Archive for the ‘Isaiah 30’ Tag

Devotion for Saturday Before the Eighth Sunday After the Epiphany, Year C (ELCA Daily Lectionary)   1 comment

Hezekiah

Above:  Hezekiah

Image in the Public Domain

The Mind of God

NOT OBSERVED IN 2019

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The Collect:

O God our rock, your word brings life to the whole creation from

and salvation from sin and death.

Nourish our faith in your promises, and ground us in your strength,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 25

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The Assigned Readings:

Isaiah 30:8-17

Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15

John 16:1-4a

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During the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah, probably in 714 or 701 B.C.E., the monarch made diplomatic overtures to Egypt.  He was seeking to make Egypt.  He was seeking to make Egypt an ally, for the Assyrian Empire was threatening Judah.  First Isaiah opposed this geopolitical strategy.  His prophecy argued that an alliance with Egypt would create disgrace for Judah.  Later in Chapter 30, the prophet recorded a prophecy from God.  Depending on human strength is folly, it said, but Judah had chosen that path.  The kingdom would, so to speak, lie down in the bed it had made.

Far be it from me to read the mind of Hezekiah, who died a long time ago.  Perhaps he thought that he was doing the right thing.  I have read historical accounts of U.S. Presidents supporting regimes which victimized their own people, frequently during the Cold War.  But at least the military dictatorships which disappeared peaceful dissidents were not Communist, the State Department insisted.  Morally questionable choices frequently seem like the good–if not the least bad–options in real time.  Yet do not good intentions pave the road to Hell?

John 16:1-4a reflects the experiences of many early Jewish Christians.  Those who expelled Jewish Christians from synagogues did so in the name of God.  Often we mere mortals think that we know the mind of God–even if just slightly–but really have no idea.  We have mistaken human judgment for divine opinions.  The errors skew to the left, to the right, and to points between those two poles.  I make no pretenses of having mastered the divine mind–not even slightly–but I am confident in writing that, if God seems to agree with one all of the time, one is carrying on an internal dialogue with oneself.

The faithful and upright God of Psalm 92 disagrees with many people, especially those who are not righteous.  This does not mean, however, that a righteous person will agree with God all the time.  A righteous person is on the right path, however.  That counts for quite a lot.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 28, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS SIMON AND JUDE, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2015/10/28/the-mind-of-god/

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Devotion for Monday and Tuesday After the Seventh Sunday After the Epiphany, Year B (ELCA Daily Lectionary)   1 comment

Paul and Barnabas in Lystra

Above:  Paul and Barnabas in Lystra, by Johann Heiss

Image in the Public Domain

Recognizing and Glorifying God

NOT OBSERVED IN 2015

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The Collect:

Almighty God, in signs and wonders your Son revealed the greatness of your saving love.

Renew us with your grace, and sustain us by your power,

that we may stand in the glory of your name,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 25

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The Assigned Readings:

Isaiah 30:18-26 (Monday)

Micah 4:1-7 (Tuesday)

Psalm 38 (Both Days)

Acts 14:8-18 (Monday)

2 Corinthians 1:1-11 (Tuesday)

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O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger

or discipline me in your wrath.

–Psalm 38:1, The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

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Polytheists can blame negative (from a human point of view) divine actions on certain deities, thereby letting others off the proverbial hook.  We monotheists, however, lack that option, so judgment and discipline come from God, as do mercy and consolation.  It is a theological problem sometimes, but life without theological problems is not worth living, I suggest.

We humans interpret stimuli and other information in the context of our filters, many of which we have learned.  Other germane factors include our age, level of educational attainment, and cognitive abilities.  Yes, there is an objective reality, which we are capable of perceiving (at least partially) much of the time, but the range of perceptions persists.  Often we need to question our assumptions, as many people in Lystra (Acts 14:8-18) should have done.  God has spoken and acted, but how many of us have been oblivious to this reality or misinterpreted it?

We cannot, of course, grasp God fully.  We can, however, have partial knowledge of the deity.  And we can, out of love and devotion to God, recognize the source and love our neighbors as we love ourselves, by grace.  That will glorify God.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 3, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FOURTH DAY OF ADVENT, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARUTHAS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF MAYPHERKAT AND MISSIONARY TO PERSIA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BERNARD OF PARMA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCIS XAVIER, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY TO ASIA

THE FEAST OF JOHN OWEN SMITH, UNITED METHODIST BISHOP IN GEORGIA

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2014/12/06/recognizing-and-glorifying-god/

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Devotion for Friday Before the Second Sunday of Advent, Year A (ELCA Daily Lectionary)   2 comments

Christ Pantocrator

Above:  Christ Pantocrator

What God Has Done and Will Do

DECEMBER 6, 2019

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The Collect:

Stir up your power, Lord God, to prepare the way of your only Son.

By his coming nurture our growth as people of repentance and peace;

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 18

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The Assigned Readings:

Isaiah 30:19-26

Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19

Acts 13:16-25

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A Related Post:

The Remnant:

http://taylorfamilypoems.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/the-remnant/

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Blessed are you, O Lord our God:

for you alone do marvellous things.

Blessed by your glorious name for ever:

let the whole earth be filled with your glory.  Amen.

–Psalm 72:19-20, A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989)

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The Law of Moses contains rituals and commandments.  Many of these laws condemn the exploitation of others.  To exploit someone economically and/or judicially was a form of idolatry.  It still is.

One of the major themes in the Hebrew Bible is that such idolatry led to the destruction of kingdoms, followed by exiles.  Yet mercy upon the remnant follows in judgment in the Hebrew Scriptures.  The human-divine relationship (God acts lovingly-people reject God–God punishes people–God acts mercifully again) is a recurring cycle.

In Advent, of course, we look forward liturgically to a future season of both divine judgment and mercy (judgment on some as mercy on others) and backward liturgically to a time when God broke into history via the Incarnation.  I, having read about what God has done, wonder what God will do next.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 26, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JEREMIAH, BIBLICAL PROPHET

THE FEAST OF ISABEL FLORENCE HAPGOOD, ECUMENIST

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http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/06/what-god-has-done-and-will-do/

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Devotion for December 15 (LCMS Daily Lectionary)   4 comments

Above:  Ruins at Laodicea

Image Source = Roymail

The Limits of Our Knowledge of God

DECEMBER 15, 2019

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Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

Isaiah 30:27-31:9

Psalm 90 (Morning)

Psalms 80 and 72 (Evening)

Revelation 3:1-22

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The church–or a congregation–as John of Patmos reminds us, needs to be alive in Christ, to endure suffering faithfully when it comes, and to embrace Christ and his promises firmly.  There will be reward for righteousness in the end and condemnation for its absence.  Likewise, in Revelation 30-31, there will be deliverance for Judah and destruction for Assyria.  Both will come from God.

But He too is wise!

He has brought on misfortune,

And has not canceled his word.

So He shall rise against the house of evildoers,

And the allies of the workers of iniquity.

–Isaiah 31:2, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures

We monotheists lack the luxury which dualists and polytheists have; we cannot blame one deity for misfortune and credit another with causing blessings.  No, both flow from the God of Judaism and Christianity.  This can cause theological discomfort for some people (including me) some of the time, but this is a reality with which we need to wrestle.  Perhaps our discomfort arises from inaccurate (to some degree, if not entirely) God concepts.  I suspect, in fact, that all of us carry somewhat (at least) inaccurate God concepts in our heads.  So our discomfort is entirely predictable.

May we seek God all our days and seek to understand the only deity as best we can.  Admitting the limits of our knowledge while holding firmly to our eternal hope, may we receive more commendation than criticism from our Lord and Savior.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 31, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE SEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS

THE FEAST OF JOHN WYCLIFFE, BIBLE TRANSLATOR

NEW YEAR’S EVE

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http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/the-limits-of-our-knowledge-of-god/

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Devotion for December 14 (LCMS Daily Lectionary)   4 comments

Above:  A Trappist Monk at Prayer

Image Source = Daniel Tibi

“But You Refused.”

DECEMBER 14, 2019

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Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

Isaiah 30:15-26

Psalm 102 (Morning)

Psalms 130 and 16 (Evening)

Revelation 2:1-29

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Some Related Posts:

In the Stillness of Night:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/08/03/in-the-stillness-of-night/

Prayers of Forgiveness, Mercy, and Trust:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/prayers-for-forgiveness-mercy-and-trust/

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For thus said my Lord GOD,

The Holy One of Israel,

“You shall triumph by stillness and quiet;

Your victory shall come about

Through calm and confidence.”

But you refused.

–Isaiah 30:15, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures

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The reading from Isaiah flows immediately from the verses which precede it.  So correct understanding a firm grasp of the context of them.  Judah, the southern kingdom, was engaged in idolatry.  The leaders sought national security through Egypt, with which the Hebrews had a difficult history, including centuries of slavery.  In times contemporary to Isaiah, however, the threat was different; the Pharaoh deposed a king (after the time of Isaiah 30) and named the next one.  Such a nation was hardly a reliable treaty partner.  And economic and legal exploitation were commonplace.

Seek security in me,

Yahweh said via Isaiah.

Be still and quiet, calm and confident.

And, in various places, we read the commandment not to exploit people.  That runs throughout both Testaments and is prominent in the writings of the Prophets.

In Revelation 2 we read messages for four churches, each in a different city with its own circumstances.  I have read about all four; that information is hardly obscure.  My synthesis of the lessons from the messages follows:  Be both orthodox and loving, refrain from participating from the idolatry rampant in society (no easy task in some cases), hold firmly to the Christian faith despite difficulties and ordeals, and repent of errors. There is judgment and there is mercy.

Back in Isaiah, after the pronouncement of judgment in 30:15-17, we arrive at verse 18:

Truly, the LORD is waiting to show you grace,

Truly He will arise to pardon you.

For the LORD is a God of justice;

Happy are all who wait for Him.

TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures

The cautions in Isaiah 30 and Revelation 2 existed because of a hope that the people for whom they were intended would heed them.  Thus the fact that these pronouncements went forth indicated mercy.  We can read them today and learn from them.  And we can begin by being still and quiet, calm and confident in God.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 31, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE SEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS

THE FEAST OF JOHN WYCLIFFE, BIBLE TRANSLATOR

NEW YEAR’S EVE

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http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/but-you-refused/

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Devotion for December 13 (LCMS Daily Lectionary)   9 comments

Above:  The Reverend Will Dexter, from Babylon 5:  And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place (1996)

Image Source = A Screen Capture Via PowerDVD and a Legal DVD

When God Comes Knocking

DECEMBER 13, 2019

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Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

Isaiah 29:15-30:14

Psalm 18:1-20 (Morning)

Psalm 126 and 62 (Evening)

Revelation 1:1-20

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A Related Post:

Babylon 5:  And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place:

http://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/babylon-5-and-the-rock-cried-out-no-hiding-place-1996/

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The reading from Isaiah condemns haughtiness before God, the commission of evil and exploitative deeds, the quest for a diplomatic agreement with an ancient foe (who once enslaved the Israelites), and the preference for comforting words over true ones.  Judah was rife with legal and economic exploitation.  Judah also made diplomatic overtures to Egypt.  Many workers of malicious deeds acted as if God were not watching them.  They were mistaken.  Isaiah and John of Patmos said that there would be a reckoning, that God will mete out justice.  Those who destroy will face destruction; those suffering from injustice will exult.

I remember an episode of one of my favorite science fiction series, Babylon 5.  Our hero, the stressed-out Captain John Sheridan, had a conversation with a visiting Baptist minister, the Reverend Will Dexter.  Sheridan, not in the mood for spiritual counsel, asked mockingly if he should take all his problems to God.  Dexter replied that Sheridan would not need anyone to tell him when God comes knocking.

When God comes knocking the meek will triumph and the haughty will stumble.  When God comes knocking there will be good news and there will be bad news.  It will be the same news.  Whether it will be good or bad depends on us, does it not?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 31, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE SEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS

THE FEAST OF JOHN WYCLIFFE, BIBLE TRANSLATOR

NEW YEAR’S EVE

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http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/when-god-comes-knocking/

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Seventh Day of Advent   12 comments

Above:  “He clothes the hills with grass.” (Psalm 147:8, REB)

Awe of God

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2019

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Isaiah 30:19-26 (Revised English Bible):

People of Zion, dwellers in Jerusalem, you will weep no more.  The LORD will show you favour and answer you when he hears your cry for help.  The Lord may give you bread of adversity and water of affliction, but he who teaches  you will no longer keep himself out of sight, but with your own eyes you will see him.  If you stray from the path, whether to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice from behind you sounding in your ears saying,

This is the way; follow it.

You will treat as things unclean in silver-plated idols; you will loathe them like a foul discharge and call them filth.

The Lord will give rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and as you sow in the ground, and as the produce of your soil he will give you heavy crops.  When that day comes your cattle will graze in broad pastures; the oxen and donkeys that plough the land will be fed with well-seasoned fodder, winnowed with shovel and fork.  On every high mountain and lofty hill streams of water will flow, on the day of massacre when fortresses fall.  The moon will shine as brightly as the sun, and the sun with seven times its wonted brightness, like seven days’ light in one, on the day when the LORD binds up the broken limbs of his people and heals the wounds inflicted on them.

Psalm 147:1-11 (Revised English Bible):

Praise the LORD.

How good it is to sing psalms to our God!

How pleasant and right to praise him!

The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem;

he gathers in the scattered Israelites.

It is he who heals the broken in spirit

and binds up their wounds,

who numbers the stars one by one

and calls each by name.

Mighty is our LORD and great his power;

his wisdom is beyond all telling.

The LORD gives support to the humble

and brings evildoers to the ground.

Sing to the LORD a song of thanksgiving,

sing psalms to the lyre in honour of our God.

He veils the sky in clouds

and provides rain for the earth;

he clothes the hills with grass.

He gives food to the cattle

and to the ravens when they cry.

The LORD does not delight in the strength of a horse

and takes no pleasure in a runner’s fleetness;

his pleasure is in those who fear him,

who wait for his steadfast love.

Matthew 9:35-10:8 (Revised English Bible):

So Jesus went round all the towns and villages teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, curing every kind of illness and infirmity.  The sight of the crowds moved him to pity; they were like sheep without a shepherd, harassed and helpless.  Then he said to his disciples,

The crop is heavy, but the labourers too few; you must ask the owner to send labourers to bring in the harvest.

Then he called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out unclean spirits and to cure every kind of illness and infirmity.

These are the names of the twelve apostles:  first Simon, also called Peter, and his brother, Andrew; James, son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax-collector, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the man who betrayed him.

These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions:

Do not take the road to gentile lands, and do not enter any Samaritan town; but go rather to the lost sheep  of the house of Israel.  And as you proclaim the message:  ‘The kingdom of heaven is upon you.’  Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons.  You received without out cost; give without charge.

The Collect:

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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The word “fear” in relation to God appears often in English translations of the Bible.  This is an unfortunate fact, for the better word is “awe.”  Fear, as most of understand that concept, is not what the Biblical writers meant when writing in the original languages.  I worship God, who, as the author of Psalm 147 wrote poetically, clothes the hills with grass.  My relationship with God is personal.  Often I make short comments to God.  These vary from dark and anguished expressions of frustration to short comments about how lovely a cloud formation is or pleasant a breeze is.  All these statements are honest and rooted in the belief that I can say anything to God.

So I have no difficulty becoming awestruck by God, and therefore extending due respect to the deity.  From this spiritual state flows an understanding of certain obligations.  What ought I to do with this?  I am, as Jesus said, to give without charge, for I have received without cost.  Each of us has received generously from the hand of God; we need to share with others that which we have to contribute.  I think of the model from the Acts of the Apostles:  we Christians should live in community, give as we are able, and receive as we have need, so that nobody will lack anything he or she needs.  And, as the example of St. Laurence of Rome reminds me, the poor are the real treasures of the church.

This is a matter of priorities.

KRT

Written on May 31, 2010

http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2011/11/12/awe-of-god/