Our first reading, 1 Samuel 1, sees the birth of Samuel. We have read of the ups and downs of the era of the Judges, but now come to Samuel as the final all wise Judge, a type of Christ, that God works through to lay the foundation for the era of the Kings beginning with Saul and David.
Isaiah’s prophecies are bringing us toward the end of the era of the Kings: the LORD is frustrated with the attitudes of His people, as He must be with so much of the world today. Chapter 48 starts, “Hear this, O house of Jacob who are called by the name of Israel … who swear by the name of the LORD … but not in truth and right”. God tells the prophet of “things I declared of old … then suddenly I did them and they came to pass” (verse 3).
We think of the promises to Abraham, the deliverance from Egypt, the fulfilment of the promises to David. This week in Isaiah we will read the detailed prophecies God gave about the Messiah. Although the Jewish scribes must have known these, they had ‘tunnel vision’ as to what they expected the Messiah to do, the message of the explicit prophecy in chapter 53 was lost because of the pre-conceived notions in their minds. Is there a lesson in this for us? Have we pre-conceived notions?
Our readings in Revelation complete the dramas. While often symbolic in language, they frequently included phrases from Isaiah and other prophets. For example, compare today’s chapter 6:15,16 with Isaiah 2:10,19, of events when “the great day of their wrath has come”.
Revelation is not all symbolic language, especially of how the time of God’s wrath is followed by a “new song”. “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created … You ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (4:11; 5:9).
What a wonderful vision. But first it is vital we acknowledge that our world today is in spiritual darkness – “then suddenly” God will act. The increasing turmoil in all the nations surrounding God’s ‘Holy Land’ is ominous! The last verse of the Revelation reading asks,“who can stand?” in “the great day of their wrath”? Are you building up your faith so you can? Read and reflect on God’s word every day.