Moses by John August Swanson. Image from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, Tenn. Original source © 1983 by John August Swanson.
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Light to the Nations
Isaiah 42:1-9 Commentary
by Juliana Claassens
Louis Stulman and Hyun Chul Paul Kim describe prophetic literature as “meaning-making literature for communities under siege.”
A prophet like Deutero-Isaiah who speaks to the exiles who are still recovering from the trauma of the Babylonian invasion indeed can be characterized as “a map of hope for disoriented and dislocated people at risk of losing their bearings.”1
So how does a prophet go about talking to people who have been completely traumatized by seeing their city destroyed, their family and friends killed or taken away in shackles to a foreign land and who even feel that God has deserted them? The prophet in Deutero-Isaiah definitely did not have an easy task. But throughout the chapters of Deutero-Isaiah, the prophet is using some very creative imagery to help people think anew as to how to live in the midst of the terrible chaos that unexpectedly broke into their lives. For instance, in Isaiah 40:10-11, God is depicted in one breath as a mighty warrior who will come deliver his people as well as a shepherd who presses the little lamb tightly to his bosom. And further on in Isaiah 42:13-14, ...
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2019-20 Worship resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL153: Light to the Nations
December 14, 2014
Narrative Lectionary podcast on texts for Dec. 14, 2014: Isaiah 42:1-9. Accompanying reading: Matthew 12:15-21.