May 28, 2015

Isaiah 19-21
A Message concerning Egypt:
Watch this! God riding on a fast-moving cloud, moving in on Egypt!... God says, “I’ll make Egyptian fight Egyptian, brother fight brother, neighbor fight neighbor, city fight city, kingdom fight kingdom— anarchy and chaos and killing! I’ll knock the wind out of the Egyptians...The River Nile will dry up, the riverbed baked dry in the sun.  The canals will become stagnant and stink, every stream touching the Nile dry up....Fishermen will complain that the fishing’s been ruined.  Textile workers will be out of work, all weavers and workers in linen and cotton and wool dispirited, depressed in their forced idleness—everyone who works for a living, jobless.

The princes of Zoan are fools, the advisors of Pharaoh stupid....There’s not a wise man or woman left in the country. If there were, one of them would tell you what God-of-the-Angel-Armies has in mind for Egypt...The honored pillars of your society have led Egypt into detours and dead ends. God has scrambled their brains,  Egypt’s become a falling-down-in-his-own-vomit drunk. Egypt’s hopeless, past helping, a senile, doddering old fool.

On that Day, Egyptians will be like hysterical schoolgirls, screaming at the first hint of action from God-of-the-Angel-Armies.... On that Day, more than one city in Egypt will learn to speak the language of faith and promise to follow God-of-the-Angel-Armies.... On that Day, there will be a place of worship to God in the center of Egypt and a monument to God at its border. It will show how the God-of-the-Angel-Armies has helped the Egyptians. When they cry out in prayer to God because of oppressors, he’ll send them help, a savior who will keep them safe and take care of them. God will openly show himself to the Egyptians and they’ll get to know him on that Day. They’ll worship him seriously... They’ll make vows and keep them. God will wound Egypt, first hit and then heal. Egypt will come back to God, and God will listen to their prayers and heal them, heal them from head to toe.

On that Day, there will be a highway all the way from Egypt to Assyria: Assyrians will have free range in Egypt and Egyptians in Assyria. No longer rivals, they’ll worship together, Egyptians and Assyrians!  On that Day, Israel will take its place alongside Egypt and Assyria, sharing the blessing from the center. God-of-the-Angel-Armies, who blessed Israel, will generously bless them all: “Blessed be Egypt, my people! . . . Blessed be Assyria, work of my hands! . . . Blessed be Israel, my heritage!”

In the year the field commander, sent by King Sargon of Assyria, came to Ashdod and fought and took it, God told Isaiah son of Amoz, “Go, take off your clothes and sandals,” and Isaiah did it, going about naked and barefooted.  Then God said, “Just as my servant Isaiah has walked around town naked and barefooted for three years as a warning sign to Egypt and Ethiopia, so the king of Assyria is going to come and take the Egyptians as captives and the Ethiopians as exiles. He’ll take young and old alike and march them out of there naked and barefooted, exposed to mockery and jeers—the bared buttocks of Egypt on parade! Everyone who has put hope in Ethiopia and expected help from Egypt will be thrown into confusion. Everyone who lives along this coast will say, ‘Look at them! Naked and barefooted, shuffling off to exile! And we thought they were our best hope, that they’d rescue us from the king of Assyria. Now what’s going to happen to us? How are we going to get out of this?’”

A Message concerning the desert at the sea:
As tempests drive through the Negev Desert, coming out of the desert, that terror-filled place, a hard vision is given me:... I’ll put an end to all the moaning and groaning. Because of this news I’m doubled up in pain, writhing in pain like a woman having a baby, baffled by what I hear, undone by what I see.  Absolutely stunned, horror-stricken, I had hoped for a relaxed evening, but it has turned into a nightmare...

The Master told me, “Go, post a lookout.  Have him report whatever he spots.  When he sees horses and wagons in battle formation, lines of donkeys and columns of camels, tell him to keep his ear to the ground, note every whisper, every rumor.”  Just then, the lookout shouted: “I’m at my post, Master, sticking to my post day after day and all through the night! I watched them come, the horses and wagons in battle formation. I heard them call out the war news in headlines:  ‘Babylon fallen! Fallen!....

Dear Israel, you’ve been through a lot, you’ve been put through the mill.  The good news I get from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel, I now pass on to you.  A Message concerning Edom: A voice calls to me from the Seir mountains in Edom, “Night watchman! How long till daybreak? How long will this night last?” The night watchman calls back,  “Morning’s coming, but for now it’s still night. If you ask me again, I’ll give the same answer.”

A Message concerning Arabia:
You’ll have to camp out in the desert badlands, you caravans of Dedanites.  Haul water to the thirsty, greet fugitives with bread. Show your desert hospitality, you who live in Tema.  The desert’s swarming with refugees escaping the horrors of war.  The Master told me, “Hang on. Within one year—I’ll sign a contract on it!—the arrogant brutality of Kedar, those hooligans of the desert, will be over, nothing much left of the Kedar toughs.” The God of Israel says so.

Luke 8:26-8:56 -

They sailed on to the country of the Gerasenes, directly opposite Galilee.  As he stepped out onto the land, a madman from town met him, he was a victim of demons...when he saw Jesus he screamed, fell before him and bellowed!  What business do you have messing with me?...The demon threw the man into convulsions....Jesus asked him his name.  Mob.  My name is Mob because of all the demons who desperately begged Jesus not to order them to the bottomless pit... So Jesus ordered them into a herd of pigs on a nearby hill...It was worse for the pigs than the man.  Crazed, they stampeded over a cliff into the lake and drowned.  

Those tending the pigs, scared to death, bolted and told their story in town and country.  People went out to see what had happened.  They came to Jesus and fount the man from who the demons had been sent...wearing decent clothes and making sense.  It was a holy moment, and for a short time they were more reverent than curious.  Then those who had seen it happen told how the demoniac had been saved.

Later a great many people from the countryside got together and asked Jesus to leave---to much change, too fast, and they were scared,  So Jesus got back in the boat and set off.  The man whom he had delivered from the demons asked to go with him, but he sent him back saying, “Go home and tell everything God did in you.”  So he went back and preached all over town everything Jesus had done in him.

On his return, Jesus was welcomed by a crowd...A man came up, Jarus by name.  He was president of the meeting place.  He fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to come to his house because his 12 year old daughter, his only child, was dying.  Jesus went with him, making his way through the pushing, jostling crowd.  In the crowd, there was a woman who for 12 years had been afflicted with hemorrhages.  She had spent every penny she had on doctors but not one had been able to help her.  The woman slipped in from behind and touched the edge of Jesus’ robe.  At that very moment her hemorrhaging stopped.  Jesus said, “Who touched me?”  

When no one stepped forward, Peter said, “But Master, we’ve got crowds of people on our hands.  Dozens have touched you.”  Jesus insisted , “Someone touched me.  I felt power discharging from me.”  When the woman realized that she couldn’t remain hidden, she knelt trembling before him.  In front of all the people, she blurted out her story- why she touched him and how at that same moment she was healed.  Jesus said, “Daughter, you took a risk trusting me, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!”

While Jesus was still talking, someone from the leader’s house came up and told him, “ Your daughter died.  No need now to bother he Teacher.”  Jesus overheard and said, “Don’t be upset.  Just trust me and everything will be all right.”  Going into the house, he wouldn’t let anyone enter with him except Peter, John, James and the child’s parents.  Everyone was crying and carrying on over her.  Jesus said, “Don’t cry.  She didn’t die.  She is sleeping.”  They laughed at him.  They knew she was dead.  Then Jesus, gripping her hand, called, “My dear child, get up.”  She was up in an instant, up and breathing again! He told them to give her something to eat.  Her parents were ecstatic, but Jesus warned them to keep quiet.  “Don’t tell a soul what happened in this room.”