Sunday, July 15, 2012
Welcome to Day 196 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
Isaiah 22, a prophecy against “the Valley of Vision,” Jerusalem. Interesting it’s stuck in the middle of all the other oracles against foreign nations. Most likely due to it’s association with Babylon and Assyria (or Mesopotamia, parts of modern-day Turkey, Iran and Iraq, basically the area along the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers.)
v 22, “what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.”
Isaiah 23, “an oracle of judgment concerning Tyre, concerning commercial systems that do not take God into consideration.” The language is symbolic, not historically specific as some of Isaiah’s other prophecies. RSB Commentary.
Jesus also referred to Tyre (and Sidon) in Matthew 11 when he was speaking out against Bethsaida. Knowing that if he had done the same miracles in Tyre and Sidon that he had done in Bethsaida, those cities would have repented.
It’s never good when God compares your city to a prostitute.
Isaiah 24 (through 26) is often called an “apocalypse.” The prophet holds before sinner and godly the clear teaching that the day of the Lord brings judgment on creation and the fullness of salvation for the saints. God’s plan of redemption includes restoration from exile, the blessings of Christ in the church, and the establishment of God’s kingdom in all nations. Ch. 24 focuses on God’s overthrow of the corrupted earth; ch. 25, on the praise that comes to Him in response. RSB Commentary.
Doesn’t get much gloomier or doomier than Isaiah 24…
Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Throw off everything that hinders… sin that easily entangles… grow weary and lose heart.
Run the race. Fix our eyes on Jesus… NOT grow weary and lose heart.
Because we have this great history, recorded in chapter 11’s “Hall of Faith,” we can look forward (As Mark Long mentioned in his comment to yesterday’s blog) and run this race to win.
(The imagery of running a race is also used in 1 Corinthians and Galatians… doesn’t prove that Paul wrote Hebrews… Many of the others this book’s authorship could be attributed to (Silas, Apollos, Philip, Priscilla, Aquilla, Clement) all most likely would have had access to Paul’s other letters and could have easily picked up on that imagery.)
It’s also worth mentioning that Paul always identified himself in his writings. Timothy is mentioned in chapter 13 as “our brother.” So it was certainly someone close to Paul, who also knew Timothy.
But I digress…
I love this imagery of running a race.
I was a runner back in the day. Not a great runner, but a solid one. I was fourth in the county. (Behind three other guys on my team!)
That whole thing about “endorphins” escaped me. “Runner’s high?” Huh?
I ran to win. Not for fun. Not because it made me feel great. Not for the love of the road.
Our team went to state three years in a row, finishing 7th, 11th and 4th respectively. I loved that.
I ran cross country because I nearly got killed as a tight end and safety in football. (I was 5’4″ and 90 lbs. in the 7th grade.) I played football through 8th grade and then got recruited by the high school coach.
I grew 8″ and added 50 lbs. in two years. By my sophomore year I was 6’/140, wearing 29 x 36 jeans. (Long stride.)
I can so relate to the imagery about running the race to win. I only won one race in my career… when I had to run a JV race, because I was ill the day we ran the trial race to determine the varsity team…
But again, I digress…
Point being, you mention “running the race to win” and I get plugged in.
I also understand pace. Any runner does.
Running is all about pacing oneself… Not burning out too soon. (Especially marathoners who are running 26.2 miles!)
But I can relate that to running my race as a believer, too. I get that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Life is lived one day at a time.
And I get the idea of “spurring one another on to love and good works.” If you stop along the way, I can encourage you as I catch up to you, or vice-versa! We encourage one another.
I always enjoyed the road runs… as long as I had a companion to run with me. Otherwise, it was a lonely six miles…
So glad to be running this race with all of you!
Lord, strengthen all my brothers and sisters who read this blog… that are also running this race!