Today’s Reading: Isaiah 15-21
Today’s Reflection: Isaiah 19:24-25
24) In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, 25) whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.”
In chapters 14 to 19 of the book of Isaiah, the prophet delivers oracles or prophesies about the neighboring nations around Israel. Though much of what God says through His prophet concerns judgment and the overthrow of these nations, something else emerges: though Israel is His chosen people, God has an intimate knowledge of the nations of Assyria, Philistia, Moab, Damascus, Cush and Egypt. God had been speaking to the people of these nations.
This is shocking to those who believed that Israel was the only nation God had made Himself known to. Though scripture makes it clear God was using Israel to reach and bless these peoples (Genesis 26:4), God was also at work directly within these nations as well.
We today often think God is only at work within the Christian church, but this ancient example suggests this is far from true. Other faith traditions, spiritualists, new agers and even atheists. Despite the distance between their beliefs and the truth of the Gospel, trust and believe that God is at work within these groups of people as well. In fact examining the behaviour of some of them reveals that believers of other faiths (or no faith at all) at times are more honourable in upholding the spirit of God’s laws than we as Christians are (Romans 2:14). This should gladden our hearts and also increase our boldness in sharing the good news of Christ with them. Not only has God prepared a blessing for them to share in, they’ve already been prepared for the Word we have to share with them as well.
Acts 15:14-18 – 14) ‘Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. 15) And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written, 16) “‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, 17) that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things 18) known from of old.’