Bible reading for weekend May 21 -- 23
May 21 -- Isaiah 22 and 2 Peter 3
May 22 -- Isaiah 23 and 1 John 1
May 23 -- Isaiah 24 and 1 John 2
"Behold, the LORD will empty the earth and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants." (Isaiah 24:1)
VALLEY OF VISION (ch 22). In the last oracle of the previous chapter (21:13-17) Isaiah returns to a short-range prophecy, concerning the Arabian tribes to the east of Israel. This chapter (22) is addressed to Jerusalem during Hezekiah's reign and the impending Assyrian siege. A number of archaeological finds have given supporting evidence to the events of this period. The people were eager to make physical and military preparations but trusted too much in their own abilities. As Tom Constable summarizes,
"This oracle reproved the people of Jerusalem for trusting in the arm of flesh to protect them from their enemies. Isaiah epitomized and condemned this attitude by citing Shebna’s self-confident behavior. He also showed that trusting in even the most capable of people, such as Eliakim, would prove disappointing. Rather their trust should be in their sovereign, almighty Lord. Christians face temptations similar to the ones Isaiah identified here. We may fail to trust the Lord first and to pray for His guidance, resting rather on our own or another’s ability to solve problems. We may become so preoccupied with our own interests and reputations that we fail to serve the Lord and people. We may also put too much hope in our leaders and not enough in our God."
TYRE AND SIDON (ch 23). Tyre, along with Sidon, was the major sea power of that day. Through trade with Egypt and across the Mediterranean, these cities were wealthy and powerful. They too would be subjugated by Assyria, then by Babylon, and finally by Greece at the hands of Alexander the Great. On the seventy-year respite Tyre received, see the NET Bible notes.
THE WHOLE EARTH (ch 24). Far beyond the days of Assyria and Babylon, Isaiah sees a coming global judgment, which is describing the last seven years of this present age. The regional judgments of Isaiah's day prefigure worldwide judgment at the end of human history. This judgment will include celestial phenomena, such as signs in the sun, moon, and stars (24:23; cf 13:10), as was also taught by the Lord Jesus (Matt 24:29).
"But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells." (2 Peter 3:13)
GOD'S PATIENCE (ch 3). The Apostle Peter, along with Isaiah, echoes the biblical teaching that worldwide judgment is coming. It will coincide with the return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. What appears to be a long delay is actually a demonstration of God's patience (vv 7-9), giving people time to repent. When we read of end-time events we should not become speculative or despairing or unduly curious about the details, but Peter tells us the big question is, "in light of the coming worldwide judgment, and the Lord's return, what kind of people ought we to be?" How should you and I be living in preparation for that day?
THE FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN. This weekend we begin reading 1 John. Read my introduction here. And notes on chapter two are here.
About this newsletter: I post three times a week on my Bible reading, following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. Subscribe for email at Buttondown.email/Sandy. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. A very helpful resource is the NET Bible with its excellent notes at netbible.org.