Tuesday after the Twenty-Second Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Isaiah 49:14-21 (NKJV)
14 But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.”
15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you.
16 “See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.
17 “Your sons shall make haste; Your destroyers and those who laid you waste shall go away from you.
18 “Lift up your eyes, look around and see; All these gather together and come to you. As I live,” says the LORD, “You shall surely clothe yourselves with them all as an ornament, and bind them on you as a bride does.
19 “For your waste and desolate places, and the land of your destruction, will even now be too small for the inhabitants; And those who swallowed you up will be far away.
20 “The children you will have, after you have lost the others, will say again in your ears, ‘The place is too small for me; Give me a place where I may dwell.’
21 “Then you will say in your heart, ‘Who has begotten these for me, since I have lost my children and am desolate, a captive, and wandering to and fro? And who has brought these up? There I was, left alone; But these, where were they?'”
The tug of war between a believers sinful flesh (his old nature, which ever causes doubt and unbelief) and the Spirit (his New nature) will ever go on until the flesh (the old Man) is finally consumed in full death (the New Man’s sleep or rest IN Christ). The LORD knows that His believing/baptized children struggle with this as he inspires Isaiah to write: “But Zion said, ‘The LORD has forsaken me, and my LORD has forgotten me.'”
Luther writes in his commentary on this section of Isaiah: “Therefore let the Christian know that this is his condition, to feel himself forsaken. But in real desolation he lifts up his head from the midst of the waves and says, ‘Although I feel myself forsaken and forgotten, I know the promise of God given to me. Therefore He deserts me to put me to the test, and He shows me the power of the Word so that I may trust in Him and then not be put to shame.’ It is not really an act of forsaking but a test. It is our consolation that God thus tests us by trials to see whether we are willing to persevere.” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 17)
Luther comments that this text of Isaiah is like a wrestling between the flesh and the Spirit. The LORD is reminding the reader of Isaiah to live by faith and not by sight! The flesh (by sight) is a desolation, but the fruit comes by the Spirit (through faith alone)! We are ever tempted to live by sight, yet the promises of God’s Holy Scripture endureth forever; ever pointing to Jesus Christ and Him crucified for the full atonement of our sins. God, through His Word and Sacraments, is ever keeping His own rightly focused, bringing us to truly live as He keeps us fixed upon Christ, the Author and Finisher of faith!
We pray: 1 How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? 2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? 3 Consider and hear me, O LORD my God; Enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; 4 Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed against him”; Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved. 5 But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. 6 I will sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me. (Psalm 13)