Imagine if Isaiah lived today! All the ungodly legislation that our lawmakers have passed and judges have approved would bring out the same indictment – amplified!
Isaiah 10:1 (NIV) “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees.”
There’s a “million” of them, but how about making the killing of babies, legal? Some even say it’s righteous! “Woe to them,” Isaiah would say (Isaiah 5:20) as He spoke on God’s behalf.
Isaiah 10:3 (NLT) “What will you do when I punish you, when I send disaster upon you from a distant land? To whom will you turn for help? Where will your treasures be safe?”
Isaiah also pronounces a heavy woe to Assyria, the rod of God’s anger (Isaiah 10:5). God used Assyria to execute His judgment upon the nations but Assyria was deceived into thinking it was by their own wisdom and power (Isaiah 10:13). It would be like an ax, or a saw, or a rod taking the credit for the job. Can an inanimate tool turn on the the one who wields it and boast against the one holding it – and using it? No…at least it shouldn’t. But that’s what Assyria did in its own fury and rage. So God promised to strike and judge Assyria. Israel would survive, a remnant would return and find grace (Isaiah 10:22) but such would not be the case for Assyria. They would shake their fist at Jerusalem, but God would use His fist, His ax against them, to chop them down (Isaiah 10:32-33).
Isaiah 11 is an absolutely awesome chapter about the coming King, Messiah, Christ-Jesus and His Millennial reign. Isaiah 11:1 describes that Jesus is both the root of Jesse (his Creator) but He’s also a descendant of Jesse through the lineage of David.
The Spirit of the Lord would descend upon Jesus. Isaiah 11:2 describes seven attributes of the one Holy Spirit…symbolically alluded to in Revelation 1:4 as seven Spirits. Messiah and Christ refer to the fact that Jesus was “anointed” by the Holy Spirit (Daniel 9:25-26; John 1:41; Matthew 16:16).
When King Jesus rules on planet earth for one-thousand years it will be after the judgment of the Tribulation Period. He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth (He will simply speak it – Isaiah 11:4) and slay the wicked. Then for one-thousand years the world will be radically transformed under His leadership. The wolf will dwell with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat – these carnivorous animals who at one time were enemies, will not eat other animals. Even children will be safe with snakes…it’s God’s way of saying there will be peace and safety under our Savior’s reign.
All Israel will be gathered back to the land (something we already see beginning to take place) and all the world will seek Jesus the way they should.
Isaiah 11:10 (NLT) “In that day the heir to David’s throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to Him, and the land where He lives will be a glorious place.”
During that time if anyone gets out of order Jesus will deal with them with a “rod of iron,” (Revelation 12:5; 19:15) and we Christians who will have been raptured by then, or will have passed in glory, will rule with Jesus for that thousand-years.
When the thousand years is finished, Satan will be released from the abyss and he will muster up one final rebellion against God, but he and his followers will be completely crushed and judged and God will create a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 20-21).
We know, even in the midst of the crazy chaos of the days we live in – that the future if bright…the future is right…God wins!
2 Corinthians 12:11-21
Paul didn’t have an eraser to wipe away the things he’d written; he regretted the way he “boasted” in the previous section, but in one sense the people forced him to. They (and we) needed to know that he was called and commissioned as an Apostle of Jesus Christ. Through Paul the church was planted, miracles were wrought, and God’s love was seen. The only thing he did “wrong” was not charge them for the ministry or take a salary from them (Paul was supported by other churches).
Paul was hoping that this letter would bring the Corinthians to repentance. This would be the third time he was coming to them – would it be a peaceful visit, or would he need to discipline them as a loving father would?
In 2 Corinthians 12:15 Paul gives us a great description of ministry – in essence we who aspire to serve must be willing to be “spent” for the people – to lay down our lives for them. Some will love us, but many won’t. It hurts, but that’s the reality of the ministry and that’s the reality of life. We must continue to serve our Savior by serving His people whether they love us or not.
Paul’s ministry and ministers (such as Titus) were blameless. Paul had modeled and taught Titus to never take advantage of the people, on the contrary, to do all things for their edification (2 Corinthians 12:19).
Paul wanted so desperately for the church at Corinth to turn from their carnality. The things listed in 2 Corinthians 12:20-21 are tragically common in many churches.
The background to this Psalm is when David fled to Gath, the land of the Philistines, who were able to identify David as their former enemy. The situation became very dangerous very quickly (1 Samuel 21:10-15; see also Psalm 34).
David admitted he was afraid, but he also chose to trust (Psalm 56:3). David faced his fears, and by faith erased his fears. Twice in this Psalm he encourages himself with those words, “I will not fear…I will NOT be afraid.” (Psalm 56:4, 11)
That’s faith over feelings.
Man can only do to us what God allows, so David asks leading questions, “What can flesh do to me?” “What can man do to me?” Nothing, apart from God’s permission.
Life as a child of God means we will always have His protection, but it doesn’t mean we won’t go through very trying times. David had his trials, tribulations, and many, many tears. David experienced years of wandering, but God was there and aware of it all…all the time.
Psalm 56:8 (NKJV) “You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book?”
In His book, God keeps track of our wanderings, He even stores every single tear we’ll ever cry in a bottle. I wonder if one day He’ll show it to us. Some of those bottles are going to be very, very big. The fact that God numbers our wanderings means that He limits our trials; the fact that these trials and tears are in His book means that one day we will be rewarded when we “pass” those types of tests.
This Psalm is another source of inspiration for Paul’s Romans 8:31. Did you notice those words there in Psalm 56:9, “…God is for me.”
Yes. He is. And if God is for us…
Proverbs 23:6-8 (NKJV) “Do not eat the bread of a miser, nor desire his delicacies; 7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. ‘Eat and drink!’ he says to you, but his heart is not with you. 8 The morsel you have eaten, you will vomit up, and waste your pleasant words. “
It’s similar to what we read earlier in Proverbs 23:1-5, but instead of a ruler, this one’s a miser. The miser is literally the person with an evil eye, referring to a person who hoards wealth and spends as little money as possible.
The NIV call him a “stingy man…the kind of man who is always thinking about the cost.”
Proverbs 23:7 (NET) “…for he is like someone calculating the cost in his mind.
Proverbs 28:22a (NKJV) “A man with an evil eye hastens after riches…”
Deuteronomy 15:9 warns of an evil eye that can be within any of us, where in one sense, our vision is against our brother.
If you have dinner with such a person you will have wasted your time and compliments, and now the host probably believes you’re indebted to them.
So the word here is not to eat the bread of a miser.
“Eat and drink,” he says to you, but his heart is not with you.”
NET Notes, “…it would be a mistake to accept hospitality from a stingy person. He is always thinking about the cost, his heart is not in it, and any attempt at pleasant conversation will be lost.”
I think one of the things we’re learning is to use wisdom in who you allow to treat you to dinner. Beware of the manipulative ruler, or the penny-pinching miser.
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.