Just like in the children’s game freezetag, when you get frozen, there’s always the hope of getting unfrozen and getting to play again. This is, very crudely, the message of Isaiah. Yes, there was a time of punishment, but there is hope for restoration!
This is not my recipe, but I get compliments every time I make it. You should try it. It’s great for barbecues, potlucks, and the like. I’d suggest the addition of a little bit of salt. You see, when we find things that are good, whether it’s a movie, recipe, or thought, we tend to share it. This is what the psalmist is calling us to do today. When God does something great in your life, tell others. Make it known so they might experience Him too.
- 1-8 – Hezekiah started out faithful, but like several other kings, made some poor choices in his later years. He shows off his wealth to his Babylonian visitor. It seems that the sin in this is trying to befriend Babylon in an effort to have an ally against Assyria. God wants Judah to seek him as their only ally.
- 1-31 – God offers comfort to his people and assurance that he will care for them. There are several beautiful passages within the chapter that can speak comfort to us today.
- 3 – This verse is quoted regarding John the Baptist who was called to prepare the way for Christ.
- 8-10 – God continues to comfort the Israelites of Judah assuring them that he will hold them up and keep them safe.
- 3-10 – Paul praises God for allowing he and his fellow believers to know God and his grace. He thanks God for his plan of salvation.
- 15-23 – This is Paul’s prayer for the church that the Ephesians would understand God’s great works and the gifts he had given them.
- 5-7 – We see another reference to God’s great act of parting the Red Sea. The psalmist, who has great faith, knows that God’s acts are incredible and invites other simply to come and see what the Lord has done.
- 16-17 – Not only does the psalmist want the reader to see God’s good works, the psalmist also wants to tell personally of the great things God has done.
- Here the proverb tries to warn of the temptations and consequences of lust.
We’re looking deeper into Isaiah, which is not the easiest book ever. Take a few minutes to let Andrew help you walk through the difficulties.
Today is a nature themed day. In Isaiah, we read about God making the sun move backwards, and in our psalm, we read of God’s provision for the earth. Isn’t it fascinating how creation works? God’s intricate design allows us to breath air that plants then filter so we can breath it again. Water evaporates and then condensates in clouds so it can rain and provide for plants, animals, and us. It’s pretty incredible when you really think about it.
- 1-7 – Hezekiah is a faithful king and reaches out to Isaiah to seek his help in calling upon God in his time of distress.
- 4 – “Rabshakeh” is the Assyrian king’s chief cupbearer, which would make him a very high-ranking official.
- 14-20 – Hezekiah is not pleading to God based on his own merit, he is pleading to God’s sovereignty and goodness. He also asks that God save his people so that God may be glorified. This should be our desire in everything we ask God – that he might be glorified through showing his goodness.
- 21-35 – God responds to Hezekiah’s prayer.
- 36-38 – God told the people of Judah they didn’t need to worry and then he proved it.
- 1-22 – Hezekiah pleads to the Lord to extend his life and the Lord does.
- 7-8 – There is one other account of God stopping or moving the sun. It is found in Joshua 10 when Joshua needed the sun to stand still in order to defeat their enemies.
- 1-5 – We are to care for our friends and help each other out with our difficulties. We have to be careful not to allow this practice to cause us to take on the other person’s sins though.
- 7-10 – From the good we do in the world, good things come. This might mean we are blessed or someone else is, but good comes.
- David gives God praise for all the ways he provides for the earth. God not only created nature but he made it beautiful and beneficial. He deserves praise for this.
- It makes sense that a father would delight in a wise, righteous son.
Today we learn the Fruit of the Spirit! This is the great stuff we produce when we’re living by the Spirit. Here’s a very annoying song to help you remember what you’re intended to produce:
- 13-22 – God continues to reassure Judah that they don’t have to fear Assyria but that he will restore the righteous of their land.
- 1-14 – The prophecies continue to look to the future when all enemies of God’s people are taken care of.
- 1-22 – Assyria attacks Jerusalem. King Hezekiah has confidence that God will prevail and the Israelites will be saved from the hands of the Assyrians.
- 13-15 – Just because we are not under the law anymore does not mean our lives are meant to be a free for all. Our freedom in Christ should lead us to become more like Christ. One way we can do that is to love our neighbors as ourselves.
- 22-23 – The “fruit of the Spirit” are the things that our lives should produce when we are living through the Spirit. Paul states that neither Jews nor Gentiles would have laws against someone producing these wonderful things.
- Like in many of his psalms, David longs for God, who he relies on for protection and sustenance, to punish all his enemies and all those who do not follow God. He has such confidence in God to do so.
Isaiah reminds us that our strength comes in repentance. Though it’s difficult and sometimes feels weak to admit wrong, do it anyway. Plus, Chicago encourages you to as well.
- 15-17 – Judah’s strength, and ours for that matter, is in repentance and humility before the Lord. Our strength is through him.
- 19-22 – Though the Israelites had faced a difficult time of oppression, God promises them that they will be restored to him. Vs. 21 is a powerful explanation of how God leads us through the Holy Spirit.
- 1-9 – The Kingdom of Judah feared the Assyrians, but God reminds them that their fear is misguided. They can trust in the protection of God no matter how scary their opponents are. They have no need to fear.
- 15-20 – Though so much of Isaiah speaks of punishment and difficulties the Israelites and other nations have brought upon themselves, there are glimmers of hope, like this passage, that remind the Israelites that there will be restoration one day.
- 1-12 – Once again, Assyria is in trouble.
- 1 – Christ died for us in order to set us free from the slavery of sin. Yet some of the Israelites were trying to put themselves back under the yolk of the law.
- 5-6 – We are no longer under any covenant other than that of Christ’s death and resurrection. We do not need to conform to those laws or practices, but simply need to rely on the grace of Christ.
- 7-12 – Like at the beginning of the letter, Paul is shocked that the Galatians have so quickly forgotten or turned away from what he taught them.
- 12 – This is obviously a little harsh, but also a play on the fact that those he opposes are teaching circumcision.
- 1-8 – David’s desire for God is unmatched by other followers. He equates his need for God with his need for sustenance.
Today’s Isaiah reading talks about folks who play the part and go through the motions but don’t actually live faithfully or love God fully. This is still an issue in churches today. We show up and perform faithful looking acts, but have no intention of allowing ourselves to be transformed into the likeness of Christ.
- 16-18 – Here Isaiah refers to a cornerstone. Some believe that this is a Messianic prophecy like when Jesus is referred to as the cornerstone on which others will break themselves.
- 23-29 – Just as the farmer knows the proper ways to care for his crops, God knows the proper ways to care for his people.
- 9-12 – The Holy Spirit reveals more of God to those who believe.
- 13-16 – Many people claimed to love and follow God, they even participated in many of the rituals, but their hearts and actions were not faithful.
- 22-24 – God foretells a time when the Israelites will return to faithfulness.
- 23-29 – People, as we still do today, were constantly looking for what separated them or made them better or more worthy. Paul makes it clear that once you have been baptized into the faith, we are all equal in the sight of the Lord and heirs to God’s inheritance.
- 4-7 – Jesus’ being a Jew and being born under the law gave him legitimacy to the Jews.
- 1-7 – David repeats himself regarding his trust in who God is and how he offers great protection. It might be helpful sometimes to repeat to ourselves reasons why we trust in God.
- Solomon did not advocate laziness.
Did God make a mistake by asking people to follow the law? If we’re not supposed to follow it now, why were people intended to follow it way back when? Today’s Galatians reading explains that the law was good, and though people were not able to follow it completely, it kept them within parameters until God sent Jesus, the ultimate fulfillment of the law.
- 1-12 – This prophecy tells of a time when God’s people will be brought back together. He will redeem them and squash the other nations who are harming and oppressing them.
- 7-15 – Here, the Israelites recognize the benefits of following the Lord. They begin to seek out the Lord and recognize things like God making their paths straight.
- 1-13 – God is clearly going to restore the Israelites, even those lost in battles and exile. He has plans to save them despite how bleak it looks during their punishments of exile.
- 10-14 – Paul is explaining that it is impossible for humans to obey the law fully and the law, by its nature, requires us to obey it fully. Thus, if we attempt to be justified through the law, we are doomed to fail.
- 21-22 – Paul explains that God didn’t give the law to the people in order to doom them. It was designed for them to follow but since they were unable, he gave them Jesus.
- 1-4 – A key theme of David’s psalms is that he trusts in the Lord for protection. He has clearly experienced this to be true and believes that God will continue to protect him.
- 17 – We often do envy sinners. Life seems easier for folks who actively engage in sin and it sometimes seems like they have all the fun. We are to look to something greater and longer term.
Yep, still in Isaiah. Settle in. We’ll be here for a while.
But, in the New Testament, in case you need a little reprieve from all the prophecies, we’ll look at two of Paul’s epistles (fancy word for letters – use it at parties – it will make you sound smart and holy). This week we read Galatians and Ephesians.
As you begin Ephesians, read it with this in mind: Paul was in prison when he wrote it. Even in the opening verses, as Paul exclaims, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,” (Ephesians 1:3). His joy and faith are evident.
Though I hope to never be imprisoned for my faith, I hope my joy and eagerness to share Christ are comparable to that of Paul.
Watching your kid hit his first homerun, win an award, or get an ‘A’ is exciting and exhilarating. But none of these things come close to comparing with watching your child walk faithfully with God. Today’ proverb helps remind us that this is the ultimate success in parenting.
- 1 – “Valley of vision” refers to Jerusalem. There is irony in this title because Jerusalem had always been referred to as on top of a mountain – which was both physical and figurative.
- 1-14 – This prophecy is aimed at Judah. God saved them from Assyria’s attacks and they felt they were home-free so they began celebrating instead of mourning their sins like God called them to do.
- 14-25 – Shebna was an officer for King Hezekiah but his sin was so great that he was demoted. This is an indictment on him.
- 1-18 – This prophecy is against Tyre and Sidon explaining their impending destruction.
- 1-23 – This chapter ends the prophecies against various cities and begins an apocalyptic section.
- 20-21 – Some of the most beautiful verses in Scripture that are often misunderstood. This is to say that Paul’s flesh and sinful nature died with Christ on the cross and now Christ’s righteousness should live through him. We don’t get to say we’re saved by Christ and then go on living the same way as before.
- 1-6 – Paul implores the Galatians to live out their salvation and not to try to be justified by works or to live simply as if they were never saved.
- This psalm cries out to God because they are being punished for their sins. It ends with the knowledge and understanding that God is powerful, in control, and will certainly restore them.
- It is a parent’s greatest joy to see their child walk faithfully.