My daily exploration of the Bible, taking it one chapter at a time. If I do it everyday, it'll take 1189 days.



Thursday, November 30, 2006

Isaiah 65

A Whole New World

Summary:
God is offering himself to you, even though you weren't looking for him.

You will pay for your sins, but God won't destroy you all. Those who forget Jerusalem will be destroyed. My servants will be looked after, but those who want to claim their own independence will die.

God's making a whole new cosmos. People won't die young anymore. Jerusalem will be sweet. Your work will be profitable, and the wild animals won't kill each other.

Key verses:
1. I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me
17. Behold, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
25. The wolf and the lamb will feed together

My thoughts:
Remember this: God chose us before we chose him. He offered himself before we even looked.

Here we have a highly eschatological vision of God's plan. Christians would equate this with the Eschaton of Revelation. I am a Christian. This is the same Eschaton as Revelation.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Isaiah 64

Filth

Summary:
Why don't you just come down and make yourself known! No-one has ever seen anything as awesome as you!

You help the righteous, but who's righteous? Even the best things we do are filth to you. No-one seems to want you, but you still mould us like clay. Please forget our sins. Our cities are ruined. Don't let them stay that way.

Key verse:
6. All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags

My thoughts:
So many people in our society are so content with themselves. They genuinely believe that they are okay. They are good people. I think the first thing one must do when coming to God is to realise that you are not worthy and that you need his healing. I believe that so many people are currently missing out on the life God gives because they are too proud/stubborn/unaware to recognise their need for God.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Isaiah 63

Father God

Summary:
Woah! Check out this awesome dude coming back from the nations. He's the mighty one. His clothes are red with the blood of the nations. No-one helped him though.

I'll tell you about how awesome God is. He saw us, and decided to save us. He felt our pain and helped us. But then we pissed him off, and he went against us. But we remembered him from Moses' time. We wondered where he went. He is our Father. We are his forever. Come back God!

Key verse:
16. you, O Lord, are our Father,
our Redeemer from of old is your name.

My thoughts:
The concept of God as Father is not uncommon to Christians, but it is not overt in the Old Testament. Here is one clear verse pointing to the intimate relationship Israel held, or aimed to hold with their God.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Isaiah 62

What is your name?

Summary:
I won't shut up until Jerusalem shines like a star. Others will see it, and you'll have a new name. Your name won't be desolate, but delightful. God will be as stoked as a man on his wedding night.

Don't rest until Jerusalem is rebuilt. Your food won't be stolen anymore! The Saviour's coming, and you will be called Holy.

Key verse:
4. No longer will they call you Deserted,
or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah

My thoughts:
Woah... this chapter has just got a permanent spot in one of my talks. I've done a talk a few times about how the world gives us one name, which might hurt us, but God gives us a new name. A blessed name, even if we don't deserve it. Abraham was named 'father of many' before he had a son. Peter was called 'rock' before he showed any characteristics of a foundations on which to build a church. Here God replaces the cursed name with a blessed one. Hoorah for God!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Isaiah 61

The year of the Lord's favour

Summary:
God's Spirit has enabled me to spread good news, to set people free, and initiate the year of God's favour. It will bless those who mourn. The city will be rebuilt, and foreigners will do all the work. Shame will be gone.

God loves justice, and he wants our kids to be healthy. I'm stoked, cos God has blessed me well!

Key verse:
1. The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.

My thoughts:
Jesus quoted this about himself (Deane: No he didn't! He was refering to Israel when he quoted this! Not himself!) , which caused people to get angry with him. I think Jesus' overall mission is well defined within (parts of) this chapter.

Some say that the year of the Lord's favour is a reference to the year of Jubilee described in the Torah, which was not commonly practised.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Isaiah 60

I never liked the Sun anyway...

Summary:
Get up, cos God is shining on you! The rest of the world gets darkness, but you get light. Everyone will come to you, because you will radiate. Like all the animals coming to their nest, the nations will come to you. They will be your servants. The children of those who oppress you now will serve you. Then you will know that it is God who saves you. There will be no violence, and no need for the sun. God will be the light.

When I do this, I'll do it quickly.

Key verse:
19. The sun will no more be your light by day,
nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,
for the Lord will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.

My thoughts:
So, I tend to look at these passages as referring to a final eschatological redemption rather than a historical redemption of Israel within current human history. This verse 19 uses similar imagery to Revelation, where there is no need for the sun. Revelation is clearly eschatological.

The final verse of this chapter seems to say how quickly God will do this, but in reality it is saying that when God starts to do this (which may be in the distant future) he will do it quickly.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Isaiah 59

God's armour

Summary:
God isn't unable to hear you. It's your sin that'd getting in the way. You are murderous liars who don't want justice. They don't know peace. So God gives us no light, so we grope the walls to find our way. We have no justice or peace.

God watched us and saw that we were all bad, so he just relied on his own righteousness. It is his breastplate, and salvation is his helmet.

He will give vengeance to the nations, but mercy to Israel.

Key verse:
17. He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
and the helmet of salvation on his head;

My thoughts:
Compare verse 17 with Ephesians 6. In Ephesians 6, God is giving us his own armour to wear, which is quite exciting. I suggest you read Ephesians 6, and pray to put on the armour everyday.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Isaiah 58

God's fast

Summary:
Shout it out. Every day people seem to want to hear me, as if they deserve it. You wonder why you even bother fasting.

But what's the point in a fast when you're still oppressing your workers? You quarrel! You fast for just one day and expect me to move mountains.

Don't I want you to stop injustice? Stop oppression? Isn't that a much better fast? To look after the poor? If you do that then I'll help you. You will be healed. You'll be sweet if you do what I say.

Key verse:
6. Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

My thoughts:
Another of my favourite verses, and pulled apart for me by Mike Pilavachi.

How much of our Christian lives do we spend trying to "please" God with religious activities? We go to church. We pray. We sing songs loudly. Firstly, it's dumb that we're trying to win God's favour, but secondly, as brought out in this chapter, it's dumb that we expect God to love our religious activities when people around us are in suffering. Well, maybe not people around us but people in Africa. Those sort of religious activities are an added bonus once we are doing our part to stop suffering in this world. Not the other way around.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Isaiah 57

Rest

Summary:
Good men die. Why? To avoid this world's evil. They are taken into rest.

But you sinners! You're a bunch of child-sacrificing liars! You love your pagan symbols and idols. You did sinful things and were wearied by them. Even your good deeds are worth nothing. Peace comes to those who rest in me.

I look after those in low spirits. I make their paths straight. I won't be angry forever. I won't completely destroy that breath of life I made. I will comfort them.

There is no peace for the wicked.

Key verse:
21. "There is no peace," says my God, "for the wicked."

My thoughts:
What a wonderful quote. I think it captures the self infliction of sin quite well, but in a subtle way. God doesn't say there is no wealth or success for the wicked. Just no peace.

Anywho, normally in the Bible, the author bemoans the premature death of the righteous people as a complaint against God. This may be the only place where the Old Testament attempts to present a clear answer. The answer here is along the New Testament lines of "those who are punished now will receive their reward in heaven". Or something like that.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Isaiah 56

It don't matter if you're black or white

Summary:
Do good, because salvation is coming. The person who does this will be blessed. It doesn't matter if they are foreigners or eunuchs. If they keep the Sabbath, then there is a place for them in the temple. It's a place of prayer for ALL nations.

Wild animals, devour! Israel's watchmen are lazy, and feel so secure in themselves. They better watch out.

Key verse:
3. Let no foreigner who has bound himself to the Lord say,
"The Lord will surely exclude me from his people."

My thoughts:
For me this has bearing on the current situation in Israel. The Israelis are privileged above the non-Israelis (like the Malays in Malaysia). However there is no indication that there should be privilege based on race in the Old Testament. However, there does seem to be some privilege based on religion, so I guess all this would do in Israel would change the favouritism from racial to religious (Like Muslims in Malaysia).

Monday, November 20, 2006

Isaiah 55

Berit Olam

Summary:
Come and get free food and drink, those who want it! Why pay for second best? Listen to me. I'm making an eternal covenant with you. Like David, he will be a leader. The nations will come follow.

God will pardon the wicked who comes to him. His ways surpass ours. We may not always understand them though. Everything will be awesome.

Key verses:
1. Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
3. I will make an everlasting covenant with you
9. As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
11. so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

My thoughts:
I just love this part of the Old Testament. It's just awesome!

You can read this and think that God is making an eternal covenant with Israel, reestating the Mosaic one. However, this cannot be the case, as the Mosaic covenant is not eternal, as the one in this chapter is. I believe that these chapters refer to the New Covenant in Jesus Christ which was yet to happen when this passage was written.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Isaiah 54

Love beyond mountains and hills

Summary:
May the childless women be happy and prosper! Things are going to get better! I, God, am your husband. I rejected you for a moment, so that I could love you forever. Just like when I promised to Noah not to get angry again, so now I make the same promise to you. I will love you no matter what.

The city will be established. No one will defeat you.

Key verse:
10. Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed

My thoughts:
Remember when wedding vows used to be like this? Like not just in words but in how people like. A covenant no matter what. They seem to be much more conditional these days. Oh well. At least God is still faithful.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Isaiah 53

The Gospel of Isaiah - the Spiritual Climax of the Old Testament

Summary:
The servant believes God and has lived with him. He didn't look that special. He was rejected and knew suffering.

He bore our sufferings for us.

For us he was crushed and pierced. When he is wounded, we get healed. Like a lamb going to slaughter, he didn't complain. He left no children and died as a sinner. But he had not sinned.

But this was all God's plan, because he would cause the servant to see life again. So he will be then considered great.

Key verses:
2. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3. He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
4. Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows
5. But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
7. he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter
9. He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence
10. the Lord makes his life a guilt offering
11. After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light of life
12. he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Isaiah 52

Just lonely here. Thinkin' about the muscly-armed paperboy. Wishin' he'd come by and bring me some gooood news.

Summary:
Put on your nice clean clothes, Jerusalem. They won't get dirty again. Just like when you were enslaved in Egypt, you will be saved. You were stolen without money, so God will steal you back. It is God alone who foretells.

Everyone likes to hear good news, news of your salvation. Sing and make praise, because good news is hear! The whole world will know God's salvation. God will protect.

Now, about this servant. He will be wise, yet marred beyond human recognition, but he will silence kings. They will finally understand.

Key verse:
7. How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news

My thoughts:
When/If you ever talk to people about Jesus, do you share straight facts and arguments, bad news, or do you share good news? I think going to Thailand has really made me realise that the freedom and restoration that Jesus offers to not only our souls, but to all of creation, is, in fact, truly good news. We shouldn't be scared to share it and to hold it above all other options. But make sure your message is good news. People already know that the world is screwed up. We don't bring that news. We bring the solution.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Isaiah 51

Salvation

Summary:
If you seek God, then look into your past to see your future. God blessed Abraham, and turned one man into many. God will look after Zion. His law will be a light to the world.

His salvation is coming. Heaven and earth may disappear, but God's salvation is eternal. Don't fear men, but fear God. He led us out of Egypt and made the universe. You are God's people. Salvation is near.

Jerusalem has drunken God's wrath. But that goblet of wrath has been taken away forever. It has been given to her enemies.

Key verse:
6. the heavens will vanish like smoke,
the earth will wear out like a garment
and its inhabitants die like flies.
But my salvation will last forever

My thoughts:
Look at your life and determine how much time you spend concerning yourself with things that will ultimately pass away. How much time do you spend concerning yourself with eternal things in comparison? The eternal things, like salvation must be of foremost importance. Also see 1 Corinthians 13 for three other matters of eternal concern.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Isaiah 50

Obedience

Summary:
You sinned, and it causes me to divorce your mother and to sell you to slavery. Even then no-one even looked to me. I am strong enough to save you, you know.

The servant hears God though. He does not fight back as he is beaten. He will be vindicated in time. Trust in God's light, not your own.

Key verse:
6. I offered my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face
from mocking and spitting.

My thoughts:
So, yea, like, Jesus did this and stuff...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Isaiah 49

Servant to the Gentiles

Summary:
I am the servant. I was called before I was born. He sharpened me like his favourite weapon. I am to gather Israel back to him. But then God decided that Israel was not enough, I will be a light to the Gentiles! Kings will bow to me - a servant.

God will restore Israel in his own time. Everything will be sweet. Sing for praise to God! Israel has not been forgotten! How can a mother forget its child? Everything will be sweet. There'll be heaps of room to live. God will call out to the Gentiles, and they will bring back your children in their arms and look after them. Your captors will get their just desserts.

Key verse:
6. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.

My thoughts:
I dunno about you, but for me this is undeniably Jesus. Called before birth; mouth like a sharpened sword; a servant; and a light to the Gentiles. As I read this, it said that the servant was to bring back Israel, and I thought, well that doesn't entirely describe Jesus, maybe it's only referring to some event to end the exile. But then in the very next verse, God declared that just Israel was not enough. The Gentiles would be saved as well. I love Isaiah.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Isaiah 48

It's all God

Summary:
You, Israel, who consider yourself special, are very stubborn. I knew this even as I foretold these amazing things which are happening.

I will tell you in such a way that you will know that it wasn't caused by yourself or idols. But you are stubborn. I only haven't destroyed you yet for my own sake.

Look, I made the world. I'm bringing Babylon to destruction. No idols foretold this! If only you had followed my commands, you would be more numerous than sand. But I have redeemed you from Babylon anyway.

Key verse:
22. "There is no peace," says the Lord, "for the wicked."

My thoughts:
I feel that sometimes we expect God to move in ambiguous ways that can be taken in many ways. Here we see God's desire to act in such a way that no-one else can be given credit for his miracles. I believe God wants to work in this way today as well, and we shouldn't expect him to act otherwise.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Isaiah 47

Stupid Babylon

Summary:
Sit over there on the ground Babylon! You've been naughty and you're being punished. Do hard labour, and be a disgrace to yourself.

I gave you my people to punish them, but you showed them no mercy. You were so secure in your greatness. But then one day your disaster will come. All in one day. You thought no-one was watching your sin.

Go on, let your magicians and your astrologers save you. See what happens.

Key verse:
7. You said, 'I will continue forever—
the eternal queen!'
But you did not consider these things
or reflect on what might happen.

My thoughts:
When Babylon considered its future, it thought of only what would happen in its own power. It gave no consideration of the fact that God might do something in place. When you think about your life, do you plan it out without giving God any space to move or do anything? Doing that won't restrict God, but it will just be more of an unwelcome shock when he does.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Isaiah 46

Stupid other gods...

Summary:
Their gods bow down. They are burdens to their people. They cannot save.

Israel, I have been with you since your birth, and I will be with you until your old age. I, and only I, will sustain you.

I am God, and there is no equal. Golden idols do not compare. I tell the future from the past, and bring my instrument from the East.

My righteousness is coming.

Key verse:
4. I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

My thoughts:
I'm not sure if I've mentioned this much, but these chapters around here are some of the staunchest monotheistic passages of the entire Old Testament (See also Deuteronomy 6). It is interesting, then, that Jesus and Christians seem to be very keen to use these passages. It is a bizarre Christian characteristic that Jesus' divinity seems most affirmed in light of the Old Testament's most monotheistic passages.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Isaiah 45

Cyrus, my main man!

Summary:
I will go before Cyrus, my anointed king, and give him secret treasures. I will give you honour.

I am the only God. I bring good and bad. Don't quarrel with me. Does clay question the potter? I made the earth, and I'm saying that Cyrus will rebuilt Jerusalem.

Idols do nothing, but God will save. He made the world to be inhabited. He has not hidden these things, but has said them clearly. Turn back to him from the nations. Before him every knee will bow and every tongue confess.

Key verse:
19. I have not spoken in secret,
from somewhere in a land of darkness

My thoughts:
Often we search so long and hard to discover what God is saying and what he is doing. However throughout the Bible there are many statements of God claiming that he has hidden nothing and that it is all clear to see.

When it comes to miracles we shouldn't feel that this is God's little secret which he doesn't like to show people. He want to do amazing things, and he wants people to see them. His power is not hidden any more. We should approach miracles and God's Word as things which are clearly revealed, not hidden.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Isaiah 44

Idle wood

Summary:
Don't worry, my Israel. I'll pour my Spirit out on your descendants.

God is the only god. Nothing else measures up. Idols are useless. A blacksmith puts a lot of effort into making the idol, but it's all useless and he still ends up hungry. Same with a carpenter. He uses half the wood for firewood, and the other half for an idol. What is it? Firewood or a god? They just don't even think.

God has declared that Judah, Jerusalem and the temple will be established and built.

Key verse:
19. No one stops to think

My thoughts:
I like to be intelligent. In this chapter the author is mocking the inability of people to even think about the absurdity of their religious practices. He mocks that people see no issue with seeing one material as both firewood and a god.

So many people these days, however, do no think logically about faith and God. Christians are tied to ridiculous religious practices simply because they haven't really thought about whether it actually makes sense. Or they have thought about it, but they trust their feelings rather than what they actually know. Most non-religious NZers are non-religious out of apathy rather than any intellectual or informed decision about faith. I think it's about time that all people, Christian or otherwise, should begin thinking seriously, logically, and practically about faith and God, and start acting on what makes sense rather than what they feel like doing.

I'm going to write a book.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Isaiah 43

Something about Jehovah and witnessing

Summary:
Jehovah speaks: Don't worry, Israel. You are my people and I'll look after you. I'll pay big prices to save you, and I'll draw you together when you're scattered. You, and my servant, will be the witnesses to the fact that I was formed first. I am God. No-one else saves.

I'm sending you to Babylon for your own sake. Don't worry about the old traditions. I'm doing a new thing. Even the deserts and wild animals worship me.

Look, you've screwed up. You don't make offerings to me. But I'm forgiving you anyway. For my own sake. It's got nothing to do with you.

Don't argue your innocence. It doesn't exist.

Key verses:
10. Before me no god was formed,
nor will there be one after me.
18-19. Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!

My thoughts:
God rocks my world. I want to point out three things in this passage.

Firstly, God's forgiveness despite of our desperate attempts not to deserve it. It is nicely illustrated in this chapter.

Secondly, God's desire to do something new. It seems God gets bored of the old way. He is creative. Perhaps this is why he made the New Covenant! Don't get caught up on tradition and ways of the past. Our faith looks to the future. I think we should focus on the New Jerusalem more than on the Acts of the Apostles.

Thirdly, I now have new material to combat the Jehovah's Witnesses. W00t! I had a big conversation with them at the beginning of the year, and I became a little bit more sympathetic towards their view, because they aren't dumb people. Their genuine motive seems to be to do what the Bible really says, not what tradition has taught us. They claim that the full deity of Christ is a creation of tradition. Jesus is called G/god in the Bible, but the Jehovah's Witnesses claim that he is never made equal with Yahweh (or Jehovah (despite popular belief they are quite happy to accept the name Yahweh over Jehovah apparently)). From this the JWs claim that Jesus is a god, in the sense that he is the first created being after Yahweh. He is still pre-existent, and he is certainly not just a man, but he is not the Almighty God. He is just Mighty god.

BUT, if God declares that "Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me", then how can Jesus be a god? Unless, of course, he was 'formed' at the same time as God. You can also point to the sense that the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ are, in fact, the same thing in Romans 8:5-11. There are many more arguments, and in some ways I'm not sure if the JWs Christology is their worst point.

By trying to defend a simple monotheism in the Bible, the Jehovah's Witnesses have, in fact, created a pagan polytheism with a demi-god.

I can't wait til O-week and they have their stall up again!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Isaiah 42

Good News

Summary:
I love my servant, says God. He'll have the Spirit, and he'll bring justice gently. God has called him, and will lead him to be a light to the nations and set people free. God is god alone.

Praise God, all you islands.

God has been inactive for a while, but he'll move mountains to may your way straight, and to enlighten your path.

God has declared his word clearly, yet we have been deaf to it. God will punish us if we do not listen.

Key verses:
3. A bruised reed he will not break
6-7. I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison

My thoughts:
It appears that a lot of Messianic expectation in Jesus' time was for a leader to rule and give autonomy back to the Israelite state through force. If this passage it to be used to understand such a Messiah, we see that there was to be no force or violence, just like Jesus (with the exception of this temple hissy-fit). The life of Jesus is very congruent with verses 6 and 7 here.

I like Isaiah.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Isaiah 41

Mmmm... bed roll....

Summary:
Let the nations come to the point of justice. One can conquer everything. He is the Lord. The islands try to be strong, but it is Israel who was chosen to protect. Those who try to destroy Israel will fail. God will provide.

One from the north is coming to attack, but Jerusalem has no advisors.

Key verse:
10. So do not fear, for I am with you

My thoughts:
I just got back from Thailand, and I have a lot of catching up to do. I didn't really understand the chapter today, but that's probably because I'm really tired right now. Did that bed roll just move?

So yea... don't fear. Love drives that shtuff out. See 1 John 4.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Isaiah 40

All who are weary

Summary:
Comfort God's people and let them know that they are forgiven. A voice calls for the path to be prepared for the Lord. We are like grass but God's word is forever.

If you bring good news then proclaim it loudly. Our God is so awesome we can't understand him! He looks after us.

Even all the nations cannot compare to him! He's better than any idol. He is massive and we are nothing. Don't you know this? He created everything!

You think that God has forgotten you, but God doesn't get weary. Every gets tired, but he strengthens those who wait on him.

Key verse:
31. but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

My thoughts:
This chapter is very encouraging with the tiredness we get here in Thailand. We have to wait on God! If you ever feel tired and weary then I recommend you meditate on this chapter!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Isaiah 39

Babylon

Summary:
Then the Babylonian king gave Hezekiah a gift, because he had heard that he had recovered. Hezekiah showed the messengers everything. Then Isaiah said that Babylon would one day take his kingdom over. Hezekiah was happy because there would be peace in his lifetime.

Key verse:
6. The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your fathers have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon.

My thoughts:
It's hard to know what to make of this story. Does Babylon take over Israel because of Hezekiah showing them everything, or is it just a coincidence? Is Hezekiah viewed negatively because he is content that it is no him, but his descendants who will suffer?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Isaiah 38

Hezekiah's got crook!

Summary:
Then Hezekiah got sick. Isaiah told him that God said he'd die. Hezekiah prayed and wept. Because he'd been faithful, God decided to give him another 15 years. The sign of this was to make the sun go backwards ten steps.

Then Hezekiah wrote a poem: "I was about to die. I stared death in the eye. But God let me live. I can't praise him whilst I'm dead!"

Isaiah asked for a healing stew to be made for him. Hezekiah then asked what the sign would be.

Key verse:
17. In your love you kept me
from the pit of destruction;
you have put all my sins
behind your back.

My thoughts:
God is a God of life. He is interested in promoting life in this age and the next. Death is not of God and cannot worship him.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Isaiah 37

Sennacherib God-whomped

Summary:
So Hezekiah sent messengers to Isaiah, asking him to asking God to rebuke the assyrian commander. Isaiah sent message that it would all be in God's control, and Sennacherib would flee and be killed.

And then another king was coming to attack Sennacherib so he gave Hezekiah another threat.

Then Hezekiah prayed for deliverance.

Then Isaiah prophesied:
Jerusalem mocked you, Sennachreib, and you flee. You mocked us, but God had another plan! God controls you! The food of Hezekiah will be self supporting. For the sake of David I will preserve a remnant!

Then God killed all Sennacherib's men, and so he fled and was killed by his sons in his temple.

Key verse:
6. Do not be afraid of what you have heard

My thoughts:
Hmm... Sennacherib seems to have omitted these details in his report... Trust God! Just do it!

Thailand is awesome and hot!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Isaiah 36

Hebrew mocks

Summary:
When Hezekiah was king Sennacherib, the Assyrian King, destroyed all of Judah's towns and mocked Hezekiah in Jerusalem for trusting Egypt and God. But those recording this mockery told him to speak only in Aramaic, not Hebrew, so that the general populace wouldn't understand. But Sennacherib wanted everyone to hear, and he encouraged them to defect from Hezekiah and follow him. He told them that no other gods had helped the other nations. But the people remained silent.

Key verse:
20. Who of all the gods of these countries has been able to save his land from me? How then can the Lord deliver Jerusalem from my hand?"

My thoughts:
Wow... it's been so long since I've done narrative. It's bizarre! These passages are almost identical to ones in Kings.

Anyway, Sennacherib's seige of Jerusalem is historically verifiable on Assyria's side by the Taylor Prism.

Notice how Sennacherib thinks that God is angry with Hezekiah, because Hezekiah destroyed all his shrines and told everyone to worship at one altar. This shows that the people were trying to worship God (as opposed to other gods) on the high places etc, but that they just didn't understand that that wasn't God's way. The fact that God only had one place to be worshipped at this time was not exactly obvious.