God’s Faithful Word of Joy
Isaiah 63:1-14: Today’s reading describes how the LORD will bless his people and take revenge on those nations that refuse to worship him. In response to the questions posed in verses 1 and 2, the LORD explains that his bloody garments resulted from having taken vengeance on Israel’s enemies. The reading concludes with a communal lament in which God’s love and mercy are remembered.
I will tell of the LORD’s unfailing love; I praise him for all he has done for us.
1 “Who is this coming from the city of Bozrah in Edom? Who is this so splendidly dressed in red, marching along in power and strength?”
It is the Lord, powerful to save, coming to announce his victory.
2“Why is his clothing so red, like that of someone who tramples grapes to make wine?”
3 The Lord answers, “I have trampled the nations like grapes, and no one came to help me. I trampled them in my anger, and their blood has stained all my clothing.4I decided that the time to save my people had come; it was time to punish their enemies.5 I was amazed when I looked and saw that there was no one to help me. But my anger made me strong, and I won the victory myself.6In my anger I trampled whole nations and shattered them. I poured out their lifeblood on the ground.”
7I will tell of the Lord's unfailing love;
I praise him for all he has done for us.
He has richly blessed the people of Israel
because of his mercy and constant love.
8The Lord said, “They are my people; they will not deceive me.” And so he saved them9from all their suffering. It was not an angel, but the Lord himself who saved them. In his love and compassion he rescued them. He had always taken care of them in the past,10but they rebelled against him and made his holy spirit sad. So the Lord became their enemy and fought against them.
11But then they remembered the past, the days of Moses, the servant of the Lord, and they asked, “Where now is the Lord, who saved the leaders of his people from the sea? Where is the Lord, who gave his spirit to Moses?12-13 Where is the Lord, who by his power did great things through Moses, dividing the waters of the sea and leading his people through the deep water, to win everlasting fame for himself?”
Led by the Lord, they were as sure-footed as wild horses, and never stumbled.14As cattle are led into a fertile valley, so the Lord gave his people rest. He led his people and brought honor to his name.
Verse 1 mentions Bozrah, the main city in Edom, a nation that symbolized the evil enemies of Israel. When evildoers are punished by God, they are said to "have drunk the cup of punishment" (Isaiah 51:17). How is God’s victory over Israel’s enemies described (verses 3-6)? Reread verses 7-14. What redemptive acts are recalled? Why do the people ask, "Where now is the LORD" (verse 11)? Was there ever a time in your life when you asked this question?
Compassionate God, I thank you for your mercy and for your unfailing and constant love, and I praise you for your mighty deeds and all that you have done. By your power, fill me with your Holy Spirit. May all I say and do bring honor to your holy name. Amen.
Those who feel abandoned by God
Isaiah 65:17-25: God’s new creation will be one of peace and joy.