September 27

Isaiah 51:1–53:12

Isaiah offered words of comfort to the people of Israel who one day would be returning from bondage in Babylon. There was no need to fear. He encouraged the people to look back to their spiritual heritage, back to Abraham, and Sarah, they took that “journey” all alone back then, but look what God had done! Israel’s history was filled with God’s faithfulness. Isaiah pointed out their redemption from Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea (Isaiah 51:9-10, 15).

There’s no need to fear the future, when we consider the past. God has been gracious, faithful, and all-powerful on behalf of His people. We have nothing to fear, heaven and earth will pass away (Isaiah 51:6) but we the redeemed who possess the promises of God’s Word, will never pass away.

Throughout the ages Israel would experience immense opposition. The Philistines, the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Babylonians,  the Greeks and Romans, Muslims and Germans, the list is endless, but Israel has prevailed.

Isaiah 51:22–23 (NKJV) “Thus says your Lord, the LORD and your God, Who pleads the cause of His people: ‘See, I have taken out of your hand the cup of trembling, the dregs of the cup of My fury; You shall no longer drink it. 23 But I will put it into the hand of those who afflict you, Who have said to you, ‘Lie down, that we may walk over you.’ And you have laid your body like the ground, and as the street, for those who walk over.”

God has done it in the past, and He will do it in the future, defeat every form of opposition towards His people and shelter them under the shadow of His wings.

If you dig a little deeper into Isaiah 52 you’ll see that day on the horizon, when the Jews finally receive their Messiah. Paul the Apostle quotes Isaiah 52:7 in Romans 10:15 in reference to the Gospel.

Isaiah 52:7 (NKJV) “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”

One day the Lord would bring back Zion, they would be free from the bondage of Babylon, and they would be free from the bondage of sin (John 8:32-36). As they left captivity, they were to consider Isaiah’s cry:

Isaiah 52:11 (NKJV) “Depart! Depart! Go out from there, touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of her, be clean, you who bear the vessels of the LORD.”

Paul quotes the above passage in 2 Corinthians 6:17 – it’s time for ALL of God’s people to come out, to be free, to stay clean. How is this at all possible?

The answer? Jesus!

Isaiah 52:13-53:12 are some of the most amazing and detailed prophecies in all the Bible. It’s a picture of Jesus Christ the Suffering Servant.

When He was beaten, scourged, and crucified, He was marred more than any man (Isaiah 52:14). But who will believe, to whom will Jesus, the Arm of the LORD be revealed? (Isaiah 53:1)

After the incarnation (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6) He grew up so naturally; He was despised and rejected by men (Isaiah 53:5). Some say there was nothing special about His appearance (Isaiah 53:2) but it’s hard for me to believe that people who were open to God, weren’t drawn to Him when He was here in the flesh.

Jesus bore our griefs, our sorrows, our transgressions, and our sins. He paid a debt He didn’t owe, because we owed a debt we couldn’t pay. Isn’t this an amazing prophecy about Jesus?

Isaiah 53:6-7 (NKJV) “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.”

Jesus became our Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7).

John 1:29 (NKJV) “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’”

Jesus died for our sins, was crucified with transgressors (Isaiah 53:21), He laid in a borrowed grave (Isaiah 53:9), and His soul was an offering for sin.

I like the way the NLT puts Isaiah 53:11

Isaiah 53:11 (NLT) “When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous Servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for He will bear all their sins.”

I’ve typed a few words, but I’ve only scratched the surface of this amazing prophecy. I encourage you to spend the rest of your life, digging into this spiritual gold mine.

In Acts 8:26-38 we read the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch who was reading this section of the scroll of Isaiah. When he came to this portion of the passage he asked Philip who Isaiah was talking about? Was it himself or some other person? We read Philip’s response:

Acts 8:35 (NKJV) “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.”

It’s all about Jesus the Suffering Servant who was slaughtered for our sins and has saved us forever. The Gospel so clearly seen…in the book of Isaiah!

Ephesians 5:1-33

The Greek word translated “imitators” in Ephesians 5:1 is the origin of our English word “mimic.” As God’s children we are to mimic Him by walking in love. True love is to be a characteristic that would summarize our lives. This love for God and others is to be unconditional and sacrificial, even as Jesus gave Himself for us as a sacrifice and a sweet-smelling aroma to His Father (see also Romans 12:1-2).

It’s critical to realize the infinite difference between love and lust. Over the years it’s heart-breaking for me to see the sexual sin that occurs in the church. Paul tells us that there shouldn’t even be a hint of these things. Paul mentions covetousness and course jesting in this arena, (yes they are sins in-and-of themselves) but I believe the context is sinful sexuality. A man can “covet” his neighbors wife or get caught up in dirty jokes with “the boys.” Paul gives a specific warning that people who live that type of life have no inheritance in the Kingdom of God, on the contrary they’re headed for the wrath of God. Let no one deceive you about this saying it’s just natural, or fun.

We are to walk worthy (Ephesians 4:1), we are to walk in love (Ephesians 5:1), we are to walk as children of light (Ephesians 5:8) and later we’re told to walk circumspectly (Ephesians 5:15). To walk as children of light speaks of knowing God’s will (Word – Psalm 119:105), doing God’s will, and living as lights in a dark world (Philippians 2:15). As Christians who reflect God’s light we are to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather we are to expose them. Can you imagine a world without light, without God’s people exposing and fighting the evil?

To walk circumspectly means to walk carefully – to stay on the path, watch out for the stumbling stones, the holes, the mines. We must be careful with God’s time, redeem it – let’s not be too busy doing our own thing. 

It’s not time to be drunk with wine, it’s time to be under the influence of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5;18). This leads to a life that just of worshipping God, fellowship with others, and mutual submission among the saints.

In Ephesians 5:22-33 Paul deals with marriage and how the relationship between husband and wife is to be a reflection of the relationship between Christ and His bride – the church.

Wives are called to submit to their husbands, as to the Lord (see also 1 Peter 3:1-6). This doesn’t mean that men are better than women, because we’re not; it’s simply God’s order for the family. When a man knows that his wife prays for him, supports him and is willing to follow his lead, it actually helps that man to be a better man and leader. Of course, this is usually very challenging for a woman, because part of the consequences of the fall is that she is going to want to rule over her husband (Genesis 3:16). We must also keep in mind that a wife is not called to submit to her husband if he asks her to sin (Acts 5:29).

Husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. Most men have a tendency to be selfish, but we are to be the exact opposite as Christians, and especially as husbands. Put her, and her needs, and her wants, and her dreams before yours. Many men say, “We’ll, I’ll love her if she gets her act together,” and yet that’s the exact opposite of what true love is. Jesus died for His bride, earning Him the right to sanctify and cleanse her by the washing of the Water of the Word, and THEN He presents His bride to Himself, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing but that she should be holy and without blemish.

You see, guys? As we love our wives the way Christ loved the church, nourishing, cherishing and dying for her, she will bloom to be the beautiful woman we’ve always wanted.

Marriage is tough, because you essentially have two rebels under the same roof, two sinners side-by-side. Marriage done God’s way can be a slice of heaven on earth, but if we do it our way, it can be a living-hell. God hates divorce and anything that would lead to divorce (Malachi 2:16) because He knows the damage and devastation it inflicts on the family and everyone around them, so God wants our marriages to go the distance. But we don’t want to simply survive, we want to thrive. We don’t want to end up as room-mates, we want to be soul-mates.

How? By TRULY living according to God’s word.

Husbands, don’t ever under estimate the power of Agape love. Love your wife!

Wives don’t ever under estimate the power of your support, submission, and respect. He doesn’t deserve it, but desperately needs it.

God gives us the keys that turn each other’s hearts so that we may have a marriage that would reflect God’s love, beauty, and unity for a lifetime.

Psalm 69:19-36

David was in the middle of some very trying times, again. On one hand he’s experiencing the results of his own sin, but added to that, was the reproach of the enemy (Psalm 69:26).

He said the, “reproach has broken my heart.”

Have you ever been there? Heartbroken?

David couldn’t find any comforters, so he prayed for God to pour out His wrath upon his enemies (Psalm 69:24). It’s just how he “felt.” He wanted them to be blotted out of the Book of the Living (Psalm 69:28).

This Psalm has an allusion to Christ, a prophecy of when they offered Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink, when He was nailed to the cross (Matthew 27:34). The difference however was that when Jesus died, He didn’t pray for His Father to pour out His wrath on His persecutors, or executors, He prayed for His Father to forgive them (Luke 23:34). Jesus, the Son of God and Son of David wants everyone’s name to be written in the Book of Life. Of course we know not everyone will be saved and choose to follow God, but that’s His heart (2 Peter 3:9)

David knew his God would deliver him, so he praised the Lord and stood on God’s promises. He even encouraged others to trust the Lord and truly seek Him.

Psalm 69:32 (NKJV) “The humble shall see this and be glad; and you who seek God, your hearts shall live.”

May we be humble and seek God sincerely, may we be among those who really do love His name (Psalm 69:36). Thank You Jesus!

Proverbs 24:7

Proverbs 24:7 (NKJV) “Wisdom is too lofty for a fool; he does not open his mouth in the gate.”

He just doesn’t get it, so he doesn’t have the capacity to give it. Back then, the “gate” was there where the people would go for guidance and judgment. Kind of a combination of City Hall, City Courts, and City Counsel/Council.

Psalm 10:5 in speaking about the fool, says that God’s, “…judgments are far above, out of his sight…” he can’t see it, and he doesn’t get it.

Proverbs 14:6a (NKJV) “A scoffer seeks wisdom and does not find it…”

Why not?

1 Corinthians 2:14 (NKJV) “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

In order for a person to be able to offer any type of good and Godly counsel – that person must be born again and therefore able to know God’s Word.

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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