9/17 Reading (Isaiah 4-6; Matthew 7-8)

Isaiah 4: This is the last chapter of the first part of this book. After all of the promise of death and destruction, we see a single paragraph that paints a lovely picture of what Jerusalem will look like after God is done. It sounds like a utopia.

Note about Isaiah 5-12: The Access Bible broke down Isaiah into separate sections, which is pretty helpful. It then has an intro/description of what I will read in each section. Again, that’s nice. The overall theme for chapters 5-12 are warnings to Jerusalem and its royal house (p. 934).

Isaiah 5: The vineyard referred to in this chapter represents Jerusalem. The writer expresses his disappointment in this vineyard in the beginning of this chapter and warns that it will be destroyed because of all the bad things going on there. According to the notes in the Access Bible “the conduct of the ruling classes in Jerusalem involved greed, manipulation of justice, violence, and dishonesty” (p. 937).

The first part of this section goes admonishes the wealthy for the overwhelming greed, especially at the expense of the poor. They are told they will pretty much lose everything when the time comes.

Reading this makes me think about our current state of affairs in this country. As the rich get richer, the poor gets poorer. It’s so disheartening.

This chapter ends by telling the reader that God will call an opposing army to destroy them.

Isaiah 6: Sounds like this will be an interesting chapter. According to the CEB notes, “Isaiah describes his commissioning by God to bring a message of judgment to his people” (p. 1104 OT). Much of this is setting the scene for the short back and forth between God and Isaiah. God tells Isaiah that he will speak for him (God) to the people of Earth. He’s told that the cities will lie in ruin and the people will flee. God tells him this because Isaiah asks a question: “How long, Lord?” This is interesting to me because I’ve learned from several people I’ve had interactions with on social media that you can’t question God. Yet here we are.

Matthew 7: Wrote about this originally on 3/12. Last chapter of the Sermon on the Mount.

  • Judging – Here Jesus tells the people that they shouldn’t judge others and that God is the one who will judge all of us.
  • Asking, seeking, knocking – Here we see the famous phrase: “Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened.” He is arguing that God will provide for all of us and that we should provide for those in need. That we should treat people the same way that we want to be treated.
  • Narrow gate – The narrow gate refers to the notion that don’t take the easy road. “The gate that leads to life is narrow and the road is difficult, so few people find it.”
  • Tree and fruit – Beware of false prophets and of the wolves in sheep’s clothing. We will know the wolves by their fruit, which is bad.
  • Entrance requirements – Only those who do the will of God will enter heaven. I want to look further into this part. Matthew 7:21-23.
  • Two foundations – If you listened to Jesus’ words and follow them, you are like the builder who put a house on brick. If you listened and didn’t follow them, then you are like the builder who built a house on sand.

This chapter ends with this text: “When Jesus finished these words, the crowds were amazed at his teaching because he was teaching them like someone with authority and not like their legal experts.”

Matthew 8: Wrote about this originally on 3/13. This chapter is all about different examples of Jesus performing miraculous healings or events. He heals a man with skin disease just by touching him, a centurion’s servant (the man said he wasn’t worthy of Jesus coming to his house which impressed Jesus), he healed Peter’s mom who had a fever by touching her, and he threw out many people’s demons (there’s a reference to a phrase from Isaiah 53:4). We also see Jesus place a high demand on his followers, that their only priority is faithful discipleship. Jesus calms a storm that scared his followers. Finally, he freed demon-possessed men.

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