September 14

Isaiah 15:1–18:7

Warren Wiersbe, “The nation of Moab was born out of Lot’s incestuous union with one of his daughters (Gen. 19:30–38). It was a proud nation that would not honor the God of Israel but trusted in its fortifications. Pride is a sin that God hates (Prov. 6:16–17), whether in nations or in individuals, and it leads to judgment.”

The Assyrians would invade the land and the Moabites would mourn and weep publicly.

Isaiah 15:3 (NKJV) “In their streets they will clothe themselves with sackcloth; on the tops of their houses and in their streets everyone will wail, weeping bitterly.”

In Isaiah 16:3-4 many Bible teachers suggest that if Moab was wise they would have fled to Judah during this time, for Judah had been promised protection from the enemy. We DO know that one day the Messiah would reign in Jerusalem.

Isaiah 16:5 (NKJV) “In mercy the throne will be established; and One will sit on it in truth, in the tabernacle of David, Judging and seeking justice and hastening righteousness.”

But Moab was proud, “very proud” and they would therefore weep and be drenched in their own tears (Isaiah 16:6, 9).

Isaiah 16:10 (NKJV) “Gladness is taken away, and joy from the plentiful field; in the vineyards there will be no singing, nor will there be shouting; no treaders will tread out wine in the presses; I have made their shouting cease.”

Moab’s “prayers” without repentance towards the one true God were futile. No, not all gods are the same!

Isaiah 16:12 (NKJV) “And it shall come to pass, when it is seen that Moab is weary on the high place, that he will come to his sanctuary to pray; but he will not prevail.”

In Isaiah 17 God predicts the fall of Syria and Israel who had formed an alliance.

The burden against Damascus (Isaiah 17:1)

The glory of Jacob would wane (Isaiah 17:4)

Of course we know in Israel there would always be a remnant, a few grapes, two or three olives, so to speak (Isaiah 17:6). God would show mercy to Syria as well.

The day will come when Israel acknowledges their Messiah, their Maker.

Isaiah 17:7–8 (NKJV) “In that day a man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will have respect for the Holy One of Israel. 8 He will not look to the altars, the work of his hands; he will not respect what his fingers have made, nor the wooden images nor the incense altars.”

In the meantime the problem we have (they had) was they had forgotten God.

Isaiah 17:10-11b (NKJV) “Because you have forgotten the God of your salvation, and have not been mindful of the Rock of your stronghold, therefore you will plant pleasant plants and set out foreign seedlings…but the harvest will be a heap of ruins in the day of grief and desperate sorrow.”

God help us to learn to live for God, our Maker and Redeemer, in true intimacy and sincerity, not looking to idols in any way. As we read the Scriptures we clearly see that our God is a just Judge, He IS to be feared in all reverence.

In Isaiah 18 we see a desperate nation in Ethiopia looking to the Northern Kingdom of Israel for help – but it would all be in vain. God would bring Assyria to judge this nation…who should have looked to the LORD of heaven’s armies and not the impotent armies of men.

Warren Wiersbe, “The people of Ethiopia (ancient Cush) sent ambassadors to Israel, hoping to form a strong alliance against Assyria, but the venture was doomed to fail. God was not in it, because all of man’s clever ideas are worthless if they run contrary to the will of God (1 Corinthians 3:18–20). First find His will, then do it!

In this chapter there are lessons for all the world.

On Isaiah 18:3 – Expositor’s Commentary wrote, “Isaiah calls the whole world to redirect its attention to the unmistakable signs of God’s activity in history.”

On Isaiah 18:7 – Bible Knowledge Commentary, “After the Assyrian defeat, the LORD would cause the people of Cush (cf. vv. 1–2) to take gifts to the Lord at Mount Zion, where His name dwelt. Whether this occurred after the fall of Assyria is not known. Possibly Isaiah was speaking of the millennial kingdom when peoples from around the world will worship the LORD (cf. Zechariah 14:16) because of His gracious acts.”

As we read of these nations being judged, I can’t help but think of how the world today is ripe for judgment. We’ve turned our backs on God, and on His Word. O Lord, in wrath remember mercy. Please Lord.

Galatians 1:1-24

This is the only letter that Paul writes addressed to multiple churches. Many Bible teachers believe Paul is addressing those churches they had planted on their first missionary journey as recorded in Acts 13-14. These were Christian congregations established by God, but false teachers had crept into the church, and were actually turning people away from Jesus (Galatians 1:6).

I’ve always been impressed at the passion in which Paul writes this letter (we will see it throughout). Paul was unique in that he was not appointed an Apostle  by man, or even through man (Galatians 1:1), but by he was appointed by God the Father through Jesus Christ. Paul brings this up because it gives “weight” to his words. It’s as if he’s saying, “Don’t listen to false teachers, please listen to someone directly called by God Himself.”

Paul was amazed at how the people were turning away from Jesus so soon, simply because someone moseyed on in and preached a different gospel (which was no gospel at all). They had perverted the Gospel by adding elements of Judaism as a requirement for salvation, especially the act of circumcision. Paul is so passionate about this, that he tells them – straight out – it doesn’t matter if it’s us, or an angel from heaven, listen, if anyone preaches any other gospel than what we’ve already preached to you, let that person be accursed (damned, sent to hell). This is serious stuff!

Paul goes on to explain that the gospel he had preached to them was not something he acquired by his own invention, or human education, no, it was by divine revelation. Paul shares his personal story. When he was saved, he didn’t “immediately confer with flesh and blood,” in other words he didn’t go to man and have him explain this to him – he didn’t go to Jerusalem, or to the Apostles – he went to God and His Word. His was a unique experience of the Gospel, saved and taught directly by Jesus. Paul spent three years in Arabia and it was there that God opened up the Bible to him, the Gospel of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone (see Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16; 14:6).

After three years Paul went to Jerusalem for fifteen days, spending time with Peter and James (the Lord’s brother) but then he was sent home to Tarsus and continued to preach the Gospel that God had given to him.

All this to say that any other gospel is counterfeit; if it’s human it’s impotent, if it’s demonic it’s evil and the enemy is doing all that he can to bring us into bondage (a word found six times in Galatians). The enemy is fighting with full force to turn us away from the simplicity that is in Christ (Galatians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 11:3).

My prayer, as we read through the book of Galatians, is that we’d rediscover the liberty we have in Christ. We’ve been saved and set free. May we use that liberty to love the Lord and to love His people (Galatians 5:13).

Psalm 58:1-11

Warren Wiersbe, “In words that may seem unchristian to us, David denounced the unjust rulers of his day, people who promoted evil by condemning the righteous and defending the wicked. In a prayer that would probably not be ‘Amened’ in churches today, he asked God to judge sinners and establish righteousness on the earth.”

It’s amazing to me, to see how some so easily speak lies, buy lies, and even live lies. So many people are deaf, not open to God, even though He loves us so much.

It’s also interesting to read David’s imprecatory prayers. I suppose David is just being honest with God in how he feels, “God get ‘em, break their teeth, let them melt like snails, may they not see the sun, LORD take them away with a whirlwind in Your burning wrath.”

It’s understandable to long for justice, but wit New Testament light Jesus teaches us to actually pray for our enemies.

Matthew 5:43-44 (NKJV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”

Our hope is that our enemies will come to that place of repentance, for God will reward the righteous and judge the earth (Psalm 58:11).

Proverbs 23:12

Proverbs 23:12 (NKJV) “Apply your heart to instruction, and your ears to words of knowledge.”

What would happen if there was an inclination of our hearts to hear God’s Word? A heart for instruction and application.

Seven times in Revelation 2-3 we have that exhortation, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the church.”

It’s not enough to simply hear with our ears and our heads, we must hear with our hearts.

Charles Bridges said, “The best-taught Christian and the most advanced Christian will be the most earnest in seeking more instruction. He will gladly sit at the feet of the Lord’s ministers to hear the words of knowledge.”

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.

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