SCRIPTURE READING: Isaiah 1:1-9
INSIGHT: This book seems like an ordinary book of prophecies; it starts with the author’s introduction (The New Testament letters also have the same format). Isaiah’s self-introduction in verse 1, shows several key points of testifying or publicly expressing his faith to the people:
信仰的領受比較承擔的職事重要──以賽亞介紹自己時, 沒有提到自己是有先知職分, 只說得默示, 從神領受了信仰的教訓。舊約的先知書多數作者我們都不知道是不是全職傳道人, 但肯定知道的是他們確實宣稱從神領受了默示。所以為信仰作見證最重要的並非有否教會職位, 而是有沒有領受。
Receiving faith is more important than undertaking a ministry – When Isaiah introduced himself, he did not mention that he was prophet, he just said that he received a vision from God. We do not know if most of the authors of the books of prophecy in the Old Testament were full-time ministers, but we definitely know that they professed to have received inspiration from God. So, the most important thing about bearing witness of your faith is not whether you have a position in the church, but whether you have received it.
恆久──以賽亞領受默示, 自從烏西雅王一直至希西家王的四代不斷。 一鼓作氣容易, 持之以恆殊不容易。多數信徒初信時大發熱心, 只是讀經的次數與信主的年日成為反比。以賽亞的信息就以信仰的恆久開始:
Perseverance – When Isaiah received the visions, they lasted from the reigns of Uzziah until Hezekiah, they were constant for four generations. It’s easy to start strong but it’s not easy to persevere to the end. Most Christians are very enthusiastic when they first believe, but the number of times they read the Bible is inversely proportional to the date that they believed in Jesus. Isaiah’s message begins with persevering in faith:
●天阿! 要聽。地阿! 要側耳而聽。 這是舊約耶和華與以色列人立約的句式, 也是指責人背約的用詞 (申卅二1耶六19彌一2六2)。聖經喜歡提到天地, 因為古代的人都認同天地是恆久不變。耶和華以天地的恆久不變來指證以色列人信仰的一個問題就是不能持久。
HEAR ME, YOU HEAVENS! LISTEN, EARTH! This is the Old Testament covenant between the Lord and the Israelites, and it is a term used to accuse the people of breaking the covenant. (Deuteronomy 2:1, Jeremiah 6:19, Micah 1:2, 6:2). The Bible likes to mention heaven and earth because people in ancient times identified heaven and earth as something constant. The Lord uses the constant heavens and earth to demonstrate the problem of the Israelites, He points out that their faith is not enduring.
●悖逆 — 這段聖經兩次提到以色列人悖逆耶和華(2,5) 。悖逆或者中文新譯本和現代中文譯本翻譯為背叛, 是一個表示關係的動詞。以色列人先前與耶和華是有一段正常和好的關係, 才會悖逆或背叛耶和華。這說明以色列人的沒有恆久信靠神: 他們相信耶和華一段時間, 就離棄耶和華……與他生疏, 往後退步(4),所以被稱屢次悖逆(5) 。以賽亞提出不能持久信靠神的警告:
原因──不願認識神, 不留意研讀聖經(3),所以就犯罪行惡, 成為敗壞(4);
結果──受責打(5-8); 神的管教可能是身體的病痛, 可能是工作沒有收成, 甚至國家敗亡;
盼望──萬軍之耶和華給我們稍留餘種, 因為神並不甘心人悖逆他所以寬容你們, 不願有一人沉淪, 乃願人人都悔改(彼後三9) 。
REBELLIOUS – This passage mentions that the Israelites rebelled against the Lord two times (v. 2, 5). The word “rebel” or “betray”, as translated by the New Chinese Version and Today’s Chinese Version, is a verb that expresses a relationship. In the past, the Israelites had a normal and good relationship with the Lord before they rebelled or betrayed Him. This shows that the Israelites did not persevere in trusting God: They had faith in God for a time…then they abandoned Him, they spurned Him, they turned their backs on Him (v. 4), they persist in rebelling (v.5). Isaiah admonishes them about not persevering in their faith towards God:
The Reason – Unwillingness to know God, neglecting to read the Bible (v3), therefore, they sinned, did evil and became corrupt (v.4);
Outcome – They were reprimanded (v. 5-8); God’s discipline may be a physical illness, it may be that their work will not reap a good harvest, and even their nation will be defeated by enemies.
Hope — The Lord of hosts had left us a very small remnant, for it is not his purpose that anyone should be destroyed, but that everyone should turn from his sins. (2 Peter 3:9)
祈禱: 求主幫助我每天持之以恆的研讀聖經, 免致離棄神, 悖逆你.
PRAYER: May the Lord help me to persevere in reading the Bible every day, lest I forsake God and rebel against You.
by 洪同勉牧師 Rev. Tommy Hung