Good morning all, sorry for the delay in posting. That preaching thing really gets in the way of recording this haha. Today you will finish the book of Isaiah and begin the book of Hosea, another major prophet. Hosea's message takes place BEFORE the exile as well, so it's a bit of a time jump again. Try to remember King Ahaz and Jezebel, the two royal characters that Elijah and Elisha were critical of in 1 and 2 Kings in order for it to make a little more sense.
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider
What does this teach me about God and God's salvation?
What does this teach me about humanity and our fall?
What does this teach me about heaven and hell?
What connections can be made with Jesus?
- My Thoughts -
Isaiah is a strong book that I think is perfect "too long didn't read" for the entire Bible. It tells of a chosen people that have a fall from grace, they face a wilderness experience and God delivers them to the promised land all in 66 chapters rather than 50+ books. The wording is beautiful at times and impactful and scary at others. In other words, it's a lot like life. The ending of Isaiah is much the same with astounding language that connects directly to Jesus' greatest commandment about every nation will exalt God as Lord but it also has troubling language with the image of hell and suffering. Note that hell is not described as a place of fire here, or even a different realm than earth, but is a place of "suffering". This lines up with the popular Christian author, Rob Bell, who wrote the crazy controversial book, Love Wins about a decade ago when we came to realize for himself that hell is not a "place" but a "state of mind distant from God." Hell is when you have bills due and no money, hell is when your child dies of a incurable disease. Hell is suffering - period. But Jesus suffering on the cross is a message that although suffering is inevitable, it is not final. The light comes, mercy comes, healing comes, salvation comes. That's the message of Isaiah, and I gotta say, it's a pretty good message :)
Hosea starts off on a weirdly aggressive note in my opinion but I think the message came across successfully. This is not a message about a guy named Hosea and his cheating wife, it's about God and Israel. Hosea cleverly talks in personal language when confronting the people because it's more relatable the impact is stronger. Worshiping that stick makes God sad isn't quite as impactful as "Your wife has slept with every man in the city and likes they are all better than you." Put up your fists there bub because we're about to throw down. I've often described this the same way to people that get upset about the removal of membership from the church rolls each year. Try to imagine the church as your wife/husband, both a symbol of a covenant relationship. If your husband/wife was non present and non-committed you would also seek a divorce. Of course it's a painful decision to be made, but so is divorce, and so is God's heart when we treat God as a convenience as needed.
With that said, I still don't love Hosea, but some of you might. What are your thoughts so far?
UMH 127, Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah
Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah, Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but Thou art mighty, Hold me with Thy pow’rful hand.
Bread of heaven, Bread of heaven, Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more.
Open now the crystal fountain, Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar Lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliv’rer, strong Deliv’rer, Be Thou still my Strength and Shield;
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield.
When I tread the verge of Jordan, Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of death and hell’s Destruction, Land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises, songs of praises, I will ever give to Thee; I will ever give to Thee.