Tuesday after the Twentieth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Isaiah 41:1-20 (NKJV)
1 “Keep silence before Me, O coastlands, and let the people renew their strength! Let them come near, then let them speak; Let us come near together for judgment.
2 “Who raised up one from the east? Who in righteousness called him to His feet? Who gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? Who gave them as the dust to his sword, as driven stubble to his bow?
3 “Who pursued them, and passed safely by the way that he had not gone with his feet?
4 Who has performed and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? ‘I, the LORD, am the first; And with the last I am He.'”
5 The coastlands saw it and feared, the ends of the earth were afraid; They drew near and came.
6 Everyone helped his neighbor, and said to his brother, “Be of good courage!”
7 So the craftsman encouraged the goldsmith; He who smooths with the hammer inspired him who strikes the anvil, saying, “It is ready for the soldering”; Then he fastened it with pegs, that it might not totter.
8 “But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the descendants of Abraham My friend.
9 “You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest regions, and said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away:
10 ‘Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
11 “Behold, all those who were incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; They shall be as nothing, and those who strive with you shall perish.
12 “You shall seek them and not find them—those who contended with you. Those who war against you shall be as nothing, as a nonexistent thing.
13 “For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’
14 “Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I will help you,” says the LORD and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
15 “Behold, I will make you into a new threshing sledge with sharp teeth; You shall thresh the mountains and beat them small, and make the hills like chaff.
16 “You shall winnow them, the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them; You shall rejoice in the LORD, and glory in the Holy One of Israel.
17 “The poor and needy seek water, but there is none, their tongues fail for thirst. I, the LORD, will hear them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
18 “I will open rivers in desolate heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.
19 “I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree, the myrtle and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine and the box tree together,
20 “That they may see and know, and consider and understand together, that the hand of the LORD has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.”
“I know who You are: the Holy One of Israel!”
Thus a demon speaks while cowering in fear at the presence of Jesus, and from today’s reading we see how it is that even the words and deeds of our enemy are a comfort to us. Certainly, anyone who heard the demon on that day should have remembered these words in Isaiah and thought, “The remedy has come! The demons must fear and those spiritually poor and needy whom the Lord has chosen may stand and conquer as His instruments!”
All of the lushness that God presents through Isaiah here, the water and the trees, are not meant as mere physical promises for the physical nation and its tribes in that day, but for His Church throughout this age of walking through the sin-caused wilderness. All that comes against you, even that which comes from your own flesh, shall be defeated and become as nought: as John said as he preached and baptized, you are the grain that is brought into the Lord’s storeroom and the chaff shall be blown away.
We pray: Thank you, O Triune God, that You have given it to me to rest in Your deliverance and to trust that I shall have rest from all of my sorrows and all of my sins in You forever. Grant me strength to persevere, through the knowledge that God the Son has already secured this victory for me, and that You will strengthen me through the very Body and Blood by which He has done so. Amen.