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Posts Tagged ‘Isaiah’

Be Strong in the Lord

Having finished a thrilling study of the Gospel of John – high-fives all around! – I began a study of Isaiah November 1.  Let’s see.  If it took me thirteen months to work my way through John’s twenty-one chapters, I may be a tottery old man by the time I work through Isaiah’s sixty-six!  That’s alright.  I’m in no hurry.  My practice is to work my way through a book by writing out the text word for word, paraphrasing it as if I were relating it to someone sitting at our kitchen table, and then applying it to my own life.  Before jumping into the text, though, I like to read an introduction to the book.  So, I am reading John Oswalt, an author recommended by Gordon Fee’s How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth.  (If Fee’s book is not in your personal library, I heartily recommend it as it has made me a better Bible reader.)

Oswalt notes that in the first section of Isaiah, Assyria is the dominant world power, who, after squashing Israel, marches south.  To protect herself, Judah turns to Egypt, a choice Isaiah rails against!  “Alas for those who go down to Egypt for help and who rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are very strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the Lord!” (Is. 31:1)

This started me thinking about some of the foolish alliances we make.  Hoping to find strength and security in alliances we hope are strong enough to overcome pennilessness, sickness, failure, or other maladies, we tie our fortunes to the stock market or the family doctor or education or something else just as surely to disappoint in the long run.  Isaiah’s message to us would be: Your strength is in the Lord!  That’s a reminder I need.

“Have you not known?  Have you not heard?  The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.  He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless.  Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Is. 40:28-31).

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