Isaiah Ch 28 starts this little section from Chs 28-35 where The Prophet Isaiah is mostly focusing on Judah (SOUTHERN KINGDOM)
Isaiah focuses on Judah by pointing to the NORTH, the Kingdom of Israel which is also called Ephraim.
Isaiah emphasizes DRUNKENNESS when he speaks of Ephraim
Isaiah 28:1, “Woe to the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim…”
There is this recognition of drunkenness and the effects of alcohol
It’s really remarkable
The Bible talks in many ways about the blessing of wine
It gives joy to men's hearts
It allows people to rejoice
DRUNKENNESS IS NOT THE SAME THING as the WARMTH that wine can give to men’s HEARTS
Drunkenness is considered to be a GRAVE SIN depending on the degree to which a person gets drunk
We recognize that we are made in GOD’S IMAGE AND LIKENESS
So what does that MEAN?
It means that we have a WILL to choose
It means that we have an INTELLECT to think
We are MADE FOR GOODNESS
One of the consequences of the Fall way back in Genesis Ch 3 is DARKENING OF THE INTELLECT
So we can SEE but we can’t always SEE CLEARLY
Another consequence of the Fall is WEAKENING OF THE WILL
So we can CHOOSE but we don’t always CHOOSE WISELY
And the third consequence is WE ARE ATTRACTED TO SIN
Now what does DRUNKENNESS do?
Drunkenness EMPHASIZES ALL THREE OF THOSE CONSEQUENCES!!
Oh by the way the FOURTH consequence of the Fall is DEATH!!
And the FIFTH consequence of the Fall is being CUT OFF FROM THE LORD!!
There are other consequences as well
The attraction to sin is called CONCUPISCENCE, a big fancy word (Wow, try saying THAT word three times fast 🤪)
Those are ALL emphasized by DRUNKENNESS
We don’t THINK clearly when we have drank, drunk, drinken a lot
We don’t CHOOSE WELL OR WISELY when we drink a lot
We are also ATTRACTED TO THINGS WE NORMALLY WOULDN’T BE ATTRACTED TO when we drink
One of the reasons why DRUNKENNESS is a SERIOUS SIN is it EMPHASIZES and ACCENTUATES, and makes us even more of a SLAVE to the DARKENING OF THE INTELLECT
THE WEAKENING OF THE WILL
AND ATTRACTION TO SIN
Hope that helps
Isaiah is telling Ephraim that how they live all of the time-the darkening of the intellect, weakening of the will, and attraction to sin-is LEADING THEM AWAY FROM THE LORD
Isaiah 28:16, “Thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold I am laying in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation…’”
St. Peter in 1 Peter 2:6 quotes this verse in Isaiah and says actually that JESUS IS THAT PRECIOUS CORNERSTONE, SURE FOUNDATION, that Isaiah was talking about
So that’s kind of cool, this connection between Isaiah Ch 28 and 1 Peter Ch 2
You might not have noticed some points where we have some names that came up in Isaiah Chs 28 and 29
They may have sounded familiar or were completely foreign to you
Isaiah 28:21, “For the Lord will rise up as on Mount Perazim, he will rage as in the valley of Gibeon; to do his deed-strange is his deed! And to work his work-alien is his work! Now therefore do not scoff…”
So what is THAT??
This SHOULD sound familiar even if you can’t remember
What is Mount Perazim?
What is the valley of Gibeon?
We might think we KNOW this
And we DO KNOW THIS!!
These were places where God brought VICTORIES
Mount Perazim comes from 2 Samuel Ch 5 where God gave DAVID a GREAT VICTORY (Want a refresher on this event? Go read Day 124: King David Rules in the Bible in a Year Study Guide! 😁)
Gibeon comes from Joshua Ch 10 where the Lord gave Joshua a GREAT VICTORY (Want a refresher on this event? Go read Day 84: The Sun Stands Still in the Bible in a Year Study Guide! 😁)
WOW! WE KNOW THE BIBLE BETTER NOW!!
It’s Day 204 and we’ve been reading and listening to the Word of God for the last 200+ days!!
The pieces are all starting to come together a bit
Another name you might not have recognized because the ONLY place it is used is in Isaiah Ch 29 (It’s also used in The Little Mermaid, but that’s neither here nor there 🤪)
Isaiah 29:1, “Ho Ariel, Ariel, the city where David encamped!”
We see that name and think it’s The Little Mermaid
BUT IT IS NOT!!
It is the name for JERUSALEM!!
Ariel means LION OF GOD
It’s a little bit of SARCASM maybe from Isaiah
He is calling Jerusalem the Lion of God, the city that turned away from God, the city that is going to be overrun
Isaiah 29:3-4, “And I will encamp against you round about, and will besiege you with towers and I will raise siegeworks against you. Then deep from the earth you shall speak, from low in the dust your words shall come…”
Ok, LION OF GOD 😉
It’s basically a sarcastic criticism of Jerusalem
Because Jerusalem is now going to be besieged and laid low
In the end of Isaiah Ch 28, the words of the prophets can seem like “What the heck??”
Isaiah 28:24-26, “Does he who plows for sowing plow continually? Does he continually open and harrow his ground? When he has leveled its surface, does he not scatter dill, sow cumin, and put wheat in rows and barley in its proper place, and spelt as the border? For he is instructed rightly; his God teaches him.”
Wait a second...
How did we go from “God will have this victory like he did in Mount Perazim and the valley of Gibeon” to a FARMING LESSON???
Isaiah 28:27, “Dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge, nor is a cart wheel rolled over cumin; but dill is beaten out with a stick and cumin with a rod.”
THANK YOU FOR THE FARMING LESSON ISAIAH!!!
WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT??
Once we slow down a little bit and pick it apart, we realize what Isaiah is pointing to
Isiah is saying, “A farmer does not only plow. So does he who plows for sowing plow continually? Does he continually open and harrow his ground?”
A farmer doesn’t ONLY plow
A farmer doesn’t ONLY throw seed in the ground
A farmer doesn’t ONLY level the surface after he has placed the seed in the ground
The farmer will SOMETIMES plow
The farmer will SOMETIMES seed the land
The farmer will SOMETIMES water the land
The farmer will SOMETIMES fertilize the land
The farmer will SOMETIMES harvest the land
The farmer doesn’t do JUST ONE THING
Isaiah is trying to say something about GOD
Isaiah 28:29, “This also comes from the Lord...he is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in wisdom.”
God will do ALL THINGS, but he will do all things IN HIS TIME
Does this make sense?
It’s very powerful once we understand the image
But until we understand the image it may seem a little bit obscure
So on to Zephaniah which has three chapters like a few of the minor prophets
What is going on with Zephaniah?
Remember when Josiah was the young king who RESTORED WORSHIP in the Kingdom of Judah (SOUTHERN KINGDOM)? (No? Then go read Day 188: The Book of the Law and Day 189: Follow the Lord in the Bible in a Year Study Guide! 😁)
So this is Zephaniah prophesying shortly BEFORE those religious reforms of King Josiah, maybe around the year 630 BC
That’s very kind of important
Not kind of
That is VERY important for us to understand the context
Zephaniah has FIVE ACCUSATIONS against the people of Judah (And he will have ANOTHER FIVE ACCUSATIONS later on in Ch 3)
What are these FIVE ACCUSATIONS we hear today?
The people of Judah have fallen into:
Zephaniah 1:12, “At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are thickening on their dregs, those who say in their hearts, ‘The Lord will not do good, nor will he do ill.’”
So this is about people who DO NOT BELIEVE THE LORD WILL JUDGE THEIR ACTIONS
There is something so interesting
All five of these accusations (and there will be ANOTHER 5 accusations in Zephaniah Ch 3) are NOT SURFACE ACCUSATIONS or INDICTMENTS
They actually go to the HEART OF RELATIONSHIP
How can I belong to the Lord if I keep giving my heart to OTHER IDOLS?
How can I be in relationship with the Lord if I do not seek his voice and SPEND TIME IN PRAYER?
How can I belong to the Lord if those who are leading us, and I act like them, are dressing like people who DON’T WANT TO BELONG TO THE LORD?
How can I belong to the Lord if I am ACTING OUT THESE SUPERSTITIONS OF THE PAGAN PEOPLE AROUND ME?
How can I belong to the Lord if I DON’T ACTUALLY BELIEVE HE IS REAL AND PRESENT AND HE IS ACTIVE IN MY LIFE?
THAT IS SO SO IMPORTANT!!
Zephaniah Ch 2 talks about how God will have judgment on Israel’s enemies and he names five groups of people
CHERETHITES? (Fr. Mike did not mention the FIFTH group of people so this is my guess...anyone else have an idea? 🤔)
There is a POWERFUL POWERFUL MOMENT in Zephaniah 2:3, “Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do his commands; seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the wrath of the Lord.”
Basically, the day of the Lord is going to come so you are still going to have to endure it
If you seek the LORD and do his COMMANDS
If you seek RIGHTEOUSNESS
If you seek HUMILITY
PERHAPS you may be HIDDEN when that day COMES
Because at the end of Ch 2 and going into Ch 3 this is what you find when it comes to EVERY ONE OF THE PROPHETS
They are promising not only CORRECTION
They are promising not only GOD’S JUSTICE
They are also PROMISING GOD’S RESTORATION
Zephaniah 2:9, “...The remnant of my people shall plunder them, and the survivors of my nation shall possess them.”
“THEM” in this case means the ENEMIES of God’s People
Even though there is JUDGMENT coming
Even though there is JUSTICE coming
THERE WILL BE A REMNANT AND THAT REMNANT WILL BE VICTORIOUS
That REMNANT will experience GOD’S PROMISE AND GOD’S GOODNESS
THIS IS SO IMPORTANT FOR US!!
We also are waiting
We also are facing enemies
We also are facing the spiritual battle between dark and light
The spiritual battle between God and the Powers & Principalities of this Earth
We are waiting like the People of God did in Isaiah’s day and in Zephaniah’s day
As we wait for the DAY OF THE LORD, our call is to SEEK JUSTICE
As we wait for the DAY OF THE LORD, our call is to SEEK RIGHTEOUSNESS
As we wait for the DAY OF THE LORD, our call is to SEEK THE LORD WITH EVERYTHING WE HAVE
THAT IS THE MESSAGE OF ZEPHANIAH AND ALL OF THE PROPHETS!!
THAT IS THE MESSAGE TODAY!!
NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS
NO MATTER WHAT KIND OF DAY WE HAVE
WE CAN USE THIS DAY TO SEEK THE LORD WITH ALL OUR HEARTS
THAT’S WHAT WE ARE DOING RIGHT NOW FOR THE PAST HALF HOUR!!!
Sweet Mother Mcree this was a LOOOOOONG episode!!! 😮💨
Fr. Mike apologizes for that and is praying for YOU!! 😉
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER