I don't know where to begin! I was very much enjoying the passage in Isaiah and I've always loved Ephesians 6:10-18...
I guess, as a beginning, I could say I really enjoyed Isaiah today but it became also very blatantly clear that I cannot continue reading this without a commentary, or some sort of assistance in interpreting. Because I'm getting lost and I'm feeling like I'm understanding but also what if I'm missing the actual point?
All the talk about barren women, widowed women, and eunuchs...There are a lot of different things said in this passage that clue me in: this is much richer in meaning than I know right now. But this spoke to me still.
Here goes my little uneducated interpretation though:
"Sing barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband," says the Lord" (Is. 54:1)..."For your Maker is your husband--the LORD Almighty is His name--the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth" (Is. 54:4).
Being a wife, a mother, a husband, and/or a father is a wonderful, wonderful thing. Throughout history it's been something that different cultures glorify because it is such an inherently good thing. But cultures also have historically shamed men and women (women, mostly, let's be honest) who didn't marry or have children. In the culture we live in today it's definitely more acceptable to never marry, never have children, etc. But it's still a hugely glorified thing in our culture...rom coms, love songs, shaming virgins, etc. (And Christian culture adds a whole crazy dimension to the conversation.)
When I read this passage though it "proclaims peace" to those who feel like they are lacking in that area: marriage, parenthood, it speaks to all who feel they are lacking anything in this life:
To know and love God, to know and love Christ, to live our lives obeying Him, walking in love, "proclaiming peace," spreading the good news!, delighting in Christ's body, serving, worshiping the Lord...to live our lives WITH Jesus is 1000% more fulfilling and rewarding than if you had all those things you wish you had.
As we go about our day we surely think of many many things to fill-in-the-blank "My life would be so much better if I had ___________."
And maybe you would be happier. If you are single (which I am) and you suddenly had a boyfriend, maybe your life would be "so much better" (I mean, yeah, maybe, that'd be cool). But ultimately, you can't get any better than living life with Jesus. Even if you NEVER see that fill-in-the-blank get filled in, if you are living life with Jesus, you are fine.
You are more than fine.
You have overwhelming, overflowing, never-ending reason to "shout for joy."
And I talked this whole time about Isaiah and I'm gonna keep going to talk about Ephesians, real quick.
Another reason to get myself a commentary, the whole thing about slaves vs. masters. I don't want to gloss over that but I also have no idea what to do with it. Slavery is detestable and I need help understanding the context of this passage in the Bible, because I don't believe enslaving people is God-honoring. So I don't want to pretend I didn't read that. One day, when I read more about it, I will develop a more educated understanding of these passages in the Bible, so, stay tuned.
But the passage on spiritual warfare. UGH. I could do a whole post on this, and maybe one day I can dive more into it. But for tonight...I want to state how nine days of being in the Bible makes me feel so much more guarded. I feel like I'm more ready to face spiritual warfare now than ever before, more than when I've actually confronted demons before.
Before I started this project I would have go-to passages of Scripture, and this was one of them. And every time I read it I always was kindly convicted that I need to be more vigilant in my prayer life and my Scripture-reading life. Today, reading it, I feel like I'm beginning to feel the benefits of following through on those kind convictions.
I don't want to sound legalistic...it's not that you need to read the Bible every day and read the whole Bible and read commentaries and all of that in order to stand up in spiritual warfare, because like I said, this is a brand new rhythm for me and I've been in situations of spiritual warfare without this rhythm...but also at the same time...
Yes, you do kinda have to take this seriously. The Bible is very clear right here about taking this seriously! "The battle is not against flesh and blood" this is "against spiritual forces of evil." That's no joke!
But this is my favorite part about all of it: I am really enjoying wearing the armor of God. I'm excited that I get to wear the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, gospel peace shoes, shield of faith, and the Sword of the Spirit: the Word of God. These are gifts! It's like I'm Princess Mia walking into my royal new princess closet with all the sunglasses and the remote control drawers.... but obviously, infinitely better.
I think my thoughts on Isaiah and Ephesians do connect at this point: The joy of the Lord!
Maybe I don't have my fill-in-the-blank fulfilled, I'm probably always going to feel like that since the fill-in-the-blank changes daily.
But my fill-in-the-blank means absolutely nothing...
I am invited to live with Jesus. I get to be His ambassador, His warrior, His witness, His princess (i.e. Princess Mia reference), His child... H I S.
"SHOUT for joy"
P.S. update from sept. 29, 2017: I picked up a commentary today and (1) this particular commentary has not helped me resolve the slavery issue in Ephesians, so I will have to continue searching (2) Matthew Henry confirmed my original feelings about the Isaiah passage! The prophet is talking about the church and the way it will grow (after Christ) to include Gentiles...it will be a community. The kingdom of God will be more than enough family :)