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Reading the Bible Day 115

Hello hello friends, as you can expect today we are still working through Isaiah, specifically the first book of Isaiah. While you can likely expect more “doom and gloom” style of writing for the next few days this particular section is a great example in looking for contextual clues with scripture to get a picture of what the world looked like at the time. I’ll share more in my thoughts below but as always I’ll be curious to hear from you your thoughts as well! You can share those in the comments below or by emailing me at ngliha@chagrinfallsumc.org.


Scripture to Read

Isaiah 28 – 30

Psalm 115



Audio Bible


Questions to Consider

1. What does this teach me about God?

2. What does this teach me about humanity?

3. What does this reveal to me about the relationship between the two?

4. What does this reveal to me about what is going on at the time?

My Thoughts

So at the top I mentioned that I find this to be a really good example of how scripture gives us clues as to what people were struggling with at the time and how the prophets were trying to address that one specific issue. In this case, I believe that the issue is alcohol. The first chapter (check this) is all about alcohol, specifically wine. When Isaiah laments that the people have turned away from God’s covenants he says that they just partied and wanted wine.


Should we really surprised though? What have we been reading the last 4 days? Isaiah continues to say day after day “the world is ending and you’re all going to suffer”….naturally the people are going to be anxious and depressed and are going to try to suppress that in some way. They drink and drink and after a few more drinks they start to laugh and forget their worries. I don’t want to speak too much in an area that I am not liscenced or experienced in but there is a strong connection between people with chronic depression and alcoholism. Someone dear to me whom struggled with alcohol and depression once talked to me about it over a meal. They told me their meds made them feel fuzzy but still quiet while drinking made them feel fuzzy but also funny and more social. They knew what was best for them, but they also enjoyed the company and momentarily escape. They eventually found a sponsor and has found ways to “beat” alcoholism each day.


I think that’s one of the scariest things about the pandemic, the lack of physical support groups for the most vulnerable among us in dangerous cycles of self defeat. Sure, I miss going out with my friends but that’s a want not a need. I fear for the among of relapses that will surely happen or already have. I fear for the potential rise in self destructive behavior. This section of scripture shows us that when some type of trauma occurs, be it personal or communal, alcohol is used to dampen the pain and fear caused by it.


I don’t think God is necessarily “anti alcohol”, why would God create the process of fermentation if God didn’t intend for it to have benefits of some type. Heck, Jesus himself kicked back some brewskis with the broskis and poured out wine for the wedding party at cana in order to have a celebration. So, I don’t mean for this blog to come across as “drink now and enjoy hell later” kinda thinking. The purpose of bringing this up is the spotlight the grace that is present. In this scripture the peoples drinking has helped lead the people into exile from God. But, now a days faith is a massive component of AA programs. What’s the difference? Well, Jesus died for our sins! You might be struggling with self destructive behaviors but God doesn’t love you any less, in fact God came just for you. God loves you so much and wants to help mend your weary soul. If you, or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or other addictions caused by trauma or the isolation of the pandemic, seek help. You won’t be shamed, you will only discover a depth of love for you greater than you could imagine.



Prayer:


God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;

Enjoying one moment at a time;

Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

Taking, as He did, this sinful world

As it is, not as I would have it;

Trusting that He will make things right

If I surrender to His Will;

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life

And supremely happy with Him

Forever and ever in the next.

Amen.

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United Methodist Church of Chagrin Falls

440-247-5848

info@chagrinfallsumc.org

20 S. Franklin St. 

Chagrin Falls, Ohio, 44022

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