Tuesday of Pentecost 13 – Isaiah 51:1-6

1 “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness,
    you who seek the Lord:
look to the rock from which you were hewn,
    and to the quarry from which you were dug.
Look to Abraham your father
    and to Sarah who bore you;
for he was but one when I called him,
    that I might bless him and multiply him.
For the Lord comforts Zion;
    he comforts all her waste places
and makes her wilderness like Eden,
    her desert like the garden of the Lord;
joy and gladness will be found in her,
    thanksgiving and the voice of song. “Give attention to me, my people,
    and give ear to me, my nation;
for a law (Torah) will go out from me,
    and I will set my justice for a light to the peoples.
My righteousness draws near,
    my salvation has gone out,
    and my arms will judge the peoples;
the coastlands hope for me,
    and for my arm they wait.
Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
    and look at the earth beneath;
for the heavens vanish like smoke,
    the earth will wear out like a garment,
    and they who dwell in it will die in like manner;
but my salvation will be forever,
    and my righteousness will never be dismayed. In 1974, an unfocused and confused young, confirmed LCMS Lutheran kid dropped out of college and got a job working for a video game company. He saved some money, did some traveling, ran into an old friend when he got home, and started tinkering with that friend on some computer hardware. They pitched an idea to the friend’s employer, Hewlett-Packard, but were turned down. They sold his VW mini-bus and the friend’s programable calculator to raise cash and started their own business in his parents’ garage. They called their computer the Apple. Of course, the young man’s name was Steve Jobs and the company he and his friend, Stephen Wozniak, founded was Apple Computers. Today the company is a giant in the tech industry, producing phones, devices, and computers used throughout the world. If you bought some Apple stock many years ago, you have done very well. Isaiah urges us to consider our roots, the rock from which we were carved, the quarry from which we were hewn. Abraham and Sarah started out as nothing: an old, childless couple, wandering around a place they could not call their own. All they really had was a promise from God. But we know the rest of that story, as we know the rest of the Steve Jobs story. They had a miracle baby. Then there were more miracle babies in the next generations, finally a mighty nation, David the king, and much more. Isaiah writes to a people who have seen their fortunes decline. Their once mighty empire has been reduced to a tiny little area around Jerusalem. Their armies are defeated. They pay tribute to the Assyrians and Babylonians for the right to keep the few freedoms they have. They are sad and depressed. Isaiah reminds them that God has always worked with resources and people that seem inadequate. Is your church a small group of people worshipping in a building designed for many more? Do you remember the days when the Sunday school was full, and you needed that second service? It is hard to imagine, but there was a day even before that when the mission pastor who first led your congregation was glad to see 20 in church on a Sunday and three or four children in Sunday school. Like Abraham, you have a promise from God. Abraham looked up to the heavens and counted his offspring, more numerous than the stars. He did not have a single child that night, he believed. We are to look up to heaven note that it is only a vapor compared to what God has promised us. It will pass away, but God’s salvation is forever.

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