I came across a lovely passage last night.
This is Young's Literal Translation, which holds poetry in its ancient oddness:
"In that day, `A desirable vineyard,' respond ye to her,
I, Jehovah, am its keeper, every moment I water it,
Lest any lay a charge against it,
Night and day I keep it!
Fury is not in Me;
Who giveth Me a brier -- a thorn in battle?
I step into it, I burn it at once.
Or -- he doth take hold on My strength,
He doth make peace with Me,
Peace he doth make with Me."
Isaiah 27:2-5, YLT
The Message makes the over all picture a little more clear, though it loses some of its poetry that way:
"At that same time, a fine vineyard will appear.
There's something to sing about!
I, God, tend it.
I keep it well-watered.
I keep careful watch over it.
so that no one can damage it.
I'm not angry. I care.
Even if it gives me thistles and thornbushes,
I'll just pull them out
and burn them up.
Let that vine cling to Me for safety,
let it find a good and whole life with Me,
let it hold on for a good and whole life."
-Isaiah 27:1-5, The Message.
Isn't that beautiful? We are the vineyard, by the way. That's us.
At first, when I was reading this passage, as I was reading it, I pictured a man coming and taking hold of His strength aggressively, as though to pit himself against God.
And then the very next verse, it was as though God turned my picture upside down: that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.
Then I had to go back and reread the entire passage, more slowly. Even when I put out the lamp, the lovely phrases went on echoing in my mind.
It makes me think of this lovely verse, among many others:
"Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy;
No shadow of shame will darken their faces."