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Isaiah

07.27.2010

The church I attended in college based its sermons not on thematic series but on a steady progression through the Bible, on continuous loop.  The pastor would always get teased because for seemingly every book, he would claim it was his favorite book in the Bible.  Whether it was Numbers, Psalms, John, Romans, Philippians, whatever, he always said, “Now I’m excited because next week we’re going to start talking about my favorite book in the Bible.” 

I bring that up as a promise that I won’t claim the same thing.  It might be blasphemy, but there are certainly some books that I like more than others, and some books that bore or confuse me (I’m looking at you, Leviticus!)  But I will say that Isaiah is one of my favorite books. 

My freshman year in college, I took a course on the history of the Old Testament, which took us from Genesis through 2 Chronicles.  Having previously read the entire New Testament, I took the opportunity to close the gap and get that oh-so important “Read the Whole Bible” Christian merit badge. *

Of the remaining books, Isaiah was instantly a favorite.  Isaiah represents in miniature the theme of the entire Bible: God’s love letter to his people.  The pain and sorrow and hope and joy and affection all seem very raw in Isaiah as God chastizes his people for ignoring him and leading lives of perversion and self-destruction, as he comforts them in the misery that they have brought on themselves, and as he celebrates the future he promises them — a future of redemption and worship and peace.  I was and remain moved by this display of God’s passion.

Now that I’ve got you all revved up for Isaiah, I’m only going to post on it today and tomorrow because I’m finishing it up according to my reading plan.  If you’re interested to see what I’ve mentioned about the book beyond what I have to say today or tomorrow, you’ll have to go back and read it yourself.

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*  I did Boy Scouts growing up, but was a bit befuddled to discover that there’s an explicitly Christian alternative called Awana.  Were the Boy Scouts deemed too secular or counter-culture for these people?  Do they actually have a “Read the Whole Bible” merit badge?  I’ve got so many questions.

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