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The First Sunday After Christmas A – January 1, 2023

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The First Sunday After Christmas A – January 1, 2023

In this prophetic account, you hear a disturbing reality.  The prophet begins with a “great goodness” provided by the Lord to his people (vs. 7) and continues with the suffering shared by the Lord and his people.  This beginning concludes with a dramatic “he… carried them all the days of old” (vs. 9).  The confidence that the Lord expressed in his people: “Surely… they will not deal falsely” (vs.8), turns quickly to disappointment and grief that brought down the Lord’s enmity and opposition against the very people whom he had redeemed and carried.  The Lord’s people learned what their God meant when he declared, “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God” (Ex. 20:5). As their jealous husband, the Lord would not tolerate his people whoring around with other gods and idols.

Yet, this enmity and opposition could not last.  The Lord remembered his own great acts of faithfulness to his people (vs. 11).  He recalled all the days of their deliverance under Moses as the Lord himself divided the waters and led them through (vs. 11-14).  The Lord remembered that he had indeed sent his very own Spirit to provide his people with rest (vs. 14).  The Lord proves faithful to his people even as his people practice the worst kind of infidelity in their worship of gods of their own choosing rather than the God who chooses them (Ex. 20:2).

In these verses which inform us of what could be called the Lord’s repenting, the prophet reveals a great selfishness on the part of the people’s God.  The revelation concludes the disturbing reality present here.  The Lord, the very God who chose his people and remains faithful to them in the face of their unfaithfulness, redeems… saves… and carries… his people for the purpose of making “for himself an everlasting name” (vs. 12) … “a glorious name” (vs. 14) …  The coveting of this “everlasting name” & this “glorious name…” led humanity on the plains of Shinar to build a tower for establishing its own name everlasting and glorious (Ge. 11:4).  Coveting such a name for humanity’s own has continued throughout the generations and now afflicts you.

Table Talk:  Discuss how desiring an everlasting and glorious name leads to the choosing of other gods and idols.
Pray:  Heavenly Father, for the glories of your name, treat me to your faithfulness.  Amen

Isaiah 63:7-14 English Standard Version

I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord,

    the praises of the Lord,

according to all that the Lord has granted us,

    and the great goodness to the house of Israel

that he has granted them according to his compassion,

    according to the abundance of his steadfast love.

8 For he said, “Surely they are my people,

    children who will not deal falsely.”

    And he became their Savior.

9 In all their affliction he was afflicted,

    and the angel of his presence saved them;

in his love and in his pity he redeemed them;

    he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.

10 But they rebelled

    and grieved his Holy Spirit;

therefore he turned to be their enemy,

    and himself fought against them.

11 Then he remembered the days of old,

    of Moses and his people.

Where is he who brought them up out of the sea

    with the shepherds of his flock?

Where is he who put in the midst of them

    his Holy Spirit,

12 who caused his glorious arm

    to go at the right hand of Moses,

who divided the waters before them

    to make for himself an everlasting name,

13     who led them through the depths?

Like a horse in the desert,

    they did not stumble.

14 Like livestock that go down into the valley,

    the Spirit of the Lord gave them rest.

So you led your people,

    to make for yourself a glorious name.


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