September 25, 2021

Isaiah 45:11–48:11

In this section of Isaiah he emphasizes the sovereignty of God, how He rules over every person, every nation, even the whole-wide-world, and not only brings things to pass, but is able to declare the end from the beginning (we call that prophecy). There is none like our LORD!

Isaiah continues with the prophecy concerning Cyrus, the Persian King (see 2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-2; Isaiah 44:28; 45:1) this is two hundred years before his birth). Cyrus was made by God for the purposes of God, who would direct his ways. Jerusalem would be rebuilt and the exiles would go free.

We read repeatedly about the unparalleled uniqueness of God – “…there is no other; there is no other God” (Isaiah 45:14). “There is none besides Me” (Isaiah 45:21). “For I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:22). “For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me” (Isaiah 46:9).

But the Babylonians would rise to think THEY were gods. Notice what they said in their hearts:

Isaiah 47:8 (NKJV) “Therefore hear this now, you who are given to pleasures, who dwell securely, Who say in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one else besides me…”

Isaiah 47:10 (NKJV) “…and you have said in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one else besides me.’”

Not only were the people propping up idols as gods, the Babylonians thought of themselves as gods, they did whatever they wanted to do, and in their selfish pride they said, “…there is no one else besides me.” God would humble them and put them in their place, the day would come when they would sit in the dust, without a throne, and their nakedness would be uncovered.

Isaiah reasons with the people (Isaiah 1:18). You carry the wood to make your “gods” (Isaiah 45:20) and you even carry your gods on your shoulders (Isaiah 46:7), but the living God the Lord of all carries His people from the womb to the tomb.

Isaiah 46:3–4 (NKJV) “Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been upheld by Me from birth, who have been carried from the womb: 4 Even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.

The Lord clearly commands His people:

Isaiah 46:3a (NKJV) “Listen to Me…”

Isaiah 46:12a (NKJV) “Listen to Me…”

Isaiah 45:22 (NKJV) “Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.”

Are we listening to Him? Have you looked to Him?

Warren Wiersbe, “The famous British preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834–92) was converted to Christ when he heard a layman preach a sermon based on Isaiah 45:22. “He was an ignorant man,” said Spurgeon in later years. “He could not say much; he was obliged to keep to his text. Thank God for that.” The preacher looked at young Spurgeon and said, “Young man, you are very miserable. Young man, look! In God’s name, look, and look now!” Spurgeon said, “I did look, blessed be God! I know I looked then and there, and he who but that minute before had been near despair had the fullness of joy and hope.” Have you looked to Christ by faith and received His gift of salvation?”

Not only are we to look to God to be saved, we are to keep our eyes on Him in order to grow and be sanctified (Hebrews 12:2). Beware putting your eyes anywhere else.

God allowed His people to be carried away captive for a season and a reason; time in the furnace of affliction would purge them of their sin (Job 23:10; 1 Peter 1:7). God would eventually restore them to their rightful place, that the world might know who God and is and what He’s done…His reputation and Name is on the line (Isaiah 48:11).

Ephesians 4:1-16

In a general sense, Paul now moves from doctrine to duty, from belief to behavior, from wealth to walk, and eventually to war (6:10-20). What a great salvation we have – how rich we are – but the big question is what do we do with that wealth? Paul begs us to do our utmost to “cash-in” on those spiritual riches we possess. Paul encourages us to walk (to live) in a way that lines up with our calling as Christians.

Let’s endeavor (make every effort) to walk in humility and unity. Paul uses the word “one” seven times in Ephesians 4:4-6 to emphasize our unity. This “oneness” holds true even today. Although there are many Christian denominations, as long as we hold to the essentials of the faith (who God is, the truth of His Word, and how we’re saved) then we’re all part of the same body – there’s only ONE body of Christ.

And then, as we saw in back in 1 Corinthians 12, Paul mingles the message of unity with diversity – how we’re called to work together in ministry. In Ephesians 4:7 we discover that each of us has been given a gift, by God’s grace. 

When Jesus died He went down, He descended to Abraham’s bosom (see Luke 16:19-31). He declared His victory and led the righteous to heaven. After that He ascended to heaven and by the Holy Spirit gave gifts to men (Christians). Not only did Jesus (by the Holy Spirit) give gifts to men and women, He also gave individuals as gifts to the church – these are those who called to equip the body – speaking God’s word to the church. 

Apostles (missionaries), prophets, evangelists, pastor-teachers. I don’t believe the church still has the office of Apostles and Prophets as we did in the building of the church (see Ephesians 2:20) but we do have the gift and function of an apostle or prophet, speaking God’s word – not things that are new, but things that are true. What these equippers do is speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). In doing so, we build up the church, we edify the people so that they might be strong enough to discover, develop, and deploy their gifts. When every part (person) does their share, all the people will be blessed, built up, and benefit to the point that we won’t be children tossed “to and fro,” on the contrary we’ll grow, to be more and more like Jesus.

What’s your part in the body of Christ? I pray you’d know you’re important, we need you. May God grant us the grace to be the holy, healthy body of Christ.

Psalm 68:19-35

Each day God blesses us with benefits (Psalm 68:19) and every day is a gift from God. If the enemy had his way, we’d all be dead, but God protects us – to Him belong “escapes from death.” (Psalm 68:20)

The Psalm goes on to give graphic details on how the LORD would defeat the enemies of Israel, even to the point of dogs licking their blood, feasting upon Israel’s enemies (Psalm 68:23).

As a result Israel was to thank God, to praise God, to seek God  in the sanctuary. David anticipated that the future Temple would one day draw all nations to the LORD. He had a heart for the world to be saved.

David understood that God wanted Israel to be instrumental in reaching the world – this is why he prayed for Israel to thrive. And although God would use the people and the Temple, ultimately it is God Himself, He alone, who the world needs.

Psalm 68:35 (NKJV) “O God, You are more awesome than Your holy places. The God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to His people. Blessed be God!”

Proverbs 24:3-4

Proverbs 24:3-4 (NKJV) “Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; 4 By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.”

On the surface this does apply to an actual house being built…that structure our families dwell in. Built as a place of protection from the elements of the world. Built to last and to be filled with good things.

So, it’s applicable in that sense, but this Proverbial house speaks more about Spiritual things for our family…when Spiritual wisdom, understanding, and knowledge fill the “rooms” of our “house.”

I’m reminded of Joshua’s challenge:

Joshua 24:15 (NKJV) “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

By the way, it’s not just the man who’s responsible for this, it’s the woman as well. We read in:

Proverbs 14:1 (NKJV) “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands.”

You might even apply this to a church congregationally, or to Christians personally.

1 Timothy 3:15 (NKJV) “but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

1 Peter 2:5 (NKJV) “you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

By God’s wisdom and work we will be blessed with precious and pleasant riches.

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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