We’ve read Daniel and Ezekiel so far this Advent season. Now, today is Isaiah. If you look at the lists of the books of the Bible in the front of your Bible – they appear in your Bible in the order listed on this slide down then over and down, you may think that reading Isaiah is out of order, right? Well, none of the prophets are really in a chronological timeline in the Biblical order of their placement.
The Narrative Lectionary is designed to follow the Bible from Genesis to Revelation in order of the story. So, we’re reading the prophecies based on the period in which they prophesied. There were 3 periods of prophecy –
• Before the Exile which were messages of judgments and calls for repentance;
• During the Exile which were messages of comfort and hope and the promise that God is with them; and
• At the end of the Exile, when the people are allowed to return to Israel, which were messages of fulfillment, abundance, and promise. Continue reading
I’ve said before that the thing I like about the Narrative Lectionary is that it challenges me to preach texts I wouldn’t consider preaching if left to plan for myself. This is the first time I’ve preached a text from the book of Ezekiel. I mentioned last week that Ezekiel is a hybrid of prophetic text and apocalyptic vision because of stories like this reading in which God invites him to prophesy to a strange vision.
First a little about Ezekiel. He is a priest and the son of a priest. His name means God strengthens. Ezekiel was exiled to Babylon during the first Babylonian siege of Jerusalem in 597. His wife died in the battle and he was moved with royalty, nobility and priests. Continue reading
We took a 2-week break from our Old Testament readings for our spiritual retreat and for me to have a vacation. The spiritual retreat was a significant moment in our vision discernment process. While we could have spent all day talking and sharing ideas at the retreat, you provided a lot of insight in the time you did have. I’m working to summarize your ideas to formulate a vision for the Board to look at tomorrow evening.
I want to thank Cliff for preaching last week while I was on vacation. He had a powerful message for you sharing an idea that he and I have talked about and have been praying about. It may seem like a God providing a jet type of prayer, but God has given us talents and resources to do ministry and we can dream big. I’ll have more to share with the Board tomorrow night and hopefully something to share with all of you very soon. Please continue to pray for our vision discernment and the ways in which God will use us, our building and our resources to fulfill His purpose.
This Fall, I had been preaching messages that led up to and prepared us for our spiritual retreat and Cliff’s message about grand vision and wise use of God’s gifts. We’ve made a quick journey through the Old Testament from Genesis to 1 Kings reading the stories of Creation, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Samuel, David, Solomon, and Elijah. We’ve heard about how God worked in the lives of each of these men to do grand things for the nation of Israel and God’s people.
Now, we’ll pick up the Old Testament readings among the prophets. Our Narrative Lectionary would have had us read Amos, Isaiah and Jeremiah in the weeks we stepped away from the lectionary. Today, we pick up with Daniel. I should have gotten my fire Bible out for this book, especially this story today.
The book of Daniel is the first of the apocalyptic books. Ezekiel is a cross between prophetic text and apocalyptic text but Revelation is the only other apocalyptic. The book of Daniel is put in the Old Testament among the prophetic texts but Daniel is not actually a prophet. Continue reading