Wednesday, August 21, 2013

From Gods & Kings

I am currently rereading Lynn Austin's Gods & Kings. I thought I would share a bit to show you just how good it is and how she really brings the Bible story to life!!! In this quote, you may just see Isaiah in new light:
“I have a word of advice for you.” “Advice? I might have known. You’d like a position in my court now that I’ve lost my three top men.” Isaiah shook his head. “No. I’ve renounced my kinship to the house of David because—” “You were thrown out of the palace,” Ahaz interrupted. “And for good reason. My father didn’t want to listen to your radical opinions, and neither do I.” Isaiah took a step closer. “How can I remain silent when my nation is rushing toward disaster? Unless Judah reforms—” “Reforms? If we listened to you, we’d end up living in tents like Abraham.” Isaiah held his head high, meeting Ahaz’s gaze without flinching. He repeated quietly, “Unless this nation repents—” “That’s enough.” Ahaz held up his hands. “We don’t need a doomsayer, Isaiah. The people are already worried. You can’t get an audience in my court, so you force your views on the common people and call it prophecy. Well, I don’t want to listen to you, and neither do they.” “I have a word for you, King Ahaz—from Yahweh.” Isaiah’s tone changed, and there was something in his manner, an unmistakable authority in his voice, that made Ahaz keep silent. “Be careful, keep calm, and don’t be afraid,” Isaiah told him. “Don’t lose heart because of these kings who have come against you.” “What are you talking about?” Ahaz exploded. “Their armies are rapidly approaching Jerusalem!” “Yes, but the Lord God says their plan will not succeed. You must stand firm in your faith in Yahweh—or you will not stand at all.” “I don’t know where you get your bizarre ideas, and I don’t care. I’ve already made plans to deal with this crisis, and I’m not changing them now.” Isaiah’s eyes narrowed. “You don’t believe that Yahweh can deliver you from the enemy, do you? You’d rather ask the king of Assyria for help than put your trust in the Lord.” Ahaz glared at him, wondering how he had learned of the planned alliance so quickly. “The gods belong in the temples, not in the streets,” Ahaz said. “And certainly not in government.” Isaiah took another step forward. “Ask Yahweh for a sign. Let Him prove that He will crush your enemies as He has said. Ask anything you like, in heaven or on earth.” “No. I won’t put Yahweh to the test.” Isaiah’s confidence shook Ahaz. If his cousin somehow produced a miracle in front of all these people, Ahaz would have to abandon his plans and trust in the sign. He couldn’t afford to take that risk. “Hear now, you house of David!” Isaiah said angrily. His quiet voice grew and surged as he spoke, like water rushing down a dry riverbed, until it seemed to thunder. “You’re not satisfied to exhaust my patience—you’ll exhaust the Lord’s patience, as well! Very well then, Yahweh himself will choose the sign—a virgin shall conceive and give birth to a child. And he shall be called Immanuel.” “That’s ridiculous. How can a virgin bear a child?” “The lands of the kings you dread so much will be laid waste,” Isaiah continued. “But Yahweh will bring a terrible curse on you and on your nation and on your family, too. The mighty King of Assyria will come with his great army. Yahweh will take these Assyrians you’ve hired to save you and use them to shave off everything you have: your head and the hair of your legs, and your beard also.”
The inspiration is Isaiah 7:3-20.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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