October 2016

October 2016

"(or else, let him) Take hold of my strength"
Isaiah 27.5  KJV & RV

The obscurity of this chapter in Isaiah's book is reflected in the way that our modern translations diverge from the text of the King James and Revised (1870) versions of the Bible. The prophet is clearly preaching with passion about the relationship of God and his people, and he moves so nimbly from one image to another that it is difficult to follow the pattern of his thought. 

Leviathan, the sea-monster of ancient myth, is here, transformed into the people's rebellious nature. Here too is the vineyard, a favourite symbol to signify God's people (Isaiah 5.2; Jeremiah 2.21; John 15.1-8). The contrast is graphically made between the well-cultivated plant, nurtured by God and thus fruitful and beneficial, and the briers and thorns of a neglected wasteland. This latter condition, sadly, is very evident in our world today, where the links between God and humanity have been disconnected, not by God but by faithless and sinful human beings.

Into this rather confusing sermon by Isaiah, the Saying "Take hold of my strength" seems to shine out like a nugget of gold. The bracketed words that I have included before the Saying at the top of the page indicate that there are two alternatives set by God before the human race. Either you continue to attempt to live by your own strength, your own resources, with resulting devastation, or you can "take hold of my strength".

We are reminded of how Saint Paul discovered that God's strength "is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12.9). To change the image, we are like non-swimmers, out of our depth, and floundering. The lifeline of God's strength (the Word of I AM) is continually thrown out to us. All we need to do is to take hold of it, and hang on, literally, for dear life.