The Word Made Fresh
1“I was ready for those who didn’t ask for me,
and to be found by those who didn’t search for me.
I kept saying, ‘Here I am! Here I am!’
to a people that didn’t call my name.
2I reached out all day long to those rebellious people
who did not walk a straight path but did whatever they pleased;
3people who get in my face all the time,
who offer sacrifices in their gardens
and incense on their brick altars;
4who sit in tombs and sleep in secret places,
and who eat pig meat and drink pig soup;
5who say, “Stay away from us –
we’re too good for you.”
They are like smoke in my nostrils,
burning all day long.
6Look, it has been written that I will not remain silent,
but will drop in their laps
7their faults and the faults of their ancestors all together,
says the LORD, because they burned incense on the hills
and mocked me on the mountains.
So, I will pay them in full, and drop it in their laps.
8This is what the LORD says:
“Just as the wine is found in grape clusters,
and they say, ‘Don’t destroy it because it is a blessing,’
so will I do for the sake of my servants, and not destroy all of
9I will bring forth an offspring from Jacob,
an offspring of Judah who inherited my mountain,
for my chosen ones shall inherit it.
Those who serve me shall settle there.
10Sharon will become a field for flocks to graze.
The Achor Valley will be a place for herds to lie down –
for those of my people who sought me.
11But you who have turned away from the LORD
and have forgotten my sacred mountain,
who prepare a table for Fortune
and fill cups of wine for Destiny;
12You will be destined to the sword
and every one of you will be slaughtered
because when I called you, you didn’t answer.
When I spoke, you didn’t listen.
You were wicked before my very eyes
and did things you knew I would not approve of.
13So, this is what the LORD God says:
My servants shall be full, but you will be hungry;
My servants shall have plenty to drink,
but you will be thirsty.
My servants shall rejoice, but you will be put to shame.
14My servants will have happy hearts, and sing for joy,
but you will cry out, heartbroken, wailing in anguish.
15You will leave your name to those I have chosen.
They will use it as a curse and the LORD God will put you to death;
but those who are faithful will be given a new name.
16Then anyone who calls for a blessing on the land
shall bless by the God who is faithful;
and anyone who makes a promise in the land
shall declare by the God of faithfulness
because the former hardships will be forgotten
and will be hidden from my sight.
17For I am about to create a new heaven and a new earth
The former things will be forgotten and never come to mind.
18Be glad! Rejoice now and always because of what I am creating –
I am going to joyfully create a new Jerusalem,
and its people will be my delight.
19I will rejoice in Jerusalem and delight in my people.
The sound of weeping will never again be heard,
nor will there be any cry of distress.
20There will never again be an infant who lives only a few days
or an old one who doesn’t live a full life span;
anyone who dies at one hundred
will be thought of as a youth,
and anyone who doesn’t reach the age of one hundred
will be thought to be cursed.
21They will build houses and live in them.
They will plant vineyards and enjoy the fruit of their labors.
22They will build and not have someone else live there.
They will not plant crops that someone else will eat.
Their lives will last as long as the trees,
and will enjoy what they have produced for a long time.
23Their labor will not be in vain,
nor will they have children doomed to calamity,
for they shall be blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants.
24I will answer them before they even ask,
I will answer them while they are still talking.
25The wolf and the lamb shall feed together;
the lion will eat hay like the ox;
but the snake will have the dust for its food.
They will not be allowed to hurt or destroy
anywhere on my sacred mountain,” says the LORD.
1-10: We have God’s response. God kept on saying, “Here I am,” but the people continued to ignore the one true God and turn to pagan gods and pagan practices (verses 3-5). But there is hope: as the vintner sees the blessing in the untrod grapes, God will send a blessing in the form of generations to come. The land will thrive again in the hands of “my people who have sought me.”
11-16: Those who have turned away from the covenant will be punished; those who are faithful will prosper.
17-25: We are given a description of a glorious new world that God is about to create, a world in which there is no weeping or distress or shortened lives or enemies who take away their accomplishments. God will answer their prayers before they pray. Even in nature peace will rule the day, except for the serpent upon whom fell God’s curse in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:14).
Surely God must sometimes weary of our persistent shortcomings. But God is forgiving (thank God!) and willing to guide us if we will only allow God to take the lead with ourselves in the back seat, so to speak.