Lectionary Year B
February 23, 2003
Isaiah 43:18-25

Step V: Distillation

A. Summary of Salient Features

(JFC) "The theological 'center of gravity' in this passage" is God's blotting out transgressions and remembering sinfulness no more. Other major concerns here include the "new thing" God is doing, the transformation of the heretofore hostile turf of the geographical world the people inhabit, the chosen people who praise God and also have failed to bring proper offerings and rather have burdened God. These observations leave as minor elements in these paragraphs to include the territory, the animals, the streams, the offerings/sacrifices and, perhaps the actual sins, themselves. If there is an "aha" in these paragraphs it is that God's creation and re-creation and redemption of sin belong together, they seem to be telling the same story via different media, quite well, though. God's emphatic speaking these two paragraphs emphasize that both creation and re-creation and pardon are God's doing, every day, even every hour, even every minute . . .

B. Smoother Translation

(JFC) 18 Do not remember any former things and never recall anything in antiquity. 19 Behold I am doing a new thing now it will sprout/spring up do you not perceive/recognize it? Furthermore I am making in the wilderness a way/path/road and streams in the wastelands. 20 Even the jackals will honor me a whole field of them and also owl/ostriches, too. for I am providing water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland to provide drink for my people my chosen (ones) 21 the people whom I am making for me/myself and, they will proclaim their praise of/to me. 22 And you have not been calling upon me, Jacob for you have grown weary of/to me, Israel. 23 Not have you brought to me sheep/goat/lamb for your whole burnt offerings and you have caused me dishonor and not have you honored me nor have I compelled you to labor/work with a gift/offering and not have I made you weary of/in frankincense. 24 Not have you brought to me money/calamus and with the choicest of your sacrifices you have not saturated me indeed you have compelled me to work in my sin offering to you you have made me weary in/of your sinfulness/iniquities. 25 I, I have saturated wiping/blocking out your sinfulness/transgressions for the purpose of your sinfulness I shall not remember.

C. Hermeneutical Bridge

(JFC) Walther Eichrodt, in Theology of the Old Testament, writes, "This cosmic view of nature exercises its strongest influence in Deutero-Isaiah. He not only sets the glory of the work of creation before the eyes of his people as a proof of the incomparable superiority of the power of the God of Israel to that of the gods of the heathen (Isaiah 40:15ff and 22), but also sees in that work an actual source of revelation, on which faith on God's power and will to redeem can feed. (Isaiah 40.26)." So, then can the sinfulness enumerated in the second half of our lection refer to human failure to receive and/or rely and/or feed upon such revelations of Gods "power and will to redeem"? If so, let's preach it.

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