Monday, June 4, 2012

From Isaiah - Lessons I Am Quick to Forget

Did you know there are 66 chapters in the book of Isaiah? If I was one of those people that liked to look at the use of numbers in scripture, I would notice that there are also 66 books in the Bible. And I could take this even further and note that the book of Revelation mentions the mark 666 being used in the end times. But I don't really hold to things like number repetition, especially since I doubt Isaiah was broken up into chapters when it was originally written.

That's the thing about prophesy (the inspired declaration of divine will and purpose). We can read into it what we want. The Jews living in Jesus' time were awaiting a messiah king that would conquer the physical world. Many missed Jesus because he did not match the image they had in their heads based on their interpretation of prophecy.

Reading Isaiah there are a lot of things foretold, a lot of declarations of what God will do to save His people. It often looks very specific and much of it did come to pass just as Isaiah declared. But to me Isaiah is about more than the details of what God will do. It is the truths about God that have held me to this book of prophesy.

I have learned a lot from reading the book of Isaiah. But I have to be honest it can be quite repetitive and as a modern day, American reader I am not a fan of repetition. But I, like the Israelites, need repetition because I am quick to forget.

Today I read in Isaiah 46, "I have made you and I will carry you...." But this was not the first time I saw this truth of God as the creator, God as my maker. It is repeated again and again in Isaiah. (Is. 5, 22, 40, 43, 44, 45)

And I read, "What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do." (Isaiah 14, 22, 23, 26, 37)  God's plan will come to be. It may take time as it often does in Isaiah. I may not see the outcome. But His will will be done.

Isaiah is full of truths that are applicable to my life today. As I read back through my notes from Isaiah, I see these truths repeated throughout the book. (Chapter references)

Do not be afraid. (7, 12, 26, 43, 44)

Do not trust in idols, in man made security. (2, 20, 21, 22, 28, 31, 41, 44)

Pride will lead me away. (1, 2, 10, 23)

God will answer my call. (30, 35, 38, 41, 42)

These are things I need to know, to remember, to place deep into my heart and mind so that I am changed by these truths.

And this is why I love reading scripture without any greater purpose than knowing more about God. I know also that if someone else was reading Isaiah these last few months, what stood out to them might be different. Isaiah is full of passages about judgment and discipline. About God throwing over the evil doers and those that oppress His people. I saw these themes but these were not the verses I underlined, that I wrote in my journal, because they were not the ones I needed in this season.

There are still 20 chapters left in Isaiah. I wonder what they hold for me?

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