Scripture and Hope: Isaiah’s Prophecy, and God’s Promise

Oklahoma City, February 20, 2021 – This is not complex.

From the New American Bible translation, words that reached my inner core over the last two days. 

The Pandemic still rages, but an end of some sort seems within reach.
The bitter cold is leaving the Great Plains, at least for now. 
And then came these words of comfort and challenge. 

Perhaps they will bless some among readers late this day.
It’s Saturday night, but Sunday’s coming. 

Isaiah 58: 1-9a

Thus says the Lord GOD:
Cry out full-throated and unsparingly,
    lift up your voice like a trumpet blast; 
Tell my people their wickedness,
    and the house of Jacob their sins. 
They seek me day after day,
    and desire to know my ways,
Like a nation that has done what is just
    and not abandoned the law of their God;
They ask me to declare what is due them,
    pleased to gain access to God.
“Why do we fast, and you do not see it?
    afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?”
Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits,
    and drive all your laborers.
Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting,
    striking with wicked claw.
Would that today you might fast
    so as to make your voice heard on high!
Is this the manner of fasting I wish,
    of keeping a day of penance:
That a man bow his head like a reed
    and lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Do you call this a fast,
    a day acceptable to the LORD?
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
    releasing those bound unjustly,
    untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
    breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
    sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
    and not turning your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
    and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
    and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
    you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!

And, From Genesis Chapter 9: 8-15. 
God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 
“See, I am now establishing my covenant with you 
and your descendants after you 
and with every living creature that was with you: 
all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals 
that were with you and came out of the ark.
I will establish my covenant with you, 
that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed
by the waters of a flood; 
there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.”
God added:
“This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come, 
of the covenant between me and you 
and every living creature with you: 
I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign
of the covenant between me and the earth.
When I bring clouds over the earth, 
and the bow appears in the clouds, 
I will recall the covenant I have made
between me and you and all living beings, 
so that the waters shall never again become a flood 
to destroy all mortal beings.”