‘Is this all there is? There must be more to this! Is our story over?’ The Jews, captive in affluent Babylon became not only successful but also comfortable! Like many today, they had ‘so much to live with yet so little to live for ! In all this, they weren’t sure, as God’s nation and ‘chosen people’ in a foreign land, whether they had a continuing story
God, through His prophet Isaiah, shows his people where the real problem was: In the busyness of daily living they had forgotten God’s purposes for them. God graciously renews His promise and assures them of their return and re-establishment in their own land. He then offers them the privilege of becoming the nation from which Messiah would come to bless all the nations of the world. Their story was not quite over, yet!
Now then, how was God going to do all this? By declaring some ‘new things’ He was beginning to do among and for his people (Isa.42:8-13). God wanted his people to catch a fresh vision (the art of seeing the invisible) and develop a deep sense of mission (the craft of doing the impossible, with God) and create transformation (becoming the change this world needs)! God is going to do this as they recognise their true identity and new responsibility. What were some of these ‘new things’ springing up in their midst?
First, there will be a new story of grace for God’s people to share (43:19-21). Up till now, the greatest story of God’s love the Jews could talk about was ‘the Exodus’. How God divided the Red Sea and delivered them out of their slavery in Egypt. Now, God was going to give them a far greater story to share! His miracle-working power would do more than bring them into a secure and prosperous land. His people, through Messiah, would be a Light bringing God’s salvation and eternal hope to the ends of the earth.
Second, there would be a new song of praise for God’s people to sing (42:10). When it comes to vitalizing a vision, communication is the key. Where words seem inadequate, how a song can powerfully carry an important message. (Handel’s Messiah comes out of Isaiah’s message). There was no time for dwelling in the past or self-pity for their experience of failure in exile is used to usher in comfort and a greater hope. The theme, object and reason for rejoicing are all one: God’s Messiah, Jesus– the Savior of the world!
Third, there would be a new sight of God’s glory for all people to see (49:6). Imagine, all of us, i.e. the Gentile nations, would be invited to be a vital part of this new faith community. The coming of the Savior was to gather a people, honored and strong in their God. As followers of Christ, we have been entrusted God’s Word of light and life in order to go and ‘disciple the nations’ (Matt. 28:19-20). We are called to take the lead in Missio Dei: To See this Vision, to State our Mission, and to Start the Transformation! So today, like never before, let us join in the refrain – ‘This is our Story; This is our Song…!