God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Monday, July 22, 2013

July 22 - Isaiah 28-30: God Teaches Ephraim the Basics Again

Today’s Reading: Isaiah 28-30

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Israel's worship is backwards. It comes from a need to be seen as righteous instead of real righteousness.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

God speaks to Ephraim. They need to relearn the basics.
"Zion's foundation will be justice. Unrighteousness will be destroyed without insurance. You will be a magnet for disaster. Time to sober up!"
Jerusalem would be drowned by foreigners and natural disasters. Only numbness would suffice.
"Judah, you worship a god you care nothing about. That's backwards! In the blink of an eye, your punishment will be lifted and the Promise restored. Then worship will continue.
"You make plans without consulting Me. Your 'protectors' need protection. Bite the bullet and return. Then throw out your so-called 'gods' and reconcile our relationship."

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

God must return to the basics for His Chosen People.

Israel has been God's Chosen People for centuries. Unfortunately, righteousness is not inherited genetically from generation to generation. After 1200 years of being God's Chosen People they must be taught the basics again—the foundation of God's Chosen People is righteousness. If God's Chosen People do not pass on the Promise, righteousness will not survive.

Worship should come out of devotion to God, not the other way around.

Israel wanted the world to know they were God's Chosen People through worship rituals and other "religiousy" acts. Outside of their religious ceremonies they continued to do whatever they wanted. If they kept the ceremonies correct, they could claim God as their god. The world would see them as "righteous" even though their acts were completely opposite. God could be whatever they wanted Him to be—Lord, philosopher, cultural symbol. No commitment to real change was necessary. This is backwards! Inner devotion to God does not come through outward worship. Outward worship comes as a result of seeing God's Plan work from the inside.

When we walk down God's Road, all other gods look like trash.

Consider what God has to offer: righteousness, purity, holiness, reconciliation, and a community of people dedicated to these things. No other god can compete. All other gods are not pure evil, but none surpass God's ability to set things right. This is why they look subpar. None of them can compete with perfection!

All of God's threats of punishment end in calls for repentance.

God has to remind Israel of their sin and what will happen several, several times (virtually all of the prophets have this at their thesis). However, every time He speaks of punishment He ends with what would happen if they returned. It is difficult to humble yourself before God and admit that you are powerless to set things right in your life. This is why Israel does not want to do it. Fortunately for them, repentance is much easier than enduring punishment. God desires clean hearts purified through repentance. God's threats are meant to remind us that sin is worse than humility.

Do you worship from a devoted heart or by force of habit?

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