I am currently immersed in the book of Isaiah. I have studied it on my own and read it many times, but this time through I am yoked to three amazing Christian men as we present it to our Bible study class. We are constantly astonished at what lies within the book, messages of which we were completely unaware previously.
Another constant is our wonderment as we advance through the book. We are burrowing deep into Isaiah’s majestic work. We now anxiously anticipate what awaits us in later chapters.
I’ve also become aware of how often the phrase “Let’s dig in” is expressed among us. As Christmas approached, I had the inspiration to gift each of them with a shovel symbolizing how we have dug into Isaiah together. I came to the realization though, that while a shovel conveys the image powerfully, it is an unwieldy memento. And then I hit on the idea of a hand spade.
As I reflected on the image of a hand spade, many other images raced to the forefront. You see, the hand spade is so much more appropriate to our work. We are not plunging a large, crude tool into the soil of Isaiah. Rather, we are carefully turning over the soil and examining it as we go. Each spadeful of soil is carefully inspected before we set it to the side and turn our attention to the next. We are on our hands and knees, getting dirt under our nails.
I leave you with a favorite passage from Eugene Peterson’s The Message, James 1:21:
“In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.” 1
In the Garden indeed,
1 Eugene Peterson, The Message. (NavPress, 2004), James 1:21.