"God's Word is Living & Active!" ~ Hebrews 4:12
Isaiah 1:1-2:22 ~ 2 Corinthians 10:1-18 ~ Psalm 52:1-9 ~ Proverbs 22:26-27
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Old Testament – Today we begin the book of the prophet Isaiah! A powerful quote from Bible.org at this link about this book is: “The Book of Isaiah is one of the most important books of the Old Testament. While little is known of the personal life of the prophet, he is considered to be one of the greatest of them all. The book is a collection of oracles, prophecies, and reports; but the common theme is the message of salvation. There was, according to these writings, no hope in anything that was made by people… There would be a purging of the nation because God is holy. Before the nation could inherit the promises made to the fathers, it would have to be made holy.”
~ Isaiah ~
Date: Eighth century B.C.
Content: Isaiah’s long ministry lasted almost sixty years and covered the reigns of four kings, the last one being Hezekiah, the reformer. Isaiah was sent primarily to Judah, although his message concerns the northern kingdom of Israel as well. He lived through the awful days of the civil war between Israel and Judah in 734-732 B.C. and saw the destruction of Israel by Assyria in 722 B.C. the grim lesson taught by Israel’s fall was not lost on Isaiah, and he used it to encourage Hezekiah to trust in the Lord. The Lord delivered Judah from the mighty Assyrian army by sending a plague to destroy the camp. Isaiah also looked beyond his own time to the coming exile of Judah and the deliverance that God would provide.
Theme: Isaiah was one of Jesus’ favorite books and he quoted it frequently, because the central them is salvation. God is seen as the Savior of his people, who redeemed them from Egypt, who will redeem them from their coming captivity, and who will send his beloved Servant to bear the sins of us all (Isaiah 53:6). God freely offers to pardon all who will turn to him in repentance and faith. The future kingdom of God on earth is also described in exquisite detail as a time when men will lay down their swords and, in peace, sing praises to God their King.
Below is a portrait of the prophet Isaiah by artist Guy Rowe:
Today in Isaiah chapter 1 verses 2 and 3 we read these words of the prophet Isaiah: “Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth! For the LORD has spoken: “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.”
New Testament – Wow… I love Paul’s words to the church in Second Corinthians chapter 10 verses 3 through 5: “We are human, but we don’t wage war with human plans and methods. We use God’s mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil’s strongholds. With these weapons we break down every proud argument that keeps people from knowing God. With these weapons we conquer their rebellious ideas, and we teach them to obey Christ.” This is incredibly powerful for us to realize. We are human. God is God. We are not God. But, good news is that we have access to God’s “weapons” through our relationship with his son Jesus. And trust me. In this fallen world, we need God’s weapons. We need his strength. We need his grace. We need his forgiveness. We need his miracles. We need his Son. These are the only ways that we will knock down the Devil’s strongholds in our lives and in others lives.
How do we access God’s mighty weapons? My personal opinion is that prayer is one of the best things we can do in this regards. However, just lately I’ve been praying a bit more, and I’ll tell you, God has moved! Prayer is such a beautiful mystery. We need it like the air we breathe. Please pray. Other ways to access God’s mighty weapons are certainly reading and studying God’s Word daily, investing in a church community at least weekly (even more is better via small groups, etc.), and confessing and repenting and fleeing from sin. Then, with God’s weapons we are called to introduce others to who God is and teach them to obey Christ.
Bible.org’s commentary on today’s readings in Second Corinthians titled “Contrasting Christian Leaders With the Cultists” is at this link.
Psalms – Verse 9 in Psalm 52 stood out to me today – “”I will praise you forever, O God, for what you have done. I will wait for your mercies in the presence of your people.”
Proverbs – We read an interesting Proverb today in chapter 22 verses 26 & 27: “Do not co-sign another person’s note or put up a guarantee for someone else’s loan. If you can’t pay it, even your bed will be snatched from under you.” I’ve always been intrigued by these types of Proverbs / verses in the Bible. Verses that basically say don’t co-sign or guarantee anybody else’s debt – unless of course we’re talking about your kid! 🙂 I do see the wisdom in this. If you co-sign / guarantee for somebody else, then be prepared to have to pay back that debt in full… Wow. This is pretty heavy to think about. We hear so much about staying out of debt – and typically think about our own personal debt. That’s obviously wise. And well, this Proverb today is saying don’t take on other people’s debt! That is very wise! Stay out of debt! Your own and particularly your friends’!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: ‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.'” Isaiah 1:18 (NIV)
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