1 God's Invitation
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Isaiah 1:18
Do you remember how excited you used to be when you received an invitation? Well, the Lord is extending an invitation, "Come..." Just as He called, "Come and dine" to the disciples from the shore in John 21:12, He is calling to us, "Come..." The time of the invitation is "now". "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:" (Isaiah 55:6) We are not promised tomorrow. God is extending the invitation to you "now". Who is sending the invitation? The Lord Jesus Christ. He said, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20) Jesus is calling. Can you hear His voice? Last of all, we see the purpose of the invitation, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Don't make the mistake of turning the Lord away because you have too much sin in your life. The Lord says, "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow..." I love to look out over the snow early in the morning before anyone has walked across the yard. There may be rocky soil or littered ground under the snow, but it all looks bright and clean with the blanket of snow. Jesus can take your cold, dirty heart and make it "white as snow". Who has received this invitation? "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." (Revelation 22:17) Whosoever will may come. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
2 One And Only God
"I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else." Isaiah 45:5-6
I was reading the 45th chapter in Isaiah and God brought my attention to a phrase that was repeated over and over. "I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me..." (Isaiah 45:5) I knew that there must be great significance in these words for God to repeat them throughout the chapter. Verse 18 tells us, "For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else." I know and serve the same God that created the heavens and the earth. My God is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I don't know many famous people here on earth, but I know God. I pray to the same God that Daniel prayed to that delivered him from the lions. I walk with the same God who walked with the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace. I lift up my hands to the same God to whom Moses lifted up the rod and the Red Sea parted. My God is real and there is no other. People say that Christians are close-minded, and they are right. We believe that we serve the only, true and living God. There is no other God. There is no other God that gives salvation. "Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear." (Isaiah 45:21-23) Do you know the one and only God? One day every knee will bow and all people will humble themselves before God. Don't wait until it is too late. Accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and then you can know God, too!
3 All We Like Sheep
"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:6
Psalm 100:3 tells us, "Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." He is our Shepherd, and we are His sheep. In our verse from the book of Isaiah we see that "All we like sheep have gone astray". We are all sinners. Romans 3:23 tells us, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Next, we see from our verse in Isaiah that we are all selfish, "we have turned every one to his own way". I want what I want and you want what you want and sometimes I may even want what you want. But our Good Shepherd takes care of our wants and needs. "The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want." (Psalm 23:1) Another familiar verse is Philippians 4:19, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." I don't have to worry about my needs, or be selfish in my desires. Last of all, from our verse in Isaiah, we are all special. "The LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." (John 10:11) Yes, we are all sinners and we are all selfish, but we can praise the Lord, we are all special.
4 Who Will Go?
"Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me." Isaiah 6:8
We went with the youth group to the nursing home again last night. We have been taking them for the past year and a half. One small boy went with us for the first time, so I told my son to "Stay close to him because sometimes it can be scary for small children". After the service, as we were leaving, my son said, "It's scary for me. I would rather walk the streets of Durham than go in there." Joshua is home from college for the summer, so he has not been with us but once or twice and it is still a new experience for him, too. Sometimes it is frightening to go and have our worship service for those elderly people. We never know what they will do or say and we have had some unusual experiences. I have even thought of quitting from time to time, but this time several of the residents mentioned that they hope we will keep coming. One commented that we brighten her day. Another said that he really appreciates us coming. When we became youth leaders at church I wanted to teach the children that we need to do things for others. We have often made cards and gift baskets for the widows and widowers in our church and for the nursing home. I have heard preachers use this verse in Isaiah regarding the call to the mission field. But God may not be calling you to that place of service. He may be calling you to visit the nursing home once a month. He may be calling you to witness to your next door neighbor, and co-worker. Listen to the voice of the Lord. I have heard it said that the best ability is availability. When God called Moses from the burning bush to deliver His people out of Egypt, Moses' first response was, "Who am I, that I should go...?" (Exodus 3:11) When God called Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach to the enemies of Israel Jonah went the opposite direction and hid on a ship. (Jonah 1) We need to hear the call of the Lord. God may call you to go somewhere that is a little scary, just as the children are frightened at going to the nursing home, but we need to hear the call as little Samuel did, and we need to say, "Speak; for thy servant heareth." (I Samuel 3:10) Then, when we hear the voice of God, we need to answer, "Here am I; send me" just as Isaiah did.
5 What Can Separate You From God?
"Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:" Isaiah 59:1
Paul asks the question in Romans, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:35-39) This is a wonderful promise! Nothing can separate us from God's love! Look at our title and verse again, "What can separate you from God?" "Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear." The next verse tells us the only thing that can separate us from God. "But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness." (Isaiah 59:2-3) Sin separates us from God. The Psalmist said, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me." (Psalm 66:18-20) Don't let sin in your heart and life separate you from God. Confess your sins to God and praise Him for His continual mercy.
6 Spring And Autumn
"I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations." Isaiah 61:10-11
Isaiah gives us two comparisons in these verses. We have reason to rejoice in the Lord. We can "greatly rejoice" and "be joyful" in our God. In Isaiah 64:6 we read, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." He takes our sinful life and washes us white as snow. God takes away our "filthy rags" and clothes us in the wedding garments and His robe of righteousness as we get ready for the marriage of the Lamb (Revelation 21:9). Now let's notice the next contrast as we look again in Isaiah 64:6, "...and we all do fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." We are in the middle of summer, but it won't be long before the leaves on the trees will start changing colors and fading away. They will then fall and be carried away with the wind. This is a sign of the cold winter coming on. This is what sin does to our lives. We may think that the sin in our lives is giving us excitement and outward beauty just as the leaves get bright and change colors. But, then the leaves fade and fall to the ground. Sin will take away your beauty and your life too, will fade. Sin causes us all to fall. I like the contrast in Isaiah 61:11, "For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations." When we accept the Lord as our Savior our lives are no longer like the coming of winter, but we enter into the springtime and new life comes forth. Think on these verses today and I am sure that you will be like Isaiah as you "greatly rejoice" and "be joyful" as you praise your wonderful Savior.
7 Summer And Winter
"For so the LORD said unto me, I will take my rest, and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest. For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches. They shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth: and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them." Isaiah 18:4-6
Our verses in Isaiah yesterday looked at the spring and fall times in our lives. We are in the midst of summer and the thermometers have risen over 100 degress Fahrenheit this week as we have had record breaking temperatures. I work in air conditioning all day, so I don't think about it much until I go out to my car which has been closed up all day. It feels like an oven and it takes a while to cool it down. As I was driving home today, I thought about changes that have been made in the last 100 years that make our lives more enjoyable. We have air that is cooled in the summer and warmed in the winter. We have running water and refrigerators. We can go to the store and buy fresh food all year round. Not so many years ago, most food had to be home grown, and during years of drought many people went hungry. In our scriptures above God has warned of judgment to the land beyond the rivers of Ethiopia. (verse 1) He said that when the buds were perfect, he would cut off the branches of the vines. He said the birds would use the branches as their summer homes, and the beasts would use them for food and shelter in the winter. The people who lived during the days of these prophesies fully experienced the seasons. They did not live in temperature controlled environments as we do today. They could not drive fifteen minutes to the store or fast-food restuarant and have a full meal that they did not have to work hours to prepare. God made the promise to Noah, "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." (Genesis 8:22) I was surprised to see how many times the seasons were mentioned in the book of Isaiah. The seasons were very important to their quality of living. Don't walk around and complain about the weather. Be thankful that God has blessed us in our day and age with the comforts and conveniences He has given.
8 A Summer Swim
"And he shall spread forth his hands in the midst of them, as he that swimmeth spreadeth forth his hands to swim: and he shall bring down their pride together with the spoils of their hands." Isaiah 25:11
Temperatures reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit again today. Some friends of mine left out for the beach today, but I don't think I would want to be at the beach in this heat. One told me that she would cool off by going for a swim. Summer often brings thoughts of swimming. My sisters and I always enjoyed it when Dad would take us to the creek and let us play in the water on really hot days. This verse in Isaiah lets us know that people used to swim back in the days of the Old Testament prophets. This verse seems to tell us that swimming was popular in those days, since God used it as an object lesson. It reminds me of another summer pastime that is mentioned by God in an object lesson in the book of Isaiah. "Behold, the LORD will carry thee away with a mighty captivity, and will surely cover thee. He will surely violently turn and toss thee like a ball into a large country: there shalt thou die, and there the chariots of thy glory shall be the shame of thy lord's house." This paints another clear picture to the Israelites of God's coming judgement. These two analogies make me wonder if the children of Israel were too occupied with sports and recreation. God speaks of swimming and their pride in the same verse. Then He speaks of tossing them like a ball and the chariots of their glory. We are in the midst of summer and vacations are great, but we should not let fun and recreation come between us and serving the Lord. Keep your priorities in the right order and keep God first. Keep things in the right perspective and take care of your physical body, but don't lift yourself up in pride.
9 A House Of Prayer
"Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people." Isaiah 56:7
I am so glad we have a house of prayer. I know that we can pray anywhere and anytime, and I am grateful for that opportunity. We should all have a devoted prayer life and "pray without ceasing". (I Thessalonians 5:17) But aren't you glad that we have a house of prayer where we can come together and worship the Lord our God with fellow believers? We can sing praises unto our God. We hear the Word of God preached. And we can pray. I learned the song, "I Can Pray", by Nathan Markee, during our Youth Jubilee. The songwriter says that while we may feel too young or too old to be of service to the Lord, we can all pray. You may not be able to sing or preach, but you can pray. You may not be able to convince your friends and family to accept the Lord's gift of salvation, but you can continue to pray for them. We need to realize the importance of prayer in our lives. Just this week God has answered several prayers for me. I want to thank Him and praise His Holy Name for hearing and answering my prayers. I am sure that many people would think that the things I pray for are trivial and would not matter to God, but He has heard and answered these "small" prayers for me time and time again and I just want to thank Him one more time. Thank you Lord for giving me a house of prayer and hearing when I pray.
10 Where Can You Turn?
"In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple." Isaiah 6:1
"In the year that king Uzziah died...", so begins this chapter in Isaiah. We can read about Uzziah in II Chronicles 26:3-5, "Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and two years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did. And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper." Uzziah was the king for fifty two years, and "he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD". The kings ruled the land, and sometimes they were good and the land prospered, and sometimes they were wicked. "In the year that king Uzziah died..." Where did Isaiah turn when the king died? "I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up..." He took his eyes off the earthly throne and looked toward heaven and saw the Lord and the heavenly throne. Where can we turn when election time comes and our Christian President is replaced? We must look up toward heaven and pray for God to bless us with another President who will seek God. Where can we turn when our finances are low? We can turn to God, who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. (Psalm 50:10) Where can we turn when sickness or death of a loved one saddens our heart? We can look up toward heaven and turn to God. "He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." (Psalm 147:3) Where can you turn when you don't know where to turn? Look up and see "the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up..."
11 When We See God
"In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cired, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." Isaiah 6:1-5
Isaiah may have been sad at the death of King Uzziah, but he looked up and saw "the King, the LORD of hosts". The seraphims cried, "Holy, holy, holy..." and Isaiah had to confess, "Woe is me! for I am undone..." When we see the King, the Lord of hosts "high and lifted up" we too, will see our own low estate. Daniel tried to explain the vision of the glory of God, "His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the vioce of his words like the voice of a multitude. And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the vioce of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands." (Daniel 10:6-10) When Daniel saw the glory of God he lost all his strength and fell to the ground on his face. When God spoke to Moses from the burning bush we read in Exodus 3:6, "And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God." When we see God in His holiness, we see that we are nothing and can reply like Moses, "Who am I?" One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 8. "O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens... When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?" We should not wait until we get to heaven to join the angels as they cry, "Holy, holy, holy" but we should give praise to God, the King of kings every day we live.
12 Praise The Lord For Salvation
"Behold, God is my salvation: I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth." Isaiah 12:2-5
"Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth." Sing a song of praise to our God and our Savior. God has forgiven us of our sins and washed us whiter than snow. He has taken away our filthy rags and clothed us in His righteousness. Praise the Lord, my salvation is safe and sure. I don't have to worry about going to hell. I have a promise that my Lord will never leave me nor forsake me. Not only do I praise Him for salvation, but He provides my every need. He answers my prayers. He gives me peace and joy within and opens my heart with love towards others. Praise the Lord! He has given me a wonderful family, and a great Bible-believing church. He sent us a pastor who preaches the Word and prays for the people and has a burden to see lost sinners saved. God has been so good to me. Don't wait until Thanksgiving to offer up your voice of thanks. Give Him praise today and every day. "Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations." (Psalm 100)
13 Upon Them Hath The Light Shined
"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined." Isaiah 9:2
I once walked in the darkness of sin, but God sent His Son to shine down on me. Jesus is the Light of the world. "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12) Preacher Gerald Miller used Ecclesiastes 11:7 for his text Wednesday night. "Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun:" He spoke of how sweet to behold the Light and the Son. It is sweet to our taste. "O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him." (Psalm 34:8) "How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" (Psalm 119:103) He is sweet to our smell. "I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys." (Song of Solomon 2:1) His voice is sweet to our ears. "And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice." (I Kings 19:12) "His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem." (Song of Solomon 5:16) Are you walking in the sweet light of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? When I began this devotional web site for my children almost four years ago I chose Psalm 119:105 as the Title on the top of these pages. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Without His great light I would be walking in darkness. Let's read our verse in Isaiah once again. "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined." I thank God for His wonderful Light.
14 Good And Evil
"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink:" Isaiah 5:20-22
"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil..." You may not think about it, but this happens all the time. Someone may tell you about a movie that she rented and say that it is "really good". You take her recommendation and pick it up at a video store, only to find that it has offensive language and subject matter. In this case, she called evil good. Someone else may tell you that you are spending too much time in church activities and that it is bad for you to shelter your children from the things of the world. This time, he has called good evil. It happens all the time. Leaders in the business world may choose evil means to reach their goals, as they say, "The end justifies the means." Even in our churches, we should not use worldly methods that may be bad, to accomplish something that is good. Bad is bad and good is good and we need to call it like it is. Let's continue with the verse, "...that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" We saw yesterday how the Lord is our light and our salvation, and that He is sweet to our soul. Jesus is the Light of the world and the only way to eternal life. If you believe that you can do enough good works to get into heaven, you may think that you are walking in the light, but you are actually walking around in the dark. This leads to our next scripture portion, "Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes..." There are many people who don't know that they are on their way to hell. They "are wise in their own eyes". They don't think they need God in their lives. They believe they are doing well on their own. They believe that Christians are weak because they feel the need to have a God, and they are right. Paul said, "... for when I am weak, then am I strong." (II Corinthians 12:10) This leads us to our last verse, "Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink." I don't think this verse really needs an explanation. The message is clear. Our message today is to open your eyes and see things for what they really are. See good for good and evil for evil. Trust in the light of the Lord and don't walk in the darkness. And get your wisdom and strength from the Lord.
15 Spread It Before The Lord
"And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up unto the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD, And Hezekiah prayed unto the LORD, saying, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth. Incline thine ear, O LORD, and hear; open thine eyes, O LORD, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God. Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their countries, And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them. Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD, even thou only." Isaiah 37:14-20
King Hezekiah had problems that he could not solve. His people were doomed to be destroyed and he did not have the power to rescue them or lead them to victory. He took the threatening letter and laid it on the altar before the LORD. He acknowledged that the Lord God of Israel was the only true God who made heaven and earth. He prayed that God would save them from the hands of the enemies. We should learn from these scriptures. When troubles come up against you, take it to the Lord in prayer and lay it on the altar of His grace. Stop trying to work things out on your own. Confess to the Lord that He alone can save you and rescue you from your enemies. Look at the answer that God gave to King Hezekiah. "Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shields, nor cast a bank against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the LORD. For I will defend this city to save it for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake." (Isaiah 37:33-35) God promised to deliver Hezekiah. "Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Armenia: and Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead." (Isaiah 37:36-38) Lay your problems on the altar and let God fight your battles for you.
"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14
The stores are filled with people doing their back to school shopping. I remember when my children were small and we had to get the school supply lists for each class. Not only did they have to have certain notebooks and folders in just the right size, but often they had to have them in certain colors for each classroom. And the kids always seemed to grow during the summer and often needed new clothes or new shoes to start school. The crowded stores and excited children reminded me of Christmas shopping. It is exciting to get ready for special events, like going back to school, and holidays. God wanted His people to get ready for the coming Messiah. This week we will look at some of the prophecies in the book of Isaiah. This prophecy was fulfilled with the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The angel spoke to Joseph, "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." (Matthew 1:21-23) "God with us", isn't that a blessed thought. The Lord came to earth to be with us. Not only that, but He still wants to be with us. "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:1-3)
17 For Unto Us A Child Is Born
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts shall perform this." Isaiah 9:6-7
Here is another prophecy of the birth of our Lord from the book of Isaiah. When we try to describe our Lord and Savior our words are so inadequate. "His name shall be called Wonderful..." There are not enough words in our language to tell how wonderful my Savior is. He left His home in glory to come to this sinful world to die on a cruel cross so that I could be saved. He walks with me and speaks to me daily. He supplies all my needs, and even blesses me with many of my wants. He gives me protection so that I don't have to fear. He gives me peace and joy and love. He is my Counsellor that I can talk to even in times when I can't talk to anyone else. No one understands like Jesus. He is The Mighty God and The Everlasting Father. He is The Prince of Peace. We read these verses and think about these things during the month of December each year, but we don't have to wait until Christmas to praise our Lord. We can praise Him every day of the year. We can celebrate His birth, and His death and resurrection each morning as we thank Him for each new day. We can have assurance that the Lord will fulfill all His precious promises just as He fulfilled these prophecies from the book of Isaiah. "The zeal of the LORD of hosts shall perform this."
18 It Shall Come To Pass
"The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:" Isaiah 14:24
I was reading in Isaiah last night and I passed these pages and was reading in chapter 16 when the air from the ceiling fan blew the page back to chapter 14. As I began to think that maybe I had rushed through the page too quickly my eyes caught this verse. "The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:" Many times in my life I have thought that things would turn out in a certain way, and something happened to change the course. Sometimes I made plans, often good plans, and I could not follow through. We often have good intentions, but something gets in our way. We planned to take a group of children to the zoo one Saturday and it was pouring down rain when we awoke. The children were very disappointed, but we had to change our plans. Sickness can also interrupt our plans. We have begun to look at some of the prophecies in the book of Isaiah. God showed me through this verse that His thoughts always come to pass. He never fails on His plans and purposes. He spoke to the children of Israel through the prophets and every word has, or will in the future, come true. We can stand on His promises. He will never fail.
19 Comfort Ye My People
"Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God." Isaiah 40:1
My Aunt Ella died. The doctors said she had heart trouble. She went to sleep, and woke up in glory. That is how my Dad died a few years ago. I kept thinking today of the reunion they must be having in heaven. I can find comfort, even in her death, because of the life she lived. She was always so pleasant to be around. She enjoyed music and enjoyed serving the Lord at her church. Her physical, flesh and blood heart may have been bad, but she had a good heart. She loved the Lord and she loved people. I will miss her, but God gives comfort that I will see her again. We need to live so close to God that others will know that we are part of the family of God. Then, when God calls us home, our loved ones can find comfort in knowing that we have gone on to our heavenly home.
20 Prepare Ye The Way Of The Lord
"The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it." Isaiah 40:3-5
We talked about getting ready to go back to school, and how God wanted His children to get ready for the Lord to come. As we read these verses in Isaiah we are reminded of the verses in which they are fulfilled in the New Testament. "In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." (Matthew 3:1-3) Also in Mark 1:1-3 and in Luke 3:3-6, "And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God." I especially like verse 6, "And all flesh shall see the salvation of God." Jesus came to save lost sinners, and He gives salvation to Jews and Gentiles, men, women, and children, young and old. The children of Israel were God's chosen people, but they rejected Jesus, and He has graciously offered salvation to us by His wonderful mercy and grace. God spoke through the Old Testament prophets to prepare the world for the Lord. God spoke through John the Baptist to prepare the world for the coming Messiah. You may be thinking, "That was all good, but He has already come." Let me tell you that He is coming back. And we need to be sharing the message that just as He came once, He will return. We have used these verses before, but let's look at them again. Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us, and we need to be messengers for Him to help others prepare to meet Him. "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:1-3)
21 Behold The Lord God
"Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?" Isaiah 40:10-12
We see several pictures of our Lord God in these verses. First we are told that He "will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him:" This verse reminds us of Revelation 19:15-16, "And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." The next verse reminds us of the words of our Lord in John 10:11, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep." Our God and King of Kings is also our kind and gentle shepherd. We also see the God of creation in these verses. We see that He is big and powerful enough to measure "the waters in the hollow of his hand" and measure out "heaven with the span." These verses of prophecy in Isaiah remind us of how great and mighty our God is. It is amazing that He would reach down and carry us through the rough times, and gently lead us along. That is how wonderful my God is!
22 Don't Be Dismayed
"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." Isaiah 41:10
We went to the funeral home and tried to give comfort to the family this week after my aunt died. I didn't know what to say to them, so I kept telling each one, "I am praying for you." That's really all I can do. People can take food, and spend time with them, but only God can give that inner peace and strength that they need at this time. Her death has reminded me of my Dad's death a few years ago. He died in his sleep, and even though I knew I would miss him, I also took comfort in the fact that he is in heaven and I will see him again. I believe that he and my aunt are together now and I will join them one day. Christians don't have to fear death. David said, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;..." (Psalm 23:4) If you need strength and comfort, look to God. He has promised, "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."
23 Respect For God
"At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel." Isaiah 17:7
I read this verse this week and my mind keeps going back to it. School is starting back and I think of how different things are today than they were when I went to school. When I was young, children and their parents had respect for teachers. Today it seems as though teachers and principals are not given any respect. Actually, it seems as though parents, and anyone in authority, get no respect. The programs on television show the parents as being really stupid and the children in control. While shopping I see children hit at their parents when they don't get what they want. If children aren't taught respect at an early age, it isn't surprising to see how bad their behavior is as they get older. And sadly enough, if children are not taught to respect authority, they won't have any respect for God, either. We need to teach our children to have respect for their parents, their teachers, and all who are in authority. Most of all we need to teach them to have respect and a holy fear for God. "Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." (Proverbs 9:9-10) One day God will get the respect He deserves. As we also read in Isaiah 45:22-23, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear." Read our verse again, and think on it... "At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel."
24 They That Wait Upon The Lord
"Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:28-31
Do you get weary? Our verses here tell us that even the young get weary. Well, I am getting older and many times I feel like I have lost my strength and I have become weary. Paul tells us in II Thessalonians 3:13, "But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing." What can we do when we become so weary? "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Oh, my brother, are you weary? Wait on the Lord. Trust in the Lord for your help and strength. Do you feel like you are running on empty? Don't run ahead of the Lord's schedule for your life. Wait on the Lord and allow Him to lift you "up with wings as eagles". "I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." (Psalm 27:13-14)
25 Prophecies Of The Lord
"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;" Isaiah 61:1-2
God gave the Bible as His inspired Word and we see many prophecies of the Old Testament fulfilled in the New Testament. Let's look in the book of Luke. "And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. and he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." (Luke 4:14-21) Jesus came to earth and fulfilled all the prophecies, those of His birth, His life, and His death and resurrection. We can be sure that all the unfulfilled prophecies of things to come will surely come to pass. Let Jesus come and heal your broken heart and give you deliverance from a life of sin. Trust in His Word.
26 Who Hath Believed Our Report?
"Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?" Isaiah 53:1
This may be the most familiar chapter of prophecies in the Old Testament. These verses were given so that we might believe, but not all believe. I get discouraged sometimes because so many people don't seem interested in serving the Lord. But it is not just today, even while Jesus walked on earth teaching and preaching, many did not believe. "But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him. Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." (John 12:37-43) Isaiah asked, "Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?" Have you believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? I am so thankful that the Lord opened my blinded eyes and I saw that I was lost and on my way to hell. I told the Lord how sorry I was and asked Him to forgive me and save me, and since that day I have been on the straight and narrow path that leads to heaven. What is keeping you from believing and following God? John tells us that some of the people were more concerned about what people thought more than serving God. "For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." There are many today that may feel the same way. They don't want to be saved because of what others may think of them. Don't let anyone else stand in your way of eternal life. Being saved is as easy as John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Won't you believe today?
27 Perfect Peace
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:" Isaiah 26:3-4
I had planned to continue with Isaiah 53, but the Lord brought these verses to me once again. I read this chapter earlier in the week and the Lord blessed my heart with these precious words. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:" As I opened my Bible tonight to turn to Isaiah 53 the pages opened to this chapter and my eyes went directly to these verses. I want to share this blessing with someone special to my heart. Your heart is heavy and you have a hurting deep within, but keep trusting in the Lord. He can give you perfect peace. He can calm your troubled spirit just as He calmed the troubled seas. Keep trusting in the Lord. In your time of weakness, He "is everlasting strength". Look to the Lord when you feel discouraged. Things happen from time to time that give us pain, but keep trusting in the Lord. Let Him give you that "perfect peace."
28 He Was Wounded For Our Transgressions
"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppresed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth:..." Isaiah 53:3-7
We have talked about the wonderful prophecies of the birth of our Lord. Here we also see the prophecies of His cruel death. When Jesus came to earth, He knew why He came. He knew that Judas, one of His followers, would betray Him. He knew that Peter, a close friend, would deny Him. He knew that He would die the cruel death on the cross. Yet, He came. He gave His life willingly so that we might have life. "Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end." (John 13:1) Jesus knew, but He loved us so much, He still came. "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2)
29 Eye Hath Not Seen
"For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him." Isaiah 64:4
We have been looking into the book of Isaiah to think about some of the prophecies that God gave to prepare His people for the coming of the Lord. Many of the prophecies were fulfilled in the days of Christ. Some point to the future and will be fulfilled when Christ comes back to take His bride home to heaven. Paul used this verse in his letter to the believers at Corinth. "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." (I Corinthians 2:9-10) We have only a glimpse of the goodness of God. The book of Revelations gives us a picture of the splendor of heaven, but I don't think our human minds can begin to see the glorious beauty that awaits us. Through the Holy Spirit we can only touch the surface of the "deep things of God". We may never fully understand the goodness of God to us, but let us keep praising Him for His goodness.
30 The House Of God
"Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word." Isaiah 66:1-2
Today is the Lord's day and many people around the world will go to the house of the Lord. I wonder how many of those are going to worship God and how many are going to try to impress God. We can't impress God with our fancy buildings and our large budgets. Heaven is His throne. What could we build on earth to compare with that? The earth is just His footstool. Our high and lofty forms of worship do not impress God. Tithes and gifts that are given in a spirit of pride are not accepted by God. God made the heaven and earth and everything in them. He gives us all that we have. We must humble ourselves and come to Him in a spirit of meekness. We must also repent and live clean lives to worship the Lord, as we see in the first chapter of Isaiah. "Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them... Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well;... Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land." (Isaiah 1:13-19) Let's worship the Lord today in meekness and holiness.
31 New Heavens And A New Earth
"For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying." Isaiah 65:17-19
I have heard people say that when they get to heaven they want to ask God questions about things that happened here on earth. I don't agree with these types of statements. First of all, God is so mighty and holy, we will be too humbled to question Him. Secondly, God has promised that "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28) Next, I think that the things in our lives which may be major issues to us now, will seem as nothing compared to the splendor of heaven. Last of all, let's look at our verse again, "For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind." This verse seems to say that we won't remember our life on earth. We see John's glimpse of the new heaven and new earth in Revelation 21:1-4. "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." God will wipe away all our tears, and there will be no more crying. What would keep us from crying again, except that "the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind"?
32 My Sins Are Gone
"I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins." Isaiah 41:25
In Isaiah 65:17 we saw how the former things will be forgotten in the new heaven and new earth. This verse in Isaiah 43:25 gives us an even greater blessing. God tells us that He has blotted out our sins and will not remember them. This should make us praise the Lord like David in Psalm 103. "Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's...The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy... He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust." How can we have this forgiveness of God? By trusting in the Lord as our Savior and repenting of our sin. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:9)
33 Where Is Your Trust?
"So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah. And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say unto your master, Thus saith the LORD, Be not afraid of the words that thou hast heard, wherewith the servants of the knig of Assyria have blasphemed me. Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land. So Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah: for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish. And he heard say concerning Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, He is come forth to make war with thee. And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God, in whom thou trustest, deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria." Isaiah 37:5-10
Some mornings God wakes me early and nudges me to get out of bed and read my Bible. Such was the case this morning and I was reading in chapter 30 of Isaiah which begins, "Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin: That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh by your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion." (Isaiah 30:1-3) The chapter compared trusting in the strength of Egypt to trusting in a shadow. The word "trust" came up again in verse 12, "Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon: Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant." Chapter 31 begins with the same message. "Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD?" I wondered at the repetition of these verses, then I came to chapter 36. "And Rabshakeh said unto them, Say ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence is this wherein thou trustest? I say, sayest thou, (but they are but vain words) I have counsel and strength for war: now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me? Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him. But if thou say to me, We trust in the LORD our God: is it not he, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and said to Jedah and to Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar?" (Isaiah 36:4-7) Hezekiah went into the house of the Lord and prayed to Lord his God, in whom he trusted. Rabshakeh said, "Let not thy God, in whom thou trustest, deceive thee..." As I read that verse those words came right up off the page to me and I thanked my God that He would never try to deceive me. I don't trust in my job, because I could lose it tomorrow. I don't trust in my own strength, because I could wake up too weak to get out of bed. I have no big bank "trust" account to depend on. My trust is in my God. We learned two new songs recently that God has used to speak to my heart, "Safe Thus Far" and "No Need To Doubt Him Now". God hasn't brought me this far to leave me to fight my battles alone. He has supplied my needs for over 40 years, so why should I trust in anything else? How foolish the words of king Rabshakeh, "Let not thy God, in whom thou trustest, deceive thee..." Let me leave you with those familiar words from Proverbs 3:5-6. "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
34 A Light For The Gentiles
"Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house." Isaiah 42:5-7
The Children of Israel were God's chosen people. I heard a preacher say that the promises in the Old Testament are all for the Jews. I thought about this while reading through the book of Isaiah. There are blessed promises, as in Isaiah 40:31, "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." I wondered about the words of that preacher and thought, surely God has given that promise to all who love Him. Then, just a couple chapters over, I saw this verse, "I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;" I had to stop and praise the Lord and thank Him for answering my prayerful question. I am not a Jew, but the Lord called me and clothed me with the righteousness of His dear Son. He holds my hand and keeps me. He sent His Son as a light for me. We should be so thankful that God has given light for the Gentiles. He has opened our blinded eyes and brought us out of the prison of sin.
35 A Word In Season To Him That Is Weary
"The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned." Isaiah 50:4
Every morning on my way to work I pass a large bus manufacturing plant. A short way past the plant I often pass a man on a bicycle. He always looks sad and weary. I think about how tired he must be by the time he gets to work and wonder if he has a long hard day at the bus plant ahead of him. This morning I passed the bicycle man a couple of miles up the road and he was smiling. That was the first time I had ever seen him smile. I immediately wondered what made the difference. And just as quickly as the question entered my mind, I saw that he was going downhill. It is much easier to smile when you are riding a bike downhill. You can almost coast along when the weather is clear and there are no obstacles in your way. It is easy to smile then. But after you have traveled a while, and you have to start peddling uphill you get tired. When the storms roll in or the road gets rocky you get weary. Then it's hard to smile. As you go along in life, don't judge those who look weary and tired. You don't know what rough road they may be travelling. All the mornings I passed the bicycle man I thought he looked weary and worn, but now I realize he was riding uphard ground. He looked like a different person as he rode down hill this morning. Our verse above encourages us "to speak a word in season to him that is weary..." Be kind to those you meet, especially those who seem to be having a hard time. Lift them up with words of encouragement. You may need a little help up your next hill.
36 Good Tidings
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" Isaiah 62:7
You would think that in our day of modern communication we would hear more good news. But it seems as though all we hear is bad news. A notice pops up on my computer with newsbreaking events a few times each day, and very few of them have been good news. It would be great if we could hear news of good tidings and peace. All we can do about the bad news we hear daily is pray, but I think we can help one another by sharing good news. Remember the message of the angel of the Lord? "And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:7-8) We can all share this good news. Find ways to share the good tidings. Carry the Word with you in your heart and mind. Put a Bible verse on your desk at work. Come November, don't be ashamed to let people know that you are truly thankful to your God. When you look for Christmas cards in a couple of months try to find some with the gospel message in them. Spread a little good news today!
37 Seek The Lord While He May Be Found
"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." Isaiah 55:6-7
Today is Sunday and it is a good time to read portions of Psalm 95. "O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods... O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness." (Psalm 95:1-3 & 6-9) God has blessed us with a new day. Worship Him today. We are not promised tomorrow. There is an obituary column in the newspaper everyday. Many of those named probably thought they had plenty of time to serve God later on. Isaiah tells us to seek the Lord while he may be found and to call on Him while He is near. Don't put off serving God. Don't wait until it is too late to pray. God tells us in Isaiah 45:23, "I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return. That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear." Don't wait until it is too late and hear Him say, "I never knew you". (Matthew 7:23) "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:"
38 When His Hour Was Come
"I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed." Isaiah 50:6-7
Notice the phrase, "therefore have I set my face like a flint". Now let's read Luke 9:51, "And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem," Jesus knew that the Jews would deliver Him to be crucified, but He went on toward the city to give His life for you and me. "Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end." (John 13:1) Jesus "knew that his hour was come." What did He do? Country singer, Tim McGraw sings a song, "Live Like You Were Dying". The song is about a man that finds out that he is dying and what he did. The chorus begins, "I went skydiving. I went rocky mountain climbing. I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu. And I loved deeper, And I spoke sweeter, And I gave forgiveness I'd been denyin." I have wondered myself what I would do if I found out that I was dying. Jesus knew what he had to do, and yet He loved us until the end. "And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded." (John 13:2-5) Jesus took on the form of a servant. He did this as an example for us to love one another and serve one another. We don't have to go skydiving or rocky mountain climbing to live like we were dying. We need to follow Jesus' example and serve others. We can live our lives in service to our Lord by serving others.
39 A Precious Corner Stone
"Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste." Isaiah 28:16
Sometimes when I read prophecies in the Old Testament I am not always sure of the meaning. Many of the prophecies in the book of Isaiah are quoted in the New Testament and that makes it easier for us to understand. Jesus is the precious corner stone, our sure foundation, that was rejected by His own people. "And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner:" (Mark 12:10) We see our verse from Isaiah further explained by Peter. "Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner." (I Peter 2:6-7) Are you built on the solid foundation? Ephesians 2:19-22 tells us, "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." Christians, saved by the grace of God, are built on the solid foundation of Christ the Lord and we should all grow together in love and unity. Don't complain about where God has placed you in His family. We are all building on the same foundation.
40 His Ways Are Higher Than Our Ways
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9
Many times in our lives we face trials and storms. Many people question God when troubles come their way. Some even quit following the Lord altogether. As I thought on this verse today, I tried to put it in human perspective, because that is all we know. If the president of my company followed a business path that I did not fully understand, I would not go to him and ask him why he went in that direction. When my pastor, the under shepherd of our church, plans a revival meeting, I do not have the arrogance to ask him why he chose a certain preacher or singers to come. I have a respect for those in authority and pray that they will make the right choices. How much less should I go to God in prayer and ask Him why He led me down a certain path. He tells us through Isaiah, that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are higher than our ways. We can't understand the ways of God. "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" (Romans 11:33) The wise King Solomon tells us, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6) I hope that these verses will encourage you today to follow the path God leads you, and be strong in the faith that His thoughts are so much higher than our thoughts and He wants what is best for us. I leave you with one more passage of scripture. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)
41 God's Word Will Not Return Void
"For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." Isaiah 55:10-11
As I thought on these verses, I thought of the word, "void", and my mind went back to the very beginning of God's Word. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." (Genesis 1:1-4) The earth was dark and void, and God spoke light into existence and the void ended. This was the first instance of our verse in Isaiah, "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please..." God's Word accomplished what He pleased and did not return "void" but took away the "void" from the earth. Are you searching aimlessly for things that don't satisfy? Only God can take away the "void" from your life. Walk in His Light and let His Word give meaning to your existence. Looking again at the word, "void", I thought of checks that I have written and I made a mistake on the amount, or spelling, and I wrote "VOID" across the checks and tore them up. They became useless. God says that His Word will not return void. God's Word always accomplishes what He pleases. He compares it to the rain that comes down from heaven to water the earth. I know that water evaporates, but rain comes down and fulfills its purpose in watering the ground "that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:" The New Testament tells us that God's Word is the seed and we also know that Jesus is the Bread of Life. Keep sowing the seed, God's Word, and don't get discouraged. God has promised that His Word shall not return void.
42 There Is No Peace To The Wicked
"But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." Isaiah 57:20-21
Do you have peace in your soul? This verse paints a vivid picture of a troubled soul. I like to sit at the beach and hear the calm ocean waves roll gently to the shore. I have also been there after a storm when the waves sound mighty and look rough and dirty. Our lives can be like those ocean waves. God has not promised to take away all our storms, but He has promised never to leave us or forsake us. He can lead us through the storms of life, and give us peace deep within. In our studies in Isaish 9:6-7 we saw the prophecies of our Lord. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." He is The Prince of Peace. But for those who will not accept the Lord as their personal Savior, there is no peace. Do you have a troubled soul? God can give you peace beyond measure as we read in Philippians 4:7 "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Ask Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior. Believe in your heart that Jesus died to pay the sin debt that you could not pay. Confess your sin to Him. It's that simple. Then you can say like David, "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety." (Psalm 4:8)
43 Where The Worm Dieth Not
"For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD. And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh." Isaiah 66:22-24
We have been in the book of Isaiah for several weeks, and we end today with the last verses of Isaiah's book of prophecy. We looked at several prophecies, some which have been fulfilled, and some which are still to come. Many of the verses we used were repeated in the New Testament. Jesus repeated this warning of hell three times in chapter 9 of Mark, in verses 44, 46, and 48. "Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." People talk about hell as if it were a joke, but hell is a real place. There are several verses in the book of Revelation which warn of hell. Revelation 20:10, "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." Revelation 20:14, "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death." Revelation 20:15, "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Revelation 21:8, "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." Don't make jokes about hell. Hell is real and the pain and suffering are real. People don't like to talk about hell. I believe that if Christians would think about the reality of hell more often, we would witness more and pray for our lost loved ones more earnestly. Once God saves us, we don't have to worry about going to hell, but we should be concerned enough for the ones we love to do all we can to keep them from going there. God does not want anyone to go to hell. "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9) If you are not certain that heaven is your final home, call on the Lord to save you before it is too late.
44 Good Tidings Of Salvation
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" Isaiah 52:7
You may have heard about the preacher who said that the rapture was taking place last week. I saw reports of some of his followers who used their credit cards to take elaborate vacations because they thought they would not be here to repay the debt. The Bible clearly teaches that no one knows when the rapture will take place. "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." (Matthew 24:36) "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." (Matthew 25:13) "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father." (Mark 13:32) This doomsday prediction has given reporters another reason to ridicule Christianity. It left some followers with debt that they would not have acquired otherwise. But, I want to share a little good news that came from this story. There is a young man in our church who heard the prediction on the news. He was very worried and talked to his mom about it. She opened her Bible and explained the scriptures about Christ's return. He got under conviction and realized that he was not saved. He realized that if the Lord did call His children home at this time, he would be left behind. I found out at church Wednesday night that this young person was gloriously saved. His mom told me of the change in his life. I was thrilled to hear these good tidings. When we pray for our friends and loved ones to be saved we rejoice to hear of their salvation. We can say with Isaiah. "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!"