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Posts Tagged ‘Isaiah’


2 Kings 19Fidelity is its Own Reward

Friday, January 18, 2019

We spent time reflecting on Hezekiah on Monday, today we look at another part of his story with a Noontime from November 24, 2008 posted today as a Favorite

Rubens: The Downfall of Sennacherib

As we read today’s Noontime, where have the opportunity to think about where we stand in human history.  The Assyrians with their leader Sennacherib have conquered the northern tribes that had broken away after Solomon’s death and now they stand ready to take Jerusalem.  Hezekiah, working closely with the prophet Isaiah, listens to Yahweh’s advice . . . and Jerusalem is spared the impending invasion.  In addition, we know from contemporary documents that two factors cause Sennacherib to turn away from Jerusalem: a plague came upon his troop encampment killing 185,000 soldiers, and word reached the Assyrians that Tirhakah of Egypt was marching out against them.  Sennacherib was later killed by his two sons (Adrammalech and Sharezer) while worshiping in the temple of Nisroch.  (ARCHEOLOGICAL STUDY BIBLE 562.)

The themes we have seen in this portion of 2 Kings are the healing of Hezekiah, Yahweh’s intervention in human events, the importance of spiritual reform and preparation, and the high value placed on fidelity by Yahweh.

Several verses call us to deeper reflection.

Verse 4: So send up a prayer for the remnant that is here.  Hezekiah and Isaiah know that the north has been lost . . . but they do not give up hope or faith.  They petition on behalf of the faithful who remain.

Verse 6:  Do not be frightened by the words you have heard, with which the servants of the King of Assyria have blasphemed me.  The Lord replies with words of comfort for these faithful servants.  The Lord reminds them that he will not only take care of his faithful remnant, but he will also address the wrongs done to them by their enemies.

Verses 15 to 19:  You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth.  You have made the heavens and the earth.  Incline your ear, O Lord and listen!  Open your eyes, O Lord, and see!  Hezekiah prays to Yahweh in the temple.

Verse 34:  I will shield and save this city for my own sake, and for the sake of my servant David.  The Lord replies.

Verse 35: That night the angel of the Lord went forth . . .

What do we know about ourselves?  We live in a tumultuous world which is ever ready to dismiss or overrun the faithful servants of Yahweh.  We will be challenged as New Testament apostles of this one true God.  Our ideas, our families will be invaded by forces which seek to diminish the voice we carry in solidarity.

What must we do when we are under attack?  We have need of only one place of supplication . . . the temple of our inner heart where the Holy Spirit dwells.  We have need of only one name . . . Jesus Christ.   We have need of only one God . . . the one who is supreme above all others . . . and this God alone is enough.  Remaining faithful to God brings salvation.  Fidelity brings lasting justice.  Fidelity beings eventual peace.  Fidelity to God is always accompanied by its own reward.


A re-post from January 18, 2012.

Image from: http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Sennacherib

ARCHAEOLOGICAL STUDY BIBLE (NIV). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2005. 562. Print.

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Hosea 10False Heart, True Heart

Wednesday, December 23, 2015heart leaf on stone

A favorite from December 22, 2010.

False oaths, fake alliances, evil intrigues, any means to achieve an end: this is what Hosea sees in his community.  The kingdom of David has been divided in two.  Elijah, Elisha, and Amos have warned the people; Isaiah and Micah will add their prophetic words of warning.  Hosea finds himself seeing clearly the devastation that awaits this false-hearted people . . . but he is ignored.

Yet Hosea persists, telling us that we are people meant to worship God, we are meant to take the yoke upon fair neck, to thresh, to be harnessed by the plow of the true God with a true heart.  We are created to be workers in the vineyard, to sow justice and reap piety, we are meant to break new fields so that the rain of God’s justice might bring forth fruit.

Hosea warns that those who have sowed discord and wickedness will reap perversity and eat of the fruit of falsehood.  Turmoil will break out among those who have trusted their warriors and chariots rather than trusting God.  The fortresses carefully built against the needs of the world will be tumbled and ravaged; the false hearts who take advantage of the poor will be lost in the utter destruction.  Hosea does not surrender to the pressures around him, he endures.

Like Hosea, we might want God’s justice to be clearly visible in the present; we may want all of Hosea’s predictions about false hearts to materialize in an instant.  Those who seek a settling of scores may wish God’s integrity to rain down on those who sit on comfortable couches to contrive wicked plots.  They will want to see a world of integrity replace the world of falsehood they experience.  Yet this is the message of Advent: the one of true heart and true words, the one of promises kept and miracles revealed has come to live among us.  Advent tells us that the possibility of living a genuine life is here – now – this day.   We need only open our eyes to see.

CrossHeartLogo11-300x289If we are dissatisfied with the speed of God’s coming, or if we doubt that God is even here among us, we must look first to ourselves to begin kingdom-building.  We must examine our own hearts to see if we remain in truth no matter the social consequence.  We must cease the gossip, cease the controlling, cease the lusting after outcomes, fame, possessions, power and people.  We must amend our ability – and our willingness – to ignore reality.  We must change our hearts so that we do not succumb to the social pressure to acquire goods or supremacy.  We must nurture our desire to share, our yearning to heal, and our aspiration for peace.  We must ask God to transform the falsehood in our own hearts so that we might receive the goodness from his.  We must be open to the reality of Advent.

In this way – with endurance, with fidelity, and with honesty – the prophecy of Hosea will arrive fully.  And in this way the false hearts of the world will become the true heart of Christ.

 

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

light-under-door-300x225[1]Psalm 32:5

Admission

At last I admitted to you that I had sinned; no longer concealed my guilt, I said, “I will go to Yahweh and confess my fault.  And you, you have forgiven the wrong I did, have pardoned my sin.

When we are in the wrong we sense that a huge ogre stands outside our door if we even begin to admit that we have erred.  And when we finally open the door of the soul to enter into an honest conversation with God we find that the imagined ogre is less than an inch in height.  We have been held hostage by our own imaginings that festered in the dark silence of our troubled hearts.

heart-of-god[1]God says: Do you see why I have been calling at your closed door for so long into the night?  I want to bring you out of the corner in which you have been crouching.  Your sins are never too great for me to forgive.  Your transgressions are always smaller than the love with which I heal.  Do you know that the conversation I am waiting to have with you will bring you more joy than pain?  Do you remember that my prophet Jeremiah has told you that I have plans for you, plans for your joy and not woe?  Do you recall that my prophet Isaiah predicted that I would walk among you as the light?  Do you not hear my voice on the other side of that closed door – the voice that encourages you?  Do you not feel the love I send to you through the closed thickness that separates us?  Open the door.  Answer my call.  And allow me to fold you in to the immense love of my sacred heart.

We say that we seek God when all the while God is seeking us.  We say that we look for serenity when all the while God offers us peace.  We say that we have nothing to confess when all the while our troubled thoughts weigh heavily on our hearts and minds and souls.  And all the while . . . God awaits our simple admission with a healing touch and a generous heart.

Enter the words sacred heart, forgiveness, or God’s love into the blog search bar and explore the many ways God persists in calling us to union.

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Friday, March 8, 2013 – Hosea 10 – False Heart, True Heart

heart-nature-mark-kazav[1]False oaths, fake alliances, evil intrigues, any means to achieve an end: this is what Hosea sees in his community.  The kingdom of David has been divided in two.  Elijah, Elisha, and Amos have warned the people; Isaiah and Micah will add their prophetic words of warning.  Hosea finds himself seeing clearly the devastation that awaits this false-hearted people.   He is ignored.

Yet . . . Hosea persists, telling us that we are people meant to worship God, meant to take the yoke upon fair neck, to thresh, to be harnessed by the plow of the true God with a true heart.  We are created to be workers in the vineyard, to sow justice and reap piety, we are meant to break new fields so that the rain of God’s justice might bring forth new fruit.

Hosea warns that those who have sown discord and wickedness will reap perversity and eat of the fruit of falsehood.  Turmoil will break out among those who have trusted their warriors and chariots rather than trusting God.  The fortresses carefully built against the needs of the world will be tumbled and ravaged; the false hearts who take advantage of the poor will be lost in the utter destruction.  Hosea predicts all of this and does not succumb to the darkness of the world.  He does not surrender to the pressures around him, he endures.

Like Hosea, we might want God’s justice to be clearly visible in the present; we may want all of Hosea’s predictions about false hearts to materialize in an instant.  Those who seek a settling of scores may wish God’s integrity to rain down on those who sit on comfortable couches to contrive wicked plots.  They will want to see a world of integrity replace the world of falsehood they experience.  Yet this is the message of Christ: God has sent one of true heart and true words, one of promises kept and miracles revealed.  God has sent Jesus to live among us.  Lent tells us that the possibility of living a genuine life is here – now – this day.   We need only turn to God and to open our eyes to see.

If we are dissatisfied with the speed of God’s coming or if we doubt that God is even here among us, we must look first to ourselves to begin kingdom-building.  We must examine our own hearts to see if we remain in truth no matter the social consequence.  We must cease the gossip, cease the controlling, and cease the lusting after outcomes, fame, possessions, power and people.  We must amend our ability – and our willingness – to ignore reality.  We must change our hearts so that we do not succumb to the social pressure to acquire goods, dominance or a sense of superiority.  We must nurture our desire to share, our yearning to heal, and our aspiration for peace.  We must ask God to transform the falsehood in our own hearts so that we might receive goodness from God.  We must be open to the reality of the Lenten message that all are welcome.  Welcome into Christ’s own, open heart.

With endurance, with fidelity, and with honesty the prophecy of Hosea will fully arrive.  And thus the false hearts of the world will become the true heart of Christ.

Let us ask for the coming of this kingdom.

First written on Wednesday, December 22, 2010.  Revised and posted today as a Favorite.

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Monday, December 26, 2011 – Mark 11:1-11 – Jesus’ Entry into the World

Murillo: Nativity Shepherds

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.  You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing . . . (Isaiah 9:1-2) The prophet Isaiah anticipates the joy that will come into the world with the birth of the Messiah.  We anticipated the coming of this holiday, expending energy on little details and big decisions.  Suddenly, the event is over . . . or is it?

In a too-quick, on-to-the-next-thing world Christmas has ended.  Evergreen trees that a few hours ago decorated family rooms with a display of tended ornaments and artificial lights now lie bare at the curbside for recycling.  Presents opened and exchanged are nestled into their new places in the hubbub of our lives.  Objects stowed, family and friends greeted, back to work until the next holiday.  We have waited and shopped and prepared in anticipation for weeks . . . and now we may be tempted to rush on . . . and so miss the gift and promise of Christmas.

Today’s Noontime takes us to another part of the Christmas story; although we might not see it at first.  We find ourselves at the gates of Jerusalem about to enter with the Master.  He sends some of his followers into town in search of a colt he knows is tethered in a particular place.  Strangely, the animal is lent; the disciples answered just as Jesus told them to do when bystanders questioned them.  The colt is brought, people spread their cloaks on the road and raise leafy fronds as they sing: Hosanna!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  The gift has been given and now the promise is to be fulfilled.  The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light . . .

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation, and saying to Zion, “Your God is King!”  (Isaiah 52:7) The prophet Isaiah announces with joy the entry of the Messiah.  We looked for the coming of the Christmas holiday, offering prayers for big and little petitions.  Suddenly, the event is over . . . or is it?

In a too-fast, we-are-so-connected world Christmas is over.  Cranky relatives have been visited or called; old emotions and arguments boil to the surface to be put back into place.  All as it should be until the next occasion.  We have thought and reflected in anticipation for some time . . . and now we are eager to push on . . . and if we push on too quickly we miss the true gift and the eternal promise of Jesus’ entry into our lives.

And so we pray . . .

Good and gentle God, you come into our lives as both a vulnerable child and a determined savior.  Help us to linger in this message.  Encourage us to slow down so that we can take your message in.  Abide with us as we sink into the mystery you bring to us of your eternal and always constant love.  We rest in you this day and this night . . . as we ponder the gift of your entry.  Amen. 

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