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

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July 30 - Isaiah 54-58: God Opens His House to the World

Today’s Reading: Isaiah 54-58

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

God would no longer distinguish between Abraham's physical descendents and others. Anyone could become His Chosen Person.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

"Sing," God decrees, "for the Redeemer is Israel's god.
"Your exile, like the Flood, means no more attacks.
"Listen to David's Promise. Be my witness to the nations. My Word always fulfills its purpose.
"Everyone who sets things right is equal. My House will be a house of prayer for everyone."
Israel doesn't notice good people exiled. "Some Chosen People you've turned out to be," God replies. "I was angry but decided to heal Israel.
"Tell everyone they are too busy being religious. You fast but do not set things right! Stop doing unfair things. Then you will be blessed."

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

God will never take away His Promise.

Like the Flood, when God promised He would never punish the world all at once, God decided He would no longer punish His entire nation of Chosen People all at once. The surrounding nations equated that with God abandoning His Chosen People and therefore breaching the Promise. Israel happened to be the beneficiaries of God's want to be respected by their neighbors. God will never punish all of His Chosen People all at once or take away His Promise.

All nations would join God's Chosen People to worship God as equals.

God begins to expand the definition of His Chosen People. From around the world worshipers would flock to Jerusalem because of their god. Each would observe God's Sabbath correctly. Each would pray in God's House, previously reserved only for those who were clean and not deformed among Israel's community. God's message through Isaiah represents a radical shift in what Israel thought God wanted. In essence it does—but not for the typical reason. God only wants those who set things right to enter His Prayer-House. He tried by calling an ethnic group. That did not work. Now He expands it to the entire world.

Israel's fasting was ignored because they did not take a break from hurting others.

God is very clear—religious observance is not "separate and apart" from the way the observers live.
The bottom line on your "fast days" is profit.
   You drive your employees much too hard.
You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight.
   You fast, but you swing a mean fist. (58:3-4, The Message)
We cannot expect God to set things right between us when we refuse to set things right between ourselves. Instead, God tells us what He wants.
This is the kind of fast day I’m after:
   to break the chains of injustice,
   get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
   free the oppressed,
   cancel debts.
What I’m interested in seeing you do is:
   sharing your food with the hungry,
   inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
   putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
   being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
   and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way.
   The GOD of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, GOD will answer.
   You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, "Here I am." (58:6-9)

Search for God while you still can!

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