May 25, 2015

Isaiah 13-15
The Message on Babylon. Isaiah son of Amoz saw it:
 
“Run up a flag on an open hill. Yell loud. Get their attention.  Wave them into formation. Direct them to the nerve center of power. I’ve taken charge of my special forces, called up my crack troops. They’re bursting with pride and passion to carry out my angry judgment.”... It’s God on the move with the weapons of his wrath, ready to destroy the whole country....

“Watch now. God’s Judgment Day comes.  Cruel it is, a day of wrath and anger,  A day to waste the earth and clean out all the sinners. The stars in the sky, the great parade of constellations, will be nothing but black holes.  The sun will come up as a black disk, and the moon a blank nothing. I’ll put a full stop to the evil on earth, terminate the dark acts of the wicked. I’ll gag all braggarts and boasters—not a peep anymore from them— People will huddle with a few of their own kind, run off to some makeshift shelter.  But tough luck to stragglers—they’ll be killed on the spot, throats cut, bellies ripped open, Babies smashed on the rocks while mothers and fathers watch, Houses looted, wives raped....

“Babylon is doomed. It won’t be long now.” But not so with Jacob. God will have compassion on Jacob. Once again he’ll choose Israel. He’ll establish them in their own country. Outsiders will be attracted and throw their lot in with Jacob. The nations among whom they lived will actually escort them back home, and then Israel will pay them back by making slaves of them, men and women alike, possessing them as slaves in God’s country, capturing those who had captured them, ruling over those who had abused them.  When God has given you time to recover from the abuse and trouble and harsh servitude that you had to endure, you can amuse yourselves by taking up this satire, a taunt against the king of Babylon:..

What a comedown this, O Babylon! Daystar! Son of Dawn! Flat on your face in the underworld mud, you, famous for flattening nations!...People will stare and muse: “Can this be the one who terrorized earth and its kingdoms, turned earth to a moonscape, wasted its cities,... The progeny of your evil life will never be named. Oblivion!... “I will confront them”—Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies—“and strip Babylon of name and survivors, children and grandchildren.” God’s Decree. “I’ll make it a worthless swamp and give it as a prize to the hedgehog. And then I’ll bulldoze it out of existence.” ... 

God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaks:  “Exactly as I planned, it will happen.  Following my blueprints, it will take shape. I will shatter the Assyrian who trespasses my land and stomp him into the dirt on my mountains... God-of-the-Angel-Armies has planned it.  Who could ever cancel such plans?  His is the hand that’s reached out. Who could brush it aside?... What does one say to outsiders who ask questions?  Tell them, “God has established Zion. Those in need and in trouble find refuge in her.”

A Message concerning Moab:...Moab sobs, shaking in grief. The soul of Moab trembles.  Oh, how I grieve for Moab! Refugees stream to Zoar....Poignant cries reverberate all through Moab,  Gut-wrenching sobs as far as Eglaim, heart-racking sobs all the way to Beer-elim.  The banks of the Dibon crest with blood,  but God has worse in store for Dibon: A lion—a lion to finish off the fugitives, to clean up whoever’s left in the land.

Luke 7:36-7:50
One of the Pharisees asked him over for a meal.  Jesus went to the Pharisee’s house and sat down at the dinner table.  Just then a woman of the village, the town harlot, having learned that Jesus was a guest in the home of the Pharisee, came with a bottle of very expensive perfume and and stood at his feet, weeping, raining tears on his feet.  Letting down her hair, she dried his feet, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfume....When the Pharisee who had invited Jesus saw this, he questioned the kind of woman she was...

Jesus said to him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”...”Two men were in debt to a banker.  One owed $500 silver pieces, the other $50.  Neither of them could pay up, and so the banker cancelled both debts.  Which of the two would be more grateful?”  Simon answered, “I suppose the one who was forgiven the most.”  “That’s right, “ Jesus said.  

Then turning to the woman, but speaking to Simon, he said, “Do you see this woman?  I came in your house you provided no water for my feet, but she rained tears on my feet and dried them with her hair.  You gave me no greeting, but from the time I arrived she hasn’t quit kissing my feet.  You provided nothing for freshening up but she has soothed my feet with perfume.  

Impressive isn’t it?  She was forgiven many more sins, and so she is very, very grateful.  If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal.”....

That set the dinner guests talking behind his back, “Who does he think he is, forgiving sins?”  He ignored them and said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you.  Go in peace.”