Isaiah 19 [Matt 7] explains Egypt’s dilemma, “how narrow is the gate and difficult is the way that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Yet, God always has an open door or gate for those who persist. Today, we see more and more bowing the knee to Scientology and worship of the occult. God hates idols more than we do, or do we? Do you have an idol in your life? Don’t be so quick to say no. Just look at your lifestyle, and you may find that the evil of idolatry is there.
When God called Isaiah to write about the decadence of the nations around Israel, it took great patience to write what he had not experienced. He wrote both in the past and the future, and chapter 19 is no different. Here we find the Lord riding on a swift-moving cloud to approach Egypt, and those who worship these idols lose their courage. God has a purpose in all of this, which is to bring men to Himself. It is no different today. God is still in the business of reclaiming lives who are lost. He is coming on a swift cloud to bring the good news of the kingdom.
Isaiah repeats, “in that day” phrase to awaken us to the presence of the Holy Spirit speaking and bring to justice those who refuse to bow the knee to Jehovah. And some do swear allegiance to the Lord.
It is never too late to yield to God. Why not let it be today?
Isaiah 16 You may or may not remember that slogan from the 1980s, but a marketing idea at the phone company hit home and so began one step closer to the art of instant communication. Instead of waiting days for snail mail now, it is voice mail. The days of rotary phones are over. Now nearly everyone on the planet has a rechargeable cell phone. Now we use our phones to call, do our banking, and read instant messages, but nothing matches a friend’s sweet voice checking in on us. Even though we are more connected than ever before, we still need that personal one on one chat with a precious friend or family member.
In Isaiah 16, God’s heart sighed for the prodigal Moab. They had long ago walked away from Jehovah, but Jehovah had not walked away from them. Yes, they brought this problem on themselves due to their pride and idol worship, yet even in that, God reminds the Israelites to do what He would do: Hide the outcasts from those seeking their demise and do not betray the fugitive. God is saying remember to demonstrate the attribute of compassion to those who are suffering.
Who is in your circle of acquaintances or friends who need that special touch today?
As the Lord has compassion on us, so we are to have compassion for others. It goes both ways, for you never know when you may be facing difficulty and need that special touch.
Isaiah 13 to 15 There was a TV soap opera titled: “As the World Turns” which lasted for 10,000 slow moving episodes. Whereas that show moved at a snail’s pace, our world today moves at jet speed. Our world now wants instant answers. it’s his fault or her fault or God’s fault. If He hadn’t allowed sin, we wouldn’t be in this mess. But, a loving and just God doesn’t want robots. He wants people to think and to reason and understand. God wants us to determine our destiny with the evidence He has provided. [Is 13 to 15 and Rom 1:20] We can either believe Him or deny Him as the fallen angels did.
Whereas, Isaiah’s vision sees ahead 182 yrs., we now see it as history. As he writes this, Babylon is not even in existence as a disciplinary force. Yet, history proves that Assyria and Babylon’s evil empires would be destroyed and become like Sodom and Gomorrah—empty and abandoned. God’s Word is true and history proves it. God leaves nothing to chance.
In the midst of all this, chapter 15 opens with words of comfort! The Lord will certainly have compassion on Jacob, He will again resurrect Israel’s nation, and there will be relief from suffering and anxiety. For Isaiah, it is in the future. For us, it is in the past. Yet, God has provided it that we may trust Him. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but God does.
Truly God is sovereign; He will protect His nation, His people, and beholders of His presence.
Have you decided to trust Himwho knows your future?
Isaiah 7:9b and 26:3 Have you ever asked someone what or whom do they fear? What would they be willing to forfeit? Jesus told the disciples that He would always be with them and if that is true why then do we fear? The principle is found in Is 7: “If your faith does not remain firm, then you will not remain secure.” In other words, if your faith is not enough to face the dangers of others or circumstances your faith is not faith at all.
Let me give you an illustration. There was a woman to whom I was speaking and presenting the gospel. Our conversation began with this question: what do you put your faith in? She nodded through it all but when I came to the question about surrendering her life to Jesus she balked—no, in fact she said she would NOT trust Christ. Her reasoning was that she would have to give up her immoral relationship to follow Christ. She was more fearful of losing the man with whom she was now living than spending eternity in hell. Unlike the Samaritan woman at the well, she turned away from salvation.
Perhaps that is you. God is asking you to put your faith in Him. He asks that question so that you would know He will keep you in perfect peace because your faith is holding firm on God and because you chose to trust in Him.
Joshua asked the Israelites to choose whom they would worship, God or the gods of their ancestors. They had to choose between faith or fear. Where are you today?
Isaiah 3 – 6 You may have heard this saying: what goes around, comes around meaning that what has happened will happen again. Isaiah listened to what God said: “Youths will proudly defy the elderly and riffraff will challenge those who were once respected.” God was preparing Isaiah to understand what the Apostle John wrote later: “Therefore, do not be surprised, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.” and especially when you present Christ. [1 Jn 3] Today, thankfully there are many young people acting righteously. When you see that stop and thank God for them! Better yet, thank them in person.
In chapter 6, God told Isaiah that the people would listen but not understand, see but not comprehend and have hearts that would turn away. God was saying to Isaiah; this is My ministry, and you are My servant and you will experience what I have been experiencing since time began.
Today, if you are in ministry or you are discipling another, know this truth: “the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God.” [2Cor 4:4]. Therefore, we must pray with all boldness: Father, remove the scales of their eyes, open their ears, and give them hearts to understand. Claim the same prayer Paul requested from the Ephesians: “pray that I may be able to speak boldly as I ought to speak.”
Isaiah 1 to 3 Commitment means you hang in to the job when times are hard, slow, or non-existent.
Isaiah was a prophet to Israel. He ministered through four different kingly reigns and prophesied about a king not yet born—Cyrus, who would release Israel from Babylonian bondage. His call to prophetic ministry began in the year King Uzziah died, and although excited to start his ministry, it soon became apparent that it would be a time when the people were hardened to God. He summarized it this way: “An ox recognizes its owner; a donkey recognizes where its owner puts its food; but Israel does not recognize [God].” God even prepared Isaiah for the arduous ministry, saying that the people won’t listen; they won’t pay attention to you. When we studied Ezekiel and Jeremiah, we saw much the same response, and it sounds much like the time in which we are living.
If you were to be hired, like Isaiah, to do a job and God said, Oh, by the way, you won’t be successful; would you walk away or “hang in there” year after year after year? It takes commitment to do God’s work.
When God calls you to do ministry for him, know this truth, “you are called, wrapped in God’s love and kept for His Son, Jesus Christ.” [Jude 1] That was Isaiah’s understanding and what encouraged him through four different governments.
Song of Solomon ch 5 to 8 My lover is knocking at the door! Listen! [SoS 5] I am standing at the door and knocking! If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him [Rev 3:20]
Is Jesus knocking at the door of your heart?
He desires your heart just as the lover of this poem in the Song of Solomon. But, too often, our answer is tomorrow or the time is inconvenient or when I get closer to my death. Yet, Jesus is saying, “Look, now is the acceptable time; look, now is the day of salvation!” [2 Cor 6:2] Don’t put this day off. As it says, “Oh, that today you would listen as he speaks! Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” [Heb 3:15]
Jesus is calling you to salvation! Open the door of your heart to Him!
Song of Solomon ch 1-4 His Banner over me was LOVE!
The author, supposedly King Solomon, shares with intimate details about his life as king, husband, lover, and friend. Could it be that this is his diary filled with nuances as well as literal pictures of his love for his wife to be? There are many scholars that differ on the intents and purposes of this letter, which along with Esther and Ecclesiastes does not mention God. However, it is thus inspired by God to show us His love which He places over us.
Many have seen to choose the phrase “his banner over me is love” to describe the groom’s intense love for his bride. “Now his banner over her was not, “Clean the house!”, “Try harder next time!”, or “Is that the best you can do?” No, his banner over her was “LOVE!”
David Colburn sums up for us a perspective on this book in a prayer: Lord, your love for those who have accepted Jesus as Lord is beyond any human comparison, but that is the best we can do as we attempt to comprehend it. May I praise you and rest in the encouragement and peace that comes from knowing that you love me with a passion unmatched anywhere in this world.
If this might picture the Lamb’s Supper in heaven we might want to stop and ask the question: Do we have such intense love for Christ?
Ecclesiastes 9-12 Have you ever taken the time to do grave rubbings? No matter what tombstone you choose, the birth date and the death date appear, but we can only speculate on the years in-between. One thing is known; each faced their eternal destiny and entered eternity by the choices they made in those in-between dates. We casually say “RIP” or rest in peace, but are they? Did you wonder where they lived, what their families were like, where they worked, and how they played…and, more importantly, if they chose God’s way? Solomon has spent twelve chapters talking about life and has concluded: life here is brief, and eternity is forever. So choose wisely.
The Targum says: “At all times let thy garments be washed and pure from the stain of sin. Acquire a good name, which is likened to the oil of anointing, that blessings may be called down up thy head, and goodness not forsake thee.” God says in Heb. 9:27 that everyone has an appointment with “Dr. Death.” Just knowing that it could be in the next minute is a sobering thought. What should we be doing with our time, talents, gifts, money, work, and relationships?
Can you be sure of your eternal destiny? The answer is yes! God’s Word tells us that we can be certain: “ For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” [Rom 10]
Have you called upon His Name? Are you ready if God should call your name next?
Ecclesiastes 7 to 9 The book of 1 Kings tells us that Solomon loved the Lord, and at Gibeon, as he was dreaming, God tested his heart. “Ask what I shall give you.” Just as God tested Peter, so God was testing Solomon. Who did he really love? Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him, and each time Peter responded with the “phileo” type of love. That was Solomon’s problem too. Until we have an “agape” type of love, our heart is just as Jeremiah said: desperately wicked. In some ways, that is the same question God asks of us. He essentially asked Solomon to determine the answer to that question, and his life is an open book for us to see. Study his life in the books of 1&2 Kings and then Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.
Although it seems that his answer is true wisdom, we only have to look at his last book to see that Solomon loved himself more than God. He struggled with integrity and having a devoted heart for God.
The test of our heart comes in situations and circumstances over which we have little or no control, and Solomon is not the only one who failed that test. We can study the lives of Noah, Moses, and Abraham and others to see their responses.
God puts everything on his scale. Solomon knew that the Lord weighs the heart, do we?