Only One Book – Acts 8:26-40

We are preparing for Sunday by reading the account of Phillip and the Ethiopian court official.  This is fascinating for a number of reasons, not the least which is this:  Why was the Ethiopian eunuch reading Isaiah?

The story is that Phillip is directed to a desert road, encounters the Ethiopian, who is a high official in the Queens government, who had been on pilgrimage to Jerusalem and was reading Isaiah – he quotes Isaiah 53:6,7.

To own a scroll involved a great expense – hand written with great care, on carefully prepared scrolls, they were beyond the ability of ordinary people to own. 

If he only picked one book, Isaiah was a  good choice – for it is  inour  opinion the most beautifully written, both in language and content, of any book in the Hebrew Scriptures.  Also, Isaiah speaks to and of the nations, and of a hope for the nations to come to the one true God of all heaven and earth, and of peace in it’s fullest extent.   There is a passage that offers hope to such a man as this Ethiopian:

Isaiah 56:3-8 ESV
    Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say,
        “The Lord will surely separate me from his people”;
    and let not the eunuch say,
        “Behold, I am a dry tree.”
    [4] For thus says the Lord:
    “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,
        who choose the things that please me
        and hold fast my covenant,
    [5] I will give in my house and within my walls
        a monument and a name
        better than sons and daughters;
    I will give them an everlasting name
        that shall not be cut off.
    [6] “And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
        to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord,
        and to be his servants,
    everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it,
        and holds fast my covenant—
    [7] these I will bring to my holy mountain,
        and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
    their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
        will be accepted on my altar;
    for my house shall be called a house of prayer
        for all peoples.”
    [8] The Lord God,
        who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares,
    “I will gather yet others to him
        besides those already gathered.”

   Which raises for us an interesting question: If you could afford only one book of the Old Testament, what would it be?

Our choice: Isaiah – for breadth of vision, beauty, hope, and in our view, descriptions of the Messiah.  (Runner up, Genesis)

Our New Testament choice would be (today, because tomorrow I will change my mind) Luke – for it’s grace, inclusion and literary masterpieces (the Prodigal Son). Runner up: Matthew – Sermon on the Mount

 Do you have a candidate in this race?

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