You Are My God
Blessed Lord, You have been my help in this passing year, and my hope for the year to come. I praise Your name.
Read ISAIAH 24:21—25:12
21 In that day the Lord will punish
the powers in the heavens above
and the kings on the earth below.
22 They will be herded together
like prisoners bound in a dungeon;
they will be shut up in prison
and be punished after many days.
23 The moon will be dismayed,
the sun ashamed;
for the Lord Almighty will reign
on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,
and before its elders—with great glory.
Praise to the Lord
25 Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done wonderful things,
things planned long ago.
2 You have made the city a heap of rubble,
the fortified town a ruin,
the foreigners’ stronghold a city no more;
it will never be rebuilt.
3 Therefore strong peoples will honor you;
cities of ruthless nations will revere you.
4 You have been a refuge for the poor,
a refuge for the needy in their distress,
a shelter from the storm
and a shade from the heat.
For the breath of the ruthless
is like a storm driving against a wall
5 and like the heat of the desert.
You silence the uproar of foreigners;
as heat is reduced by the shadow of a cloud,
so the song of the ruthless is stilled.
6 On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare
a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
the best of meats and the finest of wines.
7 On this mountain he will destroy
the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
8 he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears
from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace
from all the earth.
The Lord has spoken.
9 In that day they will say,
“Surely this is our God;
we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the Lord, we trusted in him;
let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”
10 The hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain;
but Moab will be trampled in their land
as straw is trampled down in the manure.
11 They will stretch out their hands in it,
as swimmers stretch out their hands to swim.
God will bring down their pride
despite the cleverness of their hands.
12 He will bring down your high fortified walls
and lay them low;
he will bring them down to the ground,
to the very dust.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Our God is of the ages, the future and the present!
I observe closely one striking and memorable feature of this song: there are at least fifteen word pairs or triplets or words used two or three times. This feature binds together a song with many sudden turns of theme, grammar and mood. As this song brings to a strong close the storm and stress of our readings in this section of Isaiah, so I use its themes to bring my year to its close.
Today’s reading (like the whole book of Isaiah and like the whole Bible itself) speaks of the Lord’s demolition work (prisoners, punishment, rubble, ruin, manure, dust) as part of his saving justice (Isa. 66:22–24; Rev. 17; 18). We can read of the Lord’s grief over Moab in Isaiah 15 and 16. Here, however, his hand is on Zion but his foot is on Moab; there is a banquet and there is a bog, a trash heap; there is an inside and there is an outside. Have I experienced demolitions this year? Have I been the target of ruthless songs? How can these become clearance work for rebuilding, not sites of despair? What deaths and sorrows have caused me grief and tears in the past year? Lord, I renew my trust that one day You will destroy this shroud and dry all tears.
I lay this song’s affirmations in my heart as ammunition for times of stress and sorrow and as victory shouts for times of celebration.
Lord, You are my God; I exalt You and praise Your name! Lord, You are my shelter in the storm!
Lord, You are my shade from the heat!
Lord, thank You for your banquet invitation!
Lord, I do not always understand You but I trust You! Lord, I trust in Your perfect faithfulness!
Lord, I rejoice in Your salvation, now, in the coming year and forever.
Thank You for all that You have ever been and are and always will be—for me.
In what ways has God been your help in 2017? What are your hopes and dreams for 2018?
Lord, I thank You for whatever plans made long ago that have come to fruition this past year, by Your grace.
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