Tuesday after Cantate
Scripture: Isaiah 65:1-7 (NKJV)
1 “I was sought by those who did not ask for Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am,’ to a nation that was not called by My name.
2 I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, according to their own thoughts;
3 A people who provoke Me to anger continually to My face; Who sacrifice in gardens, and burn incense on altars of brick;
4 Who sit among the graves, and spend the night in the tombs; Who eat swine’s flesh, and the broth of abominable things is in their vessels;
5 Who say, ‘Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am holier than you!’ These are smoke in My nostrils, a fire that burns all the day.
6 “Behold, it is written before Me: I will not keep silence, but will repay—even repay into their bosom—
7 Your iniquities and the iniquities of your fathers together,” Says the Lord, “Who have burned incense on the mountains and blasphemed Me on the hills; Therefore I will measure their former work into their bosom.”
At the end of Isaiah 64, we read the lament of the remnant among the Lord’s people: Your holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. Our holy and beautiful temple, where our fathers praised You, is burned up with fire; And all our pleasant things are laid waste. Will You restrain Yourself because of these things, O Lord? Will You hold Your peace, and afflict us very severely?
The sins of the nation had brought down this calamity on Zion, and the remnant cried out to the Lord. It is thus that we read in Isaiah 65: “I was sought by those who did not ask for Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am,’ to a nation that was not called by My name.”
It was not that the people had been abandoned by the Lord; rather, they turned away from the Lord who sought them, and they chose instead to worship idols. Thus the Lord refers to them as those “Who have burned incense on the mountains and blasphemed Me on the hills; therefore I will measure their former work into their bosom.”
In the midst of calamities, the promises of the Lord to those who believe are steadfast and sure. We have our consolation in the Word, and when the judgment of the Lord is poured out on the world, we cling to the assurances which He has given to us through His Word and Sacraments.
Prayer: O God, Who makes the minds of the faithful to be of one will, grant unto Thy people that they may love what Thou commandest and desire what Thou dost promise that among the manifold changes of this world our hearts may there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Who livest and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.