999.) Isaiah 48

February 28, 2013

I48 furnace of affliction

Isaiah 48   (ESV)

Israel Refined for God’s Glory

Hear this, O house of Jacob,
who are called by the name of Israel,

Judah should take notice at this opening statement. God identifies His people as the house of Jacob – the name Jacob essentially meaning “deceiver, cheater” – and says they only have the name of Israel, not the character of Israel, which means “governed by God” . . . 

and who came from the waters of Judah,

The second statement of Isaiah 48 isn’t any more complimentary to the southern kingdom of Judah. God reminds them of their tribal ancestor, Judah, who was noted for his cruelty (Genesis 37:26-27) and immorality (Genesis 38). The Lord speaks to His people and says, “You come from your father Judah.” It’s hardly a compliment . . .

who swear by the name of the Lord
and confess the God of Israel,
but not in truth or right.

God exposes the sin of His people. They take His name, and identify with the holy city, and give appearance that they lean on the God of Israel. Yet it is only image, not reality, and God sees through the image to the reality.

–David Guzik

For they call themselves after the holy city,
and stay themselves on the God of Israel;
the Lord of hosts is his name.

“The former things I declared of old;
they went out from my mouth, and I announced them;
then suddenly I did them, and they came to pass.
Because I know that you are obstinate,
and your neck is an iron sinew
and your forehead brass,
I declared them to you from of old,
before they came to pass I announced them to you,
lest you should say, ‘My idol did them,
my carved image and my metal image commanded them.’

Judah was without excuse. They knew the greatness and power of God, yet they still lived with only a religious image, without a spiritual reality.

“You have heard; now see all this;
and will you not declare it?
From this time forth I announce to you new things,
hidden things that you have not known.
They are created now, not long ago;
before today you have never heard of them,
lest you should say, ‘Behold, I knew them.’
You have never heard, you have never known,
from of old your ear has not been opened.
For I knew that you would surely deal treacherously,
and that from before birth you were called a rebel.

“For my name’s sake I defer my anger,
for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
that I may not cut you off.
10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.

Amy Carmichael asks: 

Are we willing to be put into any furnace of God’s choosing if only we may be made fit for His use?  We cannot choose our furnace.  But there is always hope.  We are in His hand, and no one can snatch us from His grasp.

11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
for how should my name be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another.

The Lord’s Call to Israel

12 “Listen to me, O Jacob,
and Israel, whom I called!
I am he; I am the first,
and I am the last.
13 My hand laid the foundation of the earth,
and my right hand spread out the heavens;
when I call to them,
they stand forth together.

I48 planets

14 “Assemble, all of you, and listen!
Who among them has declared these things?
The Lord loves him;
he shall perform his purpose on Babylon,
and his arm shall be against the Chaldeans.
15 I, even I, have spoken and called him;
I have brought him, and he will prosper in his way.
16 Draw near to me, hear this:
from the beginning I have not spoken in secret,
from the time it came to be I have been there.”
And now the Lord God has sent me, and his Spirit.

17 Thus says the Lord,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
who teaches you to profit,
who leads you in the way you should go.
18 Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
and your righteousness like the waves of the sea;

How to obtain peace:  pay attention to God’s commandments!

19 your offspring would have been like the sand,
and your descendants like its grains;
their name would never be cut off
or destroyed from before me.”

20 Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea,
declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it,
send it out to the end of the earth;
say, “The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob!”
21 They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts;
he made water flow for them from the rock;
he split the rock and the water gushed out.

22 “There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.”

How to lose peace: do not follow the Lord’s instructions and end up being wicked.


I48 water from rock


From verse 21:  he split the rock and the water gushed out.

Fanny Crosby used this text for one of her hymns: “A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord, A wonderful Savior to me.  He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock, Where rivers of pleasure I see.”

HERE  is Guy Penrod (formerly of the Gaither Vocal Band) singing this old classic.


English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
furnace of affliction.    https://versaday.com/images/Months/1008/0806-ISA048010ENGKJV08000480ISP01945608000.jpg
planets.    http://www.bahaiwritingsasart.com/img/s1/v54/p1099084310-3.jpg
water from the rock.    http://jtbarts.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/water_from_the_rock-483×1024.jpg

998.) Isaiah 47

February 27, 2013

I47 my salvation

Isaiah 47   (ESV)

The Humiliation of Babylon

Come down and sit in the dust,
O virgin daughter of Babylon;
sit on the ground without a throne,
O daughter of the Chaldeans!
For you shall no more be called
tender and delicate.
Take the millstones and grind flour,
put off your veil,
strip off your robe, uncover your legs,
pass through the rivers.

What a contrast!  The bold image is of Babylon as a beautiful, rich, frivolous, and sensual young woman who, now a prisoner, is doomed to the despicable state of a slave.  She will be punished for three sins.

Your nakedness shall be uncovered,
and your disgrace shall be seen.
I will take vengeance,
and I will spare no one.
4 Our Redeemer—the Lord of hosts is his name—
is the Holy One of Israel.

Sit in silence, and go into darkness,
O daughter of the Chaldeans;
for you shall no more be called
the mistress of kingdoms.
6 I was angry with my people;
I profaned my heritage;
I gave them into your hand;

Babylon thought that she conquered Judah and Jerusalem through her own power. But Babylon didn’t see that she really conquered them because God was angry with His people, and therefore used Babylon as an instrument of His work. God says, “You didn’t know that I had given them into your hand.”

–David Guzik

you showed them no mercy;

I47 Exile

Sin #1.  Yes, God appointed Babylon to carry his people into exile.  But he did not order Babylon to do it with such merciless cruelty.

on the aged you made your yoke exceedingly heavy.
You said, “I shall be mistress forever,”
so that you did not lay these things to heart
or remember their end.

Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures,
who sit securely,
who say in your heart,
“I am, and there is no one besides me;
I shall not sit as a widow
or know the loss of children”:
These two things shall come to you
in a moment, in one day;
the loss of children and widowhood
shall come upon you in full measure,
in spite of your many sorceries
and the great power of your enchantments.

10 You felt secure in your wickedness,
you said, “No one sees me”;
your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray,
and you said in your heart,
“I am, and there is no one besides me.”

I47 Prosperity

Sin #2.  In her arrogance, Babylon thought nothing could destroy her prosperity.  But her pride will fall overnight.

11 But evil shall come upon you,
which you will not know how to charm away;
disaster shall fall upon you,
for which you will not be able to atone;
and ruin shall come upon you suddenly,
of which you know nothing.

12 Stand fast in your enchantments
and your many sorceries,
with which you have labored from your youth;
perhaps you may be able to succeed;
perhaps you may inspire terror.
13 You are wearied with your many counsels;
let them stand forth and save you,
those who divide the heavens,
who gaze at the stars,
who at the new moons make known
what shall come upon you.

14 Behold, they are like stubble;
the fire consumes them;
they cannot deliver themselves
from the power of the flame.

I47 astrology

Sin #3.  Babylon trusted in sorcerers and astrologers.  All their idolatry, superstitions, and witchcraft will prove worthless; nothing will be able to save Babylon from God’s judgment.

No coal for warming oneself is this,
no fire to sit before!
15 Such to you are those with whom you have labored,
who have done business with you from your youth;
they wander about, each in his own direction;
there is no one to save you.

Jonah 2:8-9 (NLT)

“Those who worship false gods
    turn their backs on all God’s mercies.
But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise,
    and I will fulfill all my vows.
    For my salvation comes from the Lord alone.”



God is my salvation, my refuge, my joy, my strength, my hope.   Click  HERE  for the Tommy Coomes Band and “My Hope Is in the Lord.”  This is a lovely chorus to carry around in your head all day, reminding you of the fullness of Christ.


English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
My salvation.    http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6117/7022515323_0f45d95ba3_z.jpg
Jews forced to go to Persia.    http://modiya.nyu.edu/bitstream/1964/740/2/Hirszenberg_Golus_Exile_v3.jpg
prosperity.   http://www.yourdictionary.com/images/articles/lg/2858.Prosperity.jpg
astrology.    http://d4nations.com/webpubl/images/zodiac-astrology.jpg

997.) Isaiah 46

February 26, 2013

I46 none like You

Isaiah 46   (ESV)

The Idols of Babylon and the One True God

Bel bows down; Nebo stoops;
their idols are on beasts and livestock;
these things you carry are borne
as burdens on weary beasts.

“In chapter 45 Isaiah declared that every knee will bow to the Lord, and here he pictures the gods of the great Babylon stooping low in humiliation.”

–Geoffrey W. Grogan

They stoop; they bow down together;
they cannot save the burden,
but themselves go into captivity.

Can you see the picture?  The people are exiled to a far-away place, carrying their goods (even their worthless idols!) on their shoulders and their animals and their carts.

3 “Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
all the remnant of the house of Israel,
who have been borne by me from before your birth,
carried from the womb;
even to your old age I am he,
and to gray hairs I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear;
I will carry and will save.

I46 baby

Such a contrast!  How can they not see?  Whereas they are carrying their idols, God has carried them!  Let’s ask ourselves — What are we carrying?  Is God carrying us?

“To whom will you liken me and make me equal,
and compare me, that we may be alike?
Those who lavish gold from the purse,
and weigh out silver in the scales,
hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god;
then they fall down and worship!
They lift it to their shoulders, they carry it,
they set it in its place, and it stands there;
it cannot move from its place.
If one cries to it, it does not answer
or save him from his trouble.

“Remember this and stand firm,
recall it to mind, you transgressors,

I46 remember

Important Things to Remember

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. — Exodus 20:8

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. — Deuteronomy 8:2

Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced. — 1 Chronicles 16:12

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. — Psalm 77:11

In the night, Lord, I remember your name, that I may keep your law. — Psalm 119:55

Then they remembered his words. — Luke 24:8

    remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is none like me,
10 declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
11 calling a bird of prey from the east,
the man of my counsel from a far country.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
I have purposed, and I will do it.

12 “Listen to me, you stubborn of heart,
you who are far from righteousness:
13 I bring near my righteousness; it is not far off,
and my salvation will not delay;
I will put salvation in Zion,
for Israel my glory.”



–for I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is none like me–

Yes, Lord!  No one greater, higher, stronger, kinder, better!  Click  HERE  and listen to the Women of Faith team sing “There Is None Like 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:
There is none like You.   http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l9nmc46Knd1qc9epho1_500.jpg
baby.    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-jnwWeduf8VA/TZCde5E_OuI/AAAAAAAAADc/B7D4EelLVWA/s1600/isaiah46_4.jpg
string on finger.    http://allfaaraa.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/remember.gif

996.) Isaiah 45

February 25, 2013

I45 no other

Isaiah 45   (ESV)

Cyrus, God’s Instrument

Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus,
whose right hand I have grasped,
to subdue nations before him
and to loose the belts of kings,
to open doors before him
that gates may not be closed:
“I will go before you
and level the exalted places,
I will break in pieces the doors of bronze
and cut through the bars of iron.

The armies of the Medes and Persians, under Cyrus, conquered the city of Babylon in a remarkable raid described in Daniel 5. According to the ancient historian Herodotus, while King Belshazzar of Babylon held a reckless party, Cyrus conquered the city by diverting the flow of the Euphrates into a nearby swamp; thus lowering the level of the river so his troops could march through the water and under the river-gates. But they still would not have been able to enter, had not the bronze gates of the inner walls been left inexplicably unlocked. God opened the gates of the city of Babylon for Cyrus, and put it in writing 200 years before it happened.

–David Guzik

I will give you the treasures of darkness

I45 lace

from Streams in the Desert
December 13


In the famous lace shops of Brussels, there are certain rooms devoted to the spinning of the finest and most delicate patterns. These rooms are altogether darkened, save for a light from one very small window, which falls directly upon the pattern. There is only one spinner in the room, and he sits where the narrow stream of light falls upon the threads of his weaving. “Thus,” we are told by the guide, “do we secure our choicest products. Lace is always more delicately and beautifully woven when the worker himself is in the dark and only his pattern is in the light.”

May it not be the same with us in our weaving? Sometimes it is very dark. We cannot understand what we are doing. We do not see the web we are weaving. We are not able to discover any beauty, any possible good in our experience. Yet if we are faithful and fail not and faint not, we shall some day know that the most exquisite work of all our life was done in those days when it was so dark.

If you are in the deep shadows because of some strange, mysterious providence, do not be afraid. Simply go on in faith and love, never doubting. God is watching, and He will bring good and beauty out of all your pain and tears.

and the hoards in secret places,
that you may know that it is I, the Lord,
the God of Israel, who call you by your name.
For the sake of my servant Jacob,
and Israel my chosen,
I call you by your name, (Cyrus),
I name you, though you do not know me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other,
besides me there is no God;
I equip you, though you do not know me,
that people may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is none besides me;
I am the Lord, and there is no other.

Proverbs 21:1   (NLT)

The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord;
he guides it wherever he pleases.

I form light and create darkness,
I make well-being and create calamity,
I am the Lord, who does all these things.

“Shower, O heavens, from above,
and let the clouds rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
let the earth cause them both to sprout;
I the Lord have created it.

I45 rain-fall-animation1

Psalm 147:7-8   (NIV)

Sing to the Lord with grateful praise;
    make music to our God on the harp.

He covers the sky with clouds;
    he supplies the earth with rain
    and makes grass grow on the hills.

“Woe to him who strives with him who formed him,
a pot among earthen pots!
Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
or ‘Your work has no handles’?
10 Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’
or to a woman, ‘With what are you in labor?’”

11 Thus says the Lord,
the Holy One of Israel, and the one who formed him:
“Ask me of things to come;
will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hands?
12 I made the earth
and created man on it;
it was my hands that stretched out the heavens,
and I commanded all their host.

I45 God-created

13 I have stirred him up in righteousness,
and I will make all his ways level;
he shall build my city
and set my exiles free,
not for price or reward,”
says the Lord of hosts.

The Lord, the Only Savior

14 Thus says the Lord:
“The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush,
and the Sabeans, men of stature,
shall come over to you and be yours;
they shall follow you;
they shall come over in chains and bow down to you.
They will plead with you, saying:
‘Surely God is in you, and there is no other,
no god besides him.’”

15 Truly, you are a God who hides himself,
O God of Israel, the Savior.
16 All of them are put to shame and confounded;
the makers of idols go in confusion together.
17 But Israel is saved by the Lord
with everlasting salvation;
you shall not be put to shame or confounded
to all eternity.

18 For thus says the Lord,
who created the heavens
(he is God!),
who formed the earth and made it
(he established it;
he did not create it empty,
he formed it to be inhabited!):
“I am the Lord, and there is no other.

I45 God-created

19 I did not speak in secret,
in a land of darkness;
I did not say to the offspring of Jacob,
‘Seek me in vain.’

Jeremiah 29:13   (NIV)

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

I the Lord speak the truth;
I declare what is right.

20 “Assemble yourselves and come;
draw near together,
you survivors of the nations!
They have no knowledge
who carry about their wooden idols,
and keep on praying to a god
that cannot save.
21 Declare and present your case;
let them take counsel together!
Who told this long ago?
Who declared it of old?
Was it not I, the Lord?
And there is no other god besides me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
there is none besides me.

I45 22

22 “Turn to me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
23 By myself I have sworn;
from my mouth has gone out in righteousness
a word that shall not return:
‘To me every knee shall bow,
every tongue shall swear allegiance.’

Philippians 2:5-11   (NIV)

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

24 “Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me,
are righteousness and strength;
to him shall come and be ashamed
all who were incensed against him.
25 In the Lord all the offspring of Israel
shall be justified and shall glory.”



In this chapter of Isaiah, as the Lord says over and over again that he is our creator and that he is our God — it is so clear what we are to do.  I pray that you and I will be witnesses for Christ, shining brightly with the light of God’s love, giving glory to the One who loves us and redeems us and keeps us in his grace from now unto everlasting life.  God bless us all!   HERE  is Irish evangelist and musician Robin Mark and “When It’s All Been Said and Done.”


English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
There is no other.    http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6162/6265397586_572de44097_z.jpg
lace.    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/30/Lace_Its_Origin_and_History_Real_Duchesse.png/275px-Lace_Its_Origin_and_History_Real_Duchesse.png
rain.   http://brownskinnedbeauty.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/rain-fall-animation1.gif
God created.    http://sdunnpastor.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/god-created.jpg
Look unto me.   https://www.versaday.com/images/Months/1103/0314-ISA045022ENGKJV08000480ISP04377031000.jpg

995.) Isaiah 44

February 22, 2013

I44 cloud

Isaiah 44   (ESV)

Israel the Lord’s Chosen

“But now hear, O Jacob my servant,
Israel whom I have chosen!
Thus says the Lord who made you,
who formed you from the womb and will help you:
Fear not, O Jacob my servant,
Jeshurun (a poetic name for Israel) whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.

I44 showers

Do you remember this old hymn?

Showers of blessings,

Showers of blessing we need.

Mercy-drops ‘round us are falling,

But for the showers we plead.

They shall spring up among the grass
like willows by flowing streams.
This one will say, ‘I am the Lord’s,’
another will call on the name of Jacob,
and another will write on his hand, ‘The Lord’s,’
and name himself by the name of Israel.”

Besides Me There Is No God

Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel
and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
“I am the first and I am the last;
besides me there is no god.
Who is like me? Let him proclaim it.
Let him declare and set it before me,
since I appointed an ancient people.
Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen.
Fear not, nor be afraid;
have I not told you from of old and declared it?
And you are my witnesses!
Is there a God besides me?
There is no Rock; I know not any.”

The Folly of Idolatry

Idolatry is a deception, a hoax.

All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. 10 Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing? 11 Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together.

12 The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint. 13 The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. 14 He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. 15 Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. 16 Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” 17 And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”

18 They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. 19 No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?” 20 He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

“The idolater chose a delusion and became deluded.”

–J. Alec Motyer

The Lord Redeems Israel

21 Remember these things, O Jacob,
and Israel, for you are my servant;
I formed you; you are my servant;

I44 creation

God has created us.

O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.
22 I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud
and your sins like mist;
return to me, for I have redeemed you.

I44 forgiveness

God forgives our sins.

23 Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it;
shout, O depths of the earth;
break forth into singing, O mountains,
O forest, and every tree in it!
For the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
and will be glorified in Israel.

I44 praise

For creation and redemption, we thank and praise the Lord!



Click  HERE  and join the Oslo Gospel Choir and “God Gave Me a Song.”


24 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
who formed you from the womb:
“I am the Lord, who made all things,
who alone stretched out the heavens,
who spread out the earth by myself,
25 who frustrates the signs of liars
and makes fools of diviners,
who turns wise men back
and makes their knowledge foolish,
26 who confirms the word of his servant and fulfills the counsel of his messengers,

Here God reiterates what the prophets have said—that Jerusalem will be will be restored, and his people will return to Jerusalem.

who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited,’
and of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built,
and I will raise up their ruins’;
27 who says to the deep, ‘Be dry;
I will dry up your rivers’;
28 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd,
and he shall fulfill all my purpose’;
saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built,’
and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’”

The walls of the temple in Jerusalem were rebuilt by Cyrus’s royal decree.

Ezra 1:2-4   (NIV)

“This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:

“‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them. And in any locality where survivors may now be living, the people are to provide them with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.’”


English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
I have blotted out.    http://i243.photobucket.com/albums/ff50/Jehovah_jarah/Bible%20Scriptures/Isaiah44_22.jpg
showers of blessing.    http://www.revival-library.org/images/imagesbooks/showers.jpg
creation.    http://www.crossmap.com/data/images/full/2012/06/02/2211-creation.jpg
forgiveness.    http://www.prayerthoughts.com/prayerthoughts/God/images/pt1409_forgiveness-2009.png
praising God.    http://blog.adw.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/praise2.jpg

994.) Isaiah 43

February 21, 2013

I43 fire

Isaiah 43   (ESV)

Israel’s Only Savior

But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.

We are created by a loving God.  We are redeemed by a loving God.  We are named by a loving God.  We are safely his own!

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.

Israel had and would have their trials, but we have ours also. Trials are inevitable; it doesn’t say if you pass through the waters, it says when you pass through the waters. The text doesn’t say, “When you walk on a luxurious padded carpet, I will be with you.” It says God will be with us in the toughest of circumstances. Trials are varied; sometimes we face waters, sometimes rivers, and sometimes fire. Flood waters can overwhelm, fires may consume.

–David Guzik

For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,

I43 John 3 16

I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.
Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you.
I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth,
7 everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

–Westminster Shorter Catechism

8 Bring out the people who are blind, yet have eyes,
who are deaf, yet have ears!
All the nations gather together,
and the peoples assemble.
Who among them can declare this,
and show us the former things?
Let them bring their witnesses to prove them right,
and let them hear and say, It is true.

Previously, in Isaiah 42:19, the Lord spoke of His blind and deaf servants, who had willingly closed their eyes and ears to His truth and ways. Now, God tells these blind and deaf servants of His come forth — with all the nations who will be gathered together.

What do they come together for? Who among them can declare this, and show us former things? Let them bring out their witnesses. God invites both His blind, deaf people and the nations to prove Him wrong or themselves right in their rejection of Him. It is if God is saying, “You have chosen to worship and honor other gods. Come before Me now and justify yourself. Bring plenty of witnesses.”

We must not miss the pathos: imagine any litigant depending on the blind to testify to what they have seen and the deaf to what they have heard!

–David Guzik

10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“and my servant whom I have chosen,
that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor shall there be any after me.
11 I, I am the Lord,
and besides me there is no savior.
12 I declared and saved and proclaimed,
when there was no strange god among you;
and you are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and I am God.
13 Also henceforth I am he;
there is none who can deliver from my hand;
I work, and who can turn it back?”

14 Thus says the Lord,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“For your sake I send to Babylon
and bring them all down as fugitives,
even the Chaldeans, in the ships in which they rejoice.
15 I am the Lord, your Holy One,
the Creator of Israel, your King.”

I43 Red Sea

Psalm 106:9-12   (NIV)

He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up;
    he led them through the depths as through a desert.
He saved them from the hand of the foe;
    from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them.
The waters covered their adversaries;
    not one of them survived.
Then they believed his promises
    and sang his praise.

16 Thus says the Lord,
who makes a way in the sea,
a path in the mighty waters,
17 who brings forth chariot and horse,
army and warrior;
they lie down, they cannot rise,
they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:
18 “Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
20 The wild beasts will honor me,
the jackals and the ostriches,
for I give water in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
21     the people whom I formed for myself
that they might declare my praise.

I43 O Praise Him


When we declare our praise for God, we are giving Him glory and fulfilling one of the purposes we were created for.  Click  HERE  for “O Praise Him”  with the David Crowder Band.


22 “Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob;
but you have been weary of me, O Israel!
23 You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings,
or honored me with your sacrifices.
I have not burdened you with offerings,
or wearied you with frankincense.
24 You have not bought me sweet cane with money,
or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices.
But you have burdened me with your sins;
you have wearied me with your iniquities.

25 “I, I am he
who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,
and I will not remember your sins.

Psalm 103:11-12   (NIV)

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

26 Put me in remembrance; let us argue together;
set forth your case, that you may be proved right.
27 Your first father sinned,
and your mediators transgressed against me.
28 Therefore I will profane the princes of the sanctuary,
and deliver Jacob to utter destruction
and Israel to reviling.


English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
When you walk through the fire.    http://oneyearbibleimages.com/isaiah43_2.jpg
John 3:16.    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_6EVigCn2oE8/TRVnI1dXarI/AAAAAAAAAKo/2W31APezjeY/s1600/merryxmasGodSoLovedTheWorld.jpg
Moses at the crossing of the Red Sea.    http://www.israelbiblevalley.com/wp-content/gallery/childrens-drawings/crossing-the-red-sea-a-drawing.jpg
O Praise Him.    http://th01.deviantart.net/fs71/PRE/i/2012/043/f/1/o_praise_him_by_juliabohemian-d4pk775.jpg

993.) Isaiah 42

February 20, 2013

I42 I am the LORD

Isaiah 42   (ESV)

The Lord’s Chosen Servant — Jesus

Behold my servant, Jesus, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he Jesus will bring forth justice to the nations.
He Jesus will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he Jesus will not break,
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
he Jesus will faithfully bring forth justice.
He Jesus will not grow faint or be discouraged
till he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his law.

Thus says God, the Lord,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people on it
and spirit to those who walk in it:
“I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness;
I will take you by the hand and keep you;

Specifically, this is a promise from the Lord to the Servant – Jesus Christ. What encouragement Jesus must have received from passages like this when He faced difficult and trying times during His earthly ministry!

–David Guzik

I will give you as a covenant for the people,
a light for the nations,
    to open the eyes that are blind,

Mark 10:50-52 (NLT)

Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.

“My rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!”

And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.

to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,

Mark 5:11-15  (NLT)

There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby. “Send us into those pigs,” the spirits begged. “Let us enter them.”

So Jesus gave them permission. The evil spirits came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd of about 2,000 pigs plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.

 The herdsmen fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran. People rushed out to see what had happened. A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons. He was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane.

from the prison those who sit in darkness.

John 8:12   (NLT)

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

I am the Lord; that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to carved idols.
Behold, the former things have come to pass,
and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth
I tell you of them.”

Sing to the Lord a New Song

I42 sing new song

10 Sing to the Lord a new song,
his praise from the end of the earth,
you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it,
the coastlands and their inhabitants.
11 Let the desert and its cities lift up their voice,
the villages that Kedar inhabits;
let the habitants of Sela sing for joy,
let them shout from the top of the mountains.
12 Let them give glory to the Lord,
and declare his praise in the coastlands.
13 The Lord goes out like a mighty man,
like a man of war he stirs up his zeal;
he cries out, he shouts aloud,
he shows himself mighty against his foes.

The Lord will bring judgment to his enemies but take care of his faithful ones:

14 For a long time I have held my peace;
I have kept still and restrained myself;
now I will cry out like a woman in labor;
I will gasp and pant.
15 I will lay waste mountains and hills,
and dry up all their vegetation;
I will turn the rivers into islands,
and dry up the pools.
16 And I will lead the blind
in a way that they do not know,
in paths that they have not known
I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I do,
and I do not forsake them.

I42 lead the blind
17 They are turned back and utterly put to shame,
who trust in carved idols,
who say to metal images,
“You are our gods.”

Israel’s Failure to Hear and See

18 Hear, you deaf,
and look, you blind, that you may see!
19 Who is blind but my servant now the servant is Israel,
or deaf as my messenger whom I send?
Who is blind as my dedicated one,
or blind as the servant of the Lord?

The Lord exclaims at the blindness of Israel, who unaccountably were as weak spiritually as their neighbors.

20 He sees many things, but does not observe them;
his ears are open, but he does not hear.
21 The Lord was pleased, for his righteousness’ sake,
to magnify his law and make it glorious.

Though under the new covenant, we do not come to God on the basis of the law, it does not mean that the law of God is bad. As Paul wrote in Romans 7:12, Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. The weakness of the law is not in the law, but in us. The law perfectly suits the purpose God intended for it: to display God’s holy standard, to expose our sin, and to show us our need for salvation in Jesus.

–David Guzik

22 But this is a people plundered and looted;
they are all of them trapped in holes
and hidden in prisons;
they have become plunder with none to rescue,
spoil with none to say, “Restore!”
23 Who among you will give ear to this,
will attend and listen for the time to come?
24 Who gave up Jacob to the looter,
and Israel to the plunderers?
Was it not the Lord, against whom we have sinned,
in whose ways they would not walk,
and whose law they would not obey?
25 So he poured on him the heat of his anger
and the might of battle;
it set him on fire all around, but he did not understand;
it burned him up, but he did not take it to heart.


I42 make a way


Verse 16:

And I will lead the blind
in a way that they do not know,
in paths that they have not known
I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I do,
and I do not forsake them.

And from our next chapter, Isaiah 43:19:

For I am about to do something new.
    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

Don Moen put these thoughts together in one song, “God Will Make a Way.”  I am sure that I am not the only one who has turned to this song over and over again for encouragement and hope.  HERE  it is for you today, and may God give you peace of heart and mind in him as you listen to his promises.


English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
I am the LORD.    http://beingwovenzephaniah317.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/isaiah42_8-9.jpg
Psalm 96:2.    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-5brsx_Ew028/TjmfeKmJHzI/AAAAAAAAAsI/OCedB2Vvpzw/s1600/Psalm+96.jpg
I will lead the blind.    http://www.confessionsofasnowflake.com/wp-content/uploads/image-import/_zg9UXNiSVOg/S3v7w2a2NdI/AAAAAAAAA90/dJnCGrOKn2E/s1600-h/Isaiah_42-6b.jpg
Keep calm.    http://sd.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/i/keep-calm-god-will-make-a-way-2.png

992.) Isaiah 41

February 19, 2013

I41 waterfall

Isaiah 41   (ESV)

Fear Not, for I Am with You

Listen to me in silence, O coastlands;
let the peoples renew their strength;
let them approach, then let them speak;
let us together draw near for judgment.

Who stirred up one from the east
whom victory meets at every step?

Commentators warmly debate the identity of this one from the east. Most believe him to be either Abraham, the patriarch of the Jewish people and the father of the faithful, or Cyrus, the king who joined the Medes and the Persians into a fighting force which conquered Babylon — which, prophetically, is the broad time context Isaiah speaks to.

–David Guzik

He gives up nations before him,
so that he tramples kings underfoot;
he makes them like dust with his sword,
like driven stubble with his bow.
He pursues them and passes on safely,
by paths his feet have not trod.
Who has performed and done this,
calling the generations from the beginning?
I, the Lord, the first,
and with the last; I am he. I41 alpha and amega

The coastlands have seen and are afraid;
the ends of the earth tremble;
they have drawn near and come.
Everyone helps his neighbor
and says to his brother, “Be strong!”
The craftsman strengthens the goldsmith,
and he who smooths with the hammer him who strikes the anvil,
saying of the soldering, “It is good”;
and they strengthen it with nails so that it cannot be moved.

Isaiah pours on the irony. It took a lot of work to make a good god. It took skilled workers (the craftsman . . . the goldsmith . . . he who smooths with the hammer . . . him who strikes the anvil). It took organization and teamwork (“It is ready for the soldering”). If you don’t do it right, your god might not be able to stand up! (That it might not totter.)

–David Guzik

But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend;

The sweetness of the Lord here!  He says, Others reject me and worship idols instead of me.  They are afraid.  But you, my beloved, chosen long ago to be my own, through your ancestors my friends . . .

you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, “You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
10 fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

. . . Fear not!  Guzik says, “This is both a command and a promise. Israel is commanded to fear not. Fear, worry, and anxiety are often sin. When the God who rules over the nations as described in Isaiah 41:2-4, the God who chose us and loves us as described in Isaiah 41:8-9, when that God tell us fear not, we must take it seriously! But there is also a promise. We fear not, because the Lord has told us, I am with you. What more do we need? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31).”

“Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My gracious, omnipotent hand.”

11 Behold, all who are incensed against you
shall be put to shame and confounded;
those who strive against you
shall be as nothing and shall perish.
12 You shall seek those who contend with you,
but you shall not find them;
those who war against you
shall be as nothing at all.
13 For I, the Lord your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I am the one who helps you.”

14 Fear not, you worm Jacob,
you men of Israel!

I41 worm

Again the reassurance of the Lord — No matter what, fear not!  Don’t be afraid!  I am here!

I am the one who helps you, declares the Lord;
your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
15 Behold, I make of you a threshing sledge,
new, sharp, and having teeth;
you shall thresh the mountains and crush them,
and you shall make the hills like chaff;
16 you shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away,
and the tempest shall scatter them.
And you shall rejoice in the Lord;
in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.

17 When the poor and needy seek water,
and there is none,
and their tongue is parched with thirst,
I the Lord will answer them;
I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
18 I will open rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the midst of the valleys.
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
and the dry land springs of water.
19 I will put in the wilderness the cedar,
the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive.
I will set in the desert the cypress,
the plane and the pine together,
20 that they may see and know,
may consider and understand together,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it.


I41 to God be the glroy


Click  HERE  to hear Whitney Phipps sing “To God Be the Glory — Great things He has done!”


The Futility of Idols

21 Set forth your case, says the Lord;
bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob.

Imagine a courtroom.  God calls the idols (and their worshipers) to trial.  Defend yourselves, he says.  Remember the past and tell the future.  Show your worthiness!

22 Let them bring them, and tell us
what is to happen.
Tell us the former things, what they are,
that we may consider them,
that we may know their outcome;
or declare to us the things to come.
23 Tell us what is to come hereafter,
that we may know that you are gods;
do good, or do harm,
that we may be dismayed and terrified.
24 Behold, you are nothing,
and your work is less than nothing;
an abomination is he who chooses you.

But they do nothing, because they are nothing.

1 Corinthians 8:4   (NIV)

We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.”

25 I stirred up one from the north, and he has come,
from the rising of the sun, and he shall call upon my name;
he shall trample on rulers as on mortar,
as the potter treads clay.
26 Who declared it from the beginning, that we might know,
and beforehand, that we might say, “He is right”?
There was none who declared it, none who proclaimed,
none who heard your words.
27 I was the first to say to Zion, “Behold, here they are!”
and I will give to Jerusalem a herald of good news.
28 But when I look, there is no one;
among these there is no counselor
who, when I ask, gives an answer.
29 Behold, they are all a delusion;
their works are nothing;
their metal images are empty wind.

I41 I-will-

Have you noticed all of God’s “I WILL” promises in this chapter?

I will strengthen you. (Isaiah 41:10)

I will help you. (Isaiah 41:10)

I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

I will make you into a new threshing sledge with sharp teeth. (Isaiah 41:15)

I will open rivers in desolate heights. (Isaiah 41:18)

I will make the wilderness a pool of water. (Isaiah 41:18)

I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree. (Isaiah 41:19)

I will set in the desert the cypress tree. (Isaiah 41:19)

I will give to Jerusalem one who brings good tidings. (Isaiah 41:27)


English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
Fear not, for I am with you.    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-RJMNsUmoCIQ/TvPrWREY8YI/AAAAAAAAD24/75ovhLgEe5M/s1600/isa41.1_wallpaper.jpg
Alpha and Omega.    http://www.virtuousplanet.com/shops/userimages/00005/00000000072/section/00000000000000018705.png
Fear not.    http://cdn.theresurgence.com/files/2011/12/31/fearnot.jpg
To God be the glory.    http://cdn2-b.examiner.com/sites/default/files/styles/image_content_width/hash/df/a6/dfa69771ec99b3a87be5e788b921e3e9.jpg
I will.     http://love-hit.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/I-will-love-you-till-my-last-breath.jpg

991.) Isaiah 40

February 18, 2013


Isaiah 40   (ESV)

Comfort for God’s People

If the first thirty-nine chapters of the book of Isaiah correspond to the books of the Old Testament, then the following twenty-seven chapters, filled with pictures of Jesus the Messiah, certainly correspond to the books of the New Testament.

In this section of Isaiah (chapters 40-66), the prophet looks forward to Judah’s return from Babylonian captivity and then to the entire nation’s future restoration at the Second Advent of Christ.

–William MacDonald

from Rebecca:  Dear my readers, This is such a beautiful chapter.  Take your time.  Find rest and comfort in God’s love as it is shown here.  Let the peace of these promises sink down deep into your soul.  This is for you, for you whom the Lord loves dearly.

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.

2 Corinthians 1:3   (NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort!

Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.

3 A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”



What else?!  You are probably already humming it in your head!  From Handel’s Messiah:  “Comfort Ye” and “Every Valley Shall Be Exalted” and “And the Glory of the Lord.”  HERE.  Canadian Jon Vickers sings tenor with his powerful voice and strong Christian beliefs.


The Word of God Stands Forever

A voice says, “Cry!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.

The Greatness of God

I40 mountain

Go on up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good news;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good news;
lift it up, fear not;
say to the cities of Judah,
“Behold your God!”



HERE  is another piece from Handel’s Messiah:  “O Thou that Tellest Good Tidings to Zion,” sung by American mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne.

10 Behold, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
11 He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.

Hebrews 13:20-21   (NIV)

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

I40 shepherd


HERE  is more Messiah:  “He Shall Feed His Flock.”


12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
and marked off the heavens with a span,
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure
and weighed the mountains in scales
and the hills in a balance?
13 Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord,
or what man shows him his counsel?
14 Whom did he consult,
and who made him understand?
Who taught him the path of justice,
and taught him knowledge,
and showed him the way of understanding?
15 Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
and are accounted as the dust on the scales;
behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust.
16 Lebanon would not suffice for fuel,
nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering.
17 All the nations are as nothing before him,
they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.

18 To whom then will you liken God,
or what likeness compare with him?
19 An idol! A craftsman casts it,
and a goldsmith overlays it with gold
and casts for it silver chains.
20 He who is too impoverished for an offering
chooses wood that will not rot;
he seeks out a skillful craftsman
to set up an idol that will not move.

21 Do you not know? Do you not hear?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;
23 who brings princes to nothing,
and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.


from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw


God is different from you and me.  He is really the Other in your life and mine.  There is a sense in which other people are not truly other, because we are all remarkably similar.  It is our similarity that enables us to know and understand one another.  I am either where you are or where you have been or where you will be.  Our lives are intertwined in many ways.  But when we approach God, we find the One we can truly call Other.  He is completely different from us; the uncreated One, beyond our reality; the One whom we cannot trap in our life or our world.  He transcends it all.

In this sense he is ultimately the One you and I have to face.  I can run away from you, and it is possible for us to live without impinging upon each other.  But there is no way for God, the ultimate Other, ever to be excluded from my life.  He is the first and the last, the beginning and the end.  He is the last authority in your life, whether you acknowledge him or not, and he will have the last word.  God is the One you will have to face.  Let us not run from him like Jonah, but allow our lives to be given over to fellowship with the transcendent One.


24 Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,
scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,
when he blows on them, and they wither,
and the tempest carries them off like stubble.

25 To whom then will you compare me,
that I should be like him? says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high and see:
who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
calling them all by name,
by the greatness of his might,
and because he is strong in power
not one is missing.

I40 stars

How many stars are there?

This is a very good question! There are too many stars for scientists to actually count one-by-one, so other methods of estimating the total number of stars are used. We believe that there are on the order of 1021 stars in our Universe.  If you write that number out, it looks like this: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. This is a lot of stars!

Laura Whitlock
for the ‘Ask an Astrophysicist’ team

. . . and not one of them is missing.

27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

I40 eagle

Waiting on the Lord is work.  It is a diligence to give God our complete attention and wait quietly before Him.  It is also important to be about the business of doing good and being faithful in the small things even as we are waiting for something else.  As my mother said, “Busy hands, quiet mind.”  So waiting for God to fulfill His promises is not passive; I notice with some chagrin that the verse above does not include “sitting” as a way to wait upon the Lord!


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 comfort my people.    http://www.4catholiceducators.com/graphics/Isaiah40_1-2.jpg
mountain.    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3150/3074449891_148e1f6d3c.jpg
Jesus carrying a lamb.    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-7Sd_arRU_YA/T60AkMfCUEI/AAAAAAAACJE/ErDxixCqEUM/s1600/shepherd+2.jpg
God is God.    http://i269.photobucket.com/albums/jj75/gcelliot/Myspace%20Pics/GOD_IS_GOD_I_Am_Not_By_SG.jpg
stars.    http://c.suite101.com/files/styles/large/public/000/278/000278206.jpg
eagle.   http://missionventureministries.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/isaiah-40-vs-31.jpg

990.) 2 Timothy 4

February 15, 2013

2Tim4 fought finished

2 Timothy 4   (NIV)

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:

Paul uses strong legal language here — “charge” meaning to testify under oath, and with Christ as Judge.  Paul is saying, Timothy, what I am about to say is extremely important!

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.

Paul’s emphasis on the word of God has been constant. There are some 36 references to the true gospel in this letter and some 17 references to false teachings. This constant emphasis makes Paul’s point clear to Timothy:

Do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord (2 Timothy 1:8)

Hold fast the pattern of sound words (2 Timothy 1:13)

The things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men (2 Timothy 2:2)

Rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

A servant of the Lord must be . . . able to teach (2 Timothy 2:24)

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (2 Timothy 3:16)

–David Guzik

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

Adam Clarke (British Methodist theologian and writer of a biblical commentary, died 1832) on “itching ears” — “Endless curiosity, an insatiable desire of variety; and they get their ears tickled with the language and accent of the person, abandoning the good and faithful preacher for the fine speaker.”

They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

2Tim4 crown

In Paul’s day winners in the world of sports received a crown of olive or ivy leaves that soon withered and died. But the crown for God’s people lasts forever (1 Corinthians 9:25, 1 Peter 5:4).

We are promised the crown of life if we will endure temptation (James 1:12).

Some people wonder if we will walk around heaven with crowns on, and everyone will notice who has the bigger and better crowns. But in Revelation 4:10, the elders surrounding the throne of God take their crowns and cast them before Jesus — giving any trophy they have received right back to Jesus.

–David Guzik



How gladly Paul anticipated meeting Jesus!  The same man who callously watched as Stephen gave his life for the Lord, soon is himself a martyr for the faith.  And Jesus is worthy of every sacrifice we could ever make for him.

HERE  Fernando Ortega sings his version of “Crown Him with Many Crowns.”


Personal Remarks

Do your best to come to me quickly, 10 for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me.

Luke, who had traveled with Paul on many of his missionary journeys, remained with Paul. Everyone else was gone. This was a significant contrast to Paul’s first Roman imprisonment years before, where he received many visitors (see Acts 28:30-31).

Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. 12 I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.

14 Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. 15 You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.

16 At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. 17 But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

2Tim4 Prison_Mamertine

Paul’s imprisonment in the Mamertine prison (a bleak building, interior shown above, still standing in Rome, built 100 years before Paul’s imprisonment for political enemies of Rome) lasted until he was beheaded under Nero outside Rome’s Ostian Gate at a place called “Three Fountains.”  He was martyred in the aftermath of the great fires that swept Rome in A.D. 64 — which Nero, in some manner, tried to blame on Christians. According to some traditions, Paul was beheaded on the same day Peter was crucified upside-down. Since Paul was a Roman citizen, he could not legally be crucified.

Final Greetings

19 Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus. 21 Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers and sisters.

22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you all.

Paul - Signature


New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
fought, finished, kept.    http://www.christiancards.net/card_images/7184.jpg
crown of righteousness.    http://www.365promises.com/picture/29junp180ba800x600.jpg?pictureId=5606776&asGalleryImage=true
interior of Mamertine Prison.    http://www.biblelieux.com/images/Prison_Mamertine,_secteur_d_ecriture_et_porte,_tbq112102.jpg