Daily email Number 380 – from the Vicar

I said on Sunday that we were returning to 1 Corinthians for a new sermon series, and it was with some nervousness that I was going to tackle Chapter 7 from next Sunday.
Well it must be something in the September air, the start of the Autumn term and a new school year, but I thought I would give myself another challenge in the daily email, looking at the Book of the Prophet Isaiah.I’ve preached on 1 or 2 of its more well-known passages in the past, mainly in the lead up to Christmas or Easter, passages which most of you will recognise.  However, the size of the book (66 chapters), its poetic style, that much of it is not very well-known, my uncertainty in how to handle prophecy carefully and not to make it say something that it doesn’t, has meant that I have rather avoided studying it in detail and teaching it in my ministry.
So stepping out of my comfort zone, but with a firm conviction that this is the Word of God, and all Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, here we go with a short opening passage, Isaiah Chapter 1 verses 1 to 9.
We read in v.1 that Isaiah is speaking about Judah and Jerusalem, that is the smaller southern kingdom, after God’s people split in 2, during the reigns of 4 kings of Judah.  A brief account of each of them can be found in 2 Kings Chs.15-16 for the first 3 and 2 Kings Chs.18-20 for Hezekiah which includes a mention of Isaiah himself.  Uzziah and Jotham were okay-ish kings, Ahaz not good, and Hezekiah one of the best.  And it was during Ahaz’s time that the northern kingdom of Israel finished and was taken away by the Assyrians.
So the book as it sets the scene begins with a complaint as the Lord through Isaiah speaks about the rebellion of His people, who ‘have forsaken the Lord, have spurned the Holy One of Israel’ (vs.2-4).And so Isaiah asks the question, ‘Why do you persist in rebellion?’ (v.5), when they can see and experience all that has resulted from their rebellion because the Lord has allowed other countries to defeat them (vs.5-8).  In fact unless the Lord had intervened and left them with some survivors, a remnant, they would have been completely wiped out (v.9) – a small sign of grace amidst judgement.
We’ll look at the rest of the Chapter tomorrow and think how it might apply to us.

In our prayers for one another we return back to the beginning of our church address list again and pray today for,- Colin & Penny- Martin & Lucie

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