Poetic Preparation

Trygve and Kristen Johnson

READ : Isaiah 40:1-5

Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people

shall see it together. (v. 5)

Isaiah is one of the Bible’s best poets. We need poets. They help us pay attention, stay alert, and see the hidden beauty behind everyday reality. They work with the tools of language, metaphor, irony, and visions of hope. In this craft, there is no one better than Isaiah. He is a poet whose imagination is drenched with visions of God.

As a poet, Isaiah calls our attention to the big reality of God’s promises. Though Israel is in exile, Isaiah’s voice echoes down the canyon of salvation history, as God’s own voice of hope, reassuring his people that he will restore them. If taken seriously, Isaiah’s imagination sets ours on fire. His poetic vision gives us eyes to see life differently: “Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed.”

When I think of glory, I think of dramatic power that can make valleys rise and mountains sink; I think of grandeur and spectacular visions. But that is not the ultimate glory toward which Isaiah turns our eyes. The glory that Isaiah’s poetry is preparing our imaginations to see is God’s poetic utterance of the incarnation. The glory of God is revealed in the human flesh of a baby.


God, help us to see your glory that happens through the back door of human frailty.