Archive for the ‘OT:Isaiah’ Category

Isaiah 6:9 The heart of this people has become gross…

Monday, March 21st, 2011

 

And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go to this people? And I said, behold, I am [here], send me. And he said, Go, and say to this people, Ye shall hear indeed, but ye shall not understand; and ye shall see indeed, but ye shall not perceive. For the heart of this people has become gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. (Isaiah 6: 8-10).

 

Brothers and sisters, do you hear the Lord's anguish in this text?

 

Whom shall I send, and who will go to this people?” The people are in need, somebody must be sent. The prophet responds, “behold, I am [here], send me.” And what does the Lord command him to say? Terrible words!

 

God sees the future as the present, and knows what will happen. He says, “Ye shall hear indeed, but ye shall not understand; and ye shall see indeed, but ye shall not perceive. For the heart of this people has become gross, and their ears are dull of hearing.” This is a terrible prophecy, brothers and sisters! The people will be blind to the truth! They will not understand what is best for them! They – or rather, we – will seek diligently after our own destruction!

 

And who, shall we ask, causes this? Does God make our hearts gross, our ears dull of hearing? No – he gives the answer in the next phrase: “their eyes have they closed.” We have done it to ourselves, brothers and sisters! We have closed our own eyes!

 

And why? “Lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.”

 

There are two amazing truths here. First, we have closed our eyes because we don't want to see, or to hear, or to understand the Truth! We want to be blind, because that way we can remain in our own self-satisfied, prideful and lazy state, the broad path that seems easy but which binds us with chains even now…

 

And second: we see the role of the Lord. He doesn't blind us, but if we allow Him to, He will heal us. And He desires this more than we can imagine.

 

All we need do is let go of our own ideas about the way things should be. Hasn't He given us enough reasons to trust Him. He is all-powerful, the Creator of the world. He is all-good and loving, sacrificing Himself on the Cross for the sake of the very men who put Him to death. He is all-knowing, and sees the needs of each and every one of us. And if we allow Him to, if we pray to Him and follow His commandments instead of our own reasoning, He will completely renew us and set us on the path of salvation.

 

May it be so.

 

Dn. Nicholas Park

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Great Lent, the Fourth Week, Tuesday – Three kinds of wood – Matins Canon, Ode 8

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

Let us sing the praises of the Cross, made from three kinds of wood as a figure of the Trinity; and, venerating it with fear, let us raise our cry, as we bless, praise and exalt Christ above forever.

Great Lent, the Fourth Week, Tuesday Matins Canon Ode 8



If a Christian looks carefully, the entire world shows echoes of the Great Artificer who made it, the Holy Trinity. And this is right, since the lover is always thinking of His beloved, and everything around him invokes a remembrance of Him.


The Holy Scripture is especially suffused with direct and indirect, forcefully blunt and poetically elegant, allusions to the Holy Trinity.


Today’s’ matins canon references such an elegant allusion to the Holy Trinity. The sixtieth chapter is Isaiah is a joyful prophesy of the effects of the incarnation of the Son of God. Within this wonderful prophesy, Jerusalem is promised:


And the glory of Libanus shall come to thee, with the cypress, and pine, and cedar together, to glorify my holy place.”

(Isaiah 60:13 Sept.)



Libanus” is Lebanon, a place renowned for its beautiful trees. This prophesy described a future historical event; the “glory of Lebanon” (its magnificent trees) would be used to beautiful the temple of Jerusalem, called here “my holy place”.


For a Christian, reading the OT with the light of the new, this means so much more. The three trees are an allusion to the Trinity and to the Cross, and the “holy place” is none other than the “footstool” of the cross:


Exalt ye the Lord our God: and worship at the footstool of His feet, for He is Holy. (Psalm 98:5)




Here is a portion of the Sixtieth chapter of Isaiah. The prose is deliciously complex. Some things are prophesies for the Jews, and some for All Christians. Some allusions are direct, and others require a “dramatic rendering”. Christian, this is your future!



Isaiah 60:1 Be enlightened, be enlightened, O Jerusalem, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. [60:2] Behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and [there shall be] gross darkness on the nations: but the Lords shall appear upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. [60:3] And kings shall walk in thy light, and nations in thy brightness. [60:4] Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold thy children gathered: all thy sons have come from far, and thy daughters shall be borne on [men's] shoulders. [60:5] Then shalt thou see, and fear, and be amazed in thine heart; for the wealth of the sea shall come round to thee, and of nations and peoples; and herds of camels shall come to thee, [60:6] and the camels of Madiam and Gaepha shall cover thee: all from Saba shall come bearing gold, and shall bring frankincense, and they shall publish the salvation of the Lord. [60:7] And all the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered, and the rams of Nabaeoth shall come; and acceptable sacrifices shall be offered on my altar, and my house of prayer shall be glorified. [60:8] Who are these [that] fly as clouds, and as doves with young ones to me? [60:9] The isles have waited for me, and the ships of Tharsis among the first, to bring thy children from afar, and their silver and their gold with them, and [that] for the sake of the holy name of the Lord, and because the Holy One of Israel is glorified. [60:10] And strangers shall build thy walls, and their kings shall wait upon thee: for by reason of my wrath I smote thee, and by reason of mercy I loved thee. [60:11] And thy gates shall be opened continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; to bring in to thee the power of the Gentiles, and their kings as captives. [60:12] For the nations and the kings which will not serve thee shall perish; and those nations shall be made utterly desolate. [60:13] And the glory of Libanus shall come to thee, with the cypress, and pine, and cedar together, to glorify my holy place. [60:14] And the sons of them that afflicted thee, and of them that provoked thee, shall come to thee in fear; and thou shalt be called Sion, the city of the Holy One of Israel. [60:15] Because thou has become desolate and hated, and there was no helper, therefore I will make thee a perpetual gladness, a joy of many generations. [60:16] And thou shalt suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt eat the wealth of kings: and shalt know that I am the Lord that saves thee and delivers thee, the Holy One of Israel. (Sept, Brenton)


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Great Lent, the 3rd Week, Thursday, The Sixth Hour- "the ensign of the people" – Isaiah 11:10-12:2

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

In that day the root of Jesse, who standeth for an ensign of the people, him the Gentiles shall beseech, and his sepulchre shall be glorious.

Great Lent, the Third Week, Thursday, The Sixth Hour, Isaiah 11:10, from the selection: Isaiah 11:10-12:2


The “root of Jesse” is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ, who came from the line of Jesse.


Ensign” can also be rendered “standard”, and this is a foreshadowing of the precious cross. The cross is our ensign; we venerate it because of our Lord’s accomplishments upon it, and we look to it to teach us the “way of the cross”, that is, imitating the moral life of our Savior.


His sepulchre shall be glorious” is a prophesy regarding our Lords tomb – it indeed would be glorious when He rose from the dead in it.


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Great Lent, the Second Week, Thursday, The Sixth Hour – The Holy Eucharist and hearing the voice of God – Isaiah 6:1-12

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

And it came to pass in the year in which king Ozias died, [that] I saw the Lord sitting on a high and exalted throne, and the house was full of his glory. 2. And seraphs stood round about him: each one had six wings: and with two they covered [their] face, and with two they covered [their] feet, and with two they flew. 3. And one cried to the other, and they said, Holy, holy, holy [is the] Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. 4. And the lintel shook at the voice they uttered, and the house was filled with smoke.5. And I said, Woe is me, for I am pricked to the heart; for being a man, and having unclean lips, and I have seen with mine eyes the King, the Lord of hosts. 6. And there was sent to me one of the seraphs, and he had in his hand, a coal, which he had taken off the altar with the tongs: 7. and he touched my mouth, and said, Behold, this has touched thy lips, and will take away thine iniquities, and will purge off thy sins. Isaiah 6:1-7


Most people have heard or read this passage from Isaiah and understand that it refers to the Holy Mysteries. It is a prophesy of what was to come – after the incarnation of the God-man Jesus Christ, we would be fed with the bread which came down from heaven – the holy Eucharist.

The priest repeats some of these words when he communes every person:

Behold this hath touched thy lips, and taketh away all thine iniquities and purgeth all thy sins”

As in all of Holy Scripture, true understanding is in the details. Those who have “ears to hear” listen closely, and perceive all shades of meaning. Those who do not have such ears are those whom the Lord orders Isaiah to give the message:

“Go, and say to this people. 9. Ye shall hear indeed, but ye shall not understand; and ye shall see indeed, but ye shall not perceive. 10. For the heart of this people has become gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.” Isaiah 6:9-10

There is a stark contrast presented here. Isaiah is healed by the holy coal which touches his lips because of his faith. See how he thinks of himself:

And I said, Woe is me, for I am pricked to the heart; for being a man, and having unclean lips, and I have seen with mine eyes the King, the Lord of hosts.”

Such a man God will heal. “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble”, and the greatest grace is given by the Holy Eucharist.

How can we know the holy prophet was truly humble? After all, words are easy to say.

We must not receive the grace of God in vain. The partaking of communion must initiate ACTION in us. The voice of God will also be present for us. Isaiah not only has words, he has actions. Will we hear God as Isaiah did?

And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go to this people? And I said, behold, I am [here], send me.” Isaiah 6:8


Why do we live such mediocre lives? Why do we confess the same sins over and over? Why is there so little change in our lives? Let us look at ourselves carefully: are we hearing the voice of God? Are we saying to God as Isaiah: “I am here, send me?”

There are two ways of living – one leads to life and one leads to death. There are two ways of communing the Holy Mysteries. Isaiah shows us one, and the people he preaches to shows us the other. May we live in such a way that every time we commune, not just the priest, but the Lord says to us:

Behold, this has touched thy lips, and will take away thine iniquities, and will purge off thy sins.

———-

Is 6:1-12 And it came to pass in the year in which king Ozias died, [that] I saw the Lord sitting on a high and exalted throne, and the house was full of his glory. 2. And seraphs stood round about him: each one had six wings: and with two they covered [their] face, and with two they covered [their] feet, and with two they flew. 3. And one cried to the other, and they said, Holy, holy, holy [is the] Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. 4. And the lintel shook at the voice they uttered, and the house was filled with smoke. 5. And I said, Woe is me, for I am pricked to the heart; for being a man, and having unclean lips, and I have seen with mine eyes the King, the Lord of hosts. 6. And there was sent to me one of the seraphs, and he had in his hand, a coal, which he had taken off the altar with the tongs: 7. and he touched my mouth, and said, Behold, this has touched thy lips, and will take away thine iniquities, and will purge off thy sins. 8. And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go to this people? And I said, behold, I am [here], send me. And he said, Go, and say to this people. 9. Ye shall hear indeed, but ye shall not understand; and ye shall see indeed, but ye shall not perceive. 10. For the heart of this people has become gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. 11. And I said, How long O Lord? And he said, Until cities be deserted by reason of their not being inhabited, and the houses by reason of there being no men, and the land shall be left desolate. 12. And after this God shall remove the men far off, and they that are left upon the land shall be multiplied. (Great Lent, the Second week, Thursday, At the Sixth Hour)

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