Another Beautiful Vision from Isaiah

Jeff Munroe

Read: Isaiah 42:1-7 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench. (v. 3) I hear Isaiah 42:3 very personally: when I am in pain (a bruised reed), God will not break me. Likewise, when I struggle to believe, when I am nothing but a piece of “smoking flax,” or as modern translations render it, “a dimly burning wick,” God will not extinguish what little fire I have left. I have a friend who …

Isaiah’s Beautiful Vision

Jeff Munroe

Read: Isaiah 40:12-18, 25-31 Even the youths shall faint and be weary . . . But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength . . . (v. 31 KJV) There are echoes of Job 38 here, with words that put us in our place, asking which one of us was God’s teacher or counselor. The majesty and magnificence of God is suggested in vivid language: he measures out the oceans in the hollow of his hand and lays …

Ahead, Behind, and All Around

Jeff Munroe

Read: Psalm 139 Thou compassest my path . . . (v. 3 KJV) I’ve mentioned that some of these passages are poems, and you may wonder because sometimes they don’t sound like poems at all. Many of us think of poetry solely in terms of rhyme. The esteemed English poet William Wordsworth called poetry “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling,” and that definition serves us well with Psalm 139. This psalm is beloved because it speaks so clearly of God’s …

A Word about Impudence

Jeff Munroe

Read: Job 38:1-11; 42:1-6 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? (38:4 KJV) The book of Job is a long poem, long admired by literary figures such as Alfred Lord Tennyson, who called it “the greatest poem of ancient and modern times,” and theological figures such as Martin Luther, who said that Job is “magnificent and sublime as no other book of Scripture.” I’m sure that you’re familiar with the basic story: Job loses everything and …

Another Look at Creation

Jeff Munroe

Read: John 1:1-14 In the beginning was the Word. (v. 1) It’s no coincidence that the opening words of John 1 echo Genesis 1. Each Gospel creates a historical platform for Jesus. Mark starts with John the Baptist, Matthew goes all the way to Abraham, Luke goes further yet and looks to Adam, but John goes furthest, to the very beginning. Before anyone was, the Word was, and everything God spoke into creation was spoken through his Word. When we …

A Creation Poem

Jeff Munroe

Read: Genesis 1:1–2:3 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (v. 1 KJV) Personally, I am not very interested in the creation or evolution debates associated with this passage. Instead, I simply want to point out something usually overlooked: this passage is a poem. The structure parallels itself—on day one God says “let there be light,” and on day four he places lights in the heavens. On day two God separates the waters from the land, and …