969.) Isaiah 30

January 17, 2013

I30 Lancaster

Isaiah 30   (ESV)

Do Not Go Down to Egypt

“Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord,
“who carry out a plan, but not mine,
and who make an alliance,but not of my Spirit,
that they may add sin to sin;
who set out to go down to Egypt,
without asking for my direction,
to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh
and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!
Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame,
and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation.

Woe to the alliance with Egypt!  The whole project is doomed to failure.

For though his officials are at Zoan
and his envoys reach Hanes,
everyone comes to shame
through a people that cannot profit them,
that brings neither help nor profit,
but shame and disgrace.”

An oracle on the beasts of the Negeb.

Through a land of trouble and anguish,
from where come the lioness and the lion,
the adder and the flying fiery serpent,
they carry their riches on the backs of donkeys,
and their treasures on the humps of camels,
to a people that cannot profit them.
Egypt’s help is worthless and empty;
therefore I have called her
“Rahab who sits still.”

A Rebellious People

And now, go, write it before them on a tablet
and inscribe it in a book,
that it may be for the time to come
as a witness forever.

I30 writeitdown

When I was a teacher, a common piece of instruction from the administration was this:  If you don’t document it, it didn’t happen.  We were required to put “situations” with students or parents in writing.  Here God gives the same directions:  Write it down.  It will stand as proof. 

For they are a rebellious people,
lying children,
children unwilling to hear
the instruction of the Lord;
10 who say to the seers, “Do not see,”
and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right;
speak to us smooth things,
prophesy illusions,
11 leave the way, turn aside from the path,
let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”
12 Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel,
“Because you despise this word
and trust in oppression and perverseness
and rely on them,
13 therefore this iniquity shall be to you
like a breach in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse,
whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant;
14 and its breaking is like that of a potter’s vessel
that is smashed so ruthlessly
that among its fragments not a shard is found
with which to take fire from the hearth,
or to dip up water out of the cistern.”

God says that Egypt’s “help” will be like a wall of defense that bulges and collapses, or like a piece of pottery which breaks so completely that no fragment is large enough to use for another purpose.  Judah is foolish to turn elsewhere for help, when the Lord is calling them back to himself.

15 For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”

Isaiah 30 15

Is there anything that can touch our hearts like the power of stillness?

For the hearts that will cease focusing on themselves, there is “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” (Philippians 47); “quietness and trust” (Isaiah 30:15), which is the source of all strength; a “great peace” that will never “make them stumble” (Psalm 119:165); and a deep rest, which the world can neither give nor take away.  Deep within the center of the soul is a chamber of peace where God lives and where, if we will enter it and quiet all the other sounds, we can hear His “gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19:12).

There is only one way to know God:  “Be still and know” (Psalm 46:10).  “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him” (Habakkuk 2:20).

–from Streams in the Desert

But you were unwilling, 16 and you said,
“No! We will flee upon horses”;
therefore you shall flee away;
and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”;
therefore your pursuers shall be swift.
17 A thousand shall flee at the threat of one;
at the threat of five you shall flee,
till you are left
like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain,
like a signal on a hill.

The Lord Will Be Gracious

18 Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
blessed are all those who wait for him.

I30 rose

Have you ever noticed that God is not in a hurry? It took 40 years for Moses to receive his commission to lead the people out of Egypt. It took 17 years of preparation before Joseph was delivered from slavery and imprisonment. It took 20 years before Jacob was released from Laban’s control. Abraham and Sarah were in their old age when they finally received the son of promise, Isaac. So why isn’t God in a hurry?

God called each of these servants to accomplish a certain task in His Kingdom, yet He was in no hurry to bring their mission into fulfillment. First, He accomplished what He wanted in them. We are often more focused on outcome than the process that He is accomplishing in our lives each day. When we experience His presence daily, one day we wake up and realize that God has done something special in and through our lives. However, the accomplishment is no longer what excites us. Instead, what excites us is knowing Him. Through those times, we become more acquainted with His love, grace, and power in our lives. When this happens, we are no longer focused on the outcome because the outcome is a result of our walk with Him. It is not the goal of our walk, but the by-product. Hence, when Joseph came to power in Egypt, he probably couldn’t have cared less. He had come to a place of complete surrender so that he was not anxious about tomorrow or his circumstances.

This is the lesson for us. We must wait for God’s timing and embrace wherever we are in the process. When we find contentment in that place, we begin to experience God in ways we never thought possible.

–Os Hillman

19 For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. 20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. 21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. 22 Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, “Be gone!”

God waits until the disaster of our choice has taught us the foolishness of that choice . .  .

23 And he will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. In that day your livestock will graze in large pastures, 24 and the oxen and the donkeys that work the ground will eat seasoned fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. 25 And on every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall.

. . . and once we turn to God, he will be our Teacher, Guide, Giver of rain and prosperity, Healer, Rock, and Defender.

–William MacDonald

26 Moreover, the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day when the Lord binds up the brokenness of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.

27 Behold, the name of the Lord comes from afar,
burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke;
his lips are full of fury,
and his tongue is like a devouring fire;
28 his breath is like an overflowing stream
that reaches up to the neck;
to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction,
and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads astray.

29 You shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast is kept, and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the Lord, to the Rock of Israel.

1 John 4:17   (NLT)

And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

30 And the Lord will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and storm and hailstones. 31 The Assyrians will be terror-stricken at the voice of the Lord, when he strikes with his rod. 32 And every stroke of the appointed staff that the Lord lays on them will be to the sound of tambourines and lyres. Battling with brandished arm, he will fight with them. 33 For a burning place has long been prepared; indeed, for the king it is made ready, its pyre made deep and wide, with fire and wood in abundance; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of sulfur, kindles it.

_________________________

Music:

Do you take the time to rest in the peace that God has promised to you?  Take a few moments now to Be still and know.  Click  HERE  to listen to  La Chapelle Royale, Collegium Vocale, and the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, with Philippe Herreweghe, conductor, sing “Grant Us Thy Peace” by Felix Mendelssohn.

O Lord God grant us Thy peace and thy mercy
For these times in which we live!
For there is none other save Thou, Lord,
Who hath the power to fight for us.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
pond scene in Lancaster County, PA.  http://www.dailyencouragement.net/desktop/isaiah_30-15.jpg
write it down.    http://dribbble.s3.amazonaws.com/users/11880/screenshots/251583/writeitdown_final.png
verse 15.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/isaiah3015.jpg
rose.    http://www.365promises.com/promise-photo-gallery/30-promises-for-november/5609486

968.) Isaiah 29

January 16, 2013

I29 Genesis1-1

Isaiah 29   (ESV)

The Siege of Jerusalem

Ah, Ariel, Ariel,
the city where David encamped!

The name Ariel means Lion of God, and in this passage is used as a symbolic reference to Jerusalem (the city where David encamped).  God promises to bring distress to the city:

Add year to year;
let the feasts run their round.
Yet I will distress Ariel,
and there shall be moaning and lamentation,
and she shall be to me like an Ariel.
And I will encamp against you all around,
and will besiege you with towers
and I will raise siegeworks against you.
And you will be brought low; from the earth you shall speak,
and from the dust your speech will be bowed down;
your voice shall come from the ground like the voice of a ghost,
and from the dust your speech shall whisper.

Then God promises he will intervene and drive Jerusalem’s enemies back:

But the multitude of your foreign foes shall be like small dust,
and the multitude of the ruthless like passing chaff.
And in an instant, suddenly,
    you will be visited by the Lord of hosts
with thunder and with earthquake and great noise,
with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire.
And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel,
all that fight against her and her stronghold and distress her,
shall be like a dream, a vision of the night.
As when a hungry man dreams, and behold, he is eating
and awakes with his hunger not satisfied,
or as when a thirsty man dreams, and behold, he is drinking
and awakes faint, with his thirst not quenched,
so shall the multitude of all the nations be
that fight against Mount Zion.

Why is this happening?  Because the people have been willfully blind.  They do not understand the word of God, and everyone has an excuse:

Astonish yourselves and be astonished;
blind yourselves and be blind!
Be drunk, but not with wine;
stagger, but not with strong drink!
10 For the Lord has poured out upon you
a spirit of deep sleep,
and has closed your eyes (the prophets),
and covered your heads (the seers).

11 And the vision of all this has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed. When men give it to one who can read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” 12 And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot read.”

Because their religion is purely external and their only fear of God is a matter of memorized creeds, God will perform a supernatural work of judgment, stripping the keenest minds of wisdom and discernment:

13 And the Lord said:
“Because this people draw near with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me,
and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,
14 therefore, behold, I will again
do wonderful things with this people,
with wonder upon wonder;
and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.

I29 Christ on cross

“Wonder upon wonder” — Christ crucified!

1 Corinthians 1:18-25   (NIV)

Christ Crucified Is God’s Power and Wisdom

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

15 Ah, you who hide deep from the Lord your counsel,
whose deeds are in the dark,
and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?”
16 You turn things upside down!
Shall the potter be regarded as the clay,
that the thing made should say of its maker,
    “He did not make me”;
or the thing formed say of him who formed it,
    “He has no understanding”?

I29 potter and clay

Indeed, man says exactly this today. Instead of seeing the absolute need for an intelligent designer who created all things, many believe that chance – absolute blind, random, purposeless chance, having no understanding at all – brought all things into being.

People who are otherwise intelligent often fall into this delusion. Jacques Monod, a biochemist, wrote: “Chance alone is at the source of every innovation, of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution.”

But assigning such power to “chance” is crazy. Chance has no power. For example, when a coin is flipped, the chance it will land “heads” is 50%; however, “chance” does not make it land heads. Whether or not it lands heads or tails is due to the strength with which the coin is flipped, the strength of air currents and air pressure as it flies through the air, where it is caught, and if it is flipped over once it is caught. Chance doesn’t “do” anything but describe a probability.

When Carl Sagan petitioned the federal government for a grant to search for intelligent life in outer space, how did he hope to find it? By using a super sensitive instrument to pick up radio signals from distant space. When he received those radio signals, he looked for order and pattern, which would demonstrate the signals were transmitted by intelligent life. In the same way, the order and pattern of the whole universe demonstrates that it was fashioned by intelligent life, not by “chance.” Scientists detect “chance” in the radio signals constantly (in the form of unpatterned static), but it tells them nothing.

Therefore, when someone says the universe or anything else came about by chance, they are extremely ignorant, superstitious, or just repeating a line they have heard before and have unthinkingly accepted.

We need to remember the context of the whole chapter – the pride and blindness of Jerusalem. It is perhaps the height of man’s pride and blindness to reject the Lord as our creator.

–David Guzik

_________________________

But a day of deliverance is coming!

17 Is it not yet a very little while
until Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field,
and the fruitful field shall be regarded as a forest?
18 In that day the deaf shall hear
the words of a book,
and out of their gloom and darkness
the eyes of the blind shall see.
19 The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord,
and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.
20 For the ruthless shall come to nothing
and the scoffer cease,
and all who watch to do evil shall be cut off,
21 who by a word make a man out to be an offender,
and lay a snare for him who reproves in the gate,
and with an empty plea turn aside him who is in the right.

And the faithful remnant will honor God.  Shame and reproach will be a thing of the past, and willingly they will learn of the Lord:

22 Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob:

“Jacob shall no more be ashamed,
no more shall his face grow pale.
23 For when he sees his children,
the work of my hands, in his midst,
they will sanctify my name;
they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob
and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
24 And those who go astray in spirit will come to understanding,
and those who murmur will accept instruction.

_________________________

Music:

Many in our world today are averse to accepting instruction from the Bible, and I find that especially puzzling when one considers how all things in the universe came to be.  Nature is so orderly much of the time!  The planets faithfully revolve around the sun for centuries!  Gravity always applies!  Yet some people think this all just happened, somehow . . .  My mother used to say that you could put a million monkeys in a room with a million typewriters for a million years, and you would never get a Shakespeare play.  Somewhere there must be great intelligence and great creativity!  Only God!  Click  HERE  to join in and praise the Lord:  “Our God Reigns!”

I29 monkey typewriter

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)  The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
Genesis 1:1.    http://reversingverses.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/genesis1-1.jpg
Christ on the cross — sketch by Eugene Delacroix, 1845.    http://bibleartists.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/12-sketch-of-christ-on-the-cross-eugc3a8ne-delacroix.jpg
Isaiah 29:16.    http://ih1.redbubble.net/image.8855634.2162/flat,550×550,075,f.jpg
monkey with typewriter.    http://img688.imageshack.us/img688/6771/monkeytypewriter.jpg

967.) Isaiah 28

January 15, 2013
Isaiah 28:1

Isaiah 28:1

Isaiah 28   (ESV)

Judgment on Ephraim and Jerusalem

Isaiah 28 begins an eight-chapter section (28-35) mostly directed to the southern kingdom of Judah. Since it is often most effective to address a sin present in a third party, and then apply it directly to the person, Isaiah will first speak of the sin of Israel, then switch the focus to Judah.  So in this chapter we begin with an oracle of woe on the occasion of the fall of Ephraim (the northern kingdom of Israel), 722. B.C.

Ah, the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim,
and the fading flower of its glorious beauty,
which is on the head of the rich valley of those overcome with wine!
Behold, the Lord has one who is mighty and strong;
like a storm of hail, a destroying tempest,
like a storm of mighty, overflowing waters,
he casts down to the earth with his hand.
The proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim
will be trodden underfoot;
and the fading flower of its glorious beauty,
which is on the head of the rich valley,
will be like a first-ripe fig before the summer:
when someone sees it, he swallows it
as soon as it is in his hand.

In that day the Lord of hosts will be a crown of glory,
and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people,
and a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment,
and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.

I28 ripe-figs

What a contrast!  Samaria was the crown of pride and a fading flower — while the Lord of hosts will be an unfading crown of glory!  To the Assyrian conquerors the city stands as ready to devour as a ripe fig — but the Lord will empower His faithful ones to execute judgment and turn back the enemy to his own city gate!

–adapted from William MacDonald

These also reel with wine
and stagger with strong drink;
the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink,
they are swallowed by wine,
they stagger with strong drink,
they reel in vision,
they stumble in giving judgment.
For all tables are full of filthy vomit,
with no space left.

With what vivid pictures Isaiah draws the truth, that even the priests and prophets have become dissolute.

“To whom will he teach knowledge,
and to whom will he explain the message?
Those who are weaned from the milk,
those taken from the breast?
10 For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
line upon line, line upon line,
here a little, there a little.”

I28 Baby_talk

The religious leaders mock God, complaining that He uses baby talk in speaking to them.  Does the Lord think He is dealing with youngsters, teaching them with monosyllables (in the Hebrew)?

–William MacDonald

11 For by people of strange lips
and with a foreign tongue
the Lord will speak to this people,
12  to whom he has said,
“This is rest;
give rest to the weary;
and this is repose”;
yet they would not hear.
13 And the word of the Lord will be to them
precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
line upon line, line upon line,
here a little, there a little,
that they may go, and fall backward,
and be broken, and snared, and taken.

“All right,” says God, “since you don’t want to listen to my simple, understandable language, I will send a foreign invader (Assyria) into your midst.”  Their alien tongue will be a sign of judgment on a people who refused God when He vainly offered rest to them and the ability to administer rest to others.  As for the Lord, He will continue to speak in the simplest, clearest words, but that will be in order that all responsibility for their rejection can only be charged, not to the obscurity of the message, but to those who reject it.

–William MacDonald

A Cornerstone in Zion

14 Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers,
who rule this people in Jerusalem!
15 Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death,
and with Sheol we have an agreement,
when the overwhelming whip passes through
it will not come to us,
for we have made lies our refuge,
and in falsehood we have taken shelter”;
16 therefore thus says the Lord God,
Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion,
a stone, a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation:

I28 cornerstone

Christ is made the sure foundation,
Christ the head and cornerstone,
Chosen of the Lord and precious,
Binding all the church in one;
Holy Zion’s help forever,
And our confidence alone.

To this temple, where we call You,
Come, O Lord of Hosts, today;
With Your wonted lovingkindness
Hear Your people as they pray.
And Your fullest benediction
Shed within its walls alway.

Here bestow to all Your servants
What they ask of You to gain,
What they gain from You forever
With the blessèd to retain,
And hereafter in Your glory
Evermore with You to reign.

Laud and honor to the Father,
Laud and honor to the Son,
Laud and honor to the Spirit,
Ever Three and ever one;
One in might and one in glory
While unending ages run.

–Latin, seventh century

‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’
17 And I will make justice the line,
and righteousness the plumb line;
and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and waters will overwhelm the shelter.”

The next few verses, 18-22, show that Jerusalem’s “power politics will fail to protect here when the invader comes.  Every enemy incursion will succeed.  Those who scoff will only increase their bondage.”

–William MacDonald

18 Then your covenant with death will be annulled,
and your agreement with Sheol will not stand;
when the overwhelming scourge passes through,
you will be beaten down by it.
19 As often as it passes through it will take you;
for morning by morning it will pass through,
by day and by night;
and it will be sheer terror to understand the message.
20 For the bed is too short to stretch oneself on,
and the covering too narrow to wrap oneself in.
21 For the Lord will rise up as on Mount Perazim;
as in the Valley of Gibeon he will be roused;
to do his deed—strange is his deed!
and to work his work—alien is his work!
22 Now therefore do not scoff,
lest your bonds be made strong;
for I have heard a decree of destruction
from the Lord God of hosts against the whole land.

I28 farmer

As timing is important for success in farming, so God has times for grace and for judgment.  In the following verses:  Just as a farmer doesn’t continue breaking the ground indefinitely, but stops when it is ready for planting (v. 24), so our trials are brought to an end as soon as they have accomplished His purposes in our lives.  Just as the farmer sows his seed with discernment, scattering the cumin but putting the wheat in rows (vs. 25-26), so the Lord carefully selects the discipline especially suited to our particular need.  And just as a farmer harvests his crop with extreme care, using a light stick for the dill and a heavier weight for the cumin, just heavy enough to avoid crushing the grain (vs. 27-28), so the Lord uses the lightest possible touch for our condition, never allowing an affliction to be greater than we can bear.

–adapted from Herbert Vander Lugt

23 Give ear, and hear my voice;
give attention, and hear my speech.
24 Does he who plows for sowing plow continually?
Does he continually open and harrow his ground?
25 When he has leveled its surface,
does he not scatter dill, sow cumin,
and put in wheat in rows
and barley in its proper place,
and emmer (note: a type of wheat or rye) as the border?
26 For he is rightly instructed;
his God teaches him.

27 Dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge,
nor is a cart wheel rolled over cumin,
but dill is beaten out with a stick,
and cumin with a rod.
28 Does one crush grain for bread?
No, he does not thresh it forever;
when he drives his cart wheel over it
with his horses, he does not crush it.
29 This also comes from the Lord of hosts;
he is wonderful in counsel
and excellent in wisdom.

I28 wonderful counselor

_________________________

Music:

From the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta:  “Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation.”  Click  HERE  for a beautiful brass and choir performance.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
fade like a flower.    http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7155/6590116821_f0f206976c_z.jpg
ripe figs.    http://redslipperdiary.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/ripe-figs.jpg
baby talk.   http://smartbabycares.blogspot.com/2011/01/how-to-teach-your-baby-talk-video.html
foundation stone.    http://sbc-churches.net/waccasassa/journal/10-08/cornerstone.jpg
farmer.    http://wallpaper4god.com/wallpapers/isaiah-282329_5094_1600x1200.jpg
Isaiah 9:6    http://wallpaper4god.com/wallpapers/isaiah-282329_5094_1600x1200.jpg

966.) Isaiah 27

January 14, 2013
Isaiah 27:1 by Phirewerk.

Isaiah 27:1 by Phirewerk.

Isaiah 27   (ESV)

The Redemption of Israel

In that day the Lord with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea.

What do we know about Leviathan from this passage? We know that Leviathan is identified with a serpent. We know that Leviathan is resisting God (fleeing . . . twisting; twisting has the idea of coiling, as if it were ready to strike). We know that Leviathan is connected with the sea. And we know that Leviathan’s destiny is to be destroyed by the Lord.

What do we know about Leviathan from other passages of Scripture? Leviathan is referred to in passages like Job 3:8, Job 41, Psalm 74:14, and Psalm 104:26. These passages reinforce the idea of Leviathan as a mighty, serpent-like creature, connected with the sea, who resists God and will be crushed by the Lord.

We are familiar with the reference to Satan as a serpent (Genesis 3:1-5), but here the picture is of a sea-serpent or perhaps what we would know as a dragon. This reference may be a literal reference, and at some point in history, either past or present, Satan may manifest himself as monster connected with the sea. Certainly, Revelation uses this imagery in describing the emergence of the Antichrist (Revelation 13:1-4).

Essentially, Isaiah prophesies the ultimate defeat of Satan when the Kingdom of the Messiah conquers all (He will slay the dragon).

–David Guzik

In that day,
“A pleasant vineyard, sing of it!
    I, the Lord, am its keeper;
every moment I water it.
Lest anyone punish it,
I keep it night and day;
    I have no wrath.
Would that I had thorns and briers to battle!
I would march against them,
I would burn them up together.
Or let them lay hold of my protection,
let them make peace with me,
let them make peace with me.”

In days to come Jacob shall take root,
Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots
and fill the whole world with fruit.

lake seneca vineyard

“Whereas the vineyard in chapter 5 was overrun by thorns, not a brier or thorn can be found in this vineyard.”

–Herbert M. Wolf

Has he struck them as he struck those who struck them?

The Lord shows His mercy to Israel, in that even though the Lord struck Israel when Israel went astray, He did not strike Israel as severely as He did the other nations that went astray.

Or have they been slain as their slayers were slain?
Measure by measure, by exile you contended with them;
he removed them with his fierce breath in the day of the east wind.
Therefore by this the guilt of Jacob will be atoned for,

The Lord shows His mercy to Israel in that He covers their sin. This is ultimately fulfilled in the Kingdom of the Messiah, when all Israel will be saved (Romans 11:26).

and this will be the full fruit of the removal of his sin:
when he makes all the stones of the altars
like chalkstones crushed to pieces,
no Asherim or incense altars will remain standing.

The Lord shows His mercy to Israel in that He destroys their idolatrous altars and images, forcing them to worship the Lord only.

–David Guzik

10 For the fortified city is solitary,
a habitation deserted and forsaken, like the wilderness;
there the calf grazes;
there it lies down and strips its branches.
11 When its boughs are dry, they are broken;
women come and make a fire of them.
For this is a people without discernment;
therefore he who made them will not have compassion on them;
he who formed them will show them no favor.

The city of man lies desolate . . .

12 In that day from the river Euphrates to the Brook of Egypt the Lord will thresh out the grain, and you will be gleaned one by one, O people of Israel. 13 And in that day a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were lost in the land of Assyria and those who were driven out to the land of Egypt will come and worship the Lord on the holy mountain at Jerusalem.

. . . while the city of Jerusalem is thriving as God’s people return and worship Him.

I27 church_of_all_nations

The Church of All Nations, completed in Jerusalem in 1924, stands adjacent to the Garden of Gethsemane.  Inside on the ceiling of the church are flags from the many countries which contributed to construction.  Inside on the floor of the church is a section of bedrock where visitors can remember Jesus praying before his arrest, trial, and crucifixion. 

When I have stood inside, looking at the rock and imagining Christ the King sweating it out to be obedient for the salvation of the world — oh, it takes my breath away.  What else to do, then, but fall before my Savior and worship?

_________________________

Music:

Let’s join with the Oslo Gospel Choir — click  HERE  for “Come, Now Is the Time to Worship.”

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
Phirewerk.    http://fc09.deviantart.net/fs45/f/2009/093/6/e/Isaiah_27_1_by_phirewerk.jpg
vineyard in Seneca Lake, NY.   http://photos.hsetty.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/InfinitePhoto-lake-seneca-vineyard-110604.jpg
Church of All Nations, Jerusalem.   http://www.atlastours.net/holyland/church_of_all_nations.jpg

965.) Isaiah 26

January 11, 2013

I26 bird

Isaiah 26   (ESV)

You Keep Him in Perfect Peace

In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:

“We have a strong city;
he sets up salvation
as walls and bulwarks.
Open the gates,
that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in.
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.

In Hebrew, the term perfect peace is actually shalom shalom.  In Hebrew, repetition communicates intensity.  It isn’t just shalom; it is shalom shalom, perfect peace.

–David Guzik

I26 mind

Matthew 22:37  (NIV)

Jesus replied:  ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

Romans 12:2   (NIV)

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

1 Corinthians 2:16  (NIV)

 for,

“Who has known the mind of the Lord
    so as to instruct him?”

But we have the mind of Christ.

Colossians 3:2   (NIV)

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

I26 rock

from This Day with the Master
by Dennis F. Kinlaw

THE DUNGEON

On the coast of Scotland stands an old castle that contains a remarkable dungeon.  It was cut down into solid rock and is called a bottle dungeon.  The neck is a vertical shaft six feet deep and wide enough to drop a man through.  Below the shaft is the dungeon, cut out in the shape of a triangle.  It is perhaps ten feet across at the top, and the dungeon’s circular wall is slanted inward to a point at the bottom.  The bottle is too deep for a person ever to reach the neck.  The result is that no one escaped after being dropped into it.

The masters of the castle found that all prisoners placed in this dungeon quickly went insane.  Except one.  That one prisoner was able to retain his sanity even though he was incarcerated there for several weeks.  His captors drew him out and sought to discover his secret.  To their surprise they learned that it lay in six pebbles he had in one of his pockets.

The prisoner explained that the circular dungeon and the total darkness left him with no unchanging point of reference.  When he felt his mental powers threatened, he would count his pebbles by moving them one at a time from one pocket to the other.  There were always six.  With that unchangeable point of reference outside himself, he was able to keep from losing his mind.  When his existence seemed an unending, unrelenting nightmare, there was one point of order extremal to himself, and his sanity rested on that.

Contrary to much of modern thought, the key to the self is not in the self.  Without an external point of reference that will not move, we simply wander and lose our touch with reality.  This is yet another evidence that we are made to relate to an Other.  That Other is the God who made us.  Perhaps that is why Israel loved to call their God their Rock.  Isaiah spoke of that Rock and of the perfect peace of the one whose mind is stayed on him.  We need an unmoving center.  We have one in Christ if we will accept him as such.

For he has humbled
the inhabitants of the height,
the lofty city.
He lays it low, lays it low to the ground,
casts it to the dust.
The foot tramples it,
the feet of the poor,
the steps of the needy.”

The path of the righteous is level;
you make level the way of the righteous.
In the path of your judgments,
O Lord, we wait for you;
your name and remembrance
are the desire of our soul.

 I26 love heart

“We wait for you, Lord — you are the desire of our soul.”

Lord, may that be the cry of my heart.

My soul yearns for you in the night;
my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.
For when your judgments are in the earth,
the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
10 If favor is shown to the wicked,
he does not learn righteousness;
in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly
and does not see the majesty of the Lord.
11 O Lord, your hand is lifted up,
but they do not see it.
Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed.
Let the fire for your adversaries consume them.
12 O Lord, you will ordain peace for us,
for you have indeed done for us all our works.

I26 peace
13 O Lord our God,
other lords besides you have ruled over us,
but your name alone we bring to remembrance.
14 They are dead, they will not live;
they are shades, they will not arise;
to that end you have visited them with destruction
and wiped out all remembrance of them.
15 But you have increased the nation, O Lord,
you have increased the nation; you are glorified;
you have enlarged all the borders of the land.

16 O Lord, in distress they sought you;
they poured out a whispered prayer
when your discipline was upon them.
17 Like a pregnant woman
who writhes and cries out in her pangs
when she is near to giving birth,
so were we because of you, O Lord;
18     we were pregnant, we writhed,
but we have given birth to wind.

I26 apart from me

The metaphor:  A pregnant woman would have the pain of labor, yet not have the joy of a living child. 

The meaning:  It is futile to work apart from the purposes and assistance and blessing of God.

We have accomplished no deliverance in the earth,
and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen.
19 Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise.
You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy!
For your dew is a dew of light,
and the earth will give birth to the dead.

20 Come, my people, enter your chambers,
and shut your doors behind you;
hide yourselves for a little while
until the fury has passed by.
21 For behold, the Lord is coming out from his place
to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity,
and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it,
and will no more cover its slain.

“But God’s justice stands forever against the sinner in utter severity.  The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions.  It hushes their fears and allows them to practice all pleasant forms of iniquity while death draws every day nearer and the command to repent goes unregarded.  As responsible moral beings we dare not so trifle with our eternal future.”

A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

_________________________

Music:

Our God is a rock — “Rock of Ages”  sung by Fernando Ortega.  Click  HERE.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
bird.    http://ih2.redbubble.net/image.8928772.8184/flat,550×550,075,f.u2.jpg
mind.   http://thirdeyeactivation.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/spirit-mind.jpg
My Lord is my rock.    http://www.thatnoneshouldperish.org/sitebuilder/images/God_is_my_rock_psalm18_1-2-480×488.jpg
I love you.    http://rlv.zcache.com/grunge_heart_i_love_you_customize_card-p137006462053106278b2ico_400.jpg
our peace.    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_o2uso3wjWK8/TRt_YY9HcYI/AAAAAAAAIdI/f6loEghlx-s/s1600/January+Postcard+with+border.jpg
Apart from me.    http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m0e9i88LOl1qzkfujo1_500.png

964.) Isaiah 25

January 10, 2013

I25 Where-is-Your-Sting

Isaiah 25   (ESV)

God Will Swallow Up Death Forever

O Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you; I will praise your name,
for you have done wonderful things,
plans formed of old, faithful and sure.
For you have made the city a heap,
the fortified city a ruin;
the foreigners’ palace is a city no more;
it will never be rebuilt.

“But God’s justice stands forever against the sinner in utter severity.  The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions.  It hushes their fears and allows them to practice all pleasant forms of iniquity while death draws every day nearer and the command to repent goes unregarded.  As responsible moral beings we dare not so trifle with our eternal future.”

A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

Therefore strong peoples will glorify you;
cities of ruthless nations will fear you.
For you have been a stronghold to the poor,
a stronghold to the needy in his distress,
a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat;
for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall,
    like heat in a dry place.
You subdue the noise of the foreigners;
as heat by the shade of a cloud,
so the song of the ruthless is put down.

6 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.

I25 food and wine

Psalm 63:5   (NIV)

I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
     with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

And he will swallow up on this mountain
the covering that is cast over all peoples,
the veil that is spread over all nations.
    He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.

Freud was wrong when he said: “And finally there is the painful riddle of death, for which no remedy at all has yet been found, nor probably ever will be.” Compare that with Isaiah’s triumphant declaration, He will swallow death up forever!

–David Guzik

It will be said on that day,
“Behold, this is our God;
we have waited for him, that he might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
10 For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain,
and Moab shall be trampled down in his place,
as straw is trampled down in a dunghill.
11 And he will spread out his hands in the midst of it
as a swimmer spreads his hands out to swim,
but the Lord will lay low his pompous pride
together with the skill of his hands.
12 And the high fortifications of his walls he will bring down,
lay low, and cast to the ground, to the dust.

_________________________

Music:

I have been a church organist ever since I was a sophomore in high school, and I long ago lost count of how many funerals I have played for.  But I have appreciated each one.  Because I find that a funeral does something to clarify my mind and impress upon me what is eternally important.  Only one life, ’twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.

And because of Christ, we do not need to fear death.  Now that is a remarkable truth! — one which bears thinking about and giving God thanks for all day today!

1 Corinthians 15:55-5   (NIV)

“Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Click  HERE  to listen to Handel’s rendition of these verses in The Messiah.   Hillary Summers, alto and John Mark Ainsley, tenor, with The Brandemburg Consort and The Choir of King’s College Cambridge, conducted by Stephen Cleobury.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
O Death where is your sting.    http://thecripplegate.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Where-is-Your-Sting.jpg
food and wine.    http://www.wine-flair.com/uploaded_images/FoodWine-791419.jpg

963.) Isaiah 24

January 9, 2013
The earth was created to be a thing of beauty to bring joy to the Lord and to his people.

The earth was created to be a thing of beauty to bring joy to the Lord and to his people.

Isaiah 24   (ESV)

Isaiah chapters 24 through 27 are sometimes called an “apocalypse.”  The prophet holds before sinner and godly the clear teaching that the day of the Lord bring judgment on creation and the fullness of salvation for the saints.  God’s plan of redemption includes restoration from exile, the blessings of Christ in the church, and the establishment of God’s kingdom in all nations.  Ch. 24 focuses on God’s overthrow of the corrupted earth; ch. 25, on the praise that comes to Him in response; and chs. 26 and 27 on God’s interaction with His people.  Brilliant assonances, incapable of translation, enhance the prophetic message.

–notes from The Reformation Study Bible

Judgment on the Whole Earth

Behold, the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate,
and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants.

2 Timothy 3:1   (NIV)

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.

And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest;
as with the slave, so with his master;
as with the maid, so with her mistress;
as with the buyer, so with the seller;
as with the lender, so with the borrower;
as with the creditor, so with the debtor.

God will judge everyone, without making social distinctions.

The earth shall be utterly empty and utterly plundered;
for the Lord has spoken this word.

The earth mourns and withers;
the world languishes and withers;
the highest people of the earth languish.
The earth lies defiled
under its inhabitants;
for they have transgressed the laws,
violated the statutes,
broken the everlasting covenant.

Therefore a curse devours the earth,
and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt;
therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched,
and few men are left.

"Scorched Earth"  painting by Spencer Joyner.

“Scorched Earth” painting by Spencer Joyner.

The earth was created for God’s glory.  People were placed on the earth to tend the garden that God had made.  But sin changed everything.  The prophet begins to describe a world in which joy and gladness are changed into silence and sorrow:

The wine mourns,
the vine languishes,
all the merry-hearted sigh.
The mirth of the tambourines is stilled,
the noise of the jubilant has ceased,
the mirth of the lyre is stilled.
No more do they drink wine with singing;
strong drink is bitter to those who drink it.
10 The wasted city is broken down;
every house is shut up so that none can enter.
11 There is an outcry in the streets for lack of wine;
all joy has grown dark;
the gladness of the earth is banished.
12 Desolation is left in the city;
the gates are battered into ruins.
13 For thus it shall be in the midst of the earth
among the nations,
as when an olive tree is beaten,
as at the gleaning when the grape harvest is done.

Yet there remains a remnant, a few who have served the true and living God.

I24 14 mountains

14 They lift up their voices, they sing for joy;
over the majesty of the Lord they shout from the west.
15 Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord;
in the coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the Lord, the God of Israel.
16 From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise,
of glory to the Righteous One.

The new song is in response to God’s act of salvation.

_________________________

Music:

Click  HERE  to join Hillsong as they sing for joy and give glory to God: “Shout to the Lord.”

_________________________

Again the prophet sees the calamities to come.  There is no escape.  The judgment will be as universal and destructive as the flood in Noah’s day.

But I say, “I waste away,
I waste away. Woe is me!
For the traitors have betrayed,
with betrayal the traitors have betrayed.”

17 Terror and the pit and the snare
are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth!
18 He who flees at the sound of the terror
shall fall into the pit,
and he who climbs out of the pit
shall be caught in the snare.
For the windows of heaven are opened,

I24 NoahsArk

Genesis 7:11  (ESV)

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.

and the foundations of the earth tremble.
19 The earth is utterly broken,
the earth is split apart,
the earth is violently shaken.
20 The earth staggers like a drunken man;
it sways like a hut;
its transgression lies heavy upon it,
and it falls, and will not rise again.

21 On that day the Lord will punish
the host of heaven, in heaven,
and the kings of the earth, on the earth.
22 They will be gathered together
as prisoners in a pit;
they will be shut up in a prison,
and after many days they will be punished.
23 Then the moon will be confounded
and the sun ashamed,
for the Lord of hosts reigns
on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,
and his glory will be before his elders.

I24 arklanding

As those in Noah’s ark found rest on Mount Ararat, so the remnant will find rest on Mount Zion.  And after all the disaster — God still reigns!  Jesus Christ is still the victor!

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
tulip field in Germany.   http://www.hdwallpapers.in/walls/field_of_tulips_germany-normal.jpg
Joyner.    http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium/scorched-earth-spencer-joyner.jpg
Isaiah 24:14.    http://jesusone.com/slideshow2/isaiah24-14.jpg
the flood.    http://www.vegetarianfriends.net/NoahsArk.jpg
ark lands on Ararat.    http://nwcreation.net/images/noahsark/arklanding2.jpg

962.) Isaiah 23

January 8, 2013

I23 Tyre

Isaiah 23   (ESV)

An Oracle Concerning Tyre and Sidon

The oracle concerning Tyre.

To the north of Israel, Tyre was the leading city of Phoenicia, the great maritime power of the ancient world. Because it was such an important harbor and center for shipping, Tyre was synonymous with commerce and materialism.

Wail, O ships of Tarshish,
for Tyre is laid waste, without house or harbor!
From the land of Cyprus
it is revealed to them.
Be still, O inhabitants of the coast;
the merchants of Sidon, who cross the sea, have filled you.

I23 map
And on many waters
your revenue was the grain of Shihor,
the harvest of the Nile;
you were the merchant of the nations.
Be ashamed, O Sidon, for the sea has spoken,
the stronghold of the sea, saying:
“I have neither labored nor given birth,
I have neither reared young men
nor brought up young women.”
When the report comes to Egypt,
they will be in anguish over the report about Tyre.

The news of the fall of Tyre will spread rapidly and cause great concern throughout the Mediterranean, from Tarshish in Spain, to Cyprus, to Egypt.

Cross over to Tarshish;
wail, O inhabitants of the coast!
Is this your exultant city
whose origin is from days of old,
whose feet carried her
to settle far away?
Who has purposed this
against Tyre, the bestower of crowns,
whose merchants were princes,
whose traders were the honored of the earth?
The Lord of hosts has purposed it,
to defile the pompous pride of all glory,
to dishonor all the honored of the earth.

“Pride, pride, pride, is that basic sin to which God is ever opposed, and man is ever expressing.”

–F. C. Jennings

10 Cross over your land like the Nile,
O daughter of Tarshish;
there is no restraint anymore.
11 He has stretched out his hand over the sea;
he has shaken the kingdoms;
the Lord has given command concerning Canaan
to destroy its strongholds.
12 And he said:
“You will no more exult,
O oppressed virgin daughter of Sidon;
arise, cross over to Cyprus,
even there you will have no rest.”

Detail from the “Sarcophagus of the Crying Women,” from Sidon, now in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum

Detail from the “Sarcophagus of the Crying Women,” from Sidon, now in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum

13 Behold the land of the Chaldeans! This is the people that was not; Assyria destined it for wild beasts. They erected their siege towers, they stripped her palaces bare, they made her a ruin.

14 Wail, O ships of Tarshish,
for your stronghold is laid waste.

15 In that day Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, like the days of one king. At the end of seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the prostitute:

16 “Take a harp;
go about the city,
O forgotten prostitute!
Make sweet melody;
sing many songs,
that you may be remembered.”

17 At the end of seventy years, the Lord will visit Tyre,

Many commentators think this refers to the presence of Christianity in Tyre in the days of the early church.

and she will return to her wages and will prostitute herself with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth. 18 Her merchandise and her wages will be holy to the Lord. It will not be stored or hoarded, but her merchandise will supply abundant food and fine clothing for those who dwell before the Lord.

_________________________

Music:

Amid the judgment we are seeing in these chapters of Isaiah, we can remember that God loves us more than we can imagine.  He is our deliverer in every circumstance.  HERE  is Selah singing “You Are My Hiding Place.”

You are my hiding place
You always fill my heart
With songs of deliverance
Whenever I am afraid
I will trust in You

I will trust in You
Let the weak say
I am strong
In the strength of the Lord

You are my hiding place
You always fill my heart
With songs of deliverance
Whenever I am afraid
I will trust in You

I will trust in You
Let the weak say I am strong
In the strength of the Lord
I will trust in You

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
ancient Tyre.    http://isaiahsbookclub.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/isaiah23_tyre1.jpg
map.    http://i.ytimg.com/vi/3rvNw7UqhUM/0.jpg
Sarcophagus of the Crying Women.    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-QzytGWHRqF4/TkFXTHK5LDI/AAAAAAAAH4g/ltgHf6N7UwI/s1600/Sarcophagus%2BCrying%2Bwomen.jpg

961.) Isaiah 22

January 7, 2013

I22 Jerusalem

Isaiah 22   (ESV)

An Oracle Concerning Jerusalem

The oracle concerning the valley of vision.

Since Jerusalem was a center for the worship of God and some of the prophets of God (including Isaiah), it is called the Valley of Vision.

–David Guzik (and all comments following)

What do you mean that you have gone up,
all of you, to the housetops,
you who are full of shoutings,
tumultuous city, exultant town?
Your slain are not slain with the sword
or dead in battle.

When Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonians, the men of Judah did not bravely die in battle. They died either being starved to death in the siege of the city, or as they fled in cowardly retreat.

All your leaders have fled together;
without the bow they were captured.
All of you who were found were captured,
though they had fled far away.
Therefore I said:
“Look away from me;
let me weep bitter tears;
do not labor to comfort me
concerning the destruction of the daughter of my people.”

For the Lord God of hosts has a day
of tumult and trampling and confusion
in the valley of vision,
a battering down of walls
and a shouting to the mountains.

Isaiah sees an army full of arrows and chariots coming against Jerusalem. The prophesies the attack and overthrow of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.

And Elam bore the quiver
with chariots and horsemen,
and Kir uncovered the shield.
Your choicest valleys were full of chariots,
and the horsemen took their stand at the gates.
He has taken away the covering of Judah.

In that day you looked to the weapons of the House of the Forest, and you saw that the breaches of the city of David were many. You collected the waters of the lower pool, 10 and you counted the houses of Jerusalem, and you broke down the houses to fortify the wall.

When Jerusalem was faced with this subsequent attack, they prepared the city for battle and for siege, strengthening the wall of the city and making sure there was adequate water for a siege.

11 You made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to him who did it, or see him who planned it long ago.

12 In that day the Lord God of hosts
called for weeping and mourning,
for baldness and wearing sackcloth;

Instead of preparing Jerusalem for an attack, they should have turned their hearts in humble repentance to the Lord.

13 and behold, joy and gladness,
killing oxen and slaughtering sheep,
eating flesh and drinking wine.
“Let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we die.”
14 The Lord of hosts has revealed himself in my ears:
“Surely this iniquity will not be atoned for you until you die,”
says the Lord God of hosts.

15 Thus says the Lord God of hosts, “Come, go to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the household,

Shebna was a servant of King Hezekiah, both a steward . . . over the household and a scribe (1 Kings 18:18, Isaiah 37:2). These were both positions of honor and responsibility. Shebna was one of King Hezekiah’s chief assistants.

and say to him: 16 What have you to do here, and whom have you here, that you have cut out here a tomb for yourself, you who cut out a tomb on the height and carve a dwelling for yourself in the rock?

What did Shebna do with his position of honor and authority? He made himself a fancy and prestigious tomb! In that day, this was a display of significant power and wealth. In this, Shebna personifies all of Jerusalem with his obsessive self-interest.  Isaiah had prophesied that the people of Judah and Jerusalem would be carried away into exile, but Shebna didn’t believe it. He built this elaborate tomb to himself in Jerusalem, as if to say, “I will never be carried away in exile. I am so certain that I will die here that I will build my tomb here.”

17 Behold, the Lord will hurl you away violently, O you strong man. He will seize firm hold on you 18 and whirl you around and around, and throw you like a ball into a wide land. There you shall die, and there shall be your glorious chariots, you shame of your master’s house. 19 I will thrust you from your office, and you will be pulled down from your station.

20 In that day I will call my servant Eliakim

“My servant” — what a glorious title for Eliakim! Both Shebna and Eliakim were servants of Hezekiah, but Shebna’s heart was directed towards selfish ambition and glory, and Eliakim’s heart was turned towards the Lord.

the son of Hilkiah, 21 and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your sash on him, and will commit your authority to his hand. And he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 22 And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David. He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.

I22 key

Revelation 3:7   (NIV)

To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:

“These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.”

23 And I will fasten him like a peg in a secure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his father’s house. 24 And they will hang on him the whole honor of his father’s house, the offspring and issue, every small vessel, from the cups to all the flagons. 25 In that day, declares the Lord of hosts, the peg that was fastened in a secure place will give way, and it will be cut down and fall, and the load that was on it will be cut off, for the Lord has spoken.”

_________________________

Music:

A simple and sincere repentance and confession would have made all the difference.  Here is one you can pray now, in the song “Lead Me to the Cross”  by Hillsong United.  Click HERE.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
Jerusalem by Caley Politi.   http://www.israelartguide.co.il/activities/images/poli1.jpg
Revelation 22:22.    http://www.propheticdestinyministries.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Dominion-2.jpg

960.) Psalm 119:89-112

January 4, 2013

p119 lamp to my feet

Psalm 119:89-112   (NIV)

ל Lamedh

89 Your word, Lord, is eternal;
it stands firm in the heavens.
90 Your faithfulness continues through all generations;
you established the earth, and it endures.

P119 Genesis1_1

The word of God itself is what establishes the earth and causes it to abide. The earth and all of creation began with a word from God (Genesis 1); it is no surprise that they are also sustained and endure according to the word of God.

This gives new understanding to some wonderful statements of Scripture:

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8)

Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away (Matthew 24:35)

These passages put the word of God outside the created world and indicate that the word of God is more permanent and enduring that creation itself. Since the created world came into being by God’s word and is sustained by His word, this makes perfect sense.

–David Guzik

91 Your laws endure to this day,
for all things serve you.
92 If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
93 I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have preserved my life.
94 Save me, for I am yours;
I have sought out your precepts.
95 The wicked are waiting to destroy me,
but I will ponder your statutes.
96 To all perfection I see a limit,
but your commands are boundless.

I like how this verse is phrased in The Message:

I see the limits to everything human,
    but the horizons can’t contain your commands!

מ Mem

97 Oh, how I love your law!
I meditate on it all day long.
98 Your commands are always with me
and make me wiser than my enemies.
99 I have more insight than all my teachers,
for I meditate on your statutes.

In 1930, Wheaton College presented Ironside with an honorary Doctorate of Letters degree.

In 1930, Wheaton College presented Ironside, who quit school after eighth grade, with an honorary Doctorate of Letters degree.

There is a story about the life of Harry Ironside, the pastor and author and Bible commentator.  Ironside went to visit a man near death, suffering from tuberculosis.  The man was almost dead and could barely speak.  As Ironside spoke to him the sick man asked, “Young man, are you trying to preach Christ, are you not?”  Ironside said that he was, and the man replied, “Well, sit down a little, and let us talk together about the Word of God.”  Then the man opened his Bible and spoke with Ironside until his strength was gone; he shared insights from the Bible that Ironside had not appreciated or even seen before. 

Ironside was stunned and asked the man, “Where did you get these things?  Can you tell me where I can find a book that will open them up to me?  Did you get them in seminary or college?” 

The old man replied, “My dear young man, I learned these things on my knees on the mud floor of a little sod cottage in the north of Ireland.  There with my open Bible before me, I used to kneel for hours at a time and ask the Spirit of God to reveal Christ to my soul and to open the Word to my heart.  He taught me more on my knees on that mud floor than I ever could have learned in all the seminaries or colleges in the world.”

100 I have more understanding than the elders,
for I obey your precepts.
101 I have kept my feet from every evil path
so that I might obey your word.
102 I have not departed from your laws,
for you yourself have taught me.

P119 honey

103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!

104 I gain understanding from your precepts;
therefore I hate every wrong path.

נ Nun

P119 oil lamp

105 Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.

How are we to walk?

Ephesians 4:1-3  (NASB)

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Isaiah 57:1-2  (NASB)

The righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart;
And devout men are taken away, while no one understands.
For the righteous man is taken away from evil,
He enters into peace;
They rest in their beds,
Each one who walked in his upright way.

1 John 1:7   (NASB)

If we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light,
we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Micah 6:8   (NASB)

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?

106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it,
that I will follow your righteous laws.
107 I have suffered much;
preserve my life, Lord, according to your word.
108 Accept, Lord, the willing praise of my mouth,
and teach me your laws.
109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands,
I will not forget your law.
110 The wicked have set a snare for me,
but I have not strayed from your precepts.
111 Your statutes are my heritage forever;
they are the joy of my heart.
112 My heart is set on keeping your decrees
to the very end.

Matthew 28:20   (NIV)

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

_________________________

Music:

Can you hear it even before the music starts?  Amy Grant and “Thy Word.”  Click  HERE  to listen!

_________________________

Images courtesy of:
Psalm 119:105.   http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-7Ao9XRz0zbc/UDtrZLWOb-I/AAAAAAAABJw/Ba5A_NJ92K8/s1600/lamp+to+my+feet.jpg
Genesis 1:1.    http://wallpaper4god.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/genesis1_1.jpg
Wheaton College, IL.    http://sojo.net/sites/default/files/mainimages/blog/2761333084_d55def12f9.jpg
honey.    http://cdnimg.visualizeus.com/thumbs/6d/49/honey,psalms,119:103,bible,verse,typography-6d494f04f4b2a130d5592b4d363b43ab_h.jpg
Psalm 119:105 with oil lamp.   http://www.emblibrary.com/el/Product_images/E3592.jpg