Todays readings… 1 Samuel 23, Isaiah 66, Matthew 11

            Today we reached the last chapter of the many remarkable – and often challenging – chapters of the prophet Isaiah.  The chapters end with two contrasting visions of the last Days. One is an awesome, indeed fearsome picture of the divine judgements!  “For behold, the LORD will come in fire … to render his anger in fury … by fire will the LORD enter into judgment … and those slain by the LORD shall be many.” [v.15,16]

                But, after this awesome picture of the divine judgements on godlessness is the inspiring statement “the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory …  they shall declare my glory among the nations. “ [v.18,19]  Surely this portrays the kingdom of God that Jesus will establish! We note, with a sense of awe – the words of Jesus we read today in Matthew ch. 11 of how “it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you.”[v.22]  The “you” are the cities like “Capernaum” [v.23] who had witnessed his remarkable healings and heard his teaching – but had not repented of their ungodliness.

            Let us be conscious – in our hearts – of the outcome of their attitude!  After crucifying their Messiah, their nation soon ceased to exist. Why had they been unable to recognise their Messiah?  Early in Isaiah’s prophecy we read, “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!” [5 v.21]  The same spirit is all around us today, as so many people scoff at as their being a Creator, the One true God who brought all the wonders that exist into being.

            Our world faces the same judgement that Israel experienced for rejecting their Messiah!  We are in awe, with aching hearts, the words in v, 15 & 16 in the last chapter of Isaiah! Let us repeat the, take them into our hearts, and make sure ‘we are on the Lord’s side, “For behold, the LORD will come in fire … to render his anger in fury … by fire will the LORD enter into judgment … and those slain by the LORD shall be many.” [v.15,16]