1. The Terror of Judah
Isaiah is a book filled with prophesies about Israel, Judah, and the other nations in the region (along with the world as a whole). Many of these prophecies have already come true. There are many more that are yet to happen. One such prophecy occurs in chapter 19.
“In that day the Egyptians will become weaklings. They will shudder with fear at the uplifted hand that the Lord Almighty raises against them. And the land of Judah will bring terror to the Egyptians…” -Isaiah 19:16-17
During Isaiah’s time, this was an outlandish thing to say. For thousands of years, Egypt had been a dominant military power (going back to before Moses). There military was still an imposing force and nothing to be taken likely. So to make this claim was Isaiah really stepping out in faith.
But how right did he turn out to be? Today, Israel is a military power. The fact that the nation of Israel exists is an absolute miracle in itself, but to be a military power after only 69 years of existing in its current form is mind blowing.
Conversely, look at Egypt. The Egyptian government was recently involved in a civil war, controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, and had to regain somewhat stability when some members of the government led a “coup d’état” to take power.
It took a long time, along with many twists and turns, but Isaiah’s prophecy came true right before our eyes!
2. The Lord’s Servant
I love Star Wars. It’s got it all. Action, comedy, drama. But possibly the biggest reason Star Wars has become so popular is the characters. The story is filled with fantastic characters who have been played by amazing actors. Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, and even James Earl Jones voicing Darth Vader. But possibly my favorite character in all of the movies isn’t any of these. In fact, he’s hardly in the movies at all. He has 4 lines (27 words!), and only has about 20 minutes of screen time in the entire trilogy.
This character’s name is Boba Fett. In the movie, he’s a bounty hunter with a really cool suit. We don’t know much about him, but he’s just so cool, fans are drawn to him.
Similarly, some of the most interesting individuals in the Bible aren’t the main characters. In Isaiah 22, we read about an individual named Eliakim son of Hilkiah. Eliakim only appears in six versus of the Bible, and the biggest part of his story appears here:
"“In that day I will summon my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah. I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him. He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the people of Judah. I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open." -Isaiah 22:20-22
From other versus, we know that Eliakim was an assistant to King Hezekiah. He served Hezekiah with a man named Shebna. Shebna ended up in power after Hezekiah’s death, but he sought his own glory. Meanwhile, Eliakim merely did his humble job faithfully, and was continuously devoted to the Lord.
Because of this, God give Eliakim the title “my servant” and says that he will put Eliakim in power. “I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.” (v. 22)
For a man with a humble job and not much publicity, he’s a pretty great character in the story of God.
3. Eat Some Adversity, Drink Some Affliction"Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them." -Isaiah 30:20
This verse caught my eye because of its first part: “the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction.”
Upon first glance, this doesn’t seem out of the ordinary when we’re reading through Isaiah. This book can be tough to read because there is a lot of “doom and gloom” prophecies and judgments being handed down. But, I don’t think that’s what is going on here.
The phrasing “the Lord gives” makes it seem like this is a good thing; a gift. But how could “bread of adversity and water of affliction” possibly be a gift from God? This is a similar question to what we hear in today’s society. “How can God let bad things happen?”
The truth is that God wanted Israel to prosper. God had blessed them. He gave them a beautiful place to live, a prosperous nation, and peace with neighbors while they followed His commands. But the problem with Israel is that, historically, every time God blessed them with these things, they forgot they needed to still rely on God.
While we would all like to live perfect lives without any heartache, times of adversity and affliction turn us towards God. They can be like bread and water, basic needs for us to live.
What caught your eye this week? What were your thoughts on the reading? Let us know below!