Here's this week's Bible study blog entry for i.ucc.org. Leave it to me to find the grey cloud in the blue sky.
In this week’s advent reading from Isaiah 35:1-10 is filled with images of refreshment, abundance, strength, healing and restoration. And right in the middle of it one phrase really bothers me.
"The unclean shall not travel on it."
Why, amidst (there I go again with a high-filutin’ word) all of this good news for a people looking forward to restoration, is there talk of someone being left out – rejected from the good stuff?
Are the unclean the oppressors? Are the unclean those who have not gone through the ritualistic cleansing of the time? Is the statement about the unclean rescinded with the statement that “no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray?”
I don’t think I can explain it away. Rejection of some while others look forward in hope gives me a sick feeling in my stomach.
What are your thoughts?