Isaiah 4:2–6, Romans 6:1–11 (read online ⧉)
If you have been steeped in Christian thinking you can read this passage as an obvious foreshadowing of the Messiah (Jesus). Let’s set aside our Christian thinking, and look at this from a beaten and downtrodden people. This passage provided hope beyond the darkness for them.
The dark times (exile) could not be avoided. In fact, they were guaranteed. The Israelites had to go through the darkness of purification. It was only going through some sort of refining process that they would be stripped of all that had gotten them to the place of exile in the first place.
Exile in some respects was indeed a death. It was to be the death of all that separated them from God. Paul uses the image of the crucifixion to do much the same thing. There is a definite parallel between the death of Jesus on the cross and the exile.
It is what is beyond the exile (just as what is beyond the cross) that is the true hope. The place and time where we are restored and all that we have done and left undone is erased. No more being stuck. Moving forward with God.
1) Moving forward in hope is the great gift that God. What hope has God given you?
2) Hope can be fleeting. What can you do in your life, and the lives of others, to build up hope?
FD) Can you explain what hope is?