July 8

“Once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.” Isaiah 29:14 (NIV) 

Many who heard Jesus were astounded They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands!” Mark 6:2

What people are referred to in Isaiah? If you read back a few verses it becomes apparent that it is the hypocrites. As one commentator writes “the sure doom of hypocrisy would come upon the hypocrites: not loving the light, they would lose the light they had.” Those verses talk about those who come to God with words, just repeating a formula they have learned, yet their hearts are far from God. Now they will see wonders as God is getting their attention. Another translation of Isaiah 29:14 from the Good News translation: “So I will startle them with one unexpected blow after another. Those who are wise will turn out to be fools, and all their cleverness will be useless.”

Those who think they are wiser than God, who know better than Him what to do, and who think they are clever enough to do their own thing will be startled by God’s actions. He will finally get their attention with “wonders in judgment” as one note says, and they might now really listen. Isaiah goes on to tell of the good things that will happen to others:  the humble rejoicing in the Lord and the needy rejoicing in the Holy one of Israel (Isaiah 29:19.) The land will be restored and those “who have an eye for evil will be cut down.”

Now we move to the Newer Testament and read in Mark that Jesus, preaching in his hometown, was astounding His listeners. Astound – his listeners were amazed, astonished, surprised, shocked – by what they heard from Him and what they saw happening. There were miracles happening, people were healed, and raised from the dead among other wonders. Yet many of the people took offense because they knew Him so well – they knew his family, his mother, sisters and brothers and knew him as a carpenter. Mark says Jesus could not do miracles there, except laying on of hands to cure the sick, because of the lack of faith of many of the people. Their lack of faith was something that amazed Jesus!

God does astounding things every day – Creation itself, new life, growing plants, people inspired to help others in need. Young people organizing and leading marches to get justice for all. Healing and comfort for all. We need to listen and see what God is doing each and every day and see what He wants us to do in this world.  

We confess, Father, that we look without seeing, listen without hearing and consider your wonders without comprehending. Open our eyes and awaken our sleeping hearts to respond to the glories that surround us on every side. Hep us to learn from Jesus how to love you and all you have created. Help us follow Jesus’ example of humbleness as we serve those around us. Amen. 

Chris Gabel