“Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation.”
Isaiah 12:2 (NIV)
Last night Wendy and I lay in bed watching our beloved Cubbies lose Game 3 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS) to the Dodgers in very undramatic fashion. For a life-long Cubs fan it’s hard not to feel like it has felt so many times before. It’s hard not to be pessimistic even though we’re only one game down. “There’s more to this story,” Wendy kept reminding me as the seemingly endless, hitless innings continued to rack up. More to the story….
I’ve been blogging this chapter-a-day journey for over ten years, and have been doing it much longer. It’s a great habit to get into, but it also lends itself to some interpretive difficulties.
If we’re reading a narrative history such as Jesus biographies or the Chronicles of the Kings, then reading a chapter each day is a lot like reading a novel. You remember the narrative from the day before and you pick up where you left off.
When it comes to the metaphorical poems of the ancient Hebrew prophets, however, it’s easy to get focused on the text of each chapter, and lose sight of the larger, poetic message the prophet is telling.
Today’s chapter is actually the final section of a larger message Isaiah was delivering from chapters 7-12. It I’m not careful, I might not catch the larger story to which today’s chapter belongs. Yesterday’s chapter was all about the coming Messiah. Today’s chapter is the result of Messiah’s coming: salvation and praise.
There is a pattern in the theme:
Sin -> Judgement -> Messiah -> Salvation -> Praise
This pattern is important because it foreshadows exactly what Jesus would teach us. Salvation is not something I achieve for myself, but something that God has done for me:
“God is my salvation….”
“The Lord himself…has become my salvation.”
“Make known in the nations what he has done.”
And, this great thing that God has done for me leads me to offer praise and thanks.
This morning I’m reminded of the importance of stepping back and seeing the big picture. I’m reminded of the Message that God foreshadowed through the poetry of the prophets hundreds of years before it was fulfilled. I’m reminded, once again, that there is a plan. I’m reminded that there is more to the story if I’m willing to see it. That’s what Wendy was reminding me last night with regard to a game with infinitely less eternal significance.
Gave four of a seven game series is tonight. Come on, Cubbies. Let’s change the narrative!
Featured image: teegardin via Flickr