Tuesday of Pentecost 15 – Isaiah 35:4-7a

Say to those who have an anxious heart,
    “Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
    will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
    He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
    and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
    and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
    and the thirsty ground springs of water;

There is a great deal of satisfaction in a film when the bad guy finally gets his just rewards. I remember watching the “Jurassic Park” film in a theater. When the conniving attorney got munched by the T-rex, everyone cheered.

Isaiah tells the anxious of heart to cheer up. God is coming with His vengeance. Does that strike you as a little odd? God coming with vengeance does not normally alleviate fear. It tends to increase it. But if God comes to set things right, to fix the wrongs, and to punish the evildoers, then God’s vengeance might be a very good thing indeed. The only problem is if you are numbered among the evil-doers. 

Isaiah is clear in this passage. God comes to save us, not destroy us. The Hebrew word for “God Saves” is Jeshua or as you know it better: Jesus. Isaiah was really looking at two days, two comings of God as he prophesied. He saw the day of God’s judgment and wrath, the day when the vengeance of God is unleashed upon the earth. Ezekiel, Daniel, Peter, and John have all filled our imaginations with those images. But Isaiah also had his eyes firmly fixed on another coming of Christ, a coming which was to save us. As John says in 3:16-17 of his Gospel account: God sent His Son to save the world in love.

We have known the first coming, the saving arrival of Christ. Now we await the second coming, the revelation of God’s vengeance. But we know that the first and second coming are intricately tied together. Because he first came in humility and love, we have no fear of the day when comes in power and vengeance. Say to those who have an anxious heart: be strong; fear not!  

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