"The people did not turn to him who struck them, nor inquire of Yahweh of hosts. So Yahweh cut off from Israel head and tail, palm branch and reed in one day—the elder and honoured man is the head, and the prophet who teaches lies is the tail. For those who guide this people have been leading them astray, and those who are guided by them are swallowed up." - Isaiah 9:13-16
Isaiah is writing about Israel in about 734 bc. The following year, 733 bc, Assyria will take over the northern half of Israel, including Galilee and the Jezreel valley. In 732 bc, Damascus will be taken and its king, Rezin, killed. Ten years later, Northern Israel will cease from being a nation. Isaiah 9:8-10:4 is a four stanza poem explaining God's discipline of Israel during this period. Israel is choosing not to change course as a result of God's escalating discipline.
Some life lessons are: (1) when God disciplines us, we need to be humble, turn to him, and inquire why he is disciplining us so that we can change course; and (2) as leaders, God expects us to guide and lead people in the right way.
Father, help me to pay attention when you discipline me. May I humble myself at your discipline instead of growing more prideful and arrogant. May I turn to your word, the Bible, to figure out where I have gone wrong. May I listen to those around me who are offering godly constructive criticism. Help me to course correct so that I don't bring more discipline upon myself. Finally, help me as a church leader to guide people in the right path.
Father, please continue to help the believers in Afghanistan. Protect them with your strong hand. Provide for their every need. If they have Bibles, help them to keep them hidden so that they may be used later. May the Church around the world help them in many ways, Lord. May the Taliban allow some religious freedom for them. Also be with the women of Afghanistan. Give them opportunities to learn and grow as human beings. Please stop ISIS-K and their terror plots. May the Taliban turn against ISIS-K and uproot them out of their land. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.
- Jeff Coleman