What does it say?
Isaiah is a monster in terms of length and there are five chapters in today’s readings. By now I hope you have relaxed and realize that the purpose of this reading is not to become a Bible scholar, understanding every detail of every verse. Our objective is a chronological/missional overview. You don’t HAVE to understand it all.
Isaiah 27 is a message for Tyre, the world’s great sea power just as Babylon is the world power on land at this time. As in previous messages, this is a pronouncement of judgment upon Tyre, but also a message that Tyre will one day turn to God and be blessed.
Isaiah 24-27 is often called the “Little Apocalypse” because it deals in futuristic visions that are quite similar to the themes of the Book of Revelation. For the moment, simply read through these chapters to gain story line, not to master the details. Your ability to see prophetic connections with other parts of the Bible will depend upon how much you have studied the Bible. No matter your level of understanding, just read and absorb whatever you can. It will make more sense with each repeated reading.
What does it mean?
The missional connection is displayed by putting Egypt on one side of Israel (Isa 21) and Tyre on the other (Isa 23). In both cases judgment is followed by the hopeful promise of future restoration that depends on their relationship to Israel. This has been and is the mission.
Making your way through the Little Apocalypse, you will notice the repeated phrase “that day.” In biblical language this phrase often is a signpost of the judgment time to come. In the same passage you will experience visions of the Messiah to come and the glory of his kingdom. You will also see the regathering and restoration of God’s people in “that day.” This is the climactic moment of the mission. But the final chapter of God’s story is really the first chapter of the rest of the story when God’s original plan for his kingdom becomes reality.
How will I respond?
Israel lost its way because the nation focused more on its own story over God’s story. From the beginning the plan was to bless Israel to be a blessing to the nations. Am I too focused on my own story, complete with problems and hurts, that I have forgotten the missional aspect of my life? What is a concrete example of how my blessed life has blessed others? How can this same effect of blessing be repeated in my life this week?