Tag Archives: Isaiah

Stats on Bible reading from YouVersion

biblesI am a bit old fashioned, in that, I still like my paper Bible.  As a church pastor, I occasionally ask folks to hold up their Bibles.  More and more folks are turning to electronic versions of their Bibles.  IPhones and Droids are becoming the tool of choice for Bible reading.

Because folks are accessing the web for Bible reading, this has allowed for keeping stats on which Bible books are read.  The number of hits on a book, chapter, or scripture are tracked and we are left with some really interesting data.  Interesting sociological points can be gleaned from this information.  However, that is not the point of this post.  Rather, I am just going to jot down a few of the highlights which interested me.

First, YouVersion has topped over 100 million members.  That is pretty cool.

Here are the books accessed most and the highest viewed scripture in each:

1. Psalms ( you could have guessed that one) 74,044,741  views and its most popular verse is Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord; and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

2. Matthew 44,986,813 views and its most popular verse is Matt 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

3. Proverbs 43,288,764 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” Prov. 3:5

4. Romans 32,569,657 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” Romans 12:25

5. John 29,571,356 (any guesses here, I am not even going to write it out?!)

6. Luke 26,355,373  ”Give, and it will be given to you, Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.  For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38

7. Ephesians 22,736,846 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Eph 4:32

8. 1Corinthians 20,392,129 “Love is patient, and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant.” 1 Cor 13:4

9. Isaiah 20,205,218 “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Is 40:31

10. Lastly, Genesis 19,055,482  ”Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Gen 2:24

Interesting stuff.  Can you interpret anything out of this?
How does this list compare to your most read books or favorite verses? Have you navigated away from a paper Bible to an electronic version? How has that helped you in your Bible study or scriptural acumen?

B90X- Isaiah

The purpose of the book of Isaiah demonstrates the trustworthiness of the Lord.  The first king whom Isaiah serves, Ahaz, does not trust the Lord.  He ignores Isaiah’s advice and follows his own schemes.  This leads to defeat and servitude at the hands of the Assyrians.  Ahaz’s son Hezekiah, in contrast, trusts the Lord and Jerusalem is delivered from Sennacherib and the Assyrians.  In the second half of the book the exiles are also encouraged to trust the Lord to bring deliverance and to respond like Hezekiah, not like Ahaz.

Isaiah and coal

A significant theme is the hope in a future ideal Davidic king.  The book provides a template for Messianic expectation as it develops a profile of God’s plan, including the exaltation of Jerusalem (ch. 2), the coming child whom is the reign (ch. 9), peace and stability of the reign of the Davidic heir(ch. 11), and how the ideal Servant of the Lord will carry out God’s mission (chs. 42-53).

Walton, Strauss, and Cooper.  The Essential Bible Companion.

B90X2012 “Servant Song #5″

The fifth and final song comes in Isaiah 61:1-11.  The good news comes.  The Servant is anointed to bring the messianic jubilee, where the people will be restored to the land after exile.  There is no introduction by God.  The servant says, ‘here I am.’  Lots of review and progression from the previous Songs.

Look at all the verbs involved in what the Servant has done and is going to do- preach, bind, proclaim, release, proclaim (again), comfort, provide, bestow, rebuild, restore, and renew.

Isaiah’s tree imagery pops out in v. 3- ‘oaks of righteousness.’

Jesus broke the silence and the mystery of who the Servant was in Luke 4 when he preaches his first sermon.  He purposely turns to Isaiah 61 and reads a portion of that Song.  He purposely stopped short at the section about vengeance because that day has not come yet.  His time on earth at that time was for revelation about Father and reconciliation of humanity.

Then ironically, right after this first sermon and the unveiling of his Messiahship, the crowd wants to take him out and push him off a cliff.  Now that is a flashy kick-off to a preaching tour.  Kind of makes me not feel so bad.  Folks didn’t want to kill me after my first sermon.

Everything explodes with Jesus!  He is the Servant.  He is the mystery man.  Everything stated in the five Servant Songs is true and is fulfilled.  A new definition of freedom- not just socio/economic, but physical and spiritual as well.

I hope you have enjoyed this brief tour into this special literary aspect of Isaiah.  It is so cool to find this stuff and see how the Holy Spirit wove it into the Word.

“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” Prov. 25:2

B90X2012 “Servant Song #4″

The Fourth Song is the most well-known of the Servant Songs comes to us from Isaiah 52:13-53:12.  The most graphic and appalling of descriptions regarding who the servant is and what the purpose of his mission on the planet is.  The fourth song is the most elaborate and poignant of them all.  It is the zenith of Isaiah’s message and discussion about who God is and what he is about.  It is as though we forgot the message and Isaiah needed to remind us with suddenness and intrusiveness.  Almost as if he is screaming at us, “Don’t you get the picture.  Let me draw it out for you one more time.”  The irony of it all- the servant is exalted yet abused and quiet. Buried within the Song is kind of a macro view of birth to death.

Vv. 52:13- 53:1 God is speaking

Vv. 53:2-6 Israel is speaking

Vv. 53:7-12 God is speaking

Notice in this whole section who says nothing.

Servant Song #1 was a picture of a king, #2 had hints of a prophet, and in this one we have the qualifications of a priest (52:15).

In the Ancient Near East (ANE), one would cover their mouths with their hand as they approach another king.  Here is 52:15, we see that the Servant is the King of kings, all, including kings, will shut their mouths because of who this servant is!  What a picture.

I love the flow at the end of the song- The dead (9) is alive (11), the condemned (8) is righteous (11), and the helpless (7) is the victor (12)!!  That is us friends.  The whole reason for Jesus coming to the planet.  The story of redemption and presence in our lives.

B90X2012 “Servant Songs #2 & 3″

The second Servant Song is found in Isaiah 49:1-6.  The ‘failure’ and ‘success’ of the servant: rejected by Israel, but will bring salvation to the gentiles and then to Israel.

Vv. 1-3 Israel as it was meant to be.  Israel the person became a nation- here the nation is becoming a person. The first Israel could not do it, the second one will!

Vv. 4-6 The agent, the task, and the result.  V. 5 task- redeem Israel.  V. 6 ‘a light for the Gentiles,’ the second time this is mentioned.

First song, the mystery man looks like a king, in this second song, he looks like a prophet (v. 2- “mouth”).

Servant Song number three comes from Isaiah 50:4-11.  Contradicting the ‘no-one at all’ of verse 2, there is one who testifies to listening and responding (5). “Once more the Servant speaks, letting us into some of the most deeply personal areas of his life: his communion with God, the physical and mental suffering which marks his way, and the assurance of final vindication that buoys him up. It is almost as if he is speaking more to himself than to others.  In this third song, the world at large is left out of the picture, and attention is focused on the Servant himself and his ministry to the people of God.” (Barry Webb, “The Message of Isaiah” from The Bible Speaks Today Series. (Leicester, England: Intervarsity Press, 1996)

‘Sovereign Lord’ Adonai Yahweh is mentioned four times as sort of an introductory marker (4,5,7,9).

V. 4 ‘instructed’- total knowledge to disciple and counsel. ‘Sustains the weary’- he consoles, heals, cares for, shepherds, speaks the proper word in season.

V. 6 ‘offered my back’ – Nothing he will not endure if obedience demands it.

V. 7 ‘set my face like flint’ – resolutely set out, firm resolve, determined.

V. 10 ‘who…obeys the word of his servant?’- The servant is not to be wondered at or admired, but obeyed!

V. 11 ‘provide yourselves’ – trust in self. ‘your fires’ – a different gospel. ‘torment’ – their reward- a place of pain.

The most revealing and famous of the five songs is next.