Isaiah, the Fifth Gospel

Deliverance and Healing in Isaiah

How to Read this (lengthy) Meditation

When I began this as a personal journal, I started with Isaiah 30. After that, I skipped backward and forward in the book of Isaiah. This lengthy meditation isn’t written with a beginning, middle, and end. It instead says something like, “Oh, not only back there, but here again is similar good news, worded a bit differently, another facet on the diamond.” Each facet stands on its own and can be read in any sequence. If you end up liking some of the following, you may want to skip around. I did.

The Bottom Line

If you want the healing and deliverance that all the gospels offer, you must relax, let go of your efforts, and trust:

"In repentance and rest is your salvation,
    in quietness and trust is your strength" 
                  (Isaiah 30)

No human effort is mentioned in these lines:

  • repentence simply means to think differently; we do that all the time, only in this case we’ve been thinking a wrong way and are told to think a right way
  • rest is easier the farther you’ve fallen, the more worn out you are
  • quietness, again, comes easiest to those who have run out of energy or answers
  • trust requires something of someone else, not of ourselves…having a hard time trusting? we all do, but most often because were are trying to trust an unreliable person or have not exhausted our self confidence

Trust is the way we lean on someone else’s activity. As Paul the apostle said, “Sin (missing a target) will no longer be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace (Romans 6). You work for the law, you trust for grace.

Much more can be said for the difference between following rules and trusting for grace. But I will save that for a later post. In Isaiah both modes are presented in bulk. Only those that urge us to receive grace are included in this meditation. Whether or not we admit it, we all read selectively. Our eyes might see every word, but our minds hold onto some meanings and ignore others. I select what approximates most closely the Gospel as described by the apostles who had seen and been touched by Jesus.

A Note on the Violence of God in Isaiah

If one assumes scriptures (the “Bible”) are inspired by God, the question arises: does every statement in the scriptures provide an equally accurate description of the nature and character of God? While religious fundamentalists are taught to say “yes,” that approach is fraught with problems (both moral and intellectual).
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Identity Crisis

Identity politics, at least in America, hold the rapt attention of the current culture, particularly the younger generations. Accordingly, individuals are grouped along racial, gender, class, and ethnic lines. This post has little to do with that discussion, however important it is to balancing power structures in our society.

Rather, this post has to do with how we see ourselves relative to how God may see us. If God exists, as I believe is the case, all the particulars of each human (including one’s class, gender, race, and ethnicity) is understood. The specific strengths as well as shortcomings of one’s birth, childhood, and later years are also understood. In itself, this divine understanding of us should be a comfort. When glimpsed, our identity in God’s mind, in Christ, allows us to see ourselves as being more, not less than the people we naturally think we are. Religion (all sorts) can rob people of  their natural identity. By contrast, Christ gives us a new identity that includes and transforms the details of our birth, culture, and traditions.