Because I like variety in my devotional life (or more honestly, because I’m spiritually ADD), I occasionally switch up my morning routine and end up like the little kid who picks one cookie off the tray, takes a bite and then puts it back in favor of another. This can result in times when I’m a bit scattered, trying to decide if I should do this Bible study or that devotional, or Scripture memory or whatever.
Currently as I was scavenging, looking for a new “cookie” I landed on a Bible Reading Plan of themes of Scripture from the YouVersion app. Right now the theme I’m on is judgment. I know, you’re thinking “That sounds like so much FUN!!”, right?
Anyway, this morning I was dutifully reading Isaiah 5 as prescribed by THE PLAN, and I thought, “Wow! This is like THE WORD for those Israeli Settlers, illegally cheating Palestinians out of their land! Whoa Nellie!”
V. 7- 10 Do you get it? The vineyard of God-of-the-Angel-Armies is the country of Israel.
All the men and women of Judah are the garden he was so proud of.
He looked for a crop of justice and saw them murdering each other.
He looked for a harvest of righteousness and heard only the moans of victims.
Doom to you who buy up all the houses and grab all the land for yourselves—
Evicting the old owners, posting no trespassing signs,
Taking over the country, leaving everyone homeless and landless.
“Tada!” and “So there!” you rotten settlers! I’m thinking, “Should I email this to them in case they’re unaware?”
However, then I read Verse 21
Doom to you who think you’re so smart,
who hold such a high opinion of yourselves!
Hmmm…and tweedledy dee. (Insert picture of me scuffing the ground with my toe, looking down and then up and around and whistling an “I don’t want to hear this” tune.)
One of the most important things in reading Scripture is to look first at the original context and intent, right? Ok, so let’s go there. Isaiah is a prophet warning Israel to shape up. “At the center of Isaiah’s story is Israel, redeemed but wayward, stubborn but loved…” Just like you. Just like me.
The Bible is the grandest narrative ever. It’s God’s story and ours. It’s a story of His love for the Israelites and for us. Jews, Muslims, Atheists. A story of their sin and ours and His love that covers us all.
The prophets bring a wake up call with all those “re” words – return, repent, renew, redeem…
It’s natural for others to come to mind when we read the Bible. That’s ok. But we need to read Scripture “selfishly”. It’s all for me. It’s all for you.
So maybe the next time you read Scripture that’s perfect for someone else, you…
- Own it yourself.
For me that means saying, “Ok, where am I pursuing my own agenda at the expense of others? Where are my blind spots? What do I need to repent of?”
- Pray it through.
For me that means praying both for the person (or group) that came to mind, and for myself. I am pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian, and pro-peace, so I pray for wisdom and open minds for the leaders involved and for myself. I pray for justice and reconciliation. I confess my own sin and ask for forgiveness.
If you want some help World Vision has a site called “Prayers for Peace”. You can check it out here.
When was the last time you read Scripture perfect for someone else? Or hear a sermon for someone else? What did you do?