I know that I have fallen behind in my reading and my posting again and must confess that I am unlikely to catch up until sometime after our trip to Montana to be a part of the Packham wedding. In the meantime, thank you to all of you who are continuing in this faithful journey through the scriptures in 2011. We will spend a couple of month in the prophets, both major and minor. The serious student needs to be able to overlay the prophets with their historical context linking them to the period of time that the served in the history of Israel and Judah. We read of each of them momentarily in the reading from the Kings and Chronicles. They are God's instrument as he tries to keep Israel from splintering into the North and South kingdoms and as they begin a slippery slide into idol worship and walking in ways that will lead to their eventual destruction. Watch in the reading of the prophets for those rays of hope that they offer for the redemption of Israel and for the coming of the one who will offer salvation to all the world. Their messages are sometimes cryptic and hard to understand. There is much symbolic language. Be patient as you read. Try to find something each day that adds to your knowledge of God's purpose in the scriptures. I know that God is blessing your faithfulness.
There are a couple of really interesting points in Chapter 18. Ephraim represents the northern kingdom that split after the death of Solomon. They established a new capital city and a new temple at Shechem. They also set up idols for the people to worship rather than go to Jerusalem. Isaiah has fortold the fall of Ephraim and is also trying to encourage Judah not to follow in Ephraim's ways and to one day endure the same fate. The people of Israel (verse 9-14) speak derisively of Isaiah's instruction saying, "who does he think he is? Who does he think he is talking to? Aren't we adults capable of making up our own minds?" Isn't this much like modern day America? Of course we are capable of choosing our own way, but anyway that does not lead you to God Almighty is still the wrong way. We are a nation of free thinkers and some of those thoughts will lead to judgment just as it did for Ephraim and later for Judah. Guard your hearts, dwell upon God's word, plant it deeply in your own heart and teach it diligently to your children and your children's children. There are many ways in the world, but there is only one way that leads to eternal life and that is in the one who came to save us....Christ Jesus is his name.
Verse 16 tells us that God is going to lay a cornerstone in Judah. A cornerstone is true, it is stable, it is trustworthy. You can build your home based upon the cornerstone. Your can build a family, make a life, base your career on a cornerstone that is true. Isaiah is speaking of the one who is yet to come, but for us as we look back, we know that the cornerstone has come. He was born in Bethlehem of Judea, grew to be a man, performed miracles and died to save us from our sin. He is truth and light and life and we can trust that he is the way, the truth and the life eternal. He is the way and should be our basis for all decision making. Any other way can only lead us to untruths, falsehoods and heartache.
Thanks be to God for the good news of Jesus and for all those who have spoke his good words to us.
Praying that your week is a most blessed time. Find a way to praise God in your work and your play this week.