Monday, April 14, 2008

Surprised by Unrefinement

In the middle of end-of-the-semester chaos and after trying to force myself into the spirit of the Resurrection season after a seemingly endless season of Lent, I found myself deciding to read through my favorite part of scripture--the prophets--in the present tense rather than the future. The redemption they proclaim has happened, or so I am trying to believe.

Somehow that put me in the right posture to listen to an obscure passage in Isaiah with fresh ears. In the center of my most frequently-read book of the Bible, God promises that the plowing, crushing and threshing are not eternal. God the farmer has no desire to destroy his crop.

It is an obvious message, but one I rarely receive. I, unlike God, seem all too willing to thresh the hell out of my soul, assuming the furnace of affliction needs to be awfully damn hot to burn out all the dross. Having come out of some of those fires surprised by unrefinement, I am starting to wonder if God's methods might be a little softer than mine. This passage from Isaiah 28 seems to suggest more moderate methods of refinement. I've never noticed it before.

Give ear, and hear my voice;
give attention, and hear my speech.
Does he who plows for sowing plow continually?
Does he continually open and harrow his ground?
When he has leveled its surface,
does he not scatter dill, sow cumin,
and put in wheat in rows
and barley in its proper place,
and emmer as the border?
For he is rightly instructed;
his God teaches him.

Dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge,
nor is a cart wheel rolled over cumin,
but dill is beaten out with a stick,
and cumin with a rod.
Grain is crushed for bread;
he will surely thresh it forever, but not forever;
when he drives his cart wheel over it
with his horses, he does not crush it.
This also comes from the LORD of hosts;
he is wonderful in counsel
and excellent in wisdom.


Wonders for Oyarsa said...

How's the myth coming?

Ashleigh said...

I love the prophets. Everyone thinks God is mean and angry there, but I find him full of grace. I love the YHWH of the prophets!

Thanks for sharing. :o)