My bible reading routine is not much of a routine at all and I mainly just open it randomly and see if God is speaking to me in some way.
I will try this method now and then explain what I find.
I opened to Isaiah 3 and I will read verses 1-5:
See now, the Lord
the Lord Almighty,
is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah
both supply and support:
all supplies of food and all supplies of water,
the hero and the warrior,
the judge and the prophet,
the diviner and the elder,
the captain of fifty and the man of rank,
the counselor, skilled craftsman and clever enchanter.
"I will make mere youths of their officials;
children will rule over them."
People will oppress each other--
man against man, neighbor against neighbor.
The young will rise up against the old,
the nobody against the honored.
My thoughts on this piece of scripture:
First off what ever I say, the reading is not taken in context other than to say that all of scripture points to Jesus Christ and his mission to save all souls from the fires of hell.
Which he accomplished in the Gospels.
These passages seem very hell and damnation and end of the world kind of stuff.
Society in turmoil.
I contend that God takes us to these places in scripture as well as real life unfortunately so that he may reveal his saving graces to his lost sheep whomever they may be.
I don't mean intellectually but rather personally.
I have been to hell a number of times and never want to go back.
I can say that honestly.
That happened after the suffering Christ "spoke" to me as a young man (not literally, it was through the witness of a suffering friend of the family at the time) and it broke me down to tears. It was a very private and emotional turning to Christ. It profoundly affected every aspect of my life.
I decided to seek and "follow" God's will as best I could discern it at the time. Believe me I was young and naive. I suffered terribly in the wake of this decision.
Back to the scripture passage. Words like this from God still give me the willies if you will.
I don't relish turmoil, either personally or as a people of God.
The context of all this though, it is my hope that you remember the context, which is God's love and saving graces for you and me and this whole seemingly damned world.
That is my opinion.
The gospel (God's word) really is good news.
Don't let anyone tell you different.
Those who would condemn and cast into hell indiscriminately are in fact enemies of God's word and the gospel of Christ.
I remember the day's of old and shudder with the thought that it took all that to get me to buy in to the faith. To the fact that God loves us and wants to see us survive and thrive.
"Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be thy name
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil."
The words of Isaiah that I quoted in the first part of this post certainly are not what I know to be heaven on earth, which is sort of what God is saying the the "Our Father" prayer above. Bringing about the kingdom of God in the here and now.
Lord have mercy on our souls.
Thanks be to God!