Sometimes I feel like reading through Isaiah is like trying to follow what’s happening on a television controlled by somebody who’s engaged in extreme channel surfing with a remote. In one passage the prophet’s words seem to deal with immediate events and in the next passage with future events. You’re “watching one channel” and tracking with prophecies that have already been fulfilled and then, bam, the remote is clicked and you’re pretty sure you are reading about something that is yet to occur. For me at least, it can be a bit mind-boggling. But as I read Isaiah 4 I’m pretty sure I’m on the “future channel.” And I read of something there that I can relate to here and now. A chuppah.
In that day the Branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel. And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. Then the LORD will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy. There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain. (Isaiah 4:2-6 ESV)
In the midst of the Israel’s current sin and imminent judgment, the prophet “fast forwards” and sees a day when Messiah, the promised Branch beautiful and glorious, shall rule over the people of a future Jerusalem. Those ordained of God to occupy the city will be called holy, their filth washed away and the bloodstains of their rebellion cleansed. And the glory of God, through the Branch, will be restored–the cloud by day and fire by night–just as it had been known by Moses and those delivered from slavery (Ex. 13:21-22). And over that glory, the glory of a people taken as His own, “there will be a canopy” . . . there will be a chuppah.
I’ve become kind of familiar with the chuppah (pronounced either hoo-paw or khoo-paw) over the past few months. Literally the Hebrew word chuppah means canopy or covering. And in a couple of weeks, Lord willing, my daughter and her fiance will be married under a chuppah in honor his Jewish heritage and tradition. What’s more, according to the word of God’s prophet, in a future time God’s people on God’s holy hill will be under the chuppah of God’s divine protection and leading. There because God has called them, because God has cleansed them, and because God has determined to make His glory shine upon them. And, as such, I can kind of relate, in the here and now, to being under a chuppah.
I was called by grace to respond through faith to the good news that Jesus, God’s blessed Son and promised Messiah, died to redeem my soul. The filth of my sin having been washed away through the cleansing power of Jesus’ blood shed on the cross as payment for my rebellion against God. The guilt of my transgressions, the blood on my hands, having been removed because the price was paid by Another. And in that, I am counted, along with all who believe, among the people of God . . . the Body of believers . . . the Bride of Christ. A Bride over whose redeemed glory there is a canopy, a chuppah.
Covered with a robe of righteousness, the righteousness of the Bridegroom, the Son of God Himself. Protected with the canopy of His Spirit who indwells me and seals me until the day the Bridegroom receives His Bride. Knowing the over-shadowing presence of God, day and night, as I abide under the glory of His promises and protection.
Praise God that “over all the glory there will be a canopy” . . . that there will be a chuppah.
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of righteousness . . . (Isaiah 61:10a ESV)
All because of grace . . . all for His glory.