Isaiah 10:1-11:16, 2 Corinthians 12:11-21, Psalm 56:1-13, Proverbs 23:6-8
Today is the 12th day of September, welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian. It is fantastic to be here with you today, as we gather around the Global Campfire. Come in, out of whatever is going on, whatever is swirling around us, lay it all down, exhale, relax, we’re in this together and we’re here to let the Scriptures wash into our hearts and minds, and to shape our hearts and minds, in the way that we should go. And so, it’s obviously such a unique place that we create each day, it’s wonderful every day to be in this place together, moving forward together. And so, let’s dive into the Scriptures. We are working our way through the book of Isaiah and this week we are reading from the New International Version. Today, Isaiah chapters 10 and 11.
Okay so, when we began the book of Isaiah, we were just kinda talking about what’s in the book and doing a little bit of a fly over. I mentioned that this book of Isaiah is one of the most quoted Old Testament books, inside the New Testament. And this is because Isaiah gives clear promises that a deliver a…a Messiah, which means a promised deliverer, would come. The writers of the New Testament reveal this Messiah, this promised deliverer, to be Jesus and this is done, impart, certainly with the narratives of Jesus life, but it’s done by revealing the ways in which Jesus fulfills prophecies that were expected to be…to be fulfilled. The people were waiting to be fulfilled. If we just read Isaiah though, and we look at the New Testament texts that are meant to make a connection to Jesus, we can’t find that explicit connection. Like there’s no name of Jesus in the book of Isaiah and the context of promise deliverers, etc. etc. are in a different time period, in a different context. And so, how did the connections then get made? How did Jesus come into the mix and then fulfill these ancient prophecies? We get a little bit of a glimpse of that today. So, take, let’s take a look. I am reading from the 10th chapter of Isaiah, “woe, to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue opressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.” So, a condition or a posture of the people is being called out and named: unjust laws, oppressive decrees, depriving the poor of their rights, withholding justice from the oppressed, making widows prey, not like got get down on their knees and pray, but become the prey of the oppressor and robbing the fatherless. This pattern of injustice was going on before Jesus, before Isaiah and is still going on today. And the prophet will have no problem condemning that those postures and laying out a clear picture of where that road is going to go. But the prophetic hope is that it will always be that way, that God is making all things new, or putting all things back together again and this would include a coming Redeemer who would set things right. Because this is ultimately the trajectory of the Scriptures. That God will not give up on something that is broken, He will make it new again. And so, then next Isaiah foretells the invasion of the Assyrian Empire and we know, because we’ve already read this in the Scriptures, that the Assyrian Empire invaded the northern kingdom of Israel and took them over and deported them into exile; 10 out of the 12 tribes were sent into exile. And then Assyria went on to threaten Jerusalem. Since we’ve already read this, we know that Assyria doesn’t conquer Jerusalem, but later on the Babylonian Empire does conquer the southern kingdom of Judah, including Jerusalem. Isaiah speaks to that and I quote, “a remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the mighty God though your people be like the sand by the sea, Israel only a remnant will return.” So, what we have are prophecies about exile and the hope that one day there would be a return from exile. When we get to the first century, the time of Jesus, the people who are in the land are the descendants of that remnant of people who got to return and so that prophecy had been fulfilled. They were able to return but they had not been, in any way, restored to their former glory. They were able to return to their ancestral homeland but it was not their ancestral homeland anymore. It had been centuries. And at the time of the first century, this land was controlled by the Roman Empire and this wasn’t the ancient land of Israel anymore. This was the province of Syria. And the very kind of oppression that they had been committing, that they had been warned about, that they did not heed and that ultimately led them into exile, was being visited upon them. In other words, there was a time where they were the perpetrator, but now they are the victim; they have reaped what they sowed. And so, in first century Hebrew culture this is a very oppressed people, very marginalized, very separatist. We’ve talked about all of this kind of stuff before, but they were hoping for a deliverer to come, to fully restore the land to God, to fully give back Israel its former glory. They were in the land, but it was not there land and they wanted it to be there land under God once again. And so, knowing the prophecies of their own corruption, knowing that those stories prophetically were fulfilled in and that they were conquered and taken into exile, knowing that the hopeful promise that a remnant would return was fulfilled, knowing that those people were the descendants of those who were able to return who lived in the first century. And if you’re reading Isaiah and you read things like and I quote “a shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse,” so, this is obviously very, very embedded into Hebrew culture because this is referring King David, “from his roots a branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him. The Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord and He will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what He sees with his eyes or decide by what He hears with his ears, but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice He will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, with the breath of His lips, He will slay the wicked, righteousness will be his belt and His faithfulness, the sash around his waist.” This is what they had been looking for, this is like a prophetic description of what they’re waiting for and Jesus looks like this. And the more Jesus moves around saying what He’s saying and doing, what He’s doing, the more there is talk that He looks like this, which creates great discussions among the people, great debates among the people. Could He be the one? Could He be the anointed one? And some believed that He was, while others denied, all the way until it became sort of an issue of the people themselves because the Jewish High Council got involved in doing away with Jesus, determining that He couldn’t be the one. So, there was considerable debate around Jesus as it relates to the criteria in Isaiah that they were looking for, that it looked like Jesus fulfilled or looked like. And as we see from our New Testament writers, Old Testament prophets are quoted extensively to make the connection that the Redeemer did come and nobody was paying attention, that the work of God to restore all things or to put things back together or to make all things new, was fully at work in the world and fully at work through Jesus, the promised Deliverer.
And so, Father, we thank You for Your word and we thank You for an opportunity to see how connections are made and the difficulties that people would’ve had to embrace, to…to observe and discern what was going on while You were here. We are grateful for the advantage of hindsight, thousands of years to look back and pour over these things. We thank You that You came, that is really the important thing, we can get lost in the weeds of trying to dissect things until they are unrecognizable. Or we can understand that promise to put things back together, to restore, to redeem, to make all things new again is an ongoing promise that has been ongoing for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. This is the work that we are invited to participate in with You. This is the work that we can look out in the world and look for You doing, this is what You are doing, putting things back together. And we confess we can destroy things about as fast as they could be put back together. We are like sheep that have gone astray, but ultimately You are making all things new and You have invited us to be a part of that story and we are deeply grateful and we humble ourselves before You, making ourselves available to Your service. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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And that’s it for today, I’m Brian, I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here, tomorrow.
Prayer and Encouragements will be posted later.