The Strong Shall Become Tinder

Too often we study Scripture only to wring the truth out of it.  We need to learn truth and live off of it, but we also need to appreciate the beauty and poetry of the sacred text.

I find the conclusion to the first chapter of Isaiah evocative.  This is 1:27-31; see especially verse 31 (“and the strong…”).

Zion shall be redeemed by justice,
and those in her who repent, by righteousness.
But rebels and sinners shall be broken together,
and those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed.
For they shall be ashamed of the oaks
that you desired;
and you shall blush for the gardens
that you have chosen.
For you shall be like an oak
whose leaf withers,
and like a garden without water.
And the strong shall become tinder,
and his work a spark,
and both of them shall burn together,
with none to quench them.

Through poetry comes truth, startling, sobering truth–the strongest, most virile among the Israelites would become little more than kindling in the fire of God’s justice.


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