Salvation Comes From the Lord (Isaiah 24-27)

Book of Isaiah

Isaiah delivers a prophecy describing the destruction of the whole Earth. This is fitting since it comes after God’s messages of destruction to many nations in the world. The main theme in this vision is that man’s pride will be destroyed. “In that day the Lord will punish the gods in the heavens and the proud rulers of the nations on the earth.” (24:21, NLT). Isaiah then sees a vision of the coming salvation. People will return back to God, and recognize His ability to provide. “But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O Lord, a tower of refuge to the needy in distress. You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat.” (25:4, NLT). This salvation, however, will not be for the people of Israel alone. It is meant for “all the people of the world” (25:6, NLT). After the message of salvation, we find a psalm praising God. It encourages us to keep our trust in God. “Lord in our distress we searched for you. We prayed beneath the burden of your discipline.” (26:16, NLT). It won’t always be easy, but we are reminded to keep our trust in God no matter what. God then offers a vision of the restored Israel. God will defeat all who stand against Him, and He will save those that remain faithful to him. After the defeat of evil, God will call His people back to Jerusalem and they will worship Him.

We’ve all done wrong. It’s that simple. Paul even wrote, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, NASB). Since this is true, we must all realize a common thread for every man, woman and child on earth. We need salvation from our sins. God recognized this as soon as we first sinned, and began a plan to bring redemption to mankind. There are times all throughout Scripture, where the people of God sin and fall away from God. Why? Because we cannot be saved on our own. Our salvation depends on one act, and that is our trust and belief in God. Isaiah continued to preach this to the people of Judah, even though they were heading towards disaster. We can’t do it, that’s where pride gets in our way. We have to trust that God knows what He is doing.

Let’s look at a couple verses again. “In Jerusalem, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat. There he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign Lord will wipe away our tears.” (25:6-8, NLT). God promises to remove death from our world, and He did just that. These verses remind me of the Easter story. Christ instituted a meal (the Eucharist, aka Holy Communion), then handed his life over as an offering for the sins of humanity. By our belief, we have eternal life. This can only be found through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23). Through our pain and tribulations, we can find relief in knowing that God has promised salvation to those who not just believe in Him, but in the Son as well (John 3:16).

If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ, I hope that you seek one out. I am always available to help as I can. Just contact me, and I’ll do my best.

If you do have a relationship with Jesus Christ, I challenge you to talk to someone about Him today. The only way people have an opportunity for salvation, is if His followers lead others to Him. How can we put our trust and faith in someone we don’t know about? Talk to someone, that’s the best we can do.

 

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The Problem of Pride (Isaiah 21-23)

Book of Isaiah

God continues delivering messages to the nations of the world, by directing one to Babylon. There is debate over whether these prophecies refer to Babylon’s revolt against Assyria (around 700 BC) or the actual fall of Babylon (539 BC). Either way, God tells them that they will be destroyed for their idolatry. Then, speaking to Edom, He makes commentary that their time is coming to a close as well. God turns to Arabia and says, “Within a year, counting each day, all the glory of Kedar will come to an end.” (21:16, NLT). God then focuses on His own people. He tells Jerusalem that they will be destroyed as well because they will not rely on Him. In 22:1-13, God describes a people that make every attempt, on their own, to prepare for the oncoming army. They never once turn and pray to God. Then He turns to a individual named Shebna. Shebna could have been just like most of the people of Jerusalem, but he gets special mention because he was the palace administrator. God’s final message to the nations goes to Tyre, in Phoenicia. He tells them that due to their pride. He also tells them that after they are destroyed, they will return after 70 years but still be the same way they are today. However it won’t be for a complete loss. “But in the end her profits will be given to the Lord.” (23:16, NLT).

Pride is a big problem for humanity. I know that I have a big problem with it. In today’s reading, the people of Jerusalem were not trusting God to take care of them. I know that this is a popular circumstance for God’s chosen people, but I really think it is a good picture of all of us. We have times where we trust God, things go well, we stop trusting him, things go bad, and we wonder why things stopped going well in the first place. Pride is the thing the misaligns us most with God. Where God tells us one thing, our pride gets in the way and we do something else.

This really becomes a problem when we speak about God to other people. We could know about God. We could be able to answer any question you have on the Bible. We could be able to tell about all the things Christ did. But if we have pride, it never becomes personal. We’d say, “Christ died on a cross” but we’d never think, “for me”. Pride doesn’t allow God to work for us. It gets in His way. Do you know who’s fault that is? Your’s. I have the same problem. My pride likes to get in the way too. Let’s all decided to take a stand, and let God work in our lives. I can’t do anything apart from God. I do nothing, it is Christ working in me! That’s how we should be. Not “prideful” but “Christ full”.

 

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Where Does Your Wisdom Come From? (Isaiah 17-20)

Book of Isaiah

Continuing His messages towards the nations, God addresses Damascus and the Northern Kingdom (Israel). The people had fallen away from God. They had been assimilated into the Assyrian Empire, which lead to a cultural change for the Israelites. They began worshiping pagan idols and Asherah poles. Which is directly against warnings found in the Bible (Deuteronomy 12:3; 16:21). He tells them, for their abandonment, they will be destroyed along with Assyria. Several years later, God delivered a message to Ethiopia. This message was given because Ethiopia had¬†asked Judah to be in alliance to repel the oncoming Assyrian threat. But Isaiah responded by telling the that Judah only need God to withstand Assyria. This message comes as a message that God will overcome Ethiopia and use the Assyrians to destroy them. Next God addresses Egypt. He tells them, “What fools are the officials of Zoan! Their best counsel to the king of Egypt is stupid and wrong. Will the still boast to Pharaoh of their wisdom? Will they dare brag about all their wise ancestors? … The officials of Zoan are fools, and the officials of Memphis are deluded. The leaders of the people have led Egypt astray.” (19:11 & 13, NLT). However, God tells them that they will leave behind their human leadership, and look to God for help. “In that day Egypt and Assyria will be connected by a highway. The Egyptians and Assyrians will move freely between their lands, and they will both worship God. And Israel will be their ally. The three will be together, and Israel will be a blessing to them.” (19:23-24, NLT). The final message given in this section was to both Egypt and Ethiopia. Isaiah walked around naked for 3 years, because this is what Assyria was going to do to them when they were conquered by Assyria.

How many times to we honestly seek wisdom? For me, I feel like I do it everyday. But where do we look? I think most people look to a role model, a professional (therapist, counselor, etc.), or even people like psychics. The problem with this is that they are all humans. Human wisdom is fallible and temporary. It doesn’t really help us in the long run. It may help us feel better in the moment, but one day it will no longer help us. True wisdom comes from God. James wrote in his letter, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5, NASB). We should turn to God for wisdom. He shows us here in Isaiah that human wisdom can be disastrously wrong, yet “Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.” (Psalm 147:5, NASB). God’s wisdom knows no bounds.

So I ask, where do we go to seek wisdom? Would we rather ask someone for their opinion, or do we ask God? This isn’t to say that people can’t help us get God’s wisdom. God brings up men and women that can do this. Typically they are found as pastors, church leaders, Sunday school teachers, small group leaders, etc. Not all men point you away from God. I’m just saying that we should pay attention to where our advice comes from. People who do not follow God, can only give opinions according to their worldly view. Yet someone who follows the Lord, can give you His advice. But you should spend time in the Word and in prayer on your own. DO NOT rely solely on someone else’s thoughts and opinions. God has a message for you, and you can’t hear it if you are not listening to Him.

 

Psalms to Pray: Psalm 101

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He Keeps His Promises (Isaiah 13-16)

Book of Isaiah

In today’s reading, God turns His sight upon Babylon. At this time they were not a powerful nation. They were still a part of the Assyrian Empire. But He knows they will be a people who are against Him. They, like Assyria, will even think that they are better/higher than God. However God promises destruction upon them as well. “Babylon, the most glorious of kingdoms, the flower of Chaldean pride, will be devastated like Sodom and Gomorrah when God destroyed them.” (13:19, NLT). Because of its pride, Babylon will be overrun by God’s wrath. God goes on to describe how He will display His might to the people of Assyria and Philistia. Then the Lord turns His sights upon Moab, a long time enemy of the Israelites. He tells them, “Even the waters of Nimrim are dried up! The grassy banks are scorched. The tender plants are gone; nothing green remains.” (15:6, NLT). God had threatened Moab before, but the important point is “Within three years, counting each day, the glory of Moab will be ended. From its great population, only a few of its people will be left alive.” (16:14, NLT). The people of Judah saw all of these prophecies made against other nations (except Babylon) come true in their time before the Exile.

I find some peace in knowing that God keeps His promises. Sure the ones He gave in this reading were destructive, and not exactly something I want in my own life. Yet it is still nice to know that He will keep those promises. In the book of Deuteronomy Moses wrote, “Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments.” (Deuteronomy 7:9, NASB). This says to me that, even though God proved His follow through with these destructive promises, He still remains faithful to you and I for simply believing in Him. Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NASB). God keeps that promise too. We haven’t been left alone to figure things out on our own. God gave us a way for salvation. It is found in Jesus Christ, and God will keep that promise until the end of time.

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O Praise Him (Isaiah 11-12)

Book of Isaiah

Isaiah continues his description of the Messiah. The Messiah would bring forth a time where Israel can be reunited, and bring a time without fear. He says “In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all … The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra. Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm. Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for as the waters fill the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord.” (11:6-9, NLT). Isaiah adds a song about salvation and giving praise to God. This song is given to continue the illustration of the coming Messiah. It’s a song from people who have found their salvation and thank God at all times for it.

Do we do this today? Unlike the Jews that Isaiah was speaking to, we know where and when our salvation comes. When Isaiah wrote, the people needed encouragement to get through the difficult times. Today, the scripture is still there to encourage, but instead to encourage us to praise Him. We no longer have to wait for Jesus to come, as I said yesterday. Yet since he has come, when we receive His gift we get a new purpose. “See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The Lord God is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.” (12:2, NLT). Jesus gave us our victory over sin and death. What better of a reason for celebration is there? We have been made new and clean, so we should praise Him everyday and every opportunity we can. When we get up, praise! When we get in the car for work, praise! When we get to work, praise! When we do well, praise! When we don’t do well praise! Praise Him all the time! He has saved you from your sin and death, so He deserves our praise!

Here’s a song all about praise!!!!

 

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