Archive for the ‘isaiah’ Category

Great Lent, the first week, Clean Friday – The Spoil of the Poor – Is 3:1-14

Friday, March 14th, 2008

14. The Lord himself shall enter into judgment with the elders of the people, and with their rulers: but why have ye set my vineyard on fire, and why is the spoil of the poor in your houses?
Friday in the First Week – At the Sixth Hour – Is 3:1-14

Why is the spoil of the poor in your houses?
The Lord asks a question of the Jews through the prophet. Does this question apply to us?

The answer is quite simply, “Of course!” All that is written in the scripture applies to us – we are to answer the questions, test ourselves in relation to the examples, and take to heart all the admonitions.

It is too easy for us poor conceited ones to pass over such a stinging admonition as the prophet gives to the Jews of his time, with nary a shudder, nary a compunctionate thought. So much of what the prophet says is so extreme, and we confidently feel that his rebukes are about someone else.

May it be so that the prophet’s rebukes do not apply to us! In order to be certain that we are exempt from his rebuke, we must read the scripture spiritually. We are not people of the prophet’s time, and much of the historical context does not apply to us, but “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2Ti 3:16)

If we do not give alms, the spoil of the poor is in our houses!

If we spend more on our own comfort than that of others, the spoil of the poor is in our houses!

The poor are not only those lacking the means for the physical life, but also those who are ignorant, or lost, or staggering under any burden. If we have any strength, and do not reach out in compassion, the the spoil of the poor is in our houses!
If we are well, and do not visit the sick, then the spoil of the poor is in our houses!

If we have been blessed, and do not bless, then the spoil of the poor is in our houses!

The Lord alone shall be exalted in that day

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

This week’s readings from the first two chapters of the book of Isaiah marvelously describe both the realities of our fallen condition and God’s mercies. The prophet seems to alternate between speaking of Israel’s (and our) unfaithfulness to God, and God’s promise of salvation. This verse, “the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day,” illustrates an essential condition of that salvation: we must not seek our own glory, but God’s. In everything we do, we should proclaim and sing the glory of God. This is the essence of our church services – unceasing reflection on God, continual praise of Him, of His love and of His plan for our salvation. St. Paul enjoins us to come together with “psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs.” This should be our attitude toward the divine services. Through the voice of the readers and singers, we can together send up praise and thanksgiving to God, to whom be glory, now and forever.