I have this thing about the book of Isaiah. How I read it depends on my mood. Now that I think about it, that can be said for the rest of the Bible as well. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed this yet, but we have an accuser and he is not God. When the cloak of intimidation is drawn back I have found that our enemy is nothing more than a cravenly finger-pointer. When I am alert enough to observe my thoughts wandering to negativity toward others, toward myself and even toward God a flashing light and siren should go off. I have crossed into enemy territory.
But I was talking about Isaiah. It’s a complicated book, rich with extremes but steady on relationship. It’s a lover’s fight between two parties who are nothing if not intense. In Isaiah, God exposes the jealous vulnerability of His passion for His wayward bride. He strongarms, reasons, threatens, and begs for her faithfulness. And when her heart returns He rushes to swoop her up with the tender compassion of a worried mother. His love for her is true as is His love for me, for you.
Under the influence of Satan I read and interpret the negativity and threats of this classic work as directed straight at me. Each word of condemnation pins me to the wall like a fiery arrow, while the solace and hope of love and restoration rings hollow to my ears, so convinced am I that it must be meant for someone else. I’d be better off leaving my Bible alone on days like that.
If you’re still following me on this scattered monologue I admire your tenacity. I’m trying to say that how I read the Bible is more important than what I read or how much. I’ve forced myself in the past to be spiritual with a crowbar and a sledgehammer. I didn’t have much luck with that and I don’t recommend it. When we approach the Holy Scriptures wearing the glasses of our own badness or our own goodness we have lost the battle before we have begun. It’s not about me at all. It’s His story. His love. His heart revealed in Glory. I am invited to come along; and that invitation, for me, is enough.
Having gone down a different trail with this post than I meant to, I’ll leave my favorite thoughts from Isaiah for another day. But in the mean time I invite you to take a look at the book. It’s a good read and it really picks up as it goes.