Thursday, February 2nd, Reading from Isaiah 3.8-4.1
This passage completes a theme that began with Isaiah 2.5. The basic thrust of the entire passage is to elevate human leadership over direction from God is to be done at our own peril. Isaiah says, “Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves” (Isaiah 3.9).
Historically, the Old Testament prophets take God’s side against the proud and powerful, who oppress the vulnerable of the land. As if we are listening to a prosecuting attorney, we hear God speak in Isaiah 3.13-15
God speaks through Isaiah: The Lord rises to argue his case; he stands to judge the peoples. 14 The Lord enters into judgment with the elders and princes of his people: It is you who have devoured the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses. 15 What do you mean by crushing my people, by grinding the face of the poor? says the Lord God of hosts (Isaiah 3.13-15).
John Oswalt (Commentary on Isaiah) writes, “When government becomes corrupt it is usually those who are helpless who are hurt first and most often, especially if the leaders think of the people as their own preserve which they can use to their advantage. But God says that the people, especially the helpless, are his and asks with burning eyes how the rulers dare to treat his heritage as they do.”
God’s final answer is not judgment. The book of Isaiah alternates between judgment and redemption. In tomorrow’s article we will examine God’s desire to bless his people. However, God’s blessing is not on our own terms. God’s blessing comes after humility and repentance. It comes when his people cease to trust human leaders and connect with his divine guidance.
Headlines from two newspapers on Thursday, February 2, 2017
God is the God of the entire world and he has an interest in the world, not just the United States. One headline comes from an excellent website that collects information from Africa. I encourage readers to go there if they have not previously done so. The location is http://www.allafrica.com.
- South Africa: Systemic Racism Behind South Africa’s Failure to Transform Its Economy – South Africa suffers from high levels of poverty, racism and inequality. This can be almost entirely attributed to centuries of conflict between white settlers and indigenous Africans. Apartheid reduced black Africans to the periphery of the economy. Many were condemned to landlessness and poverty.
Headlines from the New York Times.
- Rex Tillerson Is Confirmed as Secretary of State Amid Record Opposition – Rex W. Tillerson, the former chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil, was confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday in a 56-to-43 vote to become the nation’s 69th secretary of state just as serious strains have emerged with important international allies.
Prayer for February 2, 2017
Dear God, your word says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5.3). We pray for the poor and vulnerable. We ask you that you move events in our world on their behalf. Please help leaders everywhere to hear from you about what is your plan and purposes for their leadership.
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