And just like that, Isaiah is over! I've now read the second half of Isaiah, parts of the Bible I've never read before. I will have to wait till August or September 2018 to read the first half (following this reading plan).
I took a look at some of the things Matthew Henry had to say about Isaiah, so allow me to kinda list the things that I enjoyed about that:
He confirmed my suspicions that the book is very typological, prophesying about things the people were currently experiencing, about the Babylonian exile yet to take place, about Christ, and about end times.
About the last portion of chapter 66 he confirmed my other interpretation... God is talking about the expansion of the kingdom of God to the Gentiles. Gentiles and Jews alike will come to worship at the throne of God as clean vessels. Cleansed by Jesus Christ through faith.
which also Paul kinda talks about in this passage of Philippians...Gentiles were always considered to be unclean for a lot of things but for one, because they weren't circumcised, Paul talks about how circumcision now means nothing, clean or unclean, because of Christ!
At the beginning of Henry's commentary on Isaiah he says something that I think summarizes the book of Isaiah well (not that I can say that having not even read the whole thing)..."The beginning of this book abounds most with reproofs for sin and threatenings of judgment; the latter end of it is full of good words and comfortable words. This method the Spirit of Christ took formerly in the prophets and does still, first to convince and then to comfort; and those that would be blessed with the comforts must submit to the convictions."
There are lots of hard-to-read passages in Isaiah. It's harsh and confusing and paints a picture of the classic "Old Testament God" we wrestle with. He can sound mean and scary. And I don't want to simplify it, because I know it's something we wrestle with for a reason. But to simplify it:
God created us, He designed us. He's holy, He's God. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Whatever we feel, however we feel, God knows what we need, He knows who we are. God gets to call the shots. We're going to fail to live exactly according to His design for us, we're going to sin, but if we submit to Him, repent, and worship Him "You are holy; I am not," we can be comforted by these amazing and lovely promises. These promises are for us.
Paul, in Philippians, talks about a kind of emptying of oneself. He talks about all the things he used to boast in, when he was named Saul, the things he thought made him worth something. And realizing that compared to Jesus Christ, compared to His person and the person He has designed Paul to be, Saul is nothing. Because how amazing and holy and perfect is our God? And how overwhelming and rocking are the promises of God for us?
"Our citizenship is in Heaven" (Phil. 3:20).
OUR CITIZENSHIP IS IN HEAVEN.
Never get over that.
You won't be able to.
P.S. Ladies, how cool is it that the Scripture uses pregnancy and child bearing analogies for deliverance and hope? How cool is it that God compares Himself to mother? "As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you" (Is. 66:13). God, our Father, God, our Mother.
A prayer for those affected by the attack in Vegas:
Lord God, this is horrifying and we can't understand why why why.
I pray for those who survived, injured or not, that You would heal their hurting hearts and show them Your goodness as they reel from this trauma. Ease their stress and help them process...heal.
For those who have lost loved ones, bring them comfort and peace. You are a God who redeems the worst of situations, and we eagerly anticipate what goodness You will bring from this situation. But for now we thank You for the grace to be angry, depressed, broken... to grieve.
Thank You for always grieving right along with us.