Todays readings.. 1 Samuel 19, Isaiah 63, Matthew 8
The prophet Isaiah reflected on how God had acted in the past to help his people Israel, especially how he had delivered them from Egypt; we read “so you led your people to make for yourself a glorious name.” [ch.63 v.14] God’s name YAHWEH has the primary sense of meaning “to be” – of becoming the LORD of all the earth! This will complete the establishment of his name, i.e. his reputation. This is in contrast to the “gods” of human imagination; their reputation is based on the legends of the past, the products of human imagination.
The next verse says to God, “Look down from heaven and see …” The prophet wants God to take more notice of what is going on – and act! Then we have an unfortunate chapter break. Note the last verse and then the opening 2 verses of Ch. 64 and see that the prayerful cry to God by Isaiah is one we could – and should – make today – the prophet is asking God to see – and then act!
Isaiah complains, “We have become like those over whom you never ruled, like those who are not called by your name. Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence – as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil to make your name known to your adversaries, and that the nations might tremble at your presence!” This is a prayer we, conscious of today’s godless and chaotic world should make our own.
But let us now focus on how God seeks a relationship with individuals. Verse 5 is a personal message to us individually and is just as significant today as it was then!
The prophet says to God, “You meet him (or her) who joyfully works righteousness, those who remember you in your ways.” Sometimes the Hebrew word for ‘remember’ (Zakar) is translated as “mindful” as in Psalm 8 where David writes, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers … what is man that you are mindful of him …?” [v.3,4]
So to “remember” is more than a matter of recalling something we have forgotten, but of being mindful of those things which are of the highest importance! Let us joyfully live righteous lives, becoming more and more like Jesus – proving we are genuine, in our hearts, children of God. As a result our minds are full of thoughts as to how we can serve our God more and more joyfully, asking our heavenly Father to “look down from heaven and see” – knowing he sees right into our hearts as to whether we truly do “joyfully work righteousness.”