APRIL 7 – THE DECEPTIVE CLOUD OF EXCLUSION
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 25:6-9 (NRSV) Scroll down for complete Scripture.
DEVOTIONAL: Isaiah 25:6-9 is the ultimate picture of God’s goodness — people sitting together, sharing food, engaging in a community of God’s children. It is the picture that Jesus lived out during his time on earth, and what he calls all of us to do.
At first, I am tempted to see Isaiah 25:6-9 as a picture of just the future kingdom of God. In actuality, this is the reality Jesus brings to us, past, present and future. Jesus put into practice the things in verse six — he eats and drinks with all peoples and he destroys the idea that we should cast out the sinners, the idea that hung around the Jews like a veil.
We are also reminded this Lenten season that Jesus has “swallow[ed] up death forever.” I am reminded of what William C. Placher, professor of philosophy and religion at Wabash College, says about Jesus’ death. Along with God swallowing up death, Isaiah says that God will also wipe the tears off faces and, Placher says, “since Christ occupies the place of sin, the good news is that there is no place for sinners to go where they will be apart from God … for Christians the condemnation of sinners is no longer possible without condemning Christ.”
Therefore, as lovers of Jesus, who calls us to follow him, feast with all people of all backgrounds and be part of a community that walks apart from the deceptive cloud of exclusion, may we do likewise. May we look at the words spoken in Isaiah not only as a future truth but also one that is present in Jesus, in his life, death and resurrection.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 25:6-9 (NRSV)
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-matured wines,
of rich food filled with marrow, of well-matured wines strained clear.
And he will destroy on this mountain
the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
the sheet that is spread over all nations;
he will swallow up death for ever.
Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces,
and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.
This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.