Submitted by Jan on Tue, 08/03/2016 – 11:12
5th Sunday of Lent
Year A (2016-2017)
Bible Book: Isaiah
Verse: 16 – 21
Daily experiences show us that it is very easy for human beings to lose hope in hard circumstances in life, either material or spiritual. We see that happening so often with the children of Israel in the Bible, but I want to emphasize the scenario before they crossed the sea under the fierce persecution of Pharaoh’s army. As they realized that they had no way out, since on the South and West they were surrounded by the mountains, on the North by the army and on the East by the sea, they just forgot God’s promise and let themselves fell in a sense of desperation.
Similarly, Isaiah 43:16-21 also refers to a difficult time for the children of Israel. Most people of the two southern tribes were in Babylon as captives, having left their beloved Jerusalem in ruins. We don’t have much detail in the Bible about their suffering, because it’s not the Bible’s focus, but we believe that during this time they suffered in many ways, one of them being psychological. So, at a given time, God raised his servant among them, the one who Bible scholars call Second Isaiah, whose message is covered from chapters 40-55. His main goal was to comfort the desolate children of Judah and to renew their hope that one day they would return to their mother land.
We can see that the passage we are analyzing is in line with this goal: Firstly, the author refers to the power of God, by reminding his audience of what God did in the past, when He humiliated the Pharaoh’s army at the red sea (vv. 16-17). In the following verses (18-21), Isaiah raises his audience’s hope, by promising changes that would give dignity back to the children of Israel.
What lesson can we learn from this passage?
Before I respond to that, it is important to mention that the world’s economy is passing through a difficult time, although in some countries the situation is worse than in others. This scenario is affecting our lives negatively to some extent, either individually and/or collectively.
When faced with these difficult times, it’s easy to assume that things are out of control; that solutions will never come and to totally lose hope. Isaiah reminds us that God is there and can always do something, even when we assume there are no more alternatives.
To think about: Could we keep ourselves hopeful in our God, no matter what hard situations we face, either due to HIV and AIDS or other circumstances?
Written by: Rev. Eduardo Vundo Sassa, a trained CoH Facilitator and CABSA Representative in Angola.
Author: Sassa EV (Ps)