Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Like old love letters that are ever new

Through the Bible in 90 Days: Day 51

Read: Isaiah 29:1-41:18

Verse that stood out: "To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One. Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing - Isaiah 40:25-26

When we read the Bible, God's Spirit speaks to us on many levels. There are the words on the page - what they mean in the context of that particular passage. This is always primary, but it's hardly the only way God speaks to us. Take for instance the connections one passage makes with other parts of the scriptures. One can't read Isaiah without thinking of Christ. He is the son Immanuel, the Light that has dawned, the King that rules in righteousness. We read from one page, but God speaks from the totality of the book.

But sometimes, God speaks from beyond even the book itself. He speaks from our ongoing relationship with his Word. Take for instance Isaiah 40. A great passage that speaks of God's majesty and his mercy. Taken at face value it is a passage that's easy to connect to our own lives of worship and faith. And yet for me, there's added significance. It was one of the first passages I ever preached from. I was probably in the ninth or tenth grade. The short sermon was for the Speakers' Tournament portion of Bible Drill (Some of you Baptists will know what I'm talking about). I don't really remember what I said in the sermon. I do remember that while most of my friends wrote their sermons and moved on - more interested in the trip we got to go on than the actual sermons they'd prepared - I couldn't move on. I'd fallen in love. Not with a girl, but with preaching itself.

Call it a calling. Call it God's hand. Call it what you will, I can't read Isaiah 40 without automatically remembering how God employed this passage in my life in the past. That past informs every new reading of the passage. So that when I question my calling or my effectiveness in ministry or any other number of things that normal people question, I hear words that have spoken before into my life - words of majesty and mercy. Words for Israel. Words for the church. Words for me. Words spoken in the past that still speak today.

I'd love to hear what passages have been meaningful in your life that have resurfaced in new ways?

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