Second (section of) Isaiah -Part A

Note: – the following are the sections commonly referred to as the "Servant of the Lord" sections:


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– an amazing three week period before and after release from exile
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40:1-56 end – can be viewed as an amazing three weeks. Before and after the release of the exiles – an amazing piece of ministry by "George" (an unknown author) who ministered to the exiles (/one group at least) in the changeover time when Cyrus overtook Babylon and set the foreign captives free to return to their homeland.

– about 10% did go home (estimate) and they returned into that desolate city of Jerusalem, brought new life and hope and a new start.

– they brought the learnings of the exile years back into that land.

– there is a lovely scene of that re-entry parade when those who had stayed in Jerusalem, amongst the rubble for 70 years having been forbidden to rebuild anything, watched the happy band of near-relatives re-enter the town and experienced the infusion of new life.

"By their stripes we were all healed, they took the punishment that we all deserve".

– though second Isaiah's recommendation was heard, it was not followed – i.e. "to be a light to the nations" – instead, they followed Ezra and Nehemiah's recommendation to "regroup" as a nation.

– but his material was kept and passed on (Charlie figures by the moms) and Christ grew up familiar with it and it found and articulation of his own life and ministry which he "came to fulfill".

– his disciples later also found it described him precisely.

How graced we all are by these God-filled events and their transmission to us. Thank you, Lord.

40:1-2 – I find in these words comfort as have so many – that whatever our time of exile has been, there comes an end to it, that there comes a "time to come home" – and that "release is often in strange circumstances of liberation".

– I think of__________ (withheld) whose marriage is going to hell right now and how it's just coming up two years this spring when we first reconnected and I walked my friend through the wish list etc. And helped my friend recover from the disastrous mess of the UCC fiasco.

I think of my own "wanderings in exile" from my home community after Sandy Lake especially and these words play fugues with intricate interweaving set of meaning and saturate out with the long-term longings of/for "home".

I think of all our longings for "home anew", Lord, as we, like prodigal sons, wander in our own ways and long to be home – as servants, having blown it with you and our fellows – just to "eat the scraps under the table" and when the "comforting word" comes that our "warfare is ended, that our iniquity is pardoned, and that we have received from the Lord's hand double for all our sins" – it is relief and comfort indeed – however that relief and release is transmitted (word?).

For me it has been (and continues to be) a multi-staged relief and release. Finished but not completed. "Trashed in Christ 2000 years ago" but not completely worked out in life.

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– a comfort to so many indeed
– "every valley lifted up..."
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40:3-5 – this passage is a passage that smashed home to me that time I prayed ____(withheld) through a crisis and you (Lord) helped me to see a huge buzz-saw that cut through the giant boulders that obstructed the way – that you can cut a "way" where there seemed to be "no way" – and as I read and prayed through using second Isaiah as a base of prayer, you poured meaning in and through me into that situation. How marvellous were those hours and that experience of your love and power, Lord, thank you.

– how, indeed you cut a "way" through the "obstructions" in and to our lives and take us through our situations to "home" in you and "home" with our fellow man in the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace. "Home" to the body-life we crave but find just out of reach because of the "Babel gift" from you – and resolvable between us only as we "live in you and you live in us".

– I think of how you cut through the obstacles to my way home through Ivan, Ron, Alfie, Wayne, Bob, Charlie, George, Ian, and on and on – John, dad, – what a "cloud of witnesses" indeed

– and I think of all the people you have "cleared away through" with, through me, both seen and unseen, clergy people and lay people, past and present. And way out in front of our journeys home, you are there – and your glory is there to be seen by all people, for how else could we have been so/us liberated?! For the mouth of the Lord has spoken – and we, with the "rocks, hills, and planes" "repeat the sounding joy!"

[Marginal comments from this section: [
– "repeat the sounding Joy"
– "all flesh shall see it"
– Jubilee!
"What shall I cry?"
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40:6-8 – in this I hear a note about the reality of any liberation event – there are going to be casualties, or as they say in the Air Force "casualties are to be expected", or in hand-to-hand combat – "you're going to get cut up – expect it, or you will also die!", or at the beaches of Normandy – "what's the expected casualty rate of the first wave?" "85%, any further questions?"

– it's all about Abe bigger perspective, this liberation business – so that grass-ness" and "flower-ness" can go on, sometimes we find our own selves "fading" prematurely – as "collateral damage", by "friendly fire", or as a casualty of the events – and we don't always get to choose our time and place or the "wrath of the Lord" blows over us. But the word of the Lord stands forever – that "our" warfare is over and "our" in equity is pardoned and "we" have received double for all our sins even more than in that situation, for now, in you, Lord, we are free because you have "taken a hit" for us.

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– get up and look, church
– the reception party
 [end of marginal comments from this section.]


40:9 – so get up and look, church, God is doing his mighty liberation and you're sitting there playing "Nintendo" – take a second look out over the desert and be attuned to the possibility of God's action and approach – leading his captives over the desert towards you – are your gates and hearts open to them and him, or are you closed off to both his actions and presence in both attitude (so why even look for it) and action (what's seen is not necessarily accepted). Could you cope with God? Could you cope with the presence of his newly freed up people in your midst? Could you cope with the possibility that maybe God wants to pour new life into you through his newly liberated people? Could you cope with the father's invitation to come into the party and celebrate with him "for this my son was dead but is alive, was lost but is found" – or will you pout and grouch around and say "all these years I have served you and never have you thrown a party for me". Are you open to admitting that by their stripes we have been healed – in so many ways for example by seeing the effect of another man's sin (which parallels your own); by being deepened by their deepening, and presence amongst us; by their release and freedom in the same situation we are in – as they walk in freedom and we in bondage and we "smell the savour of Christ" and experience the rising up in us of a desire for you Christ and for your liberating presence – "get up on a high mountain and look, O Zion, herald of good tidings".

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– the visible and the invisible church
"behold, the Lord your God comes with might"
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40:10-11 – in this I hear the Presbyterian concept of the visible and invisible church – the invisible church is known only to you, Lord, but every now and then it breaks out into a physical reality – in some act of love and Jubilee etc. – and becomes the visible church – in a relationship, at work, on the hockey rink, in a touch or gesture, in a kindly word, in a rebuke that is needed,... and sometimes, even in the institutional church.

– I hear in this a "gathering" and "feeding" and "carrying" of those from both groups that respond to him – not all do – one out of 10 lepers returned to say thank you and relate to Christ – though the other nine were also set free – and there was the matter of the prodigal son's older brother... say to the cities of Judah "behold, your God!, behold the Lord God comes with might" (etc.)
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– mollify the masses?!
– An abomination by the church
– "in Christ Jesus"
– meditation on and incomparable God
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40:1, 2, 11 – two common funeral passages taken completely out of context and run together as "handholding" passages with no "guts" to them – Louis feels it's because we were "elected (word?) Out" in the 1800s when industrialization was taking place and the role of the church was defined by society as being to mollify the masses and keep the lid on the impetus to revolt against the atrocities that big business was foisting on ordinary people and the squeeze play that the world financiers were inflicting on the lives of citizens and communities. The comfort comes within the reality of your Jubilee, Lord, not outside it.______ (withheld) preached on Romans eight last Sunday in_______ (withheld) "nothing can separate us from the love of God", but doesn't see the other half of the line "in Jesus Christ" – we liberals were raised that way – to our great loss!

40:1ff – this is the section I worked the Keewatin church through (without application) just before leaving the UCC in October – December 1978 – 23 years ago.

40:12-31 – meditation on Israel's incomparable God – contrasted with the man-made idols and claims that are all getting dragged out in the heat of this historic moment.

40:27-31 – the God who never sleeps or disregards us, even in our "exiles" – like our kids, they may be out of sight, but not out of our hearts – with God they/we are never out of his sight or mind either – or heart.
[Marginal comments from this section: [
– not "out of sight, out of mind"
– the transients of rulers
– (for you as well Stu)
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40:24 – the transients of rulers.

Chapter 40 – 55 – "Stu, this is your book – your mandate – soak it up for you, too – not just for others. It will guide you and show you what your to do and what I have in mind for you beyond your wildest imaginings – enjoy" (18 February/2001)

40:24 – like______ (withheld) with his 59th (?) Birthday this week – is very aware of his shortness of life – and hasn't the "word" to deal with it/process it with. So Stu – put it up on a webpage for him – under a "perspectives" section perhaps.

– oh Lord, I see it – this stuff is like the "sap" that I've been dispensing "out through the branches" – when it's supposed to be turned into fruit and the fruit (multiplied) is to be disbursed – like photographs, and the above insight stuff for_____(withheld) – "one-on-one ministry of encouragement – led into and taught by you; fed by you in the economic system; providing room for you to work with power; as a seed planted; and a one-on-one ministry – just like you said "I want you to be that stuff, do not do it – be that tree – and do your assigned tasks using your usual five tools/approaches – tool making, photography, ditch pushing, information chasing, and animating communities upstream – thank you Lord.

– so, start living out of this stuff, Stu – go back to the sermon on the Mount (etc.) and listen for guidance on how to handle all those issues that emerge in life – and plug them all in as I give them to you. Thanks Lord – so the jottings are for me (mine) but the use of them, or the stuff that arises from them in relation to a given situation etc. is for others in that situation (at least it's that way for me – my ministry etc. is for specific target people, not "people in general" – thank you, Lord.
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– voice and freedom
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40:3 – voice and freedom – (25th February/2001 – see jottings Journal) like that fellow's book (and sequel update chapters) "exit, voice, and loyalty" which you changed this morning to voice and freedom for me. Lord, I see now that there are "voice points" throughout our journeys and "silences that carry meaning" and that photography captures those "peak of the action" moments well – in a "little voice" so to speak – and I hear you today, this morning, that second Isaiah is for me too – that this is your word for me too, and as with____(withheld), its "electricity" flows when in context of anyone in the process of being liberated and over that "ditch pushing" transition point in life's events – me leaving Keewatin and now, me going back, at the end of the "parenthesis" (+3 years) – and the release of the Deloraine/silver Heights thing which now hopefully, the release at the end of the silver Heights entry points me – that one which grandpa told______ (withheld) is common for all "crossers of cultural boundaries) – either God or our sexual relationships [vertical or horizontal relationships that is] get messed up. Thank you Lord.

41:9 – I chose you and I did not reject you (subsequent to that choice) – Lord we all feel that one – for we all deserved to get booted out of training camp any number of times!
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– not booted out of training camp
– perishing opposition
– glorying in God
– wind and confusion
– God will not let others have his name or glory
– God will not let his praise go to the idols
– diverted praise
– Absalom at God's gate
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41:12 – your opposition will perish – what good news to us all! Men of war will be nothing to you – what mighty reassurance – from no "ivory tower" either.

41:16 – in God you will glory, for only he could get you out of this mess.

41:20 – god’s reclamation of deserts into arable habitat is his new creation – to be seen by men and to be understood as such.

42:1 – idols – wind and confusion.

42:8 – "my name and my glory I will not give to another, and my praise to the idols". I like the perspective – others and other things are siphoning off the name and glory on the one hand and praise on the other – like Absalom at the gate – and you don't even have to do anything – just sit there and reflect light!

42:17 – people today need to heed this "shame on ones trusting in idols, the ones saying to idols "you are gods to us" will be turned back and will be ashamed. Our land is rife with blatant (and old-fashioned) idolatry – promoted on TV far and wide (and on the Internet)

42:20 – "to see many things but not pay attention" – I like that phrasing.

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– I., God, and the one saving you
– "to see many things, but not pay attention"
– not removed from, but presence in the water and fire
– blind, but my servant
– a plundered people
– come on guys, give it back
– "and she (war) burned around him and he did not understand"
– "fear not, by your Creator have summoned you by name"
– "when you pass through the waters"
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42:18 – who can be as blind and deaf as my servant – not chosen for our input capacity!

42:22 – a plundered people and plunder themselves with no one to say "come on guys, give it back".

42:25 (23?) – "and she (war) burned around him and he did not understand" so often we get "a lesson" taught to us and we are oblivious to it. "And she (war) consumed him and he took it not too heart". How slow we are to learn.

42:21 and 24f – God made the law great for the sake of his righteousness, and enforced the lesson about it on a frustrating group (who were supposed to embody it and display its greatness) (cf. Greg's sermon on this today).

43:1 – "fear not, I have redeemed and summoned you by name, I., your creator".
43:2 – I will be with you, not remove you from the experience – protection within trouble versus from trouble. Like that South American missionary's wife's prayer – "Lord, don't keep them safe, keep them faithful".

43:3 – "for I, God, am the one saving you" and buying your freedom – now that's the kind of help to see come over the hill!

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– a three for one deal (man and people)
– three reasons for the rescue and buyback
– made for God's glory – not all men
– what a motley crew!
– "There is only one of me and it's me operating"
– three great acts – revealed, saved, proclaimed
– we are his witnesses that he is God.
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43:3 and 4b – Egypt, Cush, and Seba are payoffs to the ransom – I wonder what that refers to – 3 for 1.

43:4 – three reasons for the buyback rescue:

43:5 – the Diaspora is to return – to be freed.

43:7 – "every one of the people called by my name and for my glory I created and formed him and also made him" – created for God's glory (and therefore rescued) – but not all men are, only those called by his name – for in that relationship with him, we do reflect and show forth God's glory – that's how people are to meet God often.

43:8 – and who are they – these "unclean" blind and deaf ones!

43:10 – no God was in existence before me and none will be after me, so know that there is no salvation (out of this mess) apart from me.

43:12 – three great actions of God

And you are my witnesses that I am God.

43:16 – thus says Yahweh, the one who made a way through the sea and destroyer of Egyptians – assuring credentials of historic capacity and of course this is now broadened out with Christ's mighty work at Calvary – regarding the barrier of "death".

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– descendents spring up like Poplar between blades of grass by the streams
– remember not pass things or dwell on them
– even the animals are more grateful than your eyes!
The people I formed for my praise
– our "sacrifices of honour" are our sins and offenses!
– God the sin blotter

 [end of marginal comments from this section.]

43:18 – don't dwell on the past, I'm doing a new thing now, don't you see it?
43:20 – even the animals and birds honour me for providing the water sources – sources for my people – open your eyes and see all what's going on – or as Jonah said "those who observe lying vanities forsake their own mercies".

43:21f – and the water was/is for the people I formed for the praise of me – and they don't even see the water let alone give the praise! – heck, you haven't exactly called on me or wearied yourselves regarding me – no sacrifices of honour and I didn't exact such from you – even of grain/incense – you didn't purchase (fragrant) calves (word?) Or burden me with the fat of sacrifices – no, you burden me with your sins and wearied me with your offenses.

43:25 – God the sin blotter.

43:26 – come on, make the case for your own innocence down through the years – you can't – it's a sorry record indeed. A nice retort to those today who think they're pretty good in the current world situation.

43:1ff – I will pour out water on the dry ground and my spirit and blessings on your offspring and ascendance – and they will spring up like poplars in a meadow (between the blades of grass) by the streams of water.
[Marginal comments from this section: [
– glory to God or to man
– to Yahweh with love
– God's credentials – four
– first, last, and only
– standing on my record – how about that of other gods?!
– no other rock
– like Idol like person – blind, ignorant, shameful
– reverse flow of life
 [end of marginal comments from this section.]

43:4 – and echo back and forth to each other "I belong to the Lord and another will write "the Lords" on his hand (that is to Yahweh) – to Yahweh with love – a gift of ourselves in gratitude.

43:5 – taking on the name of Jacob – one of God's people and saying so. Lord I hear this regarding my presentation in economic development class as with my presentation at Redvers and Manor – as I "restart" what those various activities "were" – "be faithful (to Christ) in that which is another's"

God's credentials – the credentials of the one who is saving them (as an aside)

44:7 – God is willing to stand on his record and asks – "come on, lay it out there"

44:8 – "no other rock" indeed! Cf. the song in church "you are my rock in times of trouble – all through the storm your love is an anchor – my trust is in you alone"

44:10 – like Idol like person – we do make idols "after our own image"

44:12 – contrast human God makers who weary and thirst with God who does neither (40:27-30) and he gives strength to the weary and water to the thirsty – the flow goes the other way – a reverse flow of life.

44:13 – and the image is the highest and best that man knows: "men" yet how paltry!

[Marginal comments from this section: [
– God gives the Idol trees!
– lies in our right hands
– idols as utilities
– made to be God's servant community
– now that's community development
– liberty and boys indeed
– for in Israel he displays his glory
– foiler false Prophets sayings
– God backs his people –
 [end of marginal comments from this section.]

– 44:14 – even "trees grown to order" for use of image makers are watered by God!

44:15 – idols – A "utility" derived from raw materials put here as utilities for us.

44:20 – blindness keeps such idol worshipers from seeing/knowing or even asking "is this thing in my right hand a lie?

44:21 – for I made you to be a servant – note the recurring theme (especially in servant passages?) Of God's purpose for his created community – here, to be a servant. Now that's community development!

44:22 – God swept away their offenses and kept them – so too with us.

44:23 – sing and shout heavens and earth for the redemption and liberty God has wrought cf. my own initial exploration of "liberty/freedom and a voice" as a major thesis theme.

44:23 – for... in Israel he displays his glory! – or as the hymn says "be glorified in us, Lord"

44:25 – God, the foiler of false prophets and diviner’s signs – we need not worry about them, God deals with them (sometimes through us of course, but it's still God's action and making nonsense of the "wise ones learning"

44:26 – God backs up his people – their words and predictions and because they are his words spoken by his people – words in this case, of restoration of the community. How powerful are words – especially God's words through us

[Marginal comments from this section: [
– and "swollen ones"
– unwittingly servant – Cyrus
– creator of prosperity and disaster
– a bundle of goodies
– indeed!
– what magnificent words – every knee bow and tongue confess
– the burden of "religion"
 [end of marginal comments from this section.]