Select: First Reading Second Reading Bible Background
First Reading: Isaiah Chapter 21 and 22
1 The burden of the wilderness of the sea. As whirlwinds in the South sweep through, it cometh from the wilderness, from a terrible land.
2 A grievous vision is declared unto me; the treacherous man dealeth treacherously, and the destroyer destroyeth. Go up, O Elam; besiege, O Media; all the sighing thereof have I made to cease.
3 Therefore are my loins filled with anguish; pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs of a woman in travail: I am pained so that I cannot hear; I am dismayed so that I cannot see.
4 My heart fluttereth, horror hath affrighted me; the twilight that I desired hath been turned into trembling unto me.
5 They prepare the table, they set the watch, they eat, they drink: rise up, ye princes, anoint the shield.
6 For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman: let him declare what he seeth:
7 and when he seeth a troop, horsemen in pairs, a troop of asses, a troop of camels, he shall hearken diligently with much heed.
8 And he cried as a lion: O Lord, I stand continually upon the watch-tower in the day-time, and am set in my ward whole nights;
9 and, behold, here cometh a troop of men, horsemen in pairs. And he answered and said, Fallen, fallen is Babylon; and all the graven images of her gods are broken unto the ground.
10 O thou my threshing, and the grain of my floor! that which I have heard from Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared unto you.
11 The burden of Dumah. One calleth unto me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?
12 The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will inquire, inquire ye: turn ye, come.
13 The burden upon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye caravans of Dedanites.
14 Unto him that was thirsty they brought water; the inhabitants of the land of Tema did meet the fugitives with their bread.
15 For they fled away from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war.
16 For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Within a year, according to the years of a hireling, all the glory of Kedar shall fail;
17 and the residue of the number of the archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be few; for Jehovah, the God of Israel, hath spoken it.
1 The burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops?
2 O thou that art full of shoutings, a tumultuous city, a joyous town; thy slain are not slain with the sword, neither are they dead in battle.
3 All thy rulers fled away together, they were bound by the archers; all that were found of thee were bound together; they fled afar off.
4 Therefore said I, Look away from me, I will weep bitterly; labor not to comfort me for the destruction of the daughter of my people.
5 For it is a day of discomfiture, and of treading down, and of perplexity, from the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, in the valley of vision; a breaking down of the walls, and a crying to the mountains.
6 And Elam bare the quiver, with chariots of men `and' horsemen; and Kir uncovered the shield.
7 And it came to pass, that thy choicest valleys were full of chariots, and the horsemen set themselves in array at the gate.
8 And he took away the covering of Judah; and thou didst look in that day to the armor in the house of the forest.
9 And ye saw the breaches of the city of David, that they were many; and ye gathered together the waters of the lower pool;
10 and ye numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and ye brake down the houses to fortify the wall;
11 ye made also a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But ye looked not unto him that had done this, neither had ye respect unto him that purposed it long ago.
12 And in that day did the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth:
13 and behold, joy and gladness, slaying oxen and killing sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine: let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we shall die.
14 And Jehovah of hosts revealed himself in mine ears, Surely this iniquity shall not be forgiven you till ye die, saith the Lord, Jehovah of hosts.
15 Thus saith the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, Go, get thee unto this treasurer, even unto Shebna, who is over the house, `and say',
16 What doest thou here? and whom has thou here, that thou hast hewed thee out here a sepulchre? hewing him out a sepulchre on high, graving a habitation for himself in the rock!
17 Behold, Jehovah, like a `strong' man, will hurl thee away violently; yea, he will wrap thee up closely.
18 He will surely wind thee round and round, `and toss thee' like a ball into a large country; there shalt thou die, and there shall be the chariots of thy glory, thou shame of thy lord's house.
19 And I will thrust thee from thine office; and from thy station shalt thou be pulled down.
20 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah:
21 and I will cloth him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.
22 And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; and he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.
23 And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a throne of glory to his father's house.
24 And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father's house, the offspring and the issue, every small vessel, from the cups even to all the flagons.
25 In that day, saith Jehovah of hosts, shall the nail that was fastened in a sure place give way; and it shall be hewn down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off; for Jehovah hath spoken it.
Second Reading: Psalms Chapter 78
1 Give ear, O my people, to my law: Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old,
3 Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of Jehovah, And his strength, and his wondrous works that he hath done.
5 For he established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which he commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children;
6 That the generation to come might know `them', even the children that should be born; Who should arise and tell `them' to their children,
7 That they might set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep his commandments,
8 And might not be as their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that set not their heart aright, And whose spirit was not stedfast with God.
9 The children of Ephraim, being armed and carrying bows, Turned back in the day of battle.
10 They kept not the covenant of God, And refused to walk in his law;
11 And they forgat his doings, And his wondrous works that he had showed them.
12 Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers, In the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
13 He clave the sea, and caused them to pass through; And he made the waters to stand as a heap.
14 In the day-time also he led them with a cloud, And all the night with a light of fire.
15 He clave rocks in the wilderness, And gave them drink abundantly as out of the depths.
16 He brought streams also out of the rock, And caused waters to run down like rivers.
17 Yet went they on still to sin against him, To rebel against the Most High in the desert.
18 And they tempted God in their heart By asking food according to their desire.
19 Yea, they spake against God; They said, Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?
20 Behold, he smote the rock, so that waters gushed out, And streams overflowed; Can he give bread also? Will he provide flesh for his people?
21 Therefore Jehovah heard, and was wroth; And a fire was kindled against Jacob, And anger also went up against Israel;
22 Because they believed not in God, And trusted not in his salvation.
23 Yet he commanded the skies above, And opened the doors of heaven;
24 And he rained down manna upon them to eat, And gave them food from heaven.
25 Man did eat the bread of the mighty: He sent them food to the full.
26 He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens; And by his power he guided the south wind.
27 He rained flesh also upon them as the dust, And winged birds as the sand of the seas:
28 And he let it fall in the midst of their camp, Round about their habitations.
29 So they did eat, and were well filled; And he gave them their own desire.
30 They were not estranged from that which they desired, Their food was yet in their mouths,
31 When the anger of God went up against them, And slew of the fattest of them, And smote down the young men of Israel.
32 For all this they sinned still, And believed not in his wondrous works.
33 Therefore their days did he consume in vanity, And their years in terror.
34 When he slew them, then they inquired after him; And they returned and sought God earnestly.
35 And they remembered that God was their rock, And the Most High God their redeemer.
36 But they flattered him with their mouth, And lied unto him with their tongue.
37 For their heart was not right with him, Neither were they faithful in his covenant.
38 But he, being merciful, forgave `their' iniquity, and destroyed `them' not: Yea, many a time turned he his anger away, And did not stir up all his wrath.
39 And he remembered that they were but flesh, A wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.
40 How oft did they rebel against him in the wilderness, And grieve him in the desert!
41 And they turned again and tempted God, And provoked the Holy One of Israel.
42 They remember not his hand, Nor the day when he redeemed them from the adversary;
43 How he set his signs in Egypt, And his wonders in the field of Zoan,
44 And turned their rivers into blood, And their streams, so that they could not drink.
45 He sent among them swarms of flies, which devoured them; And frogs, which destroyed them.
46 He gave also their increase unto the caterpillar, And their labor unto the locust.
47 He destroyed their vines with hail, And their sycomore-trees with frost.
48 He gave over their cattle also to the hail, And their flocks to hot thunderbolts.
49 He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, Wrath, and indignation, and trouble, A band of angels of evil.
50 He made a path for his anger; He spared not their soul from death, But gave their life over to the pestilence,
51 And smote all the first-born in Egypt, The chief of their strength in the tents of Ham.
52 But he led forth his own people like sheep, And guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
53 And he led them safely, so that they feared not; But the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
54 And he brought them to the border of his sanctuary, To this mountain, which his right hand had gotten.
55 He drove out the nations also before them, And allotted them for an inheritance by line, And made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents.
56 Yet they tempted and rebelled against the Most High God, And kept not his testimonies;
57 But turned back, and dealt treacherously like their fathers: They were turned aside like a deceitful bow.
58 For they provoked him to anger with their high places, And moved him to jealousy with their graven images.
59 When God heard `this', he was wroth, And greatly abhorred Israel;
60 So that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, The tent which he placed among men;
61 And delivered his strength into captivity, And his glory into the adversary's hand.
62 He gave his people over also unto the sword, And was wroth with his inheritance.
63 Fire devoured their young men; And their virgins had no marriage-song.
64 Their priests fell by the sword; And their widows made no lamentation.
65 Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, Like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine.
66 And he smote his adversaries backward: He put them to a perpetual reproach.
67 Moreover he refused the tent of Joseph, And chose not the tribe of Ephraim,
68 But chose the tribe of Judah, The mount Zion which he loved.
69 And he built his sanctuary like the heights, Like the earth which he hath established for ever.
70 He chose David also his servant, And took him from the sheepfolds:
71 From following the ewes that have their young he brought him, To be the shepherd of Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.
72 So he was their shepherd according to the integrity of his heart, And guided them by the skilfulness of his hands. Psalm 79 A Psalm of Asaph.
THE ROLE OF PROPHECY
Part 2 of 6
Because God warns us of the result of our faith or faithlessness, much of the prophecy in the Bible is fore-telling. That is, it tells beforehand what God is going to do:
Acts 17:30-31" In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."
Deuteronomy 28:15, 64-66 However, if you (Israel) do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you.......Then the LORD will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods--gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the LORD will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life.
Ezekiel 37:21-23 " and say to them, `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God."
Acts 1:10-11 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."
Prophecy serves to warn people regarding sin and the need of repentance and salvation provided by God, while at the same time confirming the certainty of God's plan. The question is: Do we believe what God says? Prophecy is not for the purpose of satisfying idle curiosity about future events, but to assist believers in developing faith.
Select: First Reading Second Reading Bible Background