We now enter the last section of the Old Testament:
1. The Historical Books (Genesis – Esther)
2. The Poetical Books (Job – Song of Solomon)
3. The Prophetical Books (Isaiah – Malachi)
Isaiah begins with an indictment of God’s people Israel (in this context it would include Judah). After all that God had done for them – they still rebelled. They were ungrateful children who were worse than domesticated animals. At least the ox is aware of its owner, but God’s people were oblivious to who it was that actually took care of them, fed them, protected them, and owned them (see 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 on the fact that God owns us).
God was nauseated by the mere “religion” of Israel. Their sacrifices were repulsive to Him, their incense (prayers) were an abomination to Him. God wanted the people to go beyond superficial religion – He wanted to them to be real in their relationship with Him, to live the life of a true-blue believer. If they did (have genuine faith), God would forgive them of all their sins!
Cease to do evil…learn to do good (Isaiah 1:6b-17a).
I love God’s invitation to reason:
Isaiah 1:18 (NKJV) “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
What a beautiful promise! By genuine faith in Jesus Christ – even if our sins were/are the worst, God is willing to wash them away…to make us 100% forgiven and free!
God was calling His people back to Him, He wanted to purge them of their sin (Isaiah 1:25). I pray we would all be in RIGHT relationship with God.
One of the things you’ll notice as you go through the book of Isaiah is he shifts gears suddenly. In chapter 2 he shifts to the Millennial Kingdom (Isaiah 2:1-4) where there will be one-thousand years of peace on earth as Jesus rules from Jerusalem. But then Isaiah shifts gears again to the Day of the LORD (the day of judgment on planet earth – BEFORE – the Millennial Kingdom). You can read more about this “Day of Judgment” in Revelation chapters 6-19.
Jesus came the first time as a Lamb, but He’s coming the second time as a Lion. He came the first time as Savior, but He’s coming the second time as Judge. Isaiah 2:21 speaks of the fact that He (Jesus) will rise to shake the earth mightily. If you look around today at the way our world has rejected the Word-and-ways of God, it’s easy to see, we’re ripe for judgment.
First the church will be raptured out of this world(this can happen any time).
Then God will judge the world.
John wrote something similar to Isaiah 2:19 in:
Revelation 6:15–17 (NKJV) “And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
2 Corinthians 10:1-18
It’s heartbreaking to read in 2 Corinthians 10:2 that there were some there in Corinth who thought Paul ministered in the flesh (carnally, sinfully). Imagine that, the Lord’s beloved Apostle, writer of at least thirteen books in the Bible, clearly and unequivocally called by God, accused of such things.
Paul was no doubt tempted to lash back, but he didn’t…he approached them meekly and gently. This is his third letter, and it would be his third visit (2 Corinthians 13:1). Paul was attempting to settle things peacefully – without drama, but if that unrepentant minority continued to create confusion and division in the church, Paul was ready and willing to boldly confront them on his next visit.
They accused him of ministering in the flesh, but Paul explains to them that the battle was spiritual and so were his weapons. We’re in a spiritual war and therefore we fight with things like prayer, the Sword of the Spirit, the love of God, and the Armor of God. Have you ever noticed that the moment we try to fight with carnal (fleshly) weapons we lose? If I lose my temper, I lose the battle (see James 1:19-20). On the flip-side, when we fight the good fight, we pull down the enemies’ fortresses and lies lodged within the heart of the people. When we bring every thought to the obedience of Christ, we deal real blows to the enemy.
There were some in Corinth who looked at Paul, only through the eyes of the flesh. They thought he was all talk from a distance, impressed with his letters, but not impressed with his speech (maybe he wasn’t smooth or eloquent in his delivery). They were not impressed by his looks either. Sandy Adams writes that, “Paul was not impressive in appearance. Tradition tells us that he was short, bald, ugly, sickly, and may have spoken with a lisp. But he warns his critics not to judge a book by its cover.”
I love the way Paul “caught” the teaching of Christ – that as leaders with “authority” – we only have that authority so that we can serve others and build them up (2 Corinthians 10:8). But there was a false teacher in Corinth who was trying to deceive the people and take the congregation away the influence of Paul. Pastor Chuck Smith elaborates on this, “Paul had taken the gospel to the Corinthians, but another man was building on the foundation Paul had laid. There are always those who come into an established work and try to draw people after themselves. This man in Corinth was trying to build himself up by tearing Paul down.”
Paul was cognizant of the fact that God had called him to serve the Corinthians and they were part of his God-given responsibility. The enemy was trying to ruin the work, but Paul had a heart for the people to grow. Paul even hoped that God would cary the work even farther through them (1 Corinthians 10:15-16). Isn’t that what we want? Lord work IN us, and then also work THROUGH us. The enemy will do everything he can to stop that “grow-flow.”
Paul quotes from Jeremiah 9:24 – that all the glory must be given to God, not men. These guys commended themselves, but it was God who had commended, appointed, anointed, and approved Paul.
It’s too bad that Paul had to defend himself…but he needed to in order to protect the flock from selfish men.
Doeg the Edomite lied to King Saul about Ahimelech the priest, saying that he had inquired of the LORD on David’s behalf.
Doeg painted a picture portraying Ahimelech as a traitor to the king, when that was not the case. King Saul, however, believed the lie and this led to the slaughter of eighty-five priests and an entire city – the city of Nob, which included women and children (1 Samuel 21-22).
It all started with a half-truth, which we know is a whole lie (1 Samuel 22:10). The tongue of Doeg devised destruction, it sliced like a razor and was responsible for the death of many innocent people.
Doeg WAS a loving man – he loved evil (Psalm 52:4) and he loved to destroy others with his words (Psalm 52:4).
David wrote this Psalm to declare Doeg’s downfall, his judgment, which was worse than physical death; it would be eternal death, forever and ever.
How did it all happen?
With a simple lie. I believe Doeg wanted a promotion, he wanted to advance in the kingdom, he wanted to get in good with Saul (1 Samuel 21:7; 22:6-10). How about you? Do you want a “promotion?” Do you want to advance in the world? Be careful. It’s a lesson for us – how we’re all susceptible to “little” lies about others to make ourselves look good, painting things in a different light, committing character assassination. We need the Lord to tame our tongue…we need to learn the danger of such dialogue…from the tragedy of Doeg.
Psalm 52:7 (NKJV) “Here is the man who did not make God his strength, but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.”
Proverbs 22:26-27 (NKJV) “Do not be one of those who shakes hands in a pledge, one of those who is surety for debts; 27 If you have nothing with which to pay, why should he take away your bed from under you?”
This passage frowns on the cosigning of loans for others. God tells us repeatedly in the Proverbs not to cosign for a “stranger” – of the danger involved (Proverbs 6:1; 11:15; 20:16; 27:13). Some say it’s okay to cosign for your child, maybe on a small loan of some sort, but even then – be so careful. Financial Advisor Dave Ramsey would counsel against it, especially in the case of a home loan.
The reason is found in Proverbs 22:27 – if someone needs a cosigner it means their credit is not established. If they haven’t proven the ability to pay their bills, maybe they won’t pay their bills – and if they don’t, the creditors will come after you – you can lose all you’ve worked hard for all your life.
It’s NOT wise to cosign.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.