In Isaiah 62:6-11 we have that classic picture of the watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem – but in this case they’re praying for the city. They’re commanded not to rest until the city’s blessed. And that’s exactly what happens – that’s what WILL happen one day, the city of Jerusalem and her people will be blessed it will be the capital of the world.
Isaiah 62:11–12 (NKJV) “Indeed the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the world: ‘Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Surely your salvation is coming; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.’’ 12 And they shall call them the Holy People, the Redeemed of the LORD; and you shall be called Sought Out, a City Not Forsaken.”
Isaiah 63 begins with Jesus as Judge.
The Day will come when He returns to judge the world and the wrath of Almighty God will be poured out on mankind. It’s described as the Day of Vengeance (see also Isaiah 61:2b; Revelation 14:19-20; 19:11-16). Isaiah emphasizes the bloody death of those days.
Isaiah then transitions into the history of the Israel, how the LORD was so loving, and kind, and good towards Israel…He became their Savior (Isaiah 63:8). He was personal with His people, He was afflicted when they were afflicted; He was among them with His special Presence. He loved them, pitied them, cared for and carried them.
But Israel did not live in gratitude towards God.
Isaiah 63:10 (NKJV) “But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; so He turned Himself against them as an enemy, and He fought against them.”
The discipline of a Father was extended toward His children – restored after a season of correction. We see it in Israel’s history, we also see it in our own history don’t we? (Hebrews 12:3-11).
Isaiah 63:14-64:12 is a penitent prayer for God to intervene, once again, as He’d done so many times in the past. “Lead Your people, look down from heaven, You are our Father…”
I don’t believe God would ever harden our hearts (Isaiah 63:17) unless we’ve first hardened them ourselves, as Pharaoh did. This prayer in essence, asks God to soften hearts, to bring us back to Him – he felt as if God was treating them as complete strangers (Isaiah 63:19).
Isaiah prayed for God to split the heavens and come down to work on behalf of His people who waited (believed) on Him (Isaiah 64:4). Even though our righteousness (the best we can do) is like the filthy rags, literally in reference to a woman’s menstrual garment, Isaiah pleads for forgiveness (Isaiah 64:6).
Isaiah 64:5b (NKJV) “…we need to be saved.”
Now – keep in mind Isaiah is writing all of this BEFORE Jerusalem was leveled by the Babylonians, but God had revealed to him it would happen, so Isaiah offers up a prayer in his time, and it becomes a prayer for all and any who need God’s restoration after experiencing His discipline.
God is our Father, He’s also the Potter…we are the clay (Isaiah 64:8). Ponder that for a moment. Are you pliable in His hands? Do you know He’s fashioning you into a vessel for honor?
Isaiah prays for God’s hand of discipline to be lifted, and for His hands of grace – to mold and shape His people once again.
Isaiah 65 begins with God’s salvation for the Gentiles (Isaiah 65:1), and judgment on the Jews (Isaiah 65:2-12). God would have mercy upon His people, there would be a remnant (Isaiah 65:8-10) but it would be a heavy hand of Divine discipline:
Isaiah 65:12 (NKJV) “Therefore I will number you for the sword, and you shall all bow down to the slaughter; because, when I called, you did not answer; when I spoke, you did not hear, but did evil before My eyes, and chose that in which I do not delight.”
Isaiah closes the chapter with descriptions of the Millennial Kingdom, when Jesus Christ rules and reigns from Jerusalem for one thousand years.
Isaiah 65:24–25 (NKJV) “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. 25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,” says the LORD.”
Paul would eventually send Timothy and Epaphroditus to check up on the Philippians. These two were not your typical men.
I’ve always loved the way Paul describes Timothy as someone very rare, who sincerely cared for the congregation (Philippians 1:20). In this sense Timothy was like-minded, he was like Paul in that he loved the people. Back then, as nowadays, such people are few and far between. As Paul writes – many ministers are selfish and are only in it for what they can get out of it. Timothy was different, his character was Christlike, and his character was proven, revealed over the years of tears, and miles of trials.
Epaphroditus was another special brother, loved by the Philippian church, and he (like Paul and Timothy) labored and fought for the Kingdom, even risking His life physically, that the people might thrive Spiritually (Philippians 2:30). God help us to glean from the lives of these men.
Paul wanted the Philippian church to receive these men. I’ll bet he also wanted them (and us) to emulate them.
We read next in:
Philippians 3:1 (NKJV) “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.”
Eight times in this little letter Paul uses the word “rejoice.” Some teachers have even identified “Joy” as the theme of Philippians, even though Paul is writing from a Roman prison. How can someone rejoice when they’re locked up behind bars and suffering? Warren Wiersbe comments, “If you cannot rejoice in your circumstances, you can always rejoice in the Lord who controls your circumstances. Fix your attention on Him. He may not change your situation, but He will change you; and that is even better.”
Paul was writing the “same things” – repeating himself. Some might call him tedious ( dull; tiresome or monotonous) but he didn’t care what they called him. He shared God’s Word not only to save them in the beginning, but to keep them safe always.
This is one of the most poplar and prominent Psalms because we often share Asaph’s perspective.
We look out at the people of the world – and from a distance, they look so happy, it’s as if they’ve got it “made in the shade.” Many of them are rich and trouble-free, even though they’re prideful and godless. And then we compare it to our won lives. Here we (believers) are doing our best to serve the Lord, but life is hard. Our troubles seem double. We echo the words of Asaph:
Psalm 73:13–14 (NKJV) “Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocence. 14 For all day long I have been plagued, and chastened every morning.”
Asaph almost stumbled, slipped, and fell, he may have even been on the verge of falling away. He was envious of the boastful (Psalm 73:2-3). As he tried to reason within himself, it was just too painful, he was ready to give up – until – – he went to “church,” he went into the sanctuary of the Lord…and then he understood their end (Psalm 73:17). Non believers will get their wish, they’ll get their way, eternity without God.
This world we live in is filled with people who look good on the outside, but on the inside, they’re dying because they don’t acknowledge God. Life after death will either take place in heaven or hell. We’re reminded of this in the sanctuary of the saints, when we go to church service. It’s been said that for the non-believer, this is the closest to heaven they’ll ever get; but to the believer, this is the closest to hell we’ll ever get. This life is a vapor, the next is eternal…God help us to keep our eyes on Him now and forever.
Psalm 73:24 (NKJV) “You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.”
God will guide us on earth and one day take us to heaven. With that understanding, let’s get as close to God as we can. He’s will bless you and use you to help others.
Psalm 73:28 (NKJV) “But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all Your works.”
Proverbs 24:13-14 (NKJV) “My son, eat honey because it is good, and the honeycomb which is sweet to your taste; 14 So shall the knowledge of wisdom be to your soul; if you have found it, there is a prospect, and your hope will not be cut off.”
Every morning I add a little honey to my coffee…it’s just right.
It’s been a while, but a good sandwich is peanut butter, banana, and a drizzle of honey. It tastes good to our tongues.
This is how the knowledge of wisdom should be to our souls. When we come to the point of truly tasting the truth, wanting the wisdom of God’s Word, enjoying the study of the Bible, it not only is good for us, but when it tastes good to us, then there is a greater hope for a greater future, for we will have cultivated a taste for the Word of God.
I hope you don’t think I’m weird, but I can tell your future. Not based on the palm of your hands, or the leaves in the tea, or the arrangement of the stars – those types of future/fortune telling are all demonic. But I can tell your future based on your hunger for God’s Word.
If, in one sense you crave it like candy, if you honestly like the taste of God’s truth, your future is sure to be fabulous, that’s what we read in this Proverb. I like the way the New Living Translation puts it:
Proverbs 24:14 (NLT) “In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short.”
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.