“The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire.”
Full text: Isaiah 4:2-end
Embedded within this passage we find cause for both hope and for fear. Isaiah speaks of burning and cleansing, but also of refuge and shelter.
So often, we have difficulty embracing both of these aspects of our faith. We tend to focus either on God as judge or God as protector, yet here Isaiah unites both actions.
It is only by fire that God can make Zion safe.
As we celebrate Advent, the coming of Christ can be equally complex.
Christ makes intense demands of His followers, yet also gives His life for them. He is both infant and Lord, both God and human.
In the coming weeks, let us pay attention to the ways we portray the birth of Jesus and try to hold on to the complexity of a God who both cleanses and protects.
Prayer: Father, we thank you for the wonder of this season. We thank You that You are our refuge and strength, and we ask You to help us to follow You even when it is difficult. Amen.