2On that day the Lord will say of his pleasant vineyard, 3“I watch over it and water it continually. I guard it night and day so that no one will harm it. 4I am no longer angry with the vineyard. If there were thorns and briers to fight against, I would burn them up completely. 5But if the enemies of my people want my protection, let them make peace with me. Yes, let them make peace with me.”
6In the days to come the people of Israel, the descendants of Jacob, will take root like a tree, and they will blossom and bud. The earth will be covered with the fruit they produce.
7Israel has not been punished by the Lord as severely as its enemies nor lost as many people. 8The Lord punished his people by sending them into exile. He took them away with a cruel wind from the east. 9But Israel’s sins will be forgiven only when the stones of pagan altars are ground up like chalk, and no more incense altars or symbols of the goddess Asherah are left.
10The fortified city lies in ruins. It is deserted like an empty wilderness. It has become a pasture for cattle, where they can rest and graze. 11The branches of the trees are withered and broken, and women gather them for firewood. Because the people have understood nothing, God their Creator will not pity them or show them any mercy.
12On that day, from the Euphrates to the Egyptian border, the Lord will gather his people one by one, as threshing separates the wheat from the chaff.
13When that day comes, a trumpet will be blown to call back from Assyria and Egypt all the Israelites who are in exile there. They will come and worship the Lord in Jerusalem, on his sacred hill.
Today’s Key Verse: Isaiah 27:13b
A trumpet will be blown to call back from Assyria and Egypt all the Israelites who are in exile there. They will come and worship the LORD in Jerusalem, on his sacred hill.
The restored Israel is described as a fruitful vineyard (27:2-6). You may wish to compare these verses with those in Isaiah 5:1-7 (the reading for October 4). What differences can you identify? Reread 27:7-9. How did the LORD punish the people? What do the people need to do in order to be forgiven? How do you seek God’s forgiveness?
God of restoration and mercy, gather your people and teach us your ways of justice and peace. Have pity on us when we stray, and call us to repentance. Lord God, hear our prayer. Amen.
Isaiah 30:8-26: The people will be blessed.