Isaiah 43:16-21, Psalm 126, Philippians 3:4b-14
Theology almost always begins with autobiography or history. It is one person, or, sometimes, a group of people trying to explain to others what it was like to encounter God. These encounters take different forms.
In Isaiah 43, the Prophet Isaiah remembers the history of Israel during the Exodus from Egypt, which had been handed down to him from the time of Moses. He remembers how the people were fleeing the slavery of Egypt, and how they were caught between the armies of Egypt which were right behind them and the Yom Suph which stretched out just before them. He remembers how the LORD made a path for the people through the mighty waters, and how, when the Egyptians tried to follow, the LORD “extinguished” the Pharoah’s army including all its chariots and horses and warriors as easily as a man might put out a candle.
In Psalm 126, the Psalmist remembers how, after the people of Israel had been living in the promised land of Zion for some time, an undescribed crisis arose, and the LORD saved them from their troubles and restored their fortunes. We don’t know what the crisis was—perhaps an epidemic, a famine, war, or the threat of war. The Psalmist says when deliverance came, “We were like people who dream.” It was a good dream, for the people laughed, and shouted with joy, and the nations around them took notice and said, “the LORD has done great things for them.” Continue reading