meet quarterly close to the solstice and equinox.
Year A, Advent 4
Standard (Episcopal) Lectionary Revised
Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Lesson
Isaiah 7: 10-17(Standard
Lectionary and Revised Common Lectionary)
| The LORD
spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the LORD your God;
let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said,
I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test.
Then Isaiah said: "Hear then, O house of David! Is
it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my
God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.
Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son,
and shall name him Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey
by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the
good. For before the child knows how to refuse the evil
and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you
are in dread will be deserted. The LORD will bring on you
and on your people and on your ancestral house such days
as have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from
Judah-- the king of Assyria."
on Isaiah 7: 10-17
by John G. Gibbs, PhD
The focus of all four texts in
the Revised Common Lectionary is the good news ("gospel")
for a whole community that they are collectively to be restored
to wholeness of life ("salvation").
The main emphasis of Isaiah 7:10-16
is that "God is with us," which is what the Hebrew
word "Immanel" means. God is present not only to the
prophet in a special way inside the temple (Is. 6). God "the
Lord" over the depth of Sheol and the height of heaven
(7:11) is no less present in blessing (7:16; cf. 7:17) within
the entire "house of David" (7:13).
A fundamentalist obsession with virginity does not exist in
the Hebrew text, for the child's mother appears there as "a
young woman" (rather than as a virgin, as the Septuagint
Greek has it). Instead, the all-important "sign" is
the "son" named "Immanuel." It is by the
presence of God in a society that it "knows how to refuse
evil and choose the good," and the function of this son
is to maintain that distinction within "the house of David."
"Immanuel" spells the difference between Eco-Justice
and Eco-INjustice for both people and land (7:16, and "curds
and honey" in 7:15). As Isaiah later emphasizes by repetition,
when God is present in blessing, harmony is returned to the
whole creation (cf. for instance Is. 11:6-9). The "God
of hosts," whom Isaiah met in the temple, is El Shaddai,
the Almighty, God over all the creation.
To Reflections on other Readings for Year A, Advent
John G. Gibbs, PhD, a retired theologian, resided in Park
Rapids, MN, when he originally wrote this reflection in 2007.
John and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments
or additional reflections to John
G. Gibbs or any MEESC
member, or mail them to:
c/o C. Morello
4451 Lakeside Drive
Eveleth, MN 55743-4400 USA
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