Thursday, March 31, 2011

Prophets

After Songs we have the Prophets, which I have a hard time reading.  I do much better with historical prose.  It does help knowing more of the story prior to reading them.  These prophets were sent to Israel and/or Judah ahead of their exiles to try to talk them into following God and giving up their pagan worship.  They failed, obviously, but the words saved for us (and for the Jews upon their return from Exile) are very important for a variety of reasons.  The most easy to identify one is these prophets predicted Jesus.  They predicted a bunch of other things too (such as the exile, the fall of Babylon, and other historical events) which gives their predictive power credibility.  All of these were written ahead of their predictions.

First up is Isaiah.  From there, we get several prophecies about Jesus, but the one that is most striking is the passage about the Suffering Servant.

Isa 52:13-53:12  Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.  As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:  So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?  For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.   But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.   All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.   He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.  And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.


Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.  He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.  Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.


Jeremiah was doing the same thing, and that book gives his words and the evils of the people.  It too has prophecies regarding the coming Messiah.

Jer 23:5  Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
Jer 23:6  In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.


There are others too, but that’s the one I noted while reading.  Jeremiah was a very hard read for me, as it is simply so depressing.  Sometimes we look at the Old Testament and wonder how people could be so stupid.  How could they time and time again revolt against God when He made Himself so clearly known?  How could they return to their wicked ways once the God of everything had saved them over and over again?  How could they doubt His power?

We look at the New Testament and may wonder the same thing.  How many miracles must Jesus perform for them to get it in their heads that He is the Messiah?  How many sick must He cure and lame must He heal and blind must He restore sight to?   How many prophecies must He fulfill?  And then they kill Him!  And He rises from the dead!  Something new is started entirely. 

But perhaps we can look at ourselves, and definitely our world, and see it happening again and again and again.  We make every attempt to solve our own problems and to create this sin free paradise where we don’t need God or want Him in our lives or consult Him on our decisions or honor Him with our deeds, words, and materials.   We still have a 0% success rate, and yet we persist.

I am an independent person.  I try to solve all my problems by myself too.  And I still find that most of my problems aren’t solvable by me, but they have been answered by God.  Not in a maybe possibly sort of sort of way either – I have had problems solved in ways outside of my ability and experience.  God can do that.  He doesn’t have to, but He sure can.

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