“40 Days and 40 Nights of God’s Word”
DAY 22: AUGUST 13
PROVERBS 26 – ISAIAH 16:14
LOVE ME SOME ISAIAH! You know it’s coming straight from God’s mouth when it feeds you in the way that only God can. That’s why Jesus was so effective in teaching and preaching – God spoke directly through him to the people in real-time. Isaiah was one of the “thus saith the Lord” prophets who heard from God first and then relayed what he heard later, but his words still have much of the same immediacy as Jesus’. You get the sense that they were written down as soon as God spoke them to him. That’s why they’re so fresh even after nearly 3000 years.
- Compared to yesterday’s proverbs, Solomon really switches gears here in Ecclesiastes and then again in the Song of Solomon. I find Ecclesiastes very approachable and always learn from it, but the song leaves me scratching my head. There’s also a deep sadness that pervades Solomon’s writings. This is particularly evident in Ecclesiastes. I hesitate to call it depression, but it seems that even with all his wealth, power, wisdom and wives, Solomon was not a happy man. Maybe he had too much of everything. And maybe, judging from some of his words, he knew it.
- I also find it very telling that many of Solomon’s proverbs mention how it is better to be poor with few cares than wealthy with many. He seemed to romanticize material poverty the way most poor people romanticize material wealth. In any case, something ultimately drove him into the arms of countless strange women, to be seduced there by their strange gods. This is not a happy ending. Solomon was renowned in life not for his joy and faith, but for his wealth and wisdom. His legacy is the same to this day. A tribute to Solomon in song is below the read-through schedule.
- It’s no secret that Isaiah was Jesus’ favourite Olde Tyme prophet. When he came out as the Messiah in his hometown synagogue, Jesus stood up and read a passage from Isaiah as evidence that God’s Kingdom had come. For his trouble, he was immediately run out of town. We can see even from the few chapters we’ve read of Isaiah today that Jesus is all over it, as are descriptions of the Kingdom as a spiritual realm. Isaiah more than any other prophet made it very clear that Zion was a spiritual safe haven, not a geopolitical one. Jesus’ famous phrase “my kingdom is not of this world” is in large part premised on the writings of Isaiah.
- Jesus learned from God directly what it meant to be the Messiah and what he had to do and accomplish and endure as the Messiah, but he also learned at the feet of Isaiah. Now we’re sitting there learning, too.
- I find the passage about what it means to live in Zion (another name for God’s Kingdom on Earth) particularly inspiring:
16 And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left… like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.
12 And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me.
2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.
3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
4 And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.
5 Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.
6 Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.
- Jesus quoted and paraphrased Isaiah throughout the Gospels. For instance, Matthew 24, which is about the time of tribulation and judgement, includes verses from Isaiah 13, some word for word. We can know which of the prophets most heavily influenced Jesus by how often he quotes them, and Isaiah wins that prize hands down. I’m so looking forward to the next few days of Isaiah readings!
What are your impressions of today’s scripture? Does the Song of Solomon leave you scratching your head, or does it make sense to you? And what jumped out at you in Isaiah? For me, every time Isaiah mentions the remnant, I see him waving to me. We born-agains are the prophesied remnant and we live in spiritual Zion, which is God’s Kingdom on Earth. Jesus made that very clear, and so does Isaiah.
The schedule for the BIBLE READ-THROUGH is directly below.