Uzziah was a good king (not perfect but good – and godly, he was a believer). Isaiah was probably more than bummed but worried when King Uzziah died. It would be as if we in the United States of America had a good and godly president – we might fret if he’s no longer with us, no longer in power. But it was at that point that Isaiah was reminded, the LORD is still on the throne! Isaiah saw the LORD high and lifted up, holy, holy, holy, in all of His glory. John tells us that it was actually a vision of Jesus that Isaiah saw (John 12:37-41).
When Isaiah found himself in the presence of God, he was convicted of his sin, and knew he was deserving of death. But God met him there in his confession and with the coals from the altar of sacrifice, Isaiah was cleansed.
Isaiah then heard a conversation going on between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (did you notice the word “Us”)
Isaiah 6:8a (NKJV) “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’”
Isaiah responded. In the Hebrew language it’s as if Isaiah was jumping up and down to get God’s attention, “Lord, Lord, do you see me? Here am I…send me!”
God saw…and God sent (just as He does all of us who are willing to go and do and say His will). It wouldn’t be a “successful” ministry for Isaiah in the eyes of men. Most people in Israel and Judah would not listen to his words and therefore hardened their hearts. Isaiah wondered how long his ministry would be, how long would he be required to speak? God told him until the nation crossed the line of judgment. There would be a remnant (there always is) but most in the world do not really listen to the voice of God spoken through His people.
Warren Wiersbe, “True worship leads to service. You hear God’s call, and you respond with obedience. God did not send Isaiah to a receptive people or give him an easy message to preach. But when you have seen the Lord and felt His touch, you can obey His will without fear.”
In Isaiah 7 the prophet meets with King Ahaz, king of Judah (who was a bad king) assuring him that God would defeat the invading nations of Israel and Syria. Isaiah told the king to ask for a sign, which in his doubt and self-righteousness he declines. Isaiah offered the sign anyways and we read the dual prophecy in:
Isaiah 7:14 (NKJV) “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”
In Isaiah’s day this would refer to someone who at the time of the prophecy was not married but did eventually get married and have a child naturally…but if you fast forward seven hundred years, it would be in reference to Mary, who was a virgin at the time she gave brith to Jesus Christ. This passage is quoted and explained in Matthew 1:18-25.
As you read through Isaiah you will see many prophecies of Jesus, so many that some teachers refer to it as the Gospel of Isaiah.
King Ahaz was given the promise and even the sign in his day, but he did not obey Isaiah’s challenge:
Isaiah 7:9b (NKJV) “If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.”
King Ahaz went on to hire the Assyrians to defeat Israel and Syria rather than trusting in God and His promise. God DID deliver the nation of Judah from Assyria, but it would seal the doom of Ahaz himself – HE was not established.
Assyria went on to conquer Israel and carry them away…the same thing would happen to Judah at the hands of the Babylonians. Lessons for me – and all of us…to believe and behave.
2 Corinthians 11:16-33
Paul ends up boasting (he’s kinda forced to). These false teachers were manipulating a portion of the church, dominating them. Similar to a coach who’s overbearing on his team. For some strange reason, certain athletes appreciate being pushed to the point of being pushed around. That may be the way the world operates, but it’s not the way the church is to be run! We are never to be shoving leaders, but loving leaders; we are not to be dominant leaders, but servant-leaders. We read in 2 Corinthians 11:20 that these guys were enslaving the people, taking advantage of them, controlling, and even slapping them in the face! Paul says, we were too weak to do that!
Paul goes on to boast, but he doesn’t boast about the churches he’s planted, or the people he’s healed, the conversions he’s seen, or the disciples he’s made – he knows that all that is the work of God and God alone. He does boast about the pain and sacrifices he’s made, because he wants to communicate the fact that he’s not in it for himself. He’s simply a servant, a slave, willing to suffer for the Lord. That’s the ministry. It’s not convenient or glamorous or self-aggrandizing, especially if one is effective – that person will be a target of the enemy!
Some people measure their ministry by the size of their building, or body, or budget. Paul measured his ministry by the size of his sacrifice…and we should too. Not that we purposely go and get arrested or beaten, endangering our lives, but we must go wherever God calls us to go and do whatever it is He’s called us to do…it’s as simple as that.
As I sift through this list, I hear God’s voice to labor more, even to the point of weariness and toil; to journey more, sleep less, and fast more frequently. How about you?
This Psalm was written when the Ziphites revealed the location of David (it happened twice; 1 Samuel 23:19; 26:1) when Saul was hunting him down.
David sings and prays for God’s protection from Saul, his army, and even strangers who had come against him for no reason – David had done nothing wrong!
I’m inspired by the declarations of deliverance David makes. When others may have simply surrendered, given up, and lost all faith, David sings of his certain victory…how God would protect him and deal with his enemies:
“Behold God is my helper.” (Psalm 54:4)
“For He has delivered me out of all trouble…” (Psalm 54:7)
David sang as if it were already done. We can do the same!
Proverbs 23:1-3 (NKJV) “When you sit down to eat with a ruler, consider carefully what is before you; 2 And put a knife to your throat if you are a man given to appetite. 3 Do not desire his delicacies, for they are deceptive food.
I’m sure you’ve heard it said, the way to man’s heart is through his stomach. It’s sad but it’s true, and that appetite can make us do some crazy things…so if you’re a “foodie” you might end up a “fooly” – be careful.
Lest that leader, that lover, that boss or that boy wine-and-dine you. Believe it or not, we can be fooled with food. That’s what the devil did to Adam & Eve, and Esau. After being set, free from slavery the children of Israel wanted to go back to bondage in Egypt because of the meat and the melons – they missed the food.
“God gives bread for our needs, but we crave meat for our lusts.” So be careful, when it comes to food and everything else the flesh might want. I remember Pastor Raul Ries used to always say, “Keep your appetites under control.”
The Hebrew grammar in this Proverb emphasizes the careful discernment required on such occasions.
To put a knife to your throat is not to be taken literally; it simply means to, “Be stern and resolute with yourself…” or you may get deceived by others.
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.