September 23, 2021

Isaiah 41:17–43:13

Isaiah 41:17-18 speaks of water for the poor and needy. I can’t help but think of Jesus’ words in:

John 7:37-39A (NKJV) “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive…”

Are you thirsty for the Lord? He will provide that water to quench our thirst and even the grace to water others that they may bring forth fruit, symbolized in Isaiah 41:19.

God commands His people to flee idols, He even challenges these idols to do something so “that we many know that you are gods…” but they can’t, for they’re lifeless.

Isaiah 41:29 (NKJV) “Indeed they are all worthless; their works are nothing; their molded images are wind and confusion.”

Isaiah 42:1-13 speaks of Jesus as Servant. Matthew 12:18-21 quotes Isaiah 42:1-4 and applies it specifically to Jesus. Jesus was upheld by His Father, anointed by the Spirit. He spoke truth and encouragement to those who were hurting (Matthew 11:28-30). The day will come, when Jesus will establish justice on planet earth, and people all around the world, the coastlands, the Gentiles – many – will trust in Him.

Isaiah then transitions into Israel as servant, but they weren’t a faithful servant. They were blind and deaf (Isaiah 42:18-19) they had trusted in idols. They would not walk in God’s ways, they were disobedient to His Word (Isaiah 42:24). God disciplined them, but they did not take it to heart (Isaiah 42:25).

And yet, God would not give up on His people. Isaiah 43 begins with a wonderful exhortation to Israel to “fear not” for God had redeemed them, He bought them back. This would be words of encouragement for those Jews who would return to the land…there’s no need to be afraid.

Isaiah 43:1–3 (NKJV) “But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. 3 For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…”

God tells His people He loves them (Isaiah 43:4). God defeated other nations in order to set His people free. We’ve witnessed it throughout the ages and even in our generation, how the Lord has regathered the Jews from all over the world. God wants us to see this as a sign of who He is.

Isaiah 43:10 (NKJV) “You are My witnesses,” says the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me.”

The fact that Israel is in the land today, is a sign for the whole-wide-world to see, that the LORD, He is God. There was no god before Him, neither shall there be one formed after Him. He is the only Savior.

It’s time to let go of all idols. Isaiah teaches us this. Isaiah also teaches us not to trust in Egypt either (the world). No matter what we’re going through (even if it’s fires and floods) may we know that God is with us as He was with the three Hebrew children (Daniel 3:25). He will accomplish His purposes for our good and His glory. Let’s trust in Him and Him only (Isaiah 42:17; 26:3).

Ephesians 2:1-22

At one time I was on a slippery slope, without hope – “but God” came in and rescued my life. I wasn’t just spiritually sick, I was dead in my sins. I thought back then, that I was only doing my thing, but Paul sheds light on the fact that I was on a certain “track” – a course set by the fallen world (see 1 John 5:19). This “world” is under the influence of the devil himself. Paul calls him the “prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). 

All this evil just fed my fallen flesh, so that my three enemies – (1) the world, (2) the flesh, and (3) the devil were pounding me down, paving the way to hell, where I was in route to experiencing the eternal wrath of God, and justifiably so (I was by nature a child of wrath with all the rest).

But God…

Those two words in succession are some of the most beautiful words we’ll ever read or hear. God is rich in mercy (not set to give us what we deserve). He’s great in love (passionate for our best even when we’re at our worst). He’s amazing in His grace (lifting us up all the way to heaven even though we only deserve hell). God didn’t just raise us from the dead and leave us in the cemetery, He’s raised us from the dead and seated us in the heavenlies…it’s ALL Him – that’s why He gets all the credit and all the glory, now and forever more.

Ephesians 2:8-10 are some of the most important passages in the entire Bible, worthy of memorization. We are saved by grace (undeserved favor), through faith (genuine belief/trust in the heart) in Christ (the Person and work of Jesus). Salvation is a gift, it’s not something we’ve earned in the past or will ever be able to earn in the future. It’s not by some ceremony, or sacrament, or any “work” of our own – on the contrary, WE are God’s work, we are His workmanship. The Greek word is poiēma from where we derive our English word poem. The truth is, God is working in us and through us to be the people and do the things He has planned – it’s a story He’s writing, that started…even before time began.

Paul goes on to address the fact that the Gentiles (non-Jews) were at one time far away, without hope – without God. They were strangers to the Scriptures, they were people who didn’t know the promises, they had no covenant, without the commonwealth of Israel, but now they (we Gentiles) have been brought near by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Jesus’ blood has broken down the middle wall of separation so that now there is no spiritual advantage whether Jew or Gentile; now there can be unity in Christ. No longer are the Gentiles aliens, stranger, or foreigners, spiritually speaking, but now they are fellow-citizens of heaven. This doesn’t mean that the church has replaced Israel (as some mistakenly teach “Replacement Theology” – see Romans 9-11 – God is still dealing with Israel) it just means that we Gentiles have been grafted into God’s vineyard. The church is built upon the foundational teaching of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Himself being the Chief Cornerstone – a fulfillment of Psalm 118:22-25. The cornerstone (foundation stone or setting stone) is the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, it’s most important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure – that’s Jesus!

Psalm 67:1-7

Psalm 67:1 is an appropriation of the High Priestly prayer of Numbers 6:23-27. This was the blessing the High Priest was to pray over Israel. Here we see that we can even pray it for ourselves.

We desperately need God’s mercy and blessing. 

For His face to shine upon us, describes His smile over us, His grace and favor, and even His intimate presence.

This Psalm is an invitation to the whole wide world. One day Jesus will rule over ALL the nations. What a glorious day that will be.

As we allow the Lord to rule over our own hearts, we will experience His gracious blessings in our lives.

Proverbs 23:29-35

Proverbs 23:29-35 (NKJV) “Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes?  30 Those who linger long at the wine, those who go in search of mixed wine. 31 Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly; 32 At the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper. 33 Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things. 34 Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying: 35 “They have struck me, but I was not hurt; they have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?”

I remember when I was just a little boy, seeing people around me drinking alcohol. I saw fights between grown-ups. It usually started with words that escalated to punches thrown. I saw them get beat up, right in front of my eyes.

I don’t think this would have happened if they hadn’t been drinking. One statistic I heard said that 80% of all crimes are committed by people under the influence of alcohol.

I just don’t understand why people drink – even people who call themselves Christians. Some say the Bible permits it, and yet we’re clearly commanded not to be drunk with wine, for it leads to a wasted life (Ephesians 5:18). The Bible is filled with warnings such as the one we have in this Proverb and elsewhere:

Isaiah 5:11 (NKJV) “Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may follow intoxicating drink; who continue until night, till wine inflames them!”

Isaiah 5:22 (NKJV) “Woe to men mighty at drinking wine, woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink.”

Consider what it cost Noah (his respect), Lot (he fell into incest with his daughters), Herod murdered John the Baptist – the greatest prophet of God, and it cost Nabal his life. It’s just not worth it!

NET Notes, “The point of these similes is to compare being drunk with being seasick. One who tries to sleep when at sea, or even worse, when up on the ropes of the mast, will be tossed back and forth.”

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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