Daniel 7 to 9 Daniel has been in Babylon for a v-e-r-y long time. In that time, he has faithfully served the Babylonian kings as he reverently continues to serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
It is as if Daniel has put on a pair of virtual-reality glasses. He sees the heavenly beings and the future. He saw God’s throne room and a river of fire proceeding from it and tens of thousands ministering to Him. He saw the saints of old who now are blessed to see the radiance of God’s glory! And then all of a sudden–Heaven’s glory is tainted with the beast with the arrogant words. While Daniel watched, God threw this arrogant beast into the lake of fire “prepared for the devil and his angels!” just as the Apostle John prophesied would happen.
The vision of heaven was so real that it broke Daniel’s heart, and he falls to his knees in prayer. “O Lord, great and awesome God!” You are faithful while we have been unfaithful. You are righteous, but we are unrighteous. You are exalted, but we have been humiliated. You were right to judge our sin.
Daniel has recorded all of this for us that we might join him in prayer.
Ezekiel 25 to 27 God chose Israel to carry His message of love and forgiveness to the world. However, she decided to allow the foreign gods to infiltrate her land and her worship of Yahweh. Know this truth: judgment begins at God’s house, but He also sees others’ contempt and in His righteousness will also judge them.
God patiently sent prophets and priests to warn Israel that He would discipline. First, the northern tribes were scattered to the north. God hoped that Judah would learn, but she did not. She became even more immoral, so God sent the Babylonians and sent them into exile. One would think that the nations to the east would see this and learn. Instead, they scoffed, aided the Babylonians, and rushed in to take Judah’s land, cities, and crops. In their pride, they fell for the lie that God would not discipline them. Our prisons today are an example of this thinking.
Ezekiel explained that it was because they rejected God and His children; they too would face God’s hand. Like a maid dries a plate, He wiped them clean from east to west, beginning with Ammon and ended with Tyre.
The lesson for us is that there is a day of reckoning for all that the world may know that He is God.
Jeremiah 33 In times of quiet, our hearts are more open to the “word of the Lord,” because the distractions are minimized. Jeremiah was shut up in the court of the guard, but walls or circumstances do not bind the Lord’s word. It is still true today. God is anywhere you are. You may be confined to a bed due to illness, or you may be restricted to a prison cell, or you may be confined due to the corona-virus restrictions. God knows where you are, and if your heart is prepared to hear Him, He will come to you, and He will give you eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to understand.
The Lord came to Jeremiah, and He comes to His children today: call to me, and I will answer you and tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. “God can do anything He wishes. There’s no prayer too hard for God to answer, no problem too big to solve, no person too lost to save, no promise too difficult to keep. Nothing lies outside the reach of prayer except that which lies outside the will of God.” [Adrian Rogers]
Have you heard the voice of the Lord in your quiet time?
What needs do you have that need prayer? May I pray for you this day?
Jeremiah 11/12 Is there ever a time when you stop praying for a person? We answer, no, but then we read Jeremiah and hear God say: “Do not pray for these people. Do not cry out to me or petition me on their behalf. Do not plead with me to save them. I will not listen to them…” [Jer 7:16]
How do you react to these words? We must remember that context is king, and Jeremiah had a particular message for specific people. Like Jeremiah, we ask “why” but behind the “why,” there is always a “because.” For Judah, the “why” is Judah’s national sin. The “because” is that God’s ways are not our ways. His ways are higher and have purposes we may not always understand. God could see the hearts, and these had no intention of turning back. How about us? Are we to stop praying? Remember, we don’t have the heart or the wisdom to know; therefore, we are to pray without ceasing. Who knows, but our prayers may be the very link to restoration.
God wanted Jeremiah to present this truth to his people: “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us.” [Deut 29:29]
We are to be like Jeremiah and Habakkuk:
stand firm, present the gospel, pray and leave the results to God.
Isaiah 64 to 66 If you have ever worked on a jigsaw puzzle, you know that you must have patience as you search for that piece that seems to hide in the pile of pieces. God is a master at puzzles, and although we do not know where that persnickety piece is, God has no problem. He knows which piece fits and He patiently finds it and places it to complete the picture. Isaiah, as God’s prophet, has been faithfully piecing the puzzle pieces of Israel together. Although he will never see the birth and life of the Messiah, the Holy Spirit has graciously shown him the pieces needed to see the finished picture. He has faithfully written the words that the Holy Spirit has given to him. Some were harder than others, and some were praiseworthy.
In a particularly hard time, Isaiah pours out his heart and looks for that missing puzzle piece as to when the Lord will come to rescue them. But, God the Almighty tells Isaiah that He will not come “yet.” Their sins are like scarlet, and their so-called righteousness is as filthy rags. Their praises are not for Jehovah but for the idols they fashion. God had promised centuries before, and He will again: I will not abandon my children.
The patience of God is amazing. He will not leave his children even as sinful as they are. Peter answers the “why” question: He is not slow but is patient because he does not wish any to perish but for all to come to repentance. [2 Peter 3:9]
Isaiah 58-59 If there is one thing, both Isaiah and Jesus saw it was the fake responses of the religious leaders and the people. God hates or “abhors dishonest scales, but an accurate weight is his delight.” [Prov 11:1] It is easy for us to point fingers, but how often are we less than genuine when it comes to our devotion towards God? How often do we go through the rituals and traditions, but our heart is someplace else?
God’s prophet Isaiah was given these words to an unrepentant nation and the people. They were lamenting that God didn’t seem to notice – the God where are you syndrome. God answered back, you are only coming to me to get the satisfaction that I have heard you, but in reality, your heart is far from me. It is all for show. Here’s what I am looking for: you search for those who are oppressed and in need and reach out and touch them with My agape love. My ear is not too deaf to hear you. These are the same words that the seven churches in Revelation heard. “He who has an ear had better hear what the Spirit says.” [Rev.2-3]
So how do we apply this to today? James asked: What good is it if you claim to have faith but do not have works to back that faith up? God is looking for authenticity not just in word but also in deed.
Isaiah 49 Of all the disciples, only John remained at the cross and witnessed the death of Jesus. In the evening, Jesus came and stood before them, but Thomas was absent. He had said I will not believe unless I can put my hands in the holes where the nails penetrated. Jesus lovingly came and offered Thomas that witness, and he responded, “My Lord and my God.”
One of the many questions men ask is: Can I be sure of my salvation? Am I eternally secure, or can I lose my salvation? “Scripture clearly affirms the fact we are protected by the power of God through faith. Faith brings us into a grace relationship with God as a gift of God through the merit of His beloved Son. We are saved by His record, not ours.” [H. Keathley III]
Although we haven’t had the privilege of visually seeing the holes as Thomas did, we do have the Prophet Isaiah’s and the Apostle John’s words: “I [God] have inscribed your name on my palms.” [Is 49:16] Jesus said: “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” [John 10:29] Each time you close your hands to shield your palms, picture yourself securely enfolded in his.
Today as you wash your hands, fold your hands in prayer, or go about your daily duties, stop and look at your hands and picture your name inscribed on His.
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.”
Psalm 142:3 “Even though Fanny Crosby was blind, she knew this truth. “Even when my strength leaves me, you watch my footsteps…” Fanny knew that God was before her, behind her, beside her. God’s Holy Spirit lovingly guides us even as we struggle through the times of darkness, frailty, and distress. That is because God’s eyes are upon His children. He knows their goings in and going out. Nothing is hidden from His eyes, and thus we can appeal to Him for His guidance. Because of this promise, we can glory when the enemy seeks to destroy us because we can trust that God will ensure our protection. We know that our adversary lays a snare for us, but our God is greater than anything the enemy can send our way. Yet, we must have our armor on, pray for wisdom and discernment and then follow the Spirit’s leading.
“He sees you not with the indifference of a mere spectator, but he observes with attention, he knows, he considers your path: yea, he appoints it, and every circumstance about it is under his direction” John Newton.
“All the way my Savior leads me, What have I to ask beside? Can I doubt His tender mercy, Who through life has been my guide?”
Are these your questions as well? Take heart Beloved, “Jesus doeth all things well.”