Sunday, October 28, 2018

Isaiah 44:1-5 – As Willows by the Water Courses

1 Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant;
and Israel, whom I have chosen:
2          Thus saith the Lord that made thee,
and formed thee from the womb,
which will help thee;
Fear not,
O Jacob, my servant;
and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen.
3                                  For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty,
and floods upon the dry ground:
I will pour my spirit upon thy seed,
and my blessing upon thine offspring:
4                                              And they shall spring up as among the grass,
as willows by the water courses.
5 One shall say, I am the Lord’s;
and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob;
and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord,
and surname himself by the name of Israel. (Isaiah 44:1-5)

I like these verses and how easy it is to see the parallelism of repeated thoughts and themes. (I indented at various levels to make it a little more easy to see what things I think go together.)

In verse 1, the Lord is trying to get covenant Israel to listen and is reminding Israel they are chosen and they are His servants. He chose them from the beginning to be His servants. We recognize this because one is not born into the house of Israel by accident, but by design.

Covenant Israel has a tendency to think the job of blessing the entire world is overwhelmingly big, but the Lord tells Israel in v2, “[I] will help thee; Fear not.”

Covenant Israel also recognizes that blessing the whole world is hard work and there are moments when we feel like it would be nice to relax and have others do the teaching for a change. And while we are being examples to the rest of the world, where will we get our examples?  In verse 3, the Lord promises to pour out water (spiritual water) upon those that are thirsty—thirsting after righteousness. “I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring.” It is the Spirit that teaches our children, and often they end up teaching us.

Then there is some beautiful imagery: “they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.”  To understand this, we only need to remember how grass doesn’t grow unless there is plenty of water.  Similarly, willows grow best when very near some sort of river or lake. This is teaching us that with all the spiritual water the Lord pours out through the Holy Ghost, we and our children will grow easily, just like those plants that grow best when there is plenty of water around.

With that kind of spiritual environment, covenant Israel will know for sure they are the Lord’s people. They will be so certain, they will want to take on a new name, perhaps calling themselves Jacob, or Israel, or perhaps consecrating themselves completely to God.

What do I learn from these verses? They tell us to FEAR NOT.  If we draw near to the Lord, He will draw near to us and satisfy our spiritual hunger and yearnings.