Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, but I blessed him and made him many. (Is. 51:1-2)
I once lived in Rockland, Maine. The town got its name because granite had been quarried there for many years. The church I served had some “cutters,” those who cut granite slabs in the cavernous quarries.
Some of the cutters would insist that when they walked around New York City they could tell which buildings had used Rockland granite. When I asked them how they could discern that, they would talk about the color of the stone and the way it felt to their hands.
In today’s passage Isaiah is telling the Jews to “look to the rock from which [they] were hewn, and to the quarry from which [they] were dug.” Isaiah proclaimed this message when they were returning from exile in Babylon to Jerusalem.
Isaiah told the Jews to “look to the rock from which they were hewn” because he was worried that their many years in exile had caused them to forget who they belonged to, where they had come from, and what they needed to do. He tells them to look to Abraham, the rock, and to Sarah, the quarry, and remember that just as God had blessed those two, so God would bless them.
When people look at us, can they tell the quarry, the source, from which we come? Can they discern the rock, the origins, from which we were dug?
If we are not resembling the God we come from, I encourage us to look back to the rock from which we were hewn and the quarry from which we were dug. Let’s remember the beginnings of our faith. Reconnect with those who helped us to know Jesus. Return to the practices that helped us to feel God’s presence. Sometimes in order to move forward, we need to go back.
The stone quarries in Rockland finally gave out. May we always remember that the quarry of God’s love never will.
- Has anything ever occurred in your life that caused you to forget to whom you belong and what you need to do? Are you remembering now?
- When people look at you, do they see the “rock from which you were hewn?” If not, what has defaced or eroded God’s presence in your life?
- If you are going through a time of feeling eroded and defaced, remember Abraham and Sarah. Just as God blessed them, so God will bless you? Will you name and claim the blessings God has for you?