Rambling Through the Prophets

Hillside Aflame. Foothill Ranch. October, 2007

Missing Half the Story

Every October, I begin to read the Gospel, as my Bible-reading plan launches me into the Good News on October first. By then, I’ve spent two months reading the prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Obadiah, Micah….those guys.

May I be honest? The prophets give me the heebie-jeebies. Isaiah warns of an angy, angry God, preparing to judge His people. Jeremiah laments the pending destruction of Judah. Ezekiel is treated to a tour of the Valley of Dry Bones.

There’s a whole lot of smiting going on in these books. It’s enough to give me nightmares. So, I’m ashamed to say, I tend to hurry my way through this stretch of the Bible.

This year I forced myself to slow down as I read the prophecies. I vowed to search for the promises of good. Because my head knew that the forecast was not all doom and exile, flames and bodies lying in the courtyards.

But my heart wasn’t so sure.

Once I slowed my reading, I found great cause for rejoicing. The prophets promise turmoil…and redemption.

Isaiah foretells the coming of Christ, 700 years or so before the first Christmas. Jeremiah reminds us that after the terror of exile, God will keep His good word, offering hope and a future. Ezekiel reports God’s promise to renew Israel.

God’s wrath doesn’t make sense without the assurances of His grace and mercy that follow it. It doesn’t make sense without understanding that His purpose is to redeem the holiness of His name.

And the rest of the story–the Gospel–makes no sense without the litany of iniquities that the prophets recount.

Advent is several weeks away, but I think I’ll begin preparing my heart today.

1 But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. 2 The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.
3 You shall multiply the nation,
You shall increase their gladness;
They will be glad in Your presence
As with the gladness of harvest,
As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
4 For You shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders,
The rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian.
5 For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult,
And cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire.
6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government willrest on His shoulders;
And His name will be calledcWonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.
Isaiah 9:1-7 (NASB)

Comments

  1. A Joyful Noise :

    Yes I too hate the violence that happens a lot in the Old Testament. The OT prophets were bold and fierce because they had to speak for God. Although God loves his children, he does not want to "Put up" with all their sinful practices that came with the territory as they worshiped other gods.

    Warning to repent was the first message, then if the people heeded – God in His mercy was forgiving and did not carry out his plans of destruction.

    Even today in this evil world the verse still stands.

    The verse 2Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

  2. Hazel,
    Thanks for coming by. I love that verse you shared.

  3. I studied Isaiah last year and was so encouraged by the glimpses of hope which always followed warnings of judgment. And sounds like you're singing my tune, Sheila. Never too soon to start thinking about Advent, right? Then again, isn't all of life Advent? Waiting for Him to come again.

  4. Why, Nancy, now that you mention it, I guess I am!!!

    And yes, now that you mention it, all of life IS Advent!

  5. I love how God never tells of the coming destruction without giving us a glimpse of redemption at the same time. He knows we need a hope to cling onto.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this Sheila. 🙂

  6. Me too, Debra. Thank you for coming by.