(Sorry, there is no sermon video. I had the camera all lined up but forgot to start recording. In reaching back to press the Record button, I skewed the view to perfectly capture the hymn board over the organ. Sheesh. Apart from an occasional random hand movement flashing across the edge of the screen, there is nothing to see except the numbers perched on the hymn board. However, the audio could be made into an audio file/MP3 which is available along with text downloads by clicking here.)
Those scary prophecies and visions happen in the writings of the prophets, the psalms, in the gospels, and notably the bulk of Revelation. Read without accurate context, we imagine an angry, vengeful God indiscriminately and wantonly destroying the creation in wrathful judgment and condemnation. It is a superb partner image for fear preaching. But such understandings really don't get it.
The chapters before Isaiah 24 are a nearly continual sequence of condemnations of nations, peoples, and empires who have beset God's people. These all focused on worldly, historical events and players. However, Isaiah 24 talks about a worldwide calamity that seems to transcend history. Indeed, it reveals the worldview of the era that discerns cosmic forces behind worldly powers as in 24:21: In that day the Lord will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below.
Jesus takes a similar tone in Luke 21:11: There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. But there are things coming for the disciples long before any of that happens. It doesn't sound like good news for them, but it is all part of how one can expect the Kingdom to advance into confrontation with those who wield power. Jesus is going to provide an excellent example of this in his own life in a matter of days.
The Kingdom of God is for disciples to advance, carrying forward the mission of Jesus. However, if done right, the good news of the gospel will seek to transform lives and social structures to align with God's will. Resistance, sometimes violent and even deadly, should be expected from the worldly powers
It should get church folks asking why the faithful aren't all hated and the churches aren't being persecuted as threats to the social order. Maybe we aren't doing it right. Ah, there is another sermon for another day.
The MP3 file can be downloaded or played via your phone, MP3 player (iPod), or your compute. You can also download the sermon text PDF. Just click the files below.