Bible Reading Plan – April 16-22
Bible Project Reading Plan (April 16-22):
2 Kings 18-25; Isaiah 1-17; Psalms 106-112
The early portion of the book of Isaiah is familiar to us, if for nothing else than our dedication to read it during the advent season at Christmas. The importance to NT theology and the explicit prophecies about the coming of Jesus Christ led many to see Isaiah as the 5th Gospel.
While there is much to make out of the early chapters in Isaiah, I’d like to just focus on one today. It comes from these famous Christmas passages about the coming of the Christ child, on whom the government will be set, and on whom will be placed great and mighty names. Earlier, however, we read this:
But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
Isaiah 9:1-2 (ESV)
Many Christians have stood so long in the light that they have forgotten the darkness. They take grace and mercy for granted, or worse, forget them and neglect them altogether. The light was always present; the darkness is so far in the past that it is scarcely worth remembering.
Such forgetfulness is shot through with sin, and the light that such people think they have is nothing more than bleak night. To forget the darkness is deny the grace of the dawn; to stand on your own righteousness; to make Christ of no advantage for you. God the Father sent his Son to redeem us from that darkness, to shine forward in the dawn with the incomprehensible glory of the One-and-only God. God has removed us from the dark, but we are never to forget it.
In the OT, God focuses his people’s memory on the great act of salvation in bringing them out of Egypt. This was to remind them, always remind them, that they were rescued by God, not by the idols that surrounded them or by their own might. When they forgot the redemption provided for them by Yahweh disaster would be certain:
And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you– with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant– and when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you– for the LORD your God in your midst is a jealous God– lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.
Deuteronomy 6:10-15 (ESV)
For us, the matter is even more acute. Let us never forget the darkness that God has rescued us from. The darkness helps keep us humble, reminds us of reality, and makes the light that much more glorious.
You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
1 Peter 2:9
Therefore, let us daily repeat the words of our Apostle Paul:
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.
1 Timothy 1:15