We continue reading in the Book of Isaiah, moving from First to Second Isaiah, and also enter into the 4th week of Easter, and of course, it’s also Earth Day. I think there’s something wonderful that Earth Day occurs during Easter, which may encourage us to consider what resurrection means for all creation – and where our part is in that, and then to hopefully live to fulfill our part in a resurrected Earth.
April 22 – Isaiah 39
April 23 – Isaiah 40
April 24 – Isaiah 41
April 25 – Isaiah 42
April 26 – Isaiah 43
April 27 – Isaiah 44
April 28 – Isaiah 45
As I mentioned above, we leave First Isaiah (Isaiah 1-39) and move into Second Isaiah (Isaiah 40-55). It may seem strange to divide a book of the Bible into multiple sub-books – but biblical scholars have done this thoughtfully, as Walter Brueggemann discusses in An Introduction to the Old Testament: “… First Isaiah (chs. 1-39) is a complex body of text, rooted in Isaiah of the eighth century ([chapters] 1-12; 28-31; 36-39), but with an ongoing tradition that moves past the crisis of 587, anticipating homecoming for exiles (34-35), the reassertion of YHWH’s rule over the nations (13-23), and ultimately the vigorous exercise of YHWH’s sovereignty over all recalcitrant forces … including the power of of death (24-27). … This developing tradition of anticipated well-being prepares the way for ‘Second Isaiah’ (also termed ‘Deutero-Isaiah’), the middle portion of the book of Isaiah in chapters 40-55. … The scholarly title Second Isaiah recognizes that this material is in the book of Isaiah and perhaps is connected to First Isaiah. The title also asserts by ‘Second,’ however, that this is very different material addressed as the word of YHWH to Israel in very different circumstance.” (p. 181)
What effect may it have on your reading of biblical texts to know that distinct books of the Bible have had multiple authors writing them over multiple decades and/or centuries?
How’s your prayer life this week? How is Joseph Driskill’s “Prayer for a New Earth” (in Driskill’s book Protestant Spiritual Exercises, pages 120-125) going? Driskill instructs, “Those seeking to grow spiritually need to look intentionally for God’s activity in all aspects of life and align themselves with that work. The prophet Micah (6:8) reminds us that doing justice is as important as showing lovingkindness and walking humbly with God.”
How has your prayer life helped you to see and align yourself with God’s activity in the world?
Jim Martin’s in The Just Church has still more to say about the role of risk in faith, this time in Chapter 10 bringing in how fear fits in with risk and faith. “The plain truth is that there is no way to engage in the work of biblical justice without experiencing and confronting fear. This is true simply because there is no way to be faithful to the call of Jesus without experiencing and confronting fear. But having a specific plan for how to confront these fears – specific action steps to take – can bring a remarkable focus. Such an action plan can make approaching the failure point much more manageable.” (p. 215)
What is Jesus calling you to do that scares you? What is your plan for confronting your fears?
Check the Think! Pray! Act! calendar for ideas and things to do.
Check out the Find Your FBCO Map to find your local faith-based community organizing affiliate and connect with the people who are working together to live out their dreams of a more just world!
What’s going on in your living of the Gospel? Let us know in the comments, in our e-mail discussion group, or on social media.
Word and World: Isaiah. Vol. 19. 2. Saint Paul, MN: Luther Seminary, 1999. https://wordandworld.luthersem.edu/issues.aspx?issue_id=74.
Brueggemann, Walter. An Introduction to the Old Testament: The Canon and Christian Imagination. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003.
Driskill, Joseph. Protestant Spiritual Exercises: Theology, History, and Practice. New York: Morehouse Publishing, 1999.
Martin, Jim. The Just Church: Becoming a Risk-Taking, Justice-Seeking, Disciple-Making Congregation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2012.