That sort of exclusive claim is quite offensive today, for the most part. It ignores completely the notion of postmodernism’s beloved guiding value that there are many truths, many beliefs, and many paths of life which are all equally valid, i.e., no one gets to claim absolutes and exclusivity when it comes to truth, spirituality, and God. Is that truthfully so?
The season of Christmastide has passed into Epiphany, and as such the scriptures in our daily reading and worship on Sunday emphasize much “revealing” about God, which is the sense of Epiphany’s meaning. God reveals himself for who he is and not for whom we may imagine or prefer him to be. Part of that revelation is demonstrated in both the New and Old Testament verses presented to us in the season. Over the Advent, Christmas and now Epiphany season, you may have noticed a focus in the Old Testament book of Isaiah? This is because it is rich in revealing God’s identity and purpose, as well as promising a Savior to be revealed at a later time. Tomorrow, Pastor David Turner will preach from Isaiah 49. I invite you to come and hear what God has revealed and what he may reveal to you in guiding your life.
I am reminded of my reply to my friend, who innocently and wrongly understood the revelation of God in the Old Testament. I used these verses, which happen to be the reading from today’s lectionary. They affirm the singular identity of God exclusively and by his name. The use of ‘LORD’ in upper case is actually a textual replacement of God’s name in Hebrew, ‘Yahweh,’ which was not uttered aloud. Therefore, although the Hebrew text actually uses the consonant letters of God’s name, ‘YHWH,’ “Adonai” (Lord) would be spoken aloud instead.
“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor will there be one after me.
11 I, even I, am the Lord,
and apart from me there is no savior.
12 I have revealed and saved and proclaimed-
I, and not some foreign god among you.
You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God.
13 Yes, and from ancient days I am he.” Isaiah 43: 10-13
I wonder what God may reveal about himself to you in this season?