Thus says the Lord,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
I am the Lord your God,
who teaches you for your own good,
who leads you in the way you should go.
O that you had paid attention to my commandments!
Then your prosperity would have been like a river,
and your success like the waves of the sea;
your offspring would have been like the sand,
and your descendants like its grains;
their name would never be cut off
or destroyed from before me.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Isaiah challenges us in two ways.
First, he challenges us to follow God’s commandments, through which God has shown us the way to go.
Following God’s teachings is indeed a challenge in our fallen world.
Beneath the surface challenge in this passage, however, lies a subtler one.
If we obey God, Isaiah tells us, our prosperity will be like a river, we will be vindicated, and our descendants will be as numerous as grains of sand.
One interpretation of this passage leads us to conclude that wealth is a reward from God and poverty is divine punishment.
In our materialist, money-driven world, prosperity can come to seem like virtue, and poverty like vice.
In this passage, Isaiah gives us no way to avoid these conclusions, no alternate vision to explain the inequities of our world.
And so, as Christians, we must look to Jesus Christ, the Messiah promised and foretold in the Old Testament, who blesses the poor and speaks of the rich as camels before needles’ eyes, who loves the sinner and chastises the self-righteous, and whose teachings provide much-needed relief from the harshness of Old Testament prophets.
–Mr. Frank Kovarik, ’94 teaches English and co-moderates ACES at St. Louis U. High.
At the coming of the Most High our hearts shall be made clean,
and we shall walk worthily in the way of the Lord.
The Lord is coming and will not delay.
—from the Cistercian liturgyPlease share the Good Word with your friends!