"Purified by Fire" (12 mins) is the fifth reflection in our series on Judgment & Justice.

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Purified by Fire

Looking back on the previous units in the series, we have seen how society destabilizes and eventually collapses in the absence of righteous leadership, and when God's people no longer make the effort to be holy. People will now take advantage of one another—no longer simply the oppression of the poor by the rich, but widespread greed, rudeness, selfishness, and lack of respect.

In pandemic times, we should truly care about the health and life of others, behaving in ways that show our love for our fellow humans. In times of acute injustice, we are to model righteousness. Even if victimized, it's never right to indulge in revenge, violence, rioting, and so forth. Nor is a "survivalist" mentality the mind of Christ.

The oracles of Isaiah 4:2-6 balances the doom oracles of 2:6-4:1 [injustice punished, collapse of society…]. Along with Isaiah 2:1-5, it frames those oracles. (Throughout the prophets, alternation between doom and hope oracles is normal.)

  • “In that day” – more or less equivalent to “in the latter days."
  • Branch—Messianic, although a different word than is found in Isa 11.1.
  • A fresh start!
  • "Recorded for life" – not in any predestinarian way. See Exod 32:32; Ps 69:28; Dan 12:1; Mal 3:16; Luke 10:20.
  • Purification / punishment – how the Lord frequently works in our own lives. Discipline comes because of sin, but the Lord uses it for good. Rom 8:29 – being conformed to the character of Christ is painful!
  • The final words hark back to the final verses of Exodus. The Lord will both protect and lead us.

Next: "Vineyard, Woe, Invasion"