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April 6 | Isaiah 28:1-6

DAILY READING


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REFLECTION


Hot Sand and Withering Wreaths

by Katie Borden


One of the things I’ve learned to take note of in my close Bible reading is when an author repeats particular words or phrases, and what significance that might have in the reading. In today’s text, you might have noticed the same thing that I did: there is a frequent reference to “garlands,” “wreaths,” or “crowns.” Notice, too, that we are talking about two different “crowns”—the crown in verses 1-4 is a metaphor for Samaria (or, perhaps applied more universally, those who are proud), and the crown in verses 5-6 is a metaphor for God. His use of this same metaphor to describe both Samaria and the Lord highlights the difference between the two.

While this text can and should be read as yet another instance in the text from the Prophets of a word of judgement followed by a word of assurance, I was overcome by this massive difference between the language used to describe these two crowns. It occurred to me that I have chased after these “proud crowns” described in the first portion of our text. I’m not speaking about Samaria, but about the false and temporary lures of our world—accolades, acceptance, pride… just to name a few. These things may look appealing for a moment or two, but they are eventually trampled, they wilt, and they die. God is justified when he judges me for running after them instead of him, because the true and beautiful Crown, the Crown of glory, the One who holds true authority and in whom is found true life, is the only One who will truly satisfy the deepest longings of our souls.

We have language in our church community that I think describes this wonderfully: we talk about being an Oasis of the Kingdom of God in a dry and thirsty land. We may be tempted on our journey through life to give in to the temptations of mirages around us in the desert. At the risk of mixing our metaphors, I think these “proud crowns” are another way of thinking about these mirages: they might satisfy us for a moment, but eventually we realize that we have just been stuffing our faces full of hot sand.

Thank God that he offers us a drink from the deepest well that will never run dry. Thank God that he is the true Source of life—he is the true crown of glory, the true Living Water, who provides us with good things and the flourishing of life that will never fade. Amen.

 

PRAYER PRACTICE


Set aside some time today to sit silently with the Lord and ask him to reveal to you any areas in your life where you are settling for fading crowns or hot sand instead of his beauty and his living water. Then, confess these to the Lord and ask him to redirect your passions and attentions toward his life-giving purposes. Thank him for his grace and forgiveness, and for the power of the Holy Spirit, who directs us to the things of God that give us life.





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