Prayer for the day
You are to be praised, O God, in Zion; . . . To you that hear prayer shall all flesh come, because of their transgressions.
Scripture for the day
The prophet Isaiah makes several shocking claims in the prophecies we read today. The prophecies are very specific, and very controversial for the people of Israel. In the text, the prophet not only prophesies good things eventually for Israel (which would have been great news), but he prophesies good things for other nations. This must have rankled. The Israelites were the chosen ones, but the prophet seems to disregard the simplistic categorization and instead embraces a much more universal and gracious view of God, a view that works with many nations.
These nations, while they have rejected God initially, will be blessed, says the prophet. They will move beyond their disobedience and be compelled by the spirit of God to obedience and worship. This spirit, though it is not explicitly mentioned by the prophet, is implied to be the one who will bring the nations together, who will give them identity and understanding, and who will eventually make all things new.
Paul speaks of the Holy Spirit in the same way in today’s passage. Paul teaches the Ephesian church that their lives will no longer be typified by drunkenness with alcohol, but they will be drunk with the Spirit of God. The Spirit will “possess” them in a way, and their actions will be affected, their words will be affected. In fact the way they treat each other will be affected by the Holy spirit so that husbands and wives will live lives of care for one another, submission to each other, and mutual love. People will live lives dedicated to worship and celebration, seeking the best of God for one another.
This beautiful picture is accomplished not through hard work, says Paul, but by the filling of the believers with the Holy Spirit. May you experience His power.