Glory to God (Lk 2:14-2:14)

“The angels

Were saying.

‘Glory to God

In the highest heaven!

On earth,

Peace among those

Whom he favors!’”

 

καὶ λεγόντων

Δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις Θεῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς εἰρήνη ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκίας.

 

This is where the famous Latin song sung at Roman Catholic masses during the Liturgy of the Word “Gloria in excelsis Deo” comes from.  Luke indicated that these angels were saying (καὶ λεγόντων) or singing “Glory to God in the highest (Δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις Θεῷ)!  On earth (καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς), peace be among the men (εἰρήνη ἐν ἀνθρώποις) whom he favors (εὐδοκίας), those of good will.”

 

Advertisements

Crying for Moab and its vineyard (Jer 48:31-48:33)

“Therefore I wail for Moab!

I cry out for all Moab!

I mourn for

The people of Kir-heres.

More than for Jazer,

I weep for you!

O vine of Sibmah!

Your branches

Crossed over the sea,

Reached as far as Jazer.

The destroyed has fallen

Upon your summer fruits,

Upon your vintage.

Gladness has been taken away.

Joy has been taken away,

From the fruitful land

Of Moab.

I have stopped the wine

From the wine presses.

No one treads them

With shouts of joy.

The shouting is

Not the shout of joy.”

Yahweh seems to have great pity for Moab, like in Isaiah, chapter 16. He seemed very concerned about the summer fruits and the wine in Moab. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah mention the town of Kir-heres that is on the main road about 10 miles from the Dead Sea. Of particular interest to both of them was the vineyard of Sibmah, since their descriptions are almost the same. The vines of Sibmah were about 5 miles east of Heshbon, also part of Moab and Reuben. The wonderful vine shoots that had strayed into the desert and even across waters were now languishing. Jeremiah, like Isaiah, has Yahweh crying, because there would no longer be any shouting in the fields at the grape harvest time, because there were no more summer fruits. There would be no joy, gladness, shouting, or singing since there was no one to tread the wine presses. There were no more grapes. Yahweh had stopped the wine presses. The shouts that you now heard were not shouts of joy.

The restoration of joy and worship (Jer 33:11-33:11)

“There shall once more

Be heard

The voice of mirth,

The voice of gladness,

The voice of the bridegroom,

The voice of the bride,

The voices of those who sing,

As they bring thank offerings

To the house of Yahweh.

‘Give thanks

To Yahweh of hosts!

Yahweh is good!

His steadfast love

Endures forever!’

I will restore the fortunes

Of the land

As at first.’

Says Yahweh.”

However, there would be a total reversal of fortune. One of the favorite remarks about the desolation, as found in chapters 7, 16, and 25 of this work, was about no more voices of rejoicing with mirth or gladness when the voice of the bride, the bridegroom, and those singing would not be heard. Here it is the restoration of these merry making activities. They will have weddings and singing as they bring their offerings to the Temple, the house of Yahweh. Because Yahweh is good, his steadfast love endures forever. Thus he will restore the fortunes of this land to the way that it was.

Singing (Isa 52:8-52:10)

“Listen!

Your sentinels lift up their voice.

Together they sing for joy.

In plain sight,

They see the return of Yahweh

To Zion.

Break forth together into singing!

You ruins of Jerusalem!

Yahweh has comforted his people.

He has redeemed Jerusalem.

Yahweh has bared his holy arm

Before the eyes of all the nations.

All the ends of the earth shall see

The salvation of our God.”

Second Isaiah wants a grand celebration of singing as Yahweh leads his people back into Jerusalem. First, the sentinels at their watch posts somehow see Yahweh coming to Mount Zion as they burst into joyful singing. Then everybody else should break out singing, especially the ruins of Jerusalem itself. Yahweh has comforted his people. He has redeemed Jerusalem. He has showed his bare holy arm to all the nations of the world. Everyone will see the salvation of their God, even to the ends of the earth.

The powerful intervention of God (Isa 51:9-51:11)

“Awake!

Awake!

Put on strength!

O arm of Yahweh!

Awake!

As in days of old!

The generations of long ago!

Did you not cut Rahab in pieces?

Did you not pierce the dragon?

Did you not dry up the sea?

Did you not dry up the waters of the great deep?

Did you not make the depths of the sea

In a way for the redeemed to cross over?

The ransomed of Yahweh shall return.

They will come to Zion with singing.

Everlasting joy shall be upon their heads.

They shall obtain joy.

They shall obtain gladness.

Sorrow shall flee away.

Sighing shall flee away.”

Second Isaiah has a plea for the arm of Yahweh to act again as he had done in Egypt at the time of the Exodus. He had cut up Rahab, the sea monster name for Egypt. He had pierced the dragon in mythological terms. He dried up the waters, so that the redeemed of Israel could cross over. These same ransomed people will now come to Zion singing with joy. They will be joyful and glad and not sorrowful or sighing. Yahweh will intervene again on their behalf.

The holy way (Isa 35:8-35:10)

“A highway shall be there.

It shall be called the Holy Way.

The unclean shall not travel on it.

But it shall be for God’s people.

No traveler,

Not even fools,

Shall go astray.

No lion shall be there.

No ravenous beast shall come up on it.

They shall not be found there.

But the redeemed shall walk there.

The ransomed of Yahweh shall return.

They shall come to Zion with singing.

Everlasting joy shall be upon their heads.

They shall obtain joy.

They shall obtain gladness.

Sorrow shall flee away.

Sighing shall flee away.”

Isaiah has something called the Holy Way highway. On this road there will be no unclean people, only God’s people. However, there is no indication about how they would patrol this road. No one would ever get lost on this highway, not even a fool. Perhaps they must have had good signs on the Holy Way highway. No lions or predatory animals would be on this great holy highway. Only the redeemed and the ransomed of Yahweh would be on this road as they went to Mount Zion singing. There would be joy and gladness with no sorrow or sighing. Obviously, this is about the time of the return after the exile.

Yahweh brings joy to the blooming desert (Isa 35:1-35:4)

“The wilderness shall be glad.

The dry land shall be glad.

The desert shall rejoice.

The desert shall blossom.

Like the crocus,

It shall blossom abundantly.

It shall rejoice with joy.

It shall rejoice with singing.

The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it.

The majesty of Carmel

Shall see the glory of Yahweh.

The majesty of Sharon

Shall see the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands!

Make firm the feeble knees!

Say to those who are of a fearful heart.

‘Be strong!

Do not fear!                                      

Here is your God!

He will come with vengeance!

He will come with terrible recompense!

He will come!

He will save you!’”

Isaiah seems to indicate here that God will make the deserts bloom abundantly. The wilderness and the dry land will rejoice and be glad with singing. The glory of the cedar trees of Lebanon will be given to the areas of Carmel and Sharon in Israel, where the glory and majesty of Yahweh God will be seen. God will strengthen their weak hands and their feeble knees. Thus the cry of Isaiah to those who are fearful is that they should be strong and not afraid. Your God is coming with a vengeance to make up for past problems. He will come to save you.