Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Isaiah 4

In Isaiah 4 we have the end of a lengthy indictment of Israel for her sins, closing with a vivid depiction of the haughty women exchanging their finery for the clothing of lament, exile, and barrenness. Yet in the second verse there is a promise of renewal--the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious for those who escape the wrath of God's vengeance. Those whom God keeps from destruction shall be purified from the filth of sin, the blood of injustice, and the spirit of judgment--they will be holy (vv. 3-4).

Then verse five presents a powerful image of the Lord's glory and presence--the cloud of smoke by day and the shining fire by night--a clear reference to the cloud and fire that led Israel through the wilderness in their exodus from Egypt. The key difference to note, however, is that in this renewal of His presence, the Lord will not concentrate His glory in one place, say, the tabernacle or the tent of meeting; nor will His glory only cover the leaders of Israel such as Moses or Aaron the High Priest. Now the glory of the Lord will be over all of the assembly, over every household, to be a covering for the glory of the people of the Lord.

Not only is this portrait a testimony to the expansive nature of God's restoration of His people from the death of exile into the resurrection of the promised land (think new heavens and new earth), but it is also a testimony to fathers who are seeking to understand what they are to be for their family.

First and foremost, the father is to be holy and to keep his family holy. The purging of sin is the primary benefit that the Lord bestows upon His people. Second, the father is to cover the glory of his wife and children with his own. This means not only that he provides and protects them, but also that his own glory is made manifest in how well he has preserved the glory of his family. Father need to internalize that truth, for more often than not fathers seek their glory in their profession, in their career accomplishments or promotions, or by how smart, strong, or successful they are in the eyes of the world. However, God will judge fathers on how well they glorified their wives and children--how pure will the father present his bride and his children to their Heavenly Father? Truly this is a man's eternal glory, that he has covered his family as God covers His family--being to them a tabernacle for shade in the daytime and a place of refuge and shelter from storm and rain.

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