September 28

Isaiah 54:1–57:14

Isaiah calls the nation of Israel to sing in celebration of their salvation. They may have felt “barren,” but they wouldn’t be for long. God would give them children, they would expand, grow forward, and inherit the land (Isaiah 54:3). 

Even though they experienced so much heartache, for many men had died in discipline, Israel would be taken care of, God Himself would be their “husband.”

Isaiah 54:5 (NKJV) “For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.”

God had (and has over the centuries) disciplined His children, but He would never destroy them, He keeps His covenant.

Isaiah 54:7–8 (NKJV) “‘For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you. 8 With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,’ says the LORD, your Redeemer.”

Isaiah 54:10 (NKJV) “‘For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,’ says the LORD, who has mercy on you.”

What a beautiful promise we read in Isaiah 54:13, that all of our children will be taught by the LORD…they will experience great peace. And then one of my favorite promises in the whole Bible:

Isaiah 54:17 (NKJV) “‘No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me,’ says the LORD.”

Isaiah 55  is one long and lovely invitation to salvation. Is anyone out there thirsty for God? Hungry for heaven? The Lord freely offers to us everything we need and everything we’d ever want, He Himself gives us love for a lifetime, joy for the journey, satisfaction in action. Salvation is not something we could ever purchase with our own wealth or good works, it’s something freely given to us by God because it’s been purchased by the blood of His Son (Acts 20:28).

As Isaiah mentions the sure mercies of David – the witness, leader, and commander he is (Isaiah 55:3-4), clearly it’s a reference to Jesus, the Savior in Salvation. Today we live in the “acceptable time” of the Lord (Isaiah 49:8) so people should call upon Him while they can. The day will come when it will be too late.

Isaiah 55:6 (NKJV) “Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.”

Some need to be saved for the first time, others need to return to God; they once walked with Him but now they find themselves walking with the wicked, even walking like the wicked. Isaiah reaches out:

Isaiah 55:7 (NKJV) “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”

In mentioning God’s mercy, Isaiah elaborates on the fact that God is not like us – His ways are higher, He is infinitely gracious. Man has a hard time forgiving (don’t we?). But God forgives, He takes His Word, plants it into the hearts of the people and brings forth, grace, salvation, and fruit on “trees” who have been forgiven.

Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV) “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

Isaiah 56 begins with the epic truth that there would be salvation for the Gentiles! God’s covenant was, and is available for all people. A large part of the Old Covenant was the keeping of the Sabbath (something emphasized in this chapter). Under the New Covenant, however, the Sabbath was not stressed (Romans 14:5; Colossians 2:16). Praise God, we’ve been set free, given true rest, and welcomed home to enjoy life in God’s House!

Speaking of the Gentiles, Isaiah said:

Isaiah 56:7 (NKJV) “Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”

As Isaiah speaks of good things among the Gentiles, he then transitions into bad things that happened among the Jews, beginning with their leaders (Isaiah 56:9-12).  They were described as devouring beasts, blind watchmen, they didn’t know God’s Word, or God’s voice, they couldn’t even “bark” (unable to warn). They were irresponsible, all they cared about was themselves, they were greedy for gain, drunk every day!

Of course this lack of leadership would affect the nation. Isaiah 57 describes Israel in their idolatrous state. Initially he speaks of people dying mercifully (Isaiah 57:1-2). For these men it was better that God took them home to heaven than that they see the evil of the land and the judgment of the Lord.

God indicted Israel for their idolatry, even their “abortion” yes, they killed their children, “…slaying them in the valleys.” (Isaiah 57:5) An intense temptation of the enemy was the way the pagan nations mingled sexual immorality into their idolatry; so Isaiah speaks of the way they set their beds up on the high mountains, and uncovered their parts to pagan gods.

Warren Wiersbe, “This description of the godless society in Judah seems quite contemporary. God denounced them for lying, worshiping idols, indulging in sexual sins, sacrificing their children, and mocking the godly. These people had no fear of God because He did not immediately send judgment, but their day was coming.”

If only we would trust in the Lord, and Him only (Isaiah 57:13)

Ephesians 6:1-24

What a different place this planet would be – if only we did things God’s way. Makes sense to me, but we’re living in a world where the enemy has done everything he can to destroy the family, which is the very fabric of society.

After dealing with marriage in Ephesians 5, Paul challenges children to obey their parents, not superficially but from the heart, for God calls us to truly honor them. This command covers a wide spectrum – from esteeming them when we’re young, all the way to taking care of them when they’re older (see 1 Timothy 5:4, 8). This is the only one of the ten commandments that comes with a promise, obedience to this command leads to a general principle, promising longevity of life.

Paul then shares something radical in those days – rights and respect to the children! Parents are not to provoke their children to wrath with unfair or inconsistent practices, on the contrary, we are to bring them up by not only teaching them, but training them and encouraging them in the Lord.

The attention is next directed to the work place. Employees are to foster the attitude and realize the truth that ultimately they work for the Lord. I remember some of the people I worked with in the past, who only kicked it into gear when the boss was around. Paul teaches us that we may or may not get that raise or promotion here on earth, but God will reward us for working hard and doing good. We learn that these principles are not solely for employees, they’re also for employers…Paul tells them to “do the same.” We are all to work for the Lord – and those in positions of leadership must never forget that Christ is our boss, our leader, our Master, so we should never mistreat any one of our employees, for one day we also will give an account.

Up to this point in the book of Ephesians – God’s dealt with our wealth and our walk, He now deals with our war. We’ve covered our belief and our behavior, but we now cover the battle in Ephesians 6:10-20. It’s critical to realize that we’re in a war, not against flesh and blood (other people) – no – we’re in a war against the devil and his demons. It’s a spiritual war (see also 2 Timothy 2:3-4) and we therefore need spiritual weapons (see also 2 Corinthians 10:4). We’d all admit that we’re no match for the devil, but we all know that the devil is no match for God – and it’s for that reason we need to put on the whole armor God has provided, each and every day!

Girding our waist with truth means we’re determined to be people of our word. 

The breastplate speaks of the imputed and imparted righteousness of Christ. 

The Gospel of peace for our feet means we’re always ready to share the gospel with others, and at the same time, we believe it for ourselves. 

The shield of faith is the way we believe God’s word, His truth, in a land of lies, ’cuz the enemy is a liar who bombards us with fiery darts – constant thoughts that pierce our minds that are not of the Lord. 

The helmet of salvation is the assurance of salvation, guarding our minds from doubting it.

The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God, we swing it and hold to it just as Jesus did in Matthew 4:1-11. 

The armor is put on by faith and prayer, and it’s held on by praying always, even for our leaders like Paul, who asks the people to pray for him, for courage and clarity, to boldly teach the Bible. 

“O Lord, let our love be sincere” (Ephesians 6:24).

Psalm 70:1-5

David, once again, was in urgent need. He asks God to hurry, please hurry Lord, to help me.

There was a king with an entire army after David, to hurt him, and hunt him down. In this Psalm David prays for God to turn them back.

If you’re a Christian endeavoring to do the will of the Lord, you can be sure that the enemy will do all he can to hurt you, and even hunt you down. Some days we feel it, we sense it, we experience it even more. The remedy is the same – pray – and praise the Lord; the enemy hates both of those activities, because the enemy knows, he’s no match for God.

David prays, not only for himself but for all those out there who were being persecuted:

Psalm 70:4 (NKJV) “Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; and let those who love Your salvation say continually, ‘Let God be magnified!’”

David prayed for those who seek the Lord – to rejoice; that those who love the Lord would say it, say it out loud, “Let God be magnified!”

Proverbs 24:8

Proverbs 24:8 (NKJV) “He who plots to do evil will be called a schemer. 

The doing of any evil is always sin, but planning and plotting that evil makes that sin even worse, it’s double trouble, twice as bad.

According to this Proverb they’re not simply sinners, they’re schemers.

They didn’t just trip and fall accidentally, they sinned presumptuously and will be punished accordingly. That’s why there’s a big difference in the punishment for manslaughter and premeditated (first-degree) murder.

Exodus 21:12–14 (NKJV) “He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death. 13 However, if he did not lie in wait, but God delivered him into his hand, then I will appoint for you a place where he may flee. 14 But if a man acts with premeditation against his neighbor, to kill him by treachery, you shall take him from My altar, that he may die.”

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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