Ramifications of Shema III – Isaiah 2:5
In the previous article (“Ramifications of Shema II – Psalm 63:4) we spoke of the joy that is inherent in obedience to God. How obedience comes with the recognition that God chose me as a channel through which to infuse this world with holiness. This is not only true on an individual scale but it is true on a national scale as well.
Our teachers saw a connection between the verse in Isaiah 2:18, which speaks of God alone being exalted in the Messianic age, and the verse in Genesis 32:25, where Jacob remained alone and wrestled with the angel. The association of these two passages goes far beyond the fact that the word “alone” appears in both verses. It goes to the very essence of God’s plan for creation.
Isaiah 2 describes what will happen when God appears to establish his sovereignty on earth in an open and obvious way. At that point in time, all those who had placed their trust in any power aside from the God of Israel will bury themselves from shame. Those who trusted in money, military might, or any other force aside from the Creator of all, will be confounded. They will recognize that they had committed their lives to emptiness. At that point in time, all will recognize that there is no power aside from God Himself. God alone will be exalted on that day.
But the house of Jacob already knows this truth (Deuteronomy 4:35). As we explained, the Shema teaches us that there is no power aside from God. The prophet encourages us to walk in the light of this truth that God granted us (Isaiah 2:5, Micah 4:5) and not to stray after the vanities of the nations.
You see, our father Jacob paved the way. Jacob was chased out of his homeland, vilified by all (Genesis 27:36, 31:1), and was forced to fight for his very survival. Jacob’s wrestle with the angel represents the intense struggle that Jacob had to endure in order to remain true to his calling. But Jacob survived, he emerged from the crucible, wounded but alive. And the angel was forced to bless him.
Jacob’s descendants shared their father’s experience. We were chased from our homeland and we are vilified by all. Throughout our exile we were forced to fight for very survival against every hostile force. The world ridiculed us for maintaining our trust in the One God, the only power that we recognize, as we learned from the Shema. The nations that surrounded us pointed to their wealth, to their military power and to their gods as if these are forces to reckon with, but we want no part of them – we choose to walk by the light of our God.
And on the day that God alone is exalted, Jacob will be vindicated (Micah 7:10). The faithful nation that maintained her loyalty to God and to God alone (Psalm 44:21), will walk through the gates of righteousness (Isaiah 26:2). And the light of God, which guided us through this dark exile (Isaiah 2:5) will shine on our heads to illuminate the world (Isaiah 60:2,3).
May it happen speedily in our days.
If you found this article helpful please consider making a donation to Judaism Resources by clicking on the link below.
Judaism Resources is a recognized 501(c) 3 public charity and your donation is tax exempt.
Yisroel C. Blumenthal