Michael continues to explore A Drama in Three Acts, this time looking at Exile and Emmanuel. Some of the readings:
Deuteronomy 8.11-18: “But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and laws. 12For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, 13and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, 14that is the time to be careful. Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. 15Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock! 16He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good. 17He did it so you would never think that it was your own strength and energy that made you wealthy. 18Always remember that it is the Lord your God who gives you power to become rich, and he does it to fulfil the covenant he made with your ancestors.
Deuteronomy 8.19-20: But I assure you of this: If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods, worshipping and bowing down to them, you will certainly be destroyed. 20Just as the Lord has destroyed other nations in your path, you also will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.
Isaiah 1.18-23: “Come now, let us argue this out,” says the Lord. “No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool. 19If you will only obey me and let me help you, then you will have plenty to eat. 20But if you keep turning away and refusing to listen, you will be destroyed by your enemies. I, the Lord, have spoken!” 21See how Jerusalem, once so faithful, has become a prostitute. Once the home of justice and righteousness, she is now filled with murderers. 22Once like pure silver, you have become like worthless slag. Once so pure, you are now like watered-down wine. 23Your leaders are rebels, the companions of thieves. All of them take bribes and refuse to defend the orphans and the widows.
Psalm 137.1-4: Beside the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept as we thought of Jerusalem. 2 We put away our lyres, hanging them on the branches of the willow trees. 3 For there our captors demanded a song of us. Our tormentors requested a joyful hymn: “Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!” 4 But how can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?
Isaiah 43.1-4: But now, O Israel, the Lord who created you says: “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. 2When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. 4Others died that you might live. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.
Isaiah 54.6-8: For the Lord has called you back from your grief—as though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband,” says your God. 7“For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will take you back. 8In a moment of anger I turned my face away for a little while. But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer.