September 15

Isaiah 19:1–21:17

In the next three chapters Isaiah predicts the fall of various nations, including Egypt, Ethiopia, Philistia, Babylon, Edom, and Arabia. I find it fascinating that Isaiah prophesies the fall of Babylon at the hands of the Medo-Persians, even before either nation had risen to any type of world-power status (Elam is Persia/Iran – Isaiah 21:2).

God did NOT want His people to trust Egypt any longer. Egypt is a typology of the world.

Warren Wiersbe, “A strong faction in Judah advised the king to get help from Egypt (Isa. 31), but Isaiah warned that Egypt could not help them. Why? Because the Lord had discouraged and divided the Egyptians (Isaiah 19:1–2), their counsel was from the devil (Isaiah 19:3), and they were heading for bondage themselves (Isaiah 19:4). Furthermore, their economy was about to fail (Isaiah 19:5–10). How could they help? The counselors in Egypt were supposed to be very wise, but God said they were deluded fools (Isaiah 19:11–13). God’s people get their wisdom from God, not from the world (James 1:5). The wisdom of Egypt would lead them into staggering and humiliating defeat (Isaiah 19:14–15).”

Isaiah was commanded by God to walk in public without his outer garment and sandals – for three years! This was a sign for the people to see:

Isaiah 20:4 (NKJV) “…so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians as prisoners and the Ethiopians as captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.”

Warren Wiersbe, “God uses things we see and hear to help us make the right decisions. Do we really pay attention?”

Isaiah also mingled in prophecies about Egypt and Assyria serving the LORD, along with Israel (Isaiah 19:24-25). Today we do find believers in both of these areas, but this won’t come to complete fulfillment until the Millennial Kingdom.

Isaiah reminds us that the whole-wide-world, yes, the nations of the world are like a drop in the bucket, they’re dust to God (Isaiah 40:15). God will deal with each one. Isaiah also reveals to us that God knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). We have innumerable prophecies that have been fulfilled in the past, this gives us an absolute assurance that God’s Word for the future WILL indeed come to pass.

Galatians 2:1-16

The incident Paul writes about can be traced back to Acts 15. False teachers had crept into the church and taught the people that faith wasn’t enough, that they also needed to be circumcised in order to be (or stay) saved. Thank God that Paul was an advocate for the Gospel, he didn’t give-in for a moment to even a single “drop” of perversion to the Gospel!

Paul reveals one of the motives of these false teachers, and that is to bring people into “bondage” (Galatians 2:4). This is what legalism does, it takes away the freedom and peace we’ve been given in Christ by imposing various rules and regulations, additions of traditions, and the next thing you know, you’re either weighed down by the burden, or you lose the very assurance of your salvation. Friend, please, beware of legalism! Let’s make sure we have a clear understanding of the Gospel, that we are no longer bound by any law. We are saved by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Paul only agreed to go up to Jerusalem and be part of that first church council, because the Lord supernaturally told him to go (he said he went up “by revelation” Galatians 2:2). I’m sure Paul respected the leaders in Jerusalem, but he knew that God doesn’t have favorites. The Gospel is not something that originated with men, Paul says, they “added nothing to me,” in other words, they didn’t add anything to my message.

The truth is, James, Peter, and John, as well as the other apostles who were in Jerusalem, had the same Gospel, but a different “audience.” At that point in time, those other brothers were focusing on evangelizing the Jews, while Paul was reaching out to the Gentiles. They approved of each other’s different ministries geographically, and logistically, but in their hearts they served Christ unitedly, they only asked Paul to continue to consider the poor in Jerusalem, something he was always eager to do.

Over the years I’ve read some pretty strong thoughts about Paul and the Apostles. Some of them say that if it weren’t for Paul, Christianity would have ended up as simply a “sect of Judaism.” We see a hint of that here in Galatians 2 as Paul boldly confronts even Peter and Barnabas for their hypocrisy. Under the New Covenant, they were allowed to eat anything (1 Timothy 4:3-4) and with anyone (see also Acts 10). So, Paul and Barnabas freely ate with the Gentiles, but, when “certain men” came from James in Jerusalem, they reverted back to the Old Covenant – they wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles under such circumstances, and Paul confronted Peter face-to-face!

We are called to preach the Gospel to the lost, protect the Gospel from false teachers, and preserve the Gospel by expounding it to the church with courage and clarity.

Galatians 2:16 (NKJV) “knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”

Psalm 59:1-17

David prays/sings and essentially says, “Deliver me, Lord. Defend me. Save me…for my enemy is against me. My enemies seeks to kill me for no reason – deal with them Lord. 

In the morning and at evening, they surround me, they’re watching me…so Lord, I pray to You, I trust in You, I wait on You.”

The background to this Psalm is 1 Samuel 19 when Saul sought to murder David simply because he’s jealous of David.

It’s instructive to learn that even though David here clearly turns to God and trusts in the LORD, David ends up fleeing from Saul (1 Samuel 19:12, 18). There are times when God protects us in practical ways. Remove yourself from the dangerous situation. We are not to test God, we are to trust Him, and follow Him every step of the way.

David would be on the run for ten years. During that decade God delivered him, defended him, helped him, dealt with his enemies, and answered his prayer. 

Psalm 59:13 (NKJV) “…and let them know that God rules in Jacob to the ends of the earth. Selah”

Proverbs 23:13-14

Proverbs 23:13-14 (NKJV) “Do not withhold correction {NIV discipline} from a child, for if you beat {NIV punish} him with a rod, he will not die. 14 You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell. {NIV death}

NLT – They won’t die if you spank them. Physical discipline may well save them from death. 

That’s a heavy truth! And not just death but destruction; a home in hell!

There’s a lot of this type of parental guidance in the Proverbs which tells me it’s important.

We read last time in: 

Proverbs 22:15 (NKJV) “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him.”

And before that way back in: 

Proverbs 13:24 (NLT) “Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.”

If we don’t discipline our children then we’re neglecting them, leaving them to raise themselves, and that’s not going to be good.

Proverbs 29:15 (NKJV) “The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.”

Some parents don’t discipline their children because they’re fooled and influenced by the world, or they just want to be their friend – but other parents don’t discipline they’re children simply because they’re too busy doing other things. The truth is, our children need constant attention.

This neglect can happen at the hands of anyone. Eli and David were examples of men in prominent positions, who neglected to discipline their sons, who paid the price with their lives.

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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