Today is Day 200!
You know what that means?
There are 165 more days to go
We are on the DOWNWARD SLOPE in a massive way!!
There should be a CELEBRATION!! (Cue Kool and the Gang’s CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES, COME ON!!! 😁)
You should get an award, some sort of certificate for your accomplishment in being FAITHFUL TO THE LORD WHO IS SO FAITHFUL TO YOU
Probably these first 200 days HAVE NOT BEEN PERFECT
That is AWESOME and that is GOOD
That’s how it’s supposed to be, right?
We are NOT perfect people
We just are called to be FAITHFUL TO THE LORD
When we FALL DOWN, we ask God to PICK US BACK UP
When we STOP, we ask God to help us START UP AGAIN
AND HERE WE ARE!!
200 TIMES, you have pressed PLAY and have LET THE LORD SPEAK TO YOU
TODAY IS NO DIFFERENT!
So in Isaiah Chs 18-20 an important thing to highlight is going to be incredibly important
Isaiah Ch 18 is the most vague and obscure of all of the chapters (Fr. Mike has an interesting way of pronouncing “VAGUE”...must be the Minnesota accent 🤔)
Isaiah has 66 chapters and Ch 18 we don’t really know what’s going on but we do know that it is about the nation of ETHIOPIA (Mmmmmm Ethiopian food is so good 😋😋😋)
At one point in Isaiah Chs 19 and 20 Israel is going to enter into some sort of alliance with ETHIOPIA and EGYPT against Assyria
This is REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT
It highlights yes, here is the Oracle Concerning Ethiopia in Isaiah 18
And there is an Oracle Concerning Egypt in Isaiah 19
Once again there is always this call, “GET RID OF YOUR IDOLS!”
Because what’s going to happen is the Lord says in Isaiah 19:2, “And I will stir up Egyptians against Egyptians, and they will fight, every man against his brother...city against city, kingdom against kingdom…”
And the people need to get rid of all of these idols
Those FALSE “gods” of the Egyptians HAVE TO BE DEFEATED
So once again we have God’s call back to HIMSELF
There is this INCREDIBLE WORD OF REDEMPTION at the end of Isaiah Ch 19
It’s so POWERFUL that is is CONFUSING
Isaiah 19:24, “In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed…”
This alliance between Egypt, Israel and Assyria is something God says, “I’m going to do something good with it…”
In Isaiah 19:25 God says, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my heritage.”
ARE YOU SERIOUS?
WHENEVER would the Lord God say, “Blessed be Egypt my people”??
Egypt ENSLAVED God’s People!!!
WHENEVER would the Lord God say, “Assyria the work of my hands”??
Assyria were the WORST...MAN OH MAN!!
THEY WERE AWFUL!!
The stories about what the Assyrians would do to their enemies were just OVERWHELMING
Here is God saying, “Yes, Assyria the work of my hands and Israel my heritage”
This is a joke right?
This is VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE that this could ever happen
What do we have in the New Covenant?
We have God who RESTORES US
St. Paul in Romans 5:7-8, “...Maybe for a good person one might find the courage to die. But God proves his love for us that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
How much more, then, that we have been reconciled TO HIM?
Here is God who DIED FOR HIS ENEMIES TO MAKE THEM HIS FRIENDS
GOD DIED FOR HIS ENEMIES TO MAKE THEM HIS SONS AND HIS DAUGHTERS
Here is the ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE, Egypt and Assyria
“Blessed be Egypt, my people and Assyria the work of my hands and Israel my heritage.”
Isaiah Ch 20 is more of a NARRATIVE chapter as opposed to the others which are PROPHETIC chapters
This is where Isaiah lives out his PROPHETIC WORD in his VERY BODY
Isaiah 20:2, “...’Go, and loose the sackcloth from your loins and take off your shoes from your feet’…”
God is telling him to go naked and barefoot
Isaiah did this for THREE YEARS, walking naked and barefoot
God says in Isaiah 20:3, “As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Ethiopia, so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians captives and the Ethiopians exiles…”
ALL OF THEM
The King of Assyria is going to DOMINATE and DESTROY Ethiopia and Egypt
He won’t wipe them off the face of the earth, obviously, because these countries still exist today
He is going to defeat them MASSIVELY
It’s one of those times that Isaiah, like we will read in Jeremiah and Ezekiel and like we saw in Hosea, they LIVE OUT THE WORDS OF PROPHECY
We also see how HORRIBLE and VIOLENT Assyria is
Yesterday we talked about the Prophet Joel and how spears were made from pruning hooks and plowshares were made into swords
In this broken world, there is this REALITY that people experience violence CONSTANTLY
It is not a NEED for war
But it is the REALITY of war
The Book of the Prophet Nahum is about the OVERTHROW OF NINEVEH
It’s only three chapters long
God is prophesying what is going to happen
God is prophesying that at some point Assyria is going to be DESTROYED
What’s going to happen is Babylon is going to come in
As BAD as Assyria has been, there is a BIGGER BAD and that is Babylon
This is the CYCLE OF VIOLENCE that Nahum is prophesying ABOUT and even AGAINST
Assyria is followed by Babylon which is followed by Persia which is followed by Greece which is followed by Rome
This perpetuation of DOMINANCE
This perpetuation of VIOLENCE
This perpetuation of one kingdom beats another kingdom beats another kingdom
This perpetuation of one person beats another person etc.
Nahum is describing that ultimately what is going to happen is, if we keep on in this progression of violence, not only is that a ROAD TO DESTRUCTION
Nahum says that GOD IS GRIEVED IN THIS
The Lord Himself CARES about the death of the innocent
The Lord Himself DOES NOT WANT THIS TO HAPPEN
This cycle of violence is AWFUL
GOD HATES IT
AND…(THIS IS REMARKABLE!!)
THERE WILL BE GOD’S JUDGMENT ON THOSE WHO USE VIOLENCE TO DOMINATE
If there is ANY message of the Book of the Prophet of Nahum, it is that there is a CYCLE OF VIOLENCE in this world and there is this CYCLE OF WANTING TO DOMINATE AND HARM THE INNOCENT
GOD CARES ABOUT THE INNOCENT
GOD CARES ABOUT THE LIVES AND THE SUFFERINGS AND THE DEATHS OF THE INNOCENT
God will bring about His JUDGMENT ON THOSE WHO USE VIOLENCE TO DOMINATE
God is going to RESTORE this and we will hear this tomorrow in Nahum Ch 3
God is going to declare what He ALWAYS DECLARES
GOD’S JUDGMENT IS ALWAYS ORIENTED TOWARDS JUSTICE
That’s what we are praying for
WE PRAY FOR JUSTICE
IN OUR LIVES
IN OUR HEARTS
IN OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER PEOPLE
AS WELL AS IN OUR WORLD
Isaiah Chs 18-20
Nahum Chs 1-2
ON DAY 200
THIS IS PHENOMENAL!!
WHAT A GIFT TO BE ABLE TO WALK WITH YOU ALL!!
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE