God Wants More For You. So Do We.

The Prophet Isaiah: Rapping God’s Message of Judgment

This past Sunday evening, I challenged you to commit yourself to reading God’s Word daily and to ask God to open up your eyes to behold wonderous things from His Word (Psalm 119:18). When we take the time to study God’s Word with the goal of having an encounter with Him and of coming to know and love Him more and of desiring to behold wonderous things, God blesses that and opens up His Word to us.

I want to help you behold a wonderous thing from God’s Word today. This isn’t a devotional; just a wonderous thing from God’s Word to help you appreciate it more.

Do you know what a homophone is? Homophones are words that sound alike but mean two different things. Consider the words “to,” “too,” and “two.” They all sound alike, but they all mean different things. Homophones are popular in rap songs because they rhyme and play on words.

For example, in the song Mic Check 1, 2, Christian rapper Phanatik says, “I’m not a reverend, but I’ve got a lot of reverence for the Most High…” Another example would be, “I came to hear the band, but I heard they were banned.” Another rapper said he would rather “make a meal” (referring to home cooking) than “make a mil” (referring to making a million dollars).

What do rap, wordplays, and homophones have to do with the Bible? A lot actually. Though they’re usually missed in our English translations, the biblical authors use wordplays and homophones quite frequently. Their messages often read like Christian rap songs, adding flavor to God’s messages of judgement, because the wordplays occur most often in judgment passages.

One such passage that utilizes wordplays and homophones is Isaiah 5:7. In that passage, God is announcing judgment on the people of Judah. The people of Judah were supposed to be God’s pleasant vineyard. He cared for His vineyard and tended to it, but when it came time for the vineyard to produce its fruit, it produced only sour grapes. So too the people of Judah had not produced good fruits in accordance with God’s ways, so the Lord announced judgment upon them…in the form of a rap.

We read in verse 7, “He looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, an outcry!” Thankfully your English translation should have footnotes to inform you that the words for “justice/bloodshed” sound alike, and the words for “righteousness/outcry” sound alike. They rhyme perfectly in Hebrew. The Lord came looking for mishpat (mish-pot=justice), but He found mishpach (mish-pok=bloodshed). He came looking for tzedakah (sed-uh-kah=righteousness), but He found tzeakah (seh-uh-kah=an outcry). God inspired the prophet to deliver a message of judgment that would’ve sounded like a rap in the original Hebrew!

The Bible is full of amazing things just waiting to be beheld by God’s people! Open up the Word, pray that God would open it up to you, pray that He would open up your eyes to behold wonderous things, and never grow cold to the Word of God! What wonderous thing will you behold this week?