Micah 2:12-13 – A New Beginning

Read Micah 2:12-13

sprout coming out of stump

Have you had the experience of reading a Bible passage, being completely certain the Holy Spirit gave you a message loud and clear, only to hear another’s viewpoint which is not at all the same? It’s like the Holy Spirit had a different message for them. Yet both messages seem relevant, even possible.

That just happened to me on this passage with my husband, David. You’ll recall he did his doctoral dissertation on the coherence of the Book of Micah, so I wasn’t surprised we may have had a different take. I was thrilled he shared with me several books from well-respected scholars displaying our respective messages. I had no idea Bible scholars had written such differing opinions so openly and with such authority. It was exhilarating! The Spirit inside me was overjoyed, too!

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Amos 2:9-3:2 – How Does God Feel?

Read Amos 2:9-3:2

man with his head in his hands in frustrated posture

Have you ever thought about what God “feels”? Is it possible that we ever hurt God’s feelings? I know I’m projecting my feeble humanity on God, and that is pretty limiting in and of itself. But our text would suggest that God is frustrated with his wayward children.

I don’t think there’s a parent alive, or anyone that has worked with children, that hasn’t had moments when pulling our hair out seems like the best option. Unruly children can be exhausting. Each time we have to remind them the reasons good behavior is expected, the more frustrated we can become. I’m sensing a bit of frustration in Amos’ prophecy from God. Will the people never understand?

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Amos 2:1-8 – A Wake-Up Call

Read Amos 2:1-8

alarm clock and coffee cup

For the Israelites hearing Amos’ words, was this the wake-up call that would finally work in bringing repentance? Amos saved the “best” for last. What were the Israelites thinking when they heard judgment against themselves? They had likely been thinking all this talk of judgment was only to the surrounding nations. But Israel and Judah were not immune to God’s raging anger.

In case you’d like to connect some dots like I did and realize who all the players are in this prophecy God gave Amos, let’s dig in a little bit. Some of these nations have ancestral connections to the Israelites. Edom and Israel are both descendants from Isaac: Edom from Esau, and Israel from his twin, Jacob. The Ammonites had descended from an incestuous relationship between Lot and his younger daughter. And finally, from this reading, the Moabites descended from an incestuous relationship between Lot and his older daughter. Lot was the nephew of Abraham.

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Isaiah 65:1-16 – God’s Decision Not Ours

Read Isaiah 65:1-16

quote: you're always one decision away from a totally different life
What kind of life do you want to be living?

Our opening line makes me think about God from a marketing perspective. “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’” In our marketing classes, we tell our students to be looking for those people who are looking for them. That’s the whole idea of attraction marketing. You want to be attractive and provide the goods or services to those who need them and want them. The image of God I have here is that he is waving his hands trying to get our attention.

How frustrating it must be for God to have given us the keys to the kingdom (in Jesus) only for us to leave them sitting on the table. It’s not just us. These prophetic words were originally directed to the Israelites, a people who was lost. That is, they were separated from God. What do we know of them? They rebelled. They were selfish. They followed other gods. Hmmm. That could be our society.

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Isaiah 24:1-23 – Total Judgment

Read Isaiah 24:1-23

The next few chapters (24-27) will be what are known as “Isaiah’s Apocalypse.” You can see why from the doom and gloom described. Yet, there are some technical things missing to truly be apocalyptic in nature. For instance, we are missing the words calling this out as a “vision.” There are also scholars who question if Isaiah wrote this, and if he did, shouldn’t it be at the end? These are details I share with you, but let’s not let them keep us from hearing God’s message to us today. After all, the purpose of this is to “reflect” not figure out the who, what, where, and how!

I have to admit this wasn’t the most uplifting of readings today. There was the glimmer of hope in verses 14-16. We’ll come back to that. But what this reading says to me overall is that God is in control. If he wants to bring destruction to the world, he will. We saw what he did with the flood in Noah’s day. He promised he would never do that again. In the descriptions were read in Isaiah, there is no mention of water covering the earth.

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