Throw You Like a Ball

The book of Isaiah is, among other things, a repetitive call for humility before the might and majesty of God. One of the most gripping images of God taking down the proud is directed toward Shebna, a man who built monuments to himself. In addition to straight-up mockery (”O you strong man”), we are given an unforgettable picture of Shebna’s end:

Behold, the Lord will hurl you away violently, O you strong man. He will seize firm hold on you and whirl you around and around, and throw you like a ball into a wide land. (Isaiah 22:17-18)

Two quick takeaways: (1) Don’t overlook the rich imagery of Scripture. As you read, let the multitude of metaphors light your imagination on fire. Can’t you just see strong Shebna being seized, whirled around and around, and violently hurled through the air like a ball being thrown so far away you can’t even see where it lands? Dadgum. That’s quite a picture. Train yourself to see these pictures in the Bible. Imagery is everywhere, on every page. The Bible is 3D, so don’t just read it. See it.

(2) Quit trying to be awesome. “Hurl you” and “whirl you” and “throw you” are not things you want God to do to you. Here is the one to whom God looks: “He who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word” (66:2). 

Christmas Can’t Be Spoiled

Horrific headline news doesn’t ruin Christmas. It reminds us why we need it. “ For every boot of tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a Son is...

Corrupt politics, debauched leaders, racial strife, myopic media, broken families, entrenched poverty, personal heartaches—Christmastime isn’t holly jolly for everyone. We need some good news that transcends mere tinsel and lights and warm sentiment.

The good news is that bad news can’t spoil Christmas. Rather, the bad news reminds us why we need Christmas. Christmas is about hope. We have been given hope in the Christ of Isaiah’s prophecy, whose kingdom of peace will one day fill the earth.

For every boot of tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.

For to us a child is born,
to us a Son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called

Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

— Isaiah 9:5-7

Bethlehem was the kindling of a cosmic bonfire. The Prince bids you come and throw in your battle garments. He will prevail. No amount of bad news can stop him.

And so we celebrate.

Throw You Like a Ball

The book of Isaiah is, among other things, a repetitive call for humility before the might and majesty of God. One of the most gripping images of God taking down the proud is directed toward Shebna, a man who built monuments to himself. In addition to what appears to be straight-up mockery (”O you strong man”), we are given an unforgettable picture of Shebna’s end:

Behold, the Lord will hurl you away violently, O you strong man. He will seize firm hold on you and whirl you around and around, and throw you like a ball into a wide land. (Isaiah 22:17-18)

Two quick takeaways: (1) Don’t overlook the rich imagery of Scripture, especially in prophecy and poetry. As you read, let the multitude of metaphors light your imagination on fire. Can’t you just see strong Shebna being seized, whirled around and around, and violently hurled through the air like a ball being thrown so far away you can’t even see where it lands? Dadgum. That’s quite a picture. Train yourself to see these pictures in the Bible. Imagery is everywhere, on every page. The Bible is 3D, so don’t just read it. See it.

(2) Quit trying to be awesome. “Hurl you” and “whirl you” and “throw you” are not things you want God to do to you. Here is the one to whom God looks: “He who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word” (66:2).