Today Micah signs off. In his parting words, he’s got hope for a better Israel and a better world. He’s not optimistic that God will bring it to fruition in his lifetime, but he does expect vindication against his enemies. When it comes, it won’t come on the basis of his own goodness, but God’s. Micah also signs off with a confession.
Remember Hebrews 4 from our Sabbath study? We looked at Heaven as the supreme Sabbath, or to put it in the author of Hebrews’ terms, God’s goal of rest for his people. I suggested that the rest that the author discusses has not fully arrived, but as I read the passage today, I’m prepared to reverse that conclusion, or at least to amend it: there’s a sense in which we can, and should, enter God’s Sabbath rest for all creation right here and now. See, there is more to this passage than we originally surmised. On Chocolate Book, we are not content to remain in our former ignorance; we learn as we go.
The Bible has got some great names. I’ve always been partial to Arpachshad. But in today’s chapter from Isaiah, we get Isaiah’s son Maher-shalal-hash-baz. That’s an entire sentence in Hebrew. Can you imagine naming your kid an entire sentence, like “Raise high the roof beam, carpenters” or “All my best friends are metalheads?” Well, at God’s instruction, that’s exactly what Isaiah does.
What’s the opposite of an evil person? It’s a good person, right? When he’s faced with threats of violence from evil men, we’ve even seen David contrast himself as a righteous man with his wicked, brutal pursuers. His prayers reiterate the theme: “It would be unjust for God to let liars and murderers triumph over a man who has abstained from these things.” But today, David sets up a different contrast. The opposite of an evil person isn’t a good person. The opposite of an evil person is God.
“Does justice never find you? Do the wicked never lose? Is there any honest song to sing besides these blues?” -Switchfoot, “The Blues.” This is a recurring question in David’s psalms, one which he sometimes answers, but never without tension between how things are and how they should be. Throughout his life, David saw wicked men prosper. He saw a Philistine giant mock God and his people. He fled from a king driven to madness by rage, hiding in caves to save his own life from this abuse of power. He saw war and bloodshed. And how does he describe those who commit the evils he sees?
Today’s passages: Matthew 4, Matthew 9:32-38 The word “gospel” first shows up in Matthew 4:23, just after Jesus has had his wilderness showdown with the Devil and called his first disciples. Matthew writes: “Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of […]