12 Yahveh, you will ensure peace for us, because even all of our works you have done for us. 13 Yahveh, our God, lords besides you have once ruled over us, but we remember your name alone. 14Those dead gods are not alive now; their dead spirits do not rise because you have punished and destroyed them, and you have destroyed all memory of them. 15 You have increased the nation, Yahveh. You have increased the nation; you are honored. You have extended all borders of our land.
the role of cultural heritage
The prophet reflects on the heritage of his people. The ancestors of the Israelites were pagans, and had worshipped other gods. Although Isaiah acknowledges that, he does not look back on that heritage with pride. Those were false gods, and Yahveh punished and destroyed them. They are dead in their graves, and will not rise again. Everything good that Israel as a nation had done is by the power and providence of Yahveh. Yahveh has increased the nation, and extended its borders. Yahveh alone is to be honored.
It is popular in many lands today to celebrate all the cultures for their distinctiveness. There is nothing wrong with that, but it can be taken too far. God has given us a reflection of himself in every culture and ethnic group on the planet. But sin has also infected every culture and ethnic group. We need to be careful that we do not elevate a culture’s sinfulness as we celebrate it. The role of cultural heritage is to reflect on the diversity of God’s gift of life, not to replace God.
LORD, we thank you for the wonderful diversity you have given humanity. May we celebrate that diversity, and see your hand in who we are. But may we be careful to worship you, not ourselves.