Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 7 September 18:
1. Isaiah 3:1-3 – “For behold, the Lord God of hosts is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah support and supply, all support of bread, and all support of water; the mighty man and the soldier, the judge and the prophet, the diviner and the elder, the captain of fifty and the man of rank, the counselor and the skillful magician and the expert in charms.” There is no hope for a nation when God takes away His support.
2. Isaiah 3:4-7 – “And I will make boys their princes, and infants shall rule over them. And the people will oppress one another, everyone his fellow and everyone his neighbor; the youth will be insolent to the elder, and the despised to the honorable. For a man will take hold of his brother in the house of his father, saying: ‘You have a cloak; you shall be our leader, and this heap of ruins shall be under your rule’; in that day he will speak out, saying: ‘I will not be a healer; in my house there is neither bread nor cloak; you shall not make me leader of the people.’” When a nation is judged by God, He gives them incompetent leaders, and lawlessness prevails.
3. Isaiah 3:8, 9 — “Because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord, defying his glorious presence. For the look on their faces bears witness against them; they proclaim their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it.” How relevant are these verses within the context with today’s socio-political situation? “Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves.” (Isa 3:9)
4. Isaiah 3:12 — “O my people, your guides mislead you and they have swallowed up the course of your paths.” This verse speaks to God’s people – those who should have known better and maintained their holiness were deceived by popular teachings and failed to be the conscience of their nation.
5. Isaiah 3:16-26 – “The Lord said: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty and walk with outstretched necks, glancing wantonly with their eyes… therefore the Lord will… lay bare their secret parts. In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves; the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; the signet rings and nose rings; the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; the mirrors, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils. Instead of perfume there will be rottenness… and branding instead of beauty. Your men shall fall by the sword and your mighty men in battle. And her gates shall lament and mourn; empty, she shall sit on the ground.” One of the signs of a falling nation is that people become focused on vanity and sensuality. How relevant are these verses within the context with today’s socio-political situation?
6. Proverbs 7:1-3 — “My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.” Only the Spirit can give us any real discernment. If we could maintain perfect union with the Spirit through perfect love for God, we would need not the law. However, God gives us His word and His grace knowing our imperfections. He uses it to protect us, to reveal His holy nature to us, and to reveal our sinful nature to us that we might rely upon His grace, remain in repentant transformation, and be guided in sanctification. As we walk in God’s word we grow in Christ-like character. As we walk in the word, we become more attuned to the counsel of the Holy Spirit. If you are not hearing from God or seeing the clear activity of God in your life, consider how you treat God’s word and the quality of your prayer life.
7. Proverbs 7:6, 7 — “For at the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice, I have perceived among the youth, and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense.” As we remain in God’s word and under the daily teaching of the Holy Spirit, God will enable us to see life events from His perspective. We will notice what other people don’t notice and will see truth to which others are blind.
8. Proverbs 7:7, 8, 25 — “I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense, passing along the street near her corner.” If we choose to walk along the same paths as the wicked, to the street corners of sin, we are setting ourselves up for failure and distancing ourselves from the Source of Love, Peace, Security, Wisdom, and Justice — Jesus. In honor of our LORD, we must preemptively choose a completely different path, not going where everyone else goes. “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.” (Matthew 7:13)
9. Proverbs 7:10-13 – “And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart. She is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home; now in the street, now in the market, and at every corner she lies in wait. She seizes him and kisses him, and with bold face she says to him….” The sinful person is loud, showy, busily wandering, and driven by passions and emotion rather than by the Spirit.
10. Proverbs 7:16 – “I have spread my couch with coverings, colored linens from Egyptian linen….” The sinful crave luxuries and comfort rather than God’s presence in their lives.
11. Proverbs 7:18 – “Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love.” Worldly love is really self-centered desire for personal satisfaction. Though, the worldly still call it love.
12. Proverbs 7:19 – “For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey….” With worldly “love,” there is always a victim, someone being used by someone else. We may romanticize it, but it is still just selfishness.
13. Proverbs 7:23 – “…till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life.” An arrow to the liver is an inevitable death, but it is slow and painful. So is sin.
[Note: Here is a link to a video overview of Titus: https://youtu.be/PUEYCVXJM3k%5D
14. Titus 1:6-9 – “…if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.”
– Titus 1:6-9 sets the standards for a leader. We have largely neglected this standard to our own peril.
– God holds His people to a very high standard of conduct, and He expects His ambassadors to “rebuke those who contradict… sound doctrine.” How have we failed to meet this expectation in the modern church? How does Jesus feel about the Lukewarm?
— Revelation 3:16 — So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
15. Titus 1:10, 16 — “For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers…. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.” There are those who talk the religious talk and go through the religious motions, but they are disobedient and, thereby, deny God. Jesus said that those who love God obey God. What comes out of your mouth today, how you spend your money, how you treat others, who you choose to partner with, how you respond to ungodly behavior, and what you choose to watch on TV, or the internet, are all great indicators of how you really feel about God.
16. Titus 1:15 – “To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.” From Henry T. Blackaby — Your heart’s condition will be expressed through your life. It will be evident by your attitudes, your words, and your behavior. Jesus said that you can clearly see others only when your own eyes are unobstructed (Luke 6:42). If your vision is hindered by sin, you will not look at others properly. If your heart is pure, you will approach life without malice. You will not question the motives of everyone around you; you will not doubt the truth of everything others tell you; you will not look for fault in others. Instead, you will look for the good in others, finding what is praiseworthy. You will not be naive or gullible, but you will seek what is good rather than what is evil. If your heart is pure, you will see others the way God sees them (Matt. 6:22). If your heart is defiled, everything with which you are involved will seem corrupt as well. You will assume evil motives in others because you know what you would do given the same circumstances. You will be cynical about what you hear because your own words are deceitful. You will be drawn to evil people and evil things. How do you look at the words and actions of others? Are you critical of them? Are you judgmental? If so, ask God to purify your heart. Once He has, you will be free to see yourself and others as God does.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 8 Sep 18: Based on the standards for leadership provided in Titus, consider where you might be falling short. Are you above reproach? Do you have a clear conscience? How is your temper? Do you have self-control? Are you disciplined? Are you holy and pure? Are you able to instruct others from sound doctrine? Do you have the courage, compassion, and capability to rebuke others in love, not pride? Pray that God will refine your leadership.