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The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost A, July 23, 2023

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The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost A, July 23, 2023

The Lord asserts his exclusiveness, no god but him.  The Lord asserts his almightiness, “Who is like me?” (vs. 7).  The Lord asserts that he is the “all-in-all,” the “everything,” or the “all things.”  In saying that he is the “first and the last,” the Lord sets a pair of limits—first… last… Nothing existed prior to him, the Lord is from the beginning.  Nothing exists after him, the Lord has no end.  This way of speaking, “I am the first and I am the last,” is a figure of speech.  It sets a pair of limits which then are used to encompass everything… all things… that exist within that pair of limits.  This figure of speech simply means that nothing was prior to the Lord, and nothing will remain after the Lord.  He is from “everlasting to everlasting” (Ps. 41:13; 90:2; 103:17; 106:48, etc.).   Abraham called upon the Lord, the “everlasting” God (Ge. 21:33).  When God speaks to Abraham of the promise regarding Abraham’s Son or his “Seed,” God speaks of making an everlasting promise (Ge. 17:7, 13, 19).

You might recall that the Apostle Paul references this promise… this testament… when he writes to the Galatians (Gal. 3:16).  This promise to Abraham… the “everlasting” testament made with him for a blessed Seed—that is, a descendant—is fulfilled as Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ enacted the everlasting testament made by the Lord to Abraham all those many generations prior.  A testament—a last will and testament—goes into effect when the testator dies.  Jesus, God, died… the testament goes into effect… you are the heirs… the inheritance is the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.  In his Revelation to the apostle John, Jesus identifies himself by the same figure of speech used by the Lord here in Isaiah 44–“I am the first and the last” (Rev. 22:13).  The resurrected Jesus provides a final reassurance that he, the Lamb who was slain (Rev. 5:12), is indeed the Lord who established the testament and the God who died so that it would be enacted.  You, the heirs of the testament once made with Abraham, receive this inheritance, and enjoy its forgiveness of sins and the reality of life eternal with your God from everlasting to everlasting.

Table Talk:  Discuss how the span of biblical history takes place within this everlasting testament made first to Abraham, then enacted by Christ.
Pray:  Heavenly Father, grant me to enjoy my inheritance.  Amen

Isaiah 44:6-8

6 Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel
and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
I am the first and I am the last;
besides me there is no god.
7 Who is like me? Let him proclaim it.
Let him declare and set it before me,
since I appointed an ancient people.
Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen.
8 Fear not, nor be afraid;
have I not told you from of old and declared it?
And you are my witnesses!
Is there a God besides me?
There is no Rock; I know not any.


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