Thursday, April 9, 2015

Isaiah, Day 4 Readings

God's Mysterious Ways and God's Invitation

Today's first reading is a prophecy for the time of the exile in Babylon.  In it, God promises to do a new thing -- allow the exiles to be freed and then lead them back to restore the kingdom centered in Jerusalem.  In some ways, it is critical of even the faithful (who likely taught about how God's judgment of the Jews was appropriate) by promising to do a completely new thing.  However, it also hearkens back to the salvation God offered the Israelites by guiding them from slavery in Egypt, through the barren desert, to the Promised Land.  As such, it is the perfect reminder that God works in mysterious ways.

Read Isaiah 48:1-21  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

The second reading offers an invitation to people to become faithful and become fully accepted as part of God's chosen people.  Likely it was intended to encourage lapsed Jews to reclaim their faith, but it never explicitly restricts the invitation to Jews.  Instead, in ways that will recur in the other prophets and in Jesus' teaching, it extends the invitation to all who thirst and hunger -- come to the divine source of all and be filled.  Anyone who responds to God's word -- God's teaching -- will become a part of God's restored kingdom.

Read Isaiah 55:1-13  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

Reading the Bible in Its Entirety

If you are planning to read the Bible in its entirety, you should read Isaiah 40-53 today.