Ever notice how different people may be oblivious to what is taking place around them? For some they are immediately aware. For some they take a little prodding or poking before they realize there is something going on. For some it takes a monstrous event to get their attention.
Ever noticed how even when some people’s attention has been gotten, it still takes more for them to get or become engaged into the situation? Ever noticed that sometimes people can compartmentalize their life so much that they can ignore certain pieces? Ever found that some may realize but are just looking to escape the situation rather than address it?
What about you? Are you aware of what is going on around you? How crazy do things need to get before you will do something or get involved? Or will you? If you learned today that things were going off the rails, would you do something? How would you respond? What choice would you make? Would you do something before it was too late?
What does it take to get your attention?
Today’s reading continues in Isaiah…
Downfall of Jerusalem and Judah
1For behold! The Lord, Adonai-Tzva’ot, takes from Jerusalem and from Judah supply and support, every supply of bread and every supply of water, 2mighty man and man of war, judge, and prophet, fortune-teller and elder, 3captain of 50 and man of rank, counselor, crafty magician and cunning charmer. 4I will set children as their rulers. Capricious ones will govern them. 5The people will oppress one another— each one by his fellow, each one by his neighbor. The child will be insolent to the aged, and dishonorable to the honorable. 6When a man takes hold of his brother in the house of his father, saying: “You have a cloak, you be our ruler! This ruin is under your charge.” 7In that day he will protest, saying: “I’m no healer! In my house is no bread or cloak. Don’t make me a ruler of people!” 8For Jerusalem has stumbled, and Judah is fallen. For their tongue and their actions are against Adonai, defying the eyes of His glory. 9The expression of their faces bears witness against them. They display their sin like Sodom— they do not hide it. Oy , their souls! For they brought evil on themselves.
The Judge Arises
10Say to the righteous, he will be well, eating the fruit of their deeds. 11Oy , the wicked! It will be bad for him, for the dealing of his hands will be done to him. 12My people! Children are their oppressors and women rule over them. My people! Your guides mislead you and destroy the way of your paths. 13Adonai arises to contend a case, and stands to judge the people. 14Adonai will enter into judgment with the elders of His people and with the princes: “You have devoured the vineyard. The plunder of the poor is in your houses. 15What do you mean by crushing My people and grinding the face of the poor?” says Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot. 16Moreover Adonai says: “Since the Daughters of Zion are proud, and walk with outstretched necks and seductive eyes, walking and mincing as they go, making a jingling with their feet, 17therefore Adonai will smite with a scab the forehead of the Daughters of Zion. Adonai will expose their secret parts. 18In that day Adonai will strip the finery of anklets, headbands, crescents, 19pendants and bracelets, veils, 20headdresses, armlets, sashes, perfume vials, amulets, 21rings and nose-jewels, 22festal robes, capes, cloaks, purses, 23lace scarves, fine linen, turbans and veils. 24Now it will come to pass: Instead of sweet spices there will be rottenness; instead of a sash, rags; instead of curled hair, baldness; instead of fine clothing, sackcloth; and branding instead of beauty. 25Your men will fall by the sword, and your warriors in battle. 26Her gates will lament and mourn. Desolate, she will sit on the ground.
–from Isaiah 3
Do things have to get really bad? Do things have to get really good? Can things stay the same? We don’t have forever to make a choice! We don’t have forever to decide! Are you in or are you out? What if today is the last day, will you have chosen and know where you are going or will you have put it off and now will miss out?
1Seven women will grab hold of one man in that day, saying: “We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel. Only let us be called by your name— take away our reproach!”
Zion’s End-Time Glory
2In that day the Branch of Adonai will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land excellent and appealing for Israel’s survivors. 3So it will come to pass that whoever is left in Zion and whoever remains in Jerusalem will be called holy—everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem. 4After Adonai has washed away the filth of the Daughters of Zion and has purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning, 5then Adonai will create over the whole area of Mount Zion and over her convocations, a cloud by day, and smoke and shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all, glory will be a canopy. 6Then there will be a sukkah for shade by day from the heat, and for refuge and for shelter from storm and from rain.
–from Isaiah 4
Will you live a life that will be a good return on investment? Will you be taking the gifts and talents you have been given and multiply them? Will you just dig a hole and put them there? We are supposed to take what we have been given and multiply it like a good steward! For the earth is the Lord’s and everything it, so we just need to be good stewards with what we have been given!
Song of the Vineyard
1Let me sing of my beloved, a song of my beloved, about His vineyard. My beloved had a vineyard in a very fertile hill. 2He dug it out and cleared its stones, planted it with a choice vine, built a tower in the midst of it, and even cut out a winepress. He expected it to yield good grapes, but it yielded worthless grapes. 3So now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and people of Judah, please judge between me and my vineyard. 4What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done? Why then, when I expected it to yield good grapes, did it yield worthless grapes? 5So now, I will make known to you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge, and it will be eaten up. I will break down the fence, and it will be trodden down. 6I will lay it waste: it will not be pruned or hoed, but briers and thorns will come up. I will also command the clouds not to rain on it. 7For the vineyard of Adonai-Tzva’ot is the house of Israel, and the people of Judah the planting of His delight. He looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed, for righteousness, but behold, a cry!
Judgment for Injustice
8Woe to those who join house to house and merge field to field, until there is no room, and you will live alone in the midst of the land! 9In my ears, Adonai-Tzva’ot has said: “Surely many houses will be desolate— even grand and fine ones— with no occupants.” 10Ten acres of vineyard will yield six gallons, and an omer of seed will yield one ephah. 11Woe to those who rise up early in the morning— so they may pursue liquor, who stay up late at night, until wine inflames them! 12Harp and lyre, tambourine and flute, and wine are at their banquets. They do not notice Adonai’s activity nor see the works of His hands. 13“Therefore My people are in captivity for lack of knowledge. Their honorable men are famished and their multitudes parched with thirst. 14Therefore Sheol has enlarged its gullet and opened its measureless mouth— down goes her glory, her tumult, her uproar, and the revelry in her. 15So humanity will be bowed down mankind will be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty humbled.” 16But Adonai-Tzva’ot will be exalted through justice, and the Holy God consecrated through righteousness. 17Then lambs will graze as if in their own pasture, and nomads will eat in the ruins of the wealthy. 18Oy to those that drag iniquity along with cords of deceit, and sin as if with a cart rope! 19They say: “Let Him hurry up and hasten His work, so we may see it! Let the plan of the Holy One of Israel draw near and come, so we may know it!” 20Oy to those who call evil good and good evil, who present darkness as light and light as darkness, who present bitter as sweet, and sweet as bitter! 21Oy to those who are wise in their own eyes, and clever in their own sight! 22Oy to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant at mixing drinks, 23who justify the wicked for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of justice! 24Therefore, as a tongue of fire consumes straw, and as chaff collapses into the flame, so their root will be like rot, and their blossom will go up like dust. For they have rejected the Torah of Adonai–Tzva’ot, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. 25Therefore Adonai’s anger is kindled against His people. When He has stretched out His hand against them and struck them, the hills trembled, and their carcasses were like refuse in the streets. For all this His anger is not turned away, yet His hand is still outstretched. 26He will lift up a banner to nations far off, and will whistle for them from the ends of the earth. Look! Swiftly, speedily they come! 27None will be weary and none stumble among them; none will slumber or sleep; no belt will be loose at the waist; no strap of sandals be broken. 28Their arrows are sharp and all their bows bent; their horse hooves will be like flint and their wheels like a whirlwind. 29Their roaring will be like a lion. They will growl like young lions— yes, they will roar, seize their prey and carry it away safely— and there will be none to rescue. 30They will roar against them like the roaring of the sea. If one looks to the land, behold, darkness and distress! The light is darkened by the clouds.
–from Isaiah 5
Consider the little you have to offer! You may think you have nothing, but what do you really have? Even the little you have when you give it up to God can be used and multiplied for the glory of God! Will you help others out of your abundance? Will you help others out of your lack? Will you take the little you have and give it up to God? Be it a little oil? Be it a your lunch? Be it a two fish and a few loaves? Do you realize what God can do with it? Will you trust Him if He or when He asks? There is a purpose! There is a plan! Don’t miss out!
Do You Still Not Understand?
1In those days, there was another large crowd with nothing to eat, and Yeshua called the disciples. He said to them, 2“I have compassion for the crowd, because they’ve stayed with Me for three days now and have nothing to eat. 3If I send them home hungry they’ll pass out on the way, for some of them have come from very far away.” 4His disciples answered Him, “How can anyone satisfy these people with bread here in a wasteland?” 5“How many loaves do you have?” Yeshua was asking them. “Seven,” they said. 6He directed the crowd to recline on the ground. After taking the seven loaves and giving thanks, He broke them and began giving them to His disciples to serve; and they served them to the crowd. 7They also had a few small fish and, after offering a bracha for them, He commanded these to be served as well. 8They ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the broken pieces left over—seven baskets. 9About four thousand were there, and Yeshua sent them away. 10Right away, He got into the boat with His disciples and went to the area of Dalmanutha. 11The Pharisees came and began to argue with Him, demanding a sign from heaven, to test Him. 12Sighing deeply in His spirit, Yeshua said, “Why does this generation demand a sign? Amen, I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation.” 13Leaving them, He got back into the boat and crossed to the other side.
The Un-Seeing Disciples
14Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, and they had only one loaf in the boat. 15Yeshua was warning them, “Watch out! Beware of the hametz of the Pharisees and the hametz of Herod.” 16They began to discuss with each other that they had no bread. 17And Yeshua, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you discuss that you have no bread? You still don’t get it? Don’t you understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18Having eyes, don’t you see? And having ears, don’t you hear? And don’t you remember? 19When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets of leftovers did you pick up?” “Twelve,” they say to Him. 20“When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many baskets of leftovers did you pick up?” “Seven,” they say to Him. 21He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”
Eyes that Need Opening
22They come to Bethsaida. Some people bring a blind man to Yeshua and beg Him to touch the man. 23Taking the blind man by the hand, Yeshua brought him outside the village. After spitting on the man’s eyes and laying His hands on him, Yeshua asked the man, “Do you see anything?” 24The man looked up and said, “I see men! They look like trees walking about.” 25Then Yeshua put His hands on the man’s eyes again. The man looked intently, his sight was restored, and he began to see everything clearly. 26Yeshua sent him straight home, saying, “Don’t even enter the village!” 27Now Yeshua and His disciples went out to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28They told Him, “John the Immerser; and others Elijah; but others, one of the prophets.” 29Then He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered Him, “You are the Messiah!” 30And He warned them not to tell anyone about Him.
Revealing the Mission
31Then He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and ruling kohanim and Torah scholars, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32He was speaking openly about this. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33But turning around and looking at His disciples, He rebuked Peter. He said, “Get behind Me, satan! You are not setting your mind on the things of God, but the things of men.” 34Then He called the crowd, along with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wants to follow after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and keep following Me. 35For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the sake of the Good News will save it. 36For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37For what could a man give in exchange for his soul? 38For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this unfaithful and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels!”
–from Mark 8