The Lord Will Bless
2The time is coming when the Lord will make his land fruitful and glorious again, and the people of Israel who survive will take great pride in what the land produces. 3Everyone who is left alive in Jerusalem will be called special, 4after the Lord sends a fiery judgment to clean the city and its people of their violent deeds.
5 Then the Lord will cover the whole city and its meeting places with a thick cloud each day and with a flaming fire each night. God's own glory will be like a huge tent that covers everything. 6It will provide shade from the heat of the sun and a place of shelter and protection from storms and rain.
After walking us through the deep valley of God’s judgment in the form of the destruction of Jerusalem and the ensuing captivity, in today’s reading, Isaiah returns us to the mountaintop of God’s grace and favour.
The survivors of the LORD’s fiery judgment will experience the fullness of his presence and blessing. Whereas in the past God had withdrawn from Judah and Jerusalem because of its injustice and idolatry, he now covers his people with a canopy of blessing. God’s own glory will be like a huge tent that covers everything. It will provide shade from the heat of the sun and a place of shelter and protection from storms and rain (Isaiah 4:5b-6).
Of course, this cloud of God’s presence harkens back to Israel’s experience as they trekked through the desert wilderness after they escaped from slavery in Egypt (see Exodus 13.20-22; 40.36-38).
There’s something incredibly reassuring about having a roof over your head. In recent months we have seen images of millions of people fleeing from war in Iraq and Syria. It’s difficult for me to fully grasp their plight. After a day of activity or travel I have always had the security of a roof under which I can rest. These people don’t have that covering. How distressing that must be!
Such thoughts leave me with a longing – a longing to be covered by God’s canopy – his protective blessing. I want that cloud of God’s favour over me and all those I love, but not only them. Let it extend to those beyond our borders too.
LORD God, thank you for the cloud of your Spirit’s presence. Help me to extend your loving care to those around me. Amen.