We had a wonderful worship service this morning at Pioneer Church. Pastor Trell Ross gave a powerful exposition of Luke 8:1-21. Pastor Brogan designed a cogent and praise filled liturgy for the service and Gabe Daugherty tied the service together using a sparsity of well-chosen words to lead us through repentance, confession, praise, assurance and thanksgiving.
This afternoon I sat down to do some continued work on my new book and found a mistake. I miss-referenced four metaphors for God in Isaiah by one whole chapter! So I went back to the context to examine if there were any other problems. Here’s what I found.
1 O LORD, You are my God;
I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name;
For You have worked wonders,
Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.
2 For You have made a city into a heap,
A fortified city into a ruin;
A palace of strangers is a city no more,
It will never be rebuilt.
3 Therefore a strong people will glorify You;
Cities of ruthless nations will revere You.
4 For You have been a defense for the helpless,
A defense for the needy in his distress,
A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat;
For the breath of the ruthless
Is like a rain storm against a wall.
5 Like heat in drought, You subdue the uproar of aliens;
Like heat by the shadow of a cloud, the song of the ruthless is silenced.
“O LORD” in verse 1 is the referent for the “you” in verse 4. So the four phrases of verse 4 act as metaphors expanding on who Yahweh (LORD) is.
[The LORD Is] … a Defense for the Helpless ( מָעוֹז לַדָּל )
[The LORD Is] … a Defense for the Needy ( מָעוֹז לָאֶבְיוֹן )
[The LORD Is] … a Refuge from the Storm ( בַּצַּר־לוֹ מַחְסֶה )
[The LORD Is] … a Shade from the Heat ( מִזֶּרֶם צֵל מֵחֹרֶב כִּי רוּחַ )
…….Yahweh is a defense of the those who are helpless and needy and a refuge and shade to those going through the storms and heat of life’s toil and travail. And as I read this verse I am reminded of my friend Ben’s wife, Robin. Her husband gone, her future uncertain, she needs a refuge in the storm, and here, in the inspired word of God, is the God she needs whose heart is tender toward the needy and stormed-tossed sheep of His flock.
There is much more in the text but not more that I will expose now. For now, I’m praying that Yahweh will show Himself mighty in the lives of Robin and Ben’s extended family as they mourn the loss of my first friend in South Carolina.