I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me;
I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.
I said, “Here I am, here I am,”
to a nation that was not called by my name.
2 I spread out my hands all the day
to a rebellious people,
who walk in a way that is not good,
following their own devices;
3 a people who provoke me
to my face continually,
sacrificing in gardens
and making offerings on bricks;
4 who sit in tombs,
and spend the night in secret places;
who eat pig’s flesh,
and broth of tainted meat is in their vessels;
5 who say, “Keep to yourself,
do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.”
These are a smoke in my nostrils,
a fire that burns all the day.
6 Behold, it is written before me:
“I will not keep silent, but I will repay;
I will indeed repay into their lap
7 both your iniquities and your fathers’ iniquities together,
says the Lord;
because they made offerings on the mountains
and insulted me on the hills,
I will measure into their lap
payment for their former deeds.”
8 Thus says the Lord:
“As the new wine is found in the cluster,
and they say, ‘Do not destroy it,
for there is a blessing in it,’
so I will do for my servants’ sake,
and not destroy them all.
9 I will bring forth offspring from Jacob,
and from Judah possessors of my mountains;
my chosen shall possess it,
and my servants shall dwell there.
When I was in high school, my parents regularly took my younger brother and me on road-trip vacations. We had made several similar trips west but had never gone east. We decided to take a Great Lakes tour. Our extreme eastern point was Niagara Falls near Buffalo, New York. I had grown up in the plains of the Midwest. We had some very large rivers, but not a lot of very large waterfalls. I must say that I was impressed with this one. It thundered and roared and the volume of water that tumbled over the edge was stunning.
I think of God’s love like that. The children of Israel had foolishly tried to dam that flow. They had rebelled time and again against the love of God for them. They had done exactly what He had asked them not to do. Not once, not twice, but generations had done so. In the final verses of this reading God expresses his persistent, unrelenting love for us. Though they have been foolish and rebellious, He does not dispossess them or reject them. For His Servant’s sake, that would be Jesus, he brings forth new life and gives His people a home.
Do not try to dam up the love of God. Let it flow over you. But if you have occasional to look back upon your life, as all of us do, and see many times when you have spurned His love, rejected Him, wandered as far away from Him as you thought you could get, do not worry. That waterfall of His love has never stopped flowing for you. You cannot stop it. Nothing you can do will stop it. Let it flow.