01 October 2010

Oct 1

Reference links:
Old Testament

There is a lot I could comment on, but for brevity I'll focus on a few things that pop out at me. (Side note. One thing that has been interesting going though Isaiah is that it is often so jam packed with different topics that I and the other Bible blogger I read end up covering completely different topics. In other books, I have been suspicious that one of us is reading the mind of the other. ;-)

I find the imagery of watchmen whose job is to pray to be interesting. Both because it seems kind of odd (watchmen on a wall just to pray?), but also because of the lines which follow:
Take no rest, all you who pray to the Lord.
Give the Lord no rest until he completes his work,
until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth.
It seems that Third Isaiah is implying that, at least at some level, the prayers of people of Jerusalem are necessary for its restoration. God, it is implied, must be exhorted to action. Throughout the Bible we see passages that imply that God needs to be reminded or otherwise driven to action.

This seems like a way of dealing with the fact that seemingly unconditional promises have gone unfulfilled. The same idea is reinforced when we get to today's portion of Isaiah 65 where the Lord says,
I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help.
I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me.
I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’
to a nation that did not call on my name.
It seems, even unconditional promises have an unstated condition: the continued attention and right hearted worship of the people.

Between those two passages, we get a bit of gruesome and violent imagery. These words are attributed to the Lord,
I have been treading the winepress alone;
no one was there to help me.
In my anger I have trampled my enemies
as if they were grapes.
In my fury I have trampled my foes.
Their blood has stained my clothes.
Like other passages that are attributed to God in Isaiah (and not just Third Isaiah), this passage seems more like an expression of the author's desire for revenge than anything else. That passage also makes it clear that God's unfailing love mentioned just a bit later is not universal, despite the fact that God has been established as universal in Isaiah.

New Testament

Paul hopes to send Timothy someday but in the meantime is sending Epaphroditus, who has been sick. Also, people who insist on circumcision are bad.

Psalms and Proverbs
My child, eat honey, for it is good,
and the honeycomb is sweet to the taste.
In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul.
If you find it, you will have a bright future,
and your hopes will not be cut short.
Mmmmm, honey. Tasty! Wisdom's good too.