Day 207: The Lord Will Come
Isaiah 34:1-17 The Edomites, descendants of Esau, whom Jacob (Israel) cheated out of his birthright, would incur divine retribution for taking land belonging to the people of Israel after the mass deportation to Babylon. The animosity between the twin brothers (although they reconciled later in life) continued for many generations and still rose up at this time in history.
Ch 34:4 All the host...the fig tree: St. Cyril of Jerusalem and other early Church Fathers saw this verse as a revelation of a new world replacing the old one riddled by sin and corruption (Catecheses ad Illuminandos, 15, 3).
Ch 35:1-10 In a hymn that celebrates the restored Jerusalem, the return of the exiles is compared to the Exodus from Egypt into the Promised Land. Physical healings and prosperity will mark the renewal of the land of the Chosen People. This restoration of Jerusalem and its environs is a type of the Church founded by Christ (TYPOLOGY!!).
Ch 36:1-22 At the time of the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem, Hezekiah’s delegation refused Sennacherib’s sarcastic demand for surrender, trusting in the Lord and the Lord alone. Hezekiah’s father Ahaz had established pagan “high places” for idols and even had an idol installed inside the Temple in order to win favor with the Assyrians, but Hezekiah would have none of that.
Baruch 3:1-8 The exiles became aware of their extreme and utter dependence on God and insignificance in relation to him as they begged for mercy and compassion.
Fear of three in our hearts: Since God’s moral law is written on the human heart, everyone’s conscience is capable of knowing right from wrong. (CCC 1955)
Ch 3:9-14 This new section of Baruch resembles the wisdom literature of the Old Testament. Israel was blessed with perfect wisdom given to them by God himself; nevertheless, the Chosen People violated the covenant of the Mosaic Law and incurred upon themselves a painful punishment.
Ch 3:15-28 Some of the neighboring people surrounding Israel had reputations for great wisdom. This wisdom was of natural origin and related to creation. Although it represented God’s wisdom, it was not equivalent to Divine or supernatural Revelation. (CCC 1954, 1978)
Ch 3:29-37 Human wisdom is a share in the eternal wisdom of God, which can be enhanced by the grace of the Holy Spirit and good will. The Chosen People, in addition to the wisdom of God reflected in creation, received directly from God the contents of the Mosaic Law. (CCC 299, 2500)
Ch 3:37 [3:38 Vulgate] Wisdom, expressed in personified terms here, engages the conscience and serves as a means of personal perfection and fulfillment when it is fully accepted. (CCC 142)
Ch 4:1-4 Wisdom is found in the Law and the Commandments of God given explicitly to Moses. The wise person knows the Commandments are the only path to true happiness.
Happy are we: The desire for happiness is intrinsic to the heart of every individual. The desire can never be satisfied by partial goods but only by the universal good, which is God himself. (CCC 1718)
Ch 4:5-8 The chastisement for infidelity did not result in complete annihilation of the land of Judah since a remnant of faithful Jews would return from their exile. (CCC 710-711, 1081)
Ch 4:9-29 As in the Book of Lamentations, Jerusalem was now personified as a grieving widow who had lost everything, including her exiled children. Her own lamentation reflected the hope and confidence that, in the wake of God’s punishment, God’s faithful remnant would return to their homeland. (CCC 2613)
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
Ok so GOSH here we go!
So we got a lot going on with Isaiah here
Isaiah Ch 34 talks about the wrath of the lord upon the nations
This is the reality that it is NOT a condemnation of God’s wrath on ISRAEL
God’s wrath is on EDOM
Remember the Edomites?
This is the people who are AGAINST Israel
Even in the Book of Woe (Isaiah Chs 1-39) we have so much ENCOURAGEMENT
One of the pieces of ENCOURAGEMENT can sound like CONDEMNATION
AND IT IS CONDEMNATION!!
It is a CONDEMNATION of the NATIONS
It is a CONDEMNATION of EDOM
What it basically means in Isaiah 34:8, “For the Lord has a day of vengeance, a year of recompense for the cause of Zion.”
“Yes, there are ENEMIES that have come against MY PEOPLE”
“I’m not just here to judge my people. I am here to STOP THEIR ENEMIES”
THAT IS AN INCREDIBLE GIFT!!
God continues to remind us
This is going to happen again and again, and it has already happened a number of times
When it comes to God’s WRATH and JUDGMENT, it talks about places being made into WILDERNESS
Isaiah 34:11, “But the hawk and the porcupine shall possess it, the owl and the raven shall dwell in it.”
When something becomes a WILDERNESS in the Bible, THAT IS NOT A GOOD THING!!
THAT IS A BAD THING!!
So we in the 21st century wherever you may be, we may have a little bit of a romantic vision of WILDERNESS
Wilderness is where you escape to!
Wilderness is where pristine beauty is found!
Wilderness is where beauty and gentleness and peace and nature and all these things are
Yes, that is part of it
But we would LEAVE civilization to go to the wilderness
In ancient times, not just in the Middle East, but all around the world they would see nature, the wilderness, FOR WHAT IT IS
IT IS DANGEROUS!
IT IS UNCIVILIZED!
IT IS UNCOMFORTABLE!
IT IS WHERE YOU COULD DIE!
(LIONS AND TIGERS AND BEARS! OH MY!!!! 🤪)
Civilization with culture, cities, or towns, THAT IS WHERE YOU WOULD WANT TO LIVE
When a place goes from being WILDERNESS to being a CITY, they saw that as a GOOD THING
That means that you are SAFER
That means that you are MORE PROTECTED
That means that HUMAN LIFE IS THRIVING
When a places goes from being a city to WILDERNESS, we today would think that’s “good”
Ancient people would say THAT IS BAD
Regardless of where you stand on wilderness, when we hear that God is going to make a place a WILDERNESS, that is JUDGMENT ON THAT PLACE
THAT IS NOT A POSITIVE THING!
Isaiah Ch 35 talks about how the Lord will come to save the People of Israel
OH GOSH THIS IS SO GOOD!
Isaiah 35:2-4, “...They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, ‘Be strong, fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.’”
IT IS AN INCREDIBLE GIFT
The ARRIVAL OF THE LORD is this image that is going to be GIVEN TO US SO MANY MORE TIMES!
It ALREADY HAS been given to us so many times!
The Prophets will continually talk about the DAY OF THE LORD!
THE RETURN OF THE LORD!!
THE ARRIVAL OF THE LORD!!
HE WILL COME AND SAVE YOU!!
HERE COMES OUR GOD!!
BEHOLD, HE COMES!!
One of the things we get to ask ourselves is, “Is that something that when I HEAR IT, that the Lord is coming, am I filled with EXCITEMENT and HOPE? Or am I filled with FEAR and DREAD?”
Because we really should be HONEST with ourselves
OK GOD IS COMING!
If we were to say today at the end of the podcast or an hour later and the moment the Lord is going to arrive in your life, would you have a sense of HOPE and EXCITEMENT?
Or would you have a sense of DREAD and FEAR?
A lot of what determines our response to this are a couple of things
ONE IS OUR IMAGE OF GOD
So if you grew up with your mother telling you, “Wait till your father gets home!” and that was not a happy thing
Maybe that was just a mildly annoying thing because you knew you were going to get in trouble
Maybe it was EVEN WORSE because you might not have had a good and loving father
But that is the image we have
“Wait till your father gets home!”
And you can’t wait to see your father!
We are going to do an exciting thing!
We are going to do an amazing thing with your father!
And you are so excited to be able to do this with your father!
So much of how we respond to what the PROPHETS are saying, the reward of this whole thing, IS THAT GOD WILL BE WITH YOU!!
But if my image of God is someone that I don’t actually don’t want to spend time with, then my response internally may not be one of HOPE and EXCITEMENT
It might be a response of FEAR and DREAD
The other factor that weighs in on this is whether I have been living like OUR FATHER HAS CALLED US TO
If I have not yet REPENTED, then yeah I won’t be EXCITED about the RETURN OF THE LORD
So the two things that we get to continually come back to as we continue our journey through the books of the prophets are: When I hear THE DAY OF THE LORD, what is my image of our God? What is the image of God if he doesn’t inspire HOPE and EXCITEMENT but rather DREAD and FEAR?
Maybe I can say, “God, please heal my image of YOU!”
Also, I can say, “God, heal my own heart. Heal my image of me.”
Because there are some of us who need to REPENT
Some of us are DOING WELL and FOLLOWING THE LORD, but maybe you are holding onto TOXIC SHAME OVER YOURSELF
Maybe you are AFRAID to LOOK UP and SEE THE LORD and LET THE LORD SEE YOU TRULY
Wherever we are at, WE HAVE TO PRAY FOR EACH OTHER!
We aren’t done!
We do have to pray for each other because that is a big challenge for a lot of us
OUR IMAGE OF GOD
OUR IMAGE OF OURSELVES
HOW THE LORD SEES US
IS GOD CALLING US TO REPENTANCE?
OR IS GOD CALLING US TO LET HIM LOVE US?
You should be SO EXCITED about Isaiah Ch 36
It’s a retelling of a story we have heard TWICE already in Chronicles and Kings
Sennacherib is coming with the Rabshakeh who is speaking the words of the King of Assyria
Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah are saying, “Yeah (Fr. Mike clicking noise that he does in his YouTube videos) dude, speak to us in Aramaic, not in Judean, the language of Judah because we don’t want to hear these people and we don’t want these people to hear what you are saying.”
The Rabshakeh has great words basically saying, “Yeah listen, they are going to be the ones who suffer as well so they should know all these words.”
It’s SO GOOD to be able to hear a story again and realize, “I KNOW THIS ONE! THIS IS AWESOME!”
So you are GETTING TO KNOW THE BIBLE!
So you are going to actually KNOW WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN IN ISAIAH CH 37!!
It’s exciting to be on this journey TOGETHER
It’s exciting to HEAR THESE STORIES and let them BECOME PART OF OUR HEARTS AND PART OF OUR LIVES AS WELL!
On to Baruch
Baruch is SO POSITIVE
If all prophets were POSITIVE like Baruch, I don’t know if we would change, but we would be HAPPY
Baruch is ALL ABOUT ENCOURAGEMENT
Baruch Chs 3 and 4 he is saying, “Listen, God is coming. He’s on his way.”
One of the things he talks about in Ch 3 is WISDOM
MAN OH MAN!
THIS IS INCREDIBLE!
People didn’t even LOOK for WISDOM!
They PERISHED through their FOLLY
They HAD NO IDEA HOW TO FIND WISDOM!
So what’s going to happen?
Baruch 3:35-37, “This is our God; no other can be compared to him! He found the whole way to knowledge, and gave her to Jacob his servant and to Israel whom he loved. Afterward she appeared upon earth and lived among men.”
OH MY GOSH!
WHAT IS THIS?
If this is not a TYPE (TYPOLOGY!!) of the INCARNATION OF THE SECOND PERSON OF THE TRINITY
THE SON OF THE FATHER
WHO BECAME MAN
AND DWELT AMONG US
THEN I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS!!
That’s a STELLAR, INCREDIBLE GIFT!
Baruch Ch 4 he doesn’t sugarcoat or ignore the fact that Israel has FORGOTTEN THE LORD or AGGRIEVED THE LORD
He keeps saying that
YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN THE LORD
YOU HAVE AGGRIEVED THE LORD
YOU HAVE ANGERED GOD
YOU WERE HANDED OVER TO YOUR ENEMIES BECAUSE OF THIS
Baruch goes on to say, “BUT HE REMEMBERS YOU!”
BUT HE COMES TO SAVE YOU
Yes, there were others who forgot Him, but He will remember you
There are times that you forsook Him, but He will save you
THAT IS SO INCREDIBLE!
Baruch 4:21, “Take courage, my children, cry to God, and he will deliver you from the power and hand of the enemy. For I have put my hope in the Everlasting to save you, and joy has come to me from the Holy One.”
THAT IS SUCH A GIFT AND GREAT WORD FOR US TODAY!
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. Lord, we love you today and everyday. But gosh, God, thank you so much for your Word. Thank you for your encouragement that you give to us from Baruch. Thank you even for the connections, I think, Lord God, that we get to make today in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. And thank you for your willingness for continuing to speak to us every single day. Even days when we miss days and when we have to pick it back up. Thank you for your faithfulness, because even on days when we don’t listen, even on days when we choose to ignore your voice, you continue to speak and you continue to bring us back to you. Lord God, help us on our worst day right now, O God, we pray for the worst day of our life that even on that day, we can hear your voice and on that day we can be faithful to your completely unstoppable and faithful love. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”