Written by Stephen
Isaiah Chapter 22
Some of you will know that I am currently doing a personal verse by verse study in the Old Testament book of Isaiah. My aim is to complete the study by the end of 2020, and this week when I looked at chapter 22, it seemed as if Isaiah’s words were speaking right into our current situation.
Historically, the events Isaiah speaks of in this chapter are difficult to place timewise. Was the prophet talking about an invasion of Jerusalem that had happened, was currently happening or would happen in the future? Well biblical experts are divided on this matter, but whatever the situation, Isaiah talks of a city under threat – not from a virus or any other kind of disease, but from a foreign power loaded with chariots and bows (6). Isaiah then was writing about a day of great trouble for God’s people, and we find Isaiah weeping bitterly (4). He was weeping though, not simply because Jerusalem was in difficulty, but he was weeping because he saw God’s people relying on the wrong things to get them through this difficult time. They were relying on their armoury (8), because the House of the Forest was most likely the storehouse in the palace where armour was stored. They were also busy making sure that there was an adequate water supply for a siege (9 and 11), and the wall around the city was strengthened (10). And although these preparations were prudent and necessary, Isaiah was concerned that God’s people were busy practically, but they were leaving God out of the equation.
Currently we are facing very troublesome times too. In fact, coronavirus has spread to 180 countries and 200 territories so far, and who would have thought as we entered 2020 that we would be locked down as a nation, not just for a few days, but for many weeks. And yes, we are all playing our part in accordance with the government guidelines, and rightly so. We must do everything we can to stay safe and keep others safe. But at the same time, we must not neglect our spiritual responsibility, which is to seek the face of God, and to look to Him for help, especially as our world is now a facing a second pandemic according to the U.N.’s food relief agency – a widespread famine of ‘biblical proportions’ because ports are closed and supply chains are being disrupted due to Covid-19.
My prayer both for myself and for the church, is that we will spend this unexpected ‘halt’ in our daily routines, investing in our spiritual lives, and that we will use those extra spare moments to engage with God through His word and in personal praise and prayer. May we emerge from this time having experienced God’s faithfulness to meet our needs, His resources to bring us through one day at a time, and His ability to fill us with joy and peace and hope.
Thank you to all who joined the zoom prayer meetings last week. We are seeing ‘prayers going up’ and ‘answers coming down’ as one of our church members noted. Please join us this week on Tuesday at 7.00pm and/or Thursday at 9.00am.