Do you recall Nathan’s discussion with David back in Chapter 12? It was more a message from God rather than a discussion. Nathan had used a story to elicit an angry response from David, only to point the finger at David as being the “bad guy” in the story. His rebuke came as a surprise to David.
Thankfully, David didn’t die that day for arranging the death of Uriah and taking of Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife as his own. But recall the proclamation made by God in verses 11 and 12, “This is what the Lord says: Because of what you have done, I will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man before your very eyes, and he will go to bed with them in public view. You did it secretly, but I will make this happen to you openly in the sight of all Israel.”
And Happy Birthday to the Christian Church! As I publish this in 2021, it is the eve of Pentecost. The date of Pentecost moves each year because it is dependent upon it’s proximity to the Passover celebration and/or Easter, which also move around the calendar. Pentecost was a Jewish tradition long before the events of our text today. But for the Christian church, Pentecost marks the start of a movement.
The Holy Spirit came in a mighty way. Jesus had promised his followers the Holy Spirit would come. Several weeks had passed since he made that promise before Jesus ascended into the sky. I’m sure the disciples were beginning to wonder when it was going to happen. They may have even been questioning whether they were going to recognize when it happened.
Who is Isaiah? We aren’t given much of an introduction here, but from verse 1, we know he is the son of Amoz, and he received visions concerning Judah and Jerusalem. We will, as the book proceeds, learn more about who Isaiah is. For now, we can focus on the message. It’s time to listen, and the book of Isaiah doesn’t waste any time getting to it.
Before we get started, I do want to point out that the timeline puts Isaiah in history during the time when the original nation of Israel had been divided into two kingdoms. There was Israel in the north and Judah in the south. You may recall that the northern kingdom, Israel, had already gone down the road of sinfulness against God. Judah was heading in that same direction. Isaiah came primarily as a prophet to Judah, but his message spoke to those in the northern kingdom as well. We will probably glean some of the wisdom as well to be applied to our lives.
I love the picture here of God giving the people what they asked for. They wanted to hear from God, but they didn’t want to hear his message directly again. It had really scared them in the wilderness. They thought they were going to die. Moses had become that spokesperson, but he wasn’t making the trek into the promised land with them. God would raise up another prophet or many others.
How would they know if it was a true prophet or just a false imposter? This is the answer. “If the prophet speaks in the Lord’s name but his prediction does not happen or come true, you will know that the Lord did not give that message.” Depending on the prophecy, it might take days, months, or years to know if a prophecy was from God. That could seem like a lifetime to be following the wrong message.
The book of Hebrews has several main themes, and one is that Jesus Christ is superior to everyone and everything. We will see descriptions showing how Jesus fulfills prophecy and the promises of God. This book was written to give encouragement to the Jewish Christians, likely before the fall of the temple in 70 AD. Because Jews as a people hadn’t all accepted Jesus as their Messiah, the Jewish Christians needed the assurance so they didn’t fall back into their old ways.
We also need encouragement in this dark world where there are so many forces of evil at work to try and lure us away from our faith. People say, I believe in God. Well, the demons believe in God. It is so much more than that. We need to cling to a faith in our superior king Jesus. Everything about Jesus reflects his Father, our heavenly Father. Continue reading “Hebrews 1:1-4 – Who is Jesus?”