Monday, August 5: Isaiah 36 – 41
We would have to turn back to the early part of June for the last time we had a “story” in sequence from one chapter to another. Back then we were reading the first chapters of Job, when all was taken from him as a “test” to see how faithful Job would be. These few chapters of Isaiah come across as a test as well. What will Hezekiah do? What will the people do? Who will cave in first to the pressure and power put upon the people by the Assyrian King, Sennacherib.
Long story short, Sennacherib boasts of his accomplishments in conquering the surrounding nations. Isaiah and Hezekiah remind the people to be strong in the Lord. Sennacherib flaunts total devastation to the people of God, and reports that no other “god” has been able to stand up to him. What will the people do? Amazingly, they choose to remain faithful, follow Hezekiah, and for that they are rewarded. The Assyrians are destroyed, and Israel restored!
Another test comes in Chapter 38, when Hezekiah falls ill and death looms near. Rather than lament, he relies on the Lord, and is rewarded with many more years of life. Finally, one more test comes as we turn to Chapter 39. Visitors arrive from Babylon, and here Hezekiah fails as he boast of his riches and shows them all off. The end result comes in the prediction that Jerusalem will fall to the hands of the Babylonians (although not for some time). Great words. Great story. And a refreshing change of pace from the Psalms, Proverbs, love songs, and Oracles that we have been reading for the past two months.
Readings for the next few days:
Tuesday, August 6: Isaiah 42 – 44
Wednesday, August 7: Isaiah 45 – 48
Thursday, August 8: Isaiah 49 – 53
Friday, August 9: Isaiah 54 – 58
The events for Monday at Churchwide were mostly a matter or organization and introduction. The afternoon kicked off with opening worship, and it was one to remember. Especially for one who loves liturgy, it was great! The procession in and of it self was worth writing home about. It was complete with kites, flowing waters, and the bishops of the ELCA. It was certainly worthy of the theme “We are Church!”