Select: First Reading Second Reading Bible Background

First Reading: Isaiah Chapter 18 and 19 and 20

Isaiah 18

Woe to the land of whirring wings along the rivers of Cush, 2 which sends envoys by sea in papyrus boats over the water.
Go, swift messengers,to a people tall and smooth-skinned,to a people feared far and wide,an aggressive nation of strange speech,whose land is divided by rivers.
3 All you people of the world,you who live on the earth,when a banner is raised on the mountains,you will see it,and when a trumpet sounds,you will hear it. 4 This is what the LORD says to me:"I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place,like shimmering heat in the sunshine,like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest." 5 For, before the harvest, when the blossom is gone and the flower becomes a ripening grape,he will cut off the shoots with pruning knives,and cut down and take away the spreading branches. 6 They will all be left to the mountain birds of prey and to the wild animals;the birds will feed on them all summer,the wild animals all winter.
7 At that time gifts will be brought to the LORD Almighty
from a people tall and smooth-skinned,from a people feared far and wide,an aggressive nation of strange speech,whose land is divided by rivers — the gifts will be brought to Mount Zion, the place of the Name of the LORD Almighty.

Isaiah 19

19:1 An oracle concerning Egypt:
See, the LORD rides on a swift cloud and is coming to Egypt.The idols of Egypt tremble before him,and the hearts of the Egyptians melt within them.
2 "I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian — brother will fight against brother,neighbor against neighbor,city against city,kingdom against kingdom. 3 The Egyptians will lose heart,and I will bring their plans to nothing;they will consult the idols and the spirits of the dead,the mediums and the spiritists. 4 I will hand the Egyptians over to the power of a cruel master,and a fierce king will rule over them,"declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.
5 The waters of the river will dry up,and the riverbed will be parched and dry. 6 The canals will stink;the streams of Egypt will dwindle and dry up.The reeds and rushes will wither, 7 also the plants along the Nile,at the mouth of the river.Every sown field along the Nile will become parched, will blow away and be no more. 8 The fishermen will groan and lament,all who cast hooks into the Nile;those who throw nets on the water will pine away. 9 Those who work with combed flax will despair,the weavers of fine linen will lose hope. 10 The workers in cloth will be dejected,and all the wage earners will be sick at heart.
11 The officials of Zoan are nothing but fools;the wise counselors of Pharaoh give senseless advice.How can you say to Pharaoh,"I am one of the wise men,a disciple of the ancient kings"?
12 Where are your wise men now?Let them show you and make known what the LORD Almighty has planned against Egypt. 13 The officials of Zoan have become fools,the leaders of Memphis are deceived;the cornerstones of her peoples have led Egypt astray. 14 The LORD has poured into them a spirit of dizziness;they make Egypt stagger in all that she does,as a drunkard staggers around in his vomit. 15 There is nothing Egypt can do — head or tail, palm branch or reed.
16 In that day the Egyptians will be like women. They will shudder with fear at the uplifted hand that the LORD Almighty raises against them. 17 And the land of Judah will bring terror to the Egyptians; everyone to whom Judah is mentioned will be terrified, because of what the LORD Almighty is planning against them.
18 In that day five cities in Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the LORD Almighty. One of them will be called the City of Destruction.
19 In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the LORD at its border. 20 It will be a sign and witness to the LORD Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the LORD because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them. 21 So the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the LORD. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the LORD and keep them. 22 The LORD will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the LORD, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them.
23 In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. 24 In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. 25 The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, "Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance."

Isaiah 20

20:1 In the year that the supreme commander, sent by Sargon king of Assyria, came to Ashdod and attacked and captured it — 2 at that time the LORD spoke through Isaiah son of Amoz. He said to him, "Take off the sackcloth from your body and the sandals from your feet." And he did so, going around stripped and barefoot.
3 Then the LORD said, "Just as my servant Isaiah has gone stripped and barefoot for three years, as a sign and portent against Egypt and Cush, 4 so the king of Assyria will lead away stripped and barefoot the Egyptian captives and Cushite exiles, young and old, with buttocks bared — to Egypt's shame. 5 Those who trusted in Cush and boasted in Egypt will be afraid and put to shame. 6 In that day the people who live on this coast will say, 'See what has happened to those we relied on, those we fled to for help and deliverance from the king of Assyria! How then can we escape?'"

Second Reading: Psalms Chapter 77

Psalms 77

77:1 For the director of music. For Jeduthun. Of Asaph. A psalm.

I cried out to God for help;I cried out to God to hear me. 2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;at night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted.
3 I remembered you, O God, and I groaned;I mused, and my spirit grew faint.Selah 4 You kept my eyes from closing;I was too troubled to speak. 5 I thought about the former days,the years of long ago; 6 I remembered my songs in the night.My heart mused and my spirit inquired:
7 "Will the Lord reject forever?Will he never show his favor again? 8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever?Has his promise failed for all time? 9 Has God forgotten to be merciful?Has he in anger withheld his compassion?"Selah
10 Then I thought, "To this I will appeal:the years of the right hand of the Most High." 11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD;yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. 12 I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.
13 Your ways, O God, are holy.What god is so great as our God? 14 You are the God who performs miracles;you display your power among the peoples. 15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.Selah
16 The waters saw you, O God,the waters saw you and writhed;the very depths were convulsed. 17 The clouds poured down water,the skies resounded with thunder;your arrows flashed back and forth. 18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,your lightning lit up the world;the earth trembled and quaked. 19 Your path led through the sea,your way through the mighty waters,though your footprints were not seen.
20 You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Bible Background


Part 1 of 6

According to Vine's An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, "prophecy, prophesy, prophesying" comes from a Greek word that signifies the speaking forth of the mind and counsel of God. Vine goes on to say: "Though much of O.T. prophecy was purely predictive, see Micah 5:2, e.g., and cp John 11:51, prophecy is not necessarily, nor even primarily, fore-telling. It is the declaration of that which cannot be known by natural means, Matt. 26:68, it is the forth-telling of the will of God, whether with reference to the past, the present, or the future, see Gen. 20:7: Deut. 18:18; Reve. 10:11; 11:3...."

I Corinthians 14 records the purposes of prophecy:


Select: First Reading Second Reading Bible Background