Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 9 September 18:
1. Isaiah 8:8-10 – “…and it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass on, reaching even to the neck, and its outspread wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel. Be broken, you peoples, and be shattered; give ear, all you far countries; strap on your armor and be shattered; strap on your armor and be shattered. Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing; speak a word, but it will not stand, for God is with us.” “God with us (Immanuel)” means salvation for those who accept Jesus and condemnation for those who don’t. “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) Those who choose to put their trust in and give their allegiance to anything or anyone other than Jesus are lost.
2. Isaiah 8:12-22 — “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he will become a sanctuary…. Bind up the testimony; seal the teaching among my disciples…. To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry. And when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will speak contemptuously against their king and their God, and turn their faces upward. And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.”
– Don’t worry about all the things everyone else is worried about. Focus your thoughts, energy, and activities on Jesus and serving Him today as His ambassador to a foreign land.
– Disciples follow the teachings of Jesus which are bound up in their hearts and minds.
– Our national problems are not political; they are spiritual. Even the church can be tempted into seeking sanctuary in worldly institutions rather than in The Lord. If the church would truly honor The Lord as holy, living according to His word and proclaiming His word, the entire nation would be blessed. A dimmed light promotes darkness. To the teaching and to the testimony!
3. Isaiah 8:13, 14 — “But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he will become a sanctuary.” The world fears the wrong things. Those who fear the LORD have nothing else to fear. Those who don’t fear the LORD have everything to fear.
4. Isaiah 8:19 – “…. should not a people inquire of their God?” Where do you go for answers?
5. Isaiah 8:20 – “If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.”
– The “dawn” is spiritual birth through the Holy Spirit. You must be born again through faith in Jesus to truly live by God’s word. Anyone can study God’s word, but the Holy Spirit empowers you to live God’s word. True Christians proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit within them. “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” (John 8:12) “…the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” (Matthew 4:16) “Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” (John 3:3) “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” (John 3:7) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead….” (1 Peter 1:3)
– We need is God’s word, which is living. There is no revelation apart from God’s word.
6. Isaiah 9:2, 6, 7 — “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone…. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” See in Matthew 4:12-17 how Jesus fulfills this prophecy. Jesus reigns! All power and authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him by the Father, and He will return to reign on a new earth. We are ambassadors for Him and His Kingdom in a foreign land. Our job is to proclaim His Majesty as KING of Kings for all who might listen as we prepare for His return.
7. Isaiah 9:6, 7 – “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” Only Jesus can be completely trusted to govern.
8. Isaiah 9:13 – “The people did not turn to him who struck them, nor inquire of the Lord of hosts.” Nations and people refuse to heed God’s warnings. How has our nation been warned? God will not be mocked.
9. Isaiah 9:15, 16 – “…the elder and honored man is the head, and the prophet who teaches lies is the tail; for those who guide this people have been leading them astray, and those who are guided by them are swallowed up.” A rebellious nation is deceived by both governmental leaders and church leaders. In a sinful nation, the church often becomes an accomplice to evil. In Matthew 4, we see that Jesus fulfilled Isaiah 9:2 with this introductory statement: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Is your church calling for repentance? Are you?
10. Isaiah 9:19 – “Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts the land is scorched, and the people are like fuel for the fire; no one spares another.” God disciplines and punishes nations through war, social unrest, corrupt political leaders, economic failure, famine, illness, etc. To suggest such things today is considered ignorant and fanatical. Read the record of the Bible and see. God is in control of the things people cannot control, and He uses those things to reveal Himself and His truth to those who have the eyes to see.
11. Isaiah 9:20, 21 – “They slice meat on the right, but are still hungry, and they devour on the left, but are not satisfied; each devours the flesh of his own arm, Manasseh devours Ephraim, and Ephraim devours Manasseh; together they are against Judah. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.” The wrath of God is unimaginable.
12. Proverbs 9:6 — “Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.” Following Jesus requires a radical life change, a departure from the path everyone else is taking.
13. Proverbs 9:12 — “If you are wise, you are wise for yourself; if you scoff, you alone will bear it.” All of your choices have consequences in your life. The first decision, the foundational decision you must make is what are you going to do with Jesus.
14. Proverbs 9:13 – “The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing.” The foolish are ‘loud and proud;’ they are blind to the fact that they know nothing. Let your few soft words be the word of God.
15. Proverbs 9:18 — “But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.” The foolish can rarely see their own foolishness.
16. Proverbs 9 — The voices of wisdom and folly constantly compete for your attention. To whom will you listen?
17. Psalm 104 – When you consider the Sovereignty and Majesty of God, it can only cause you to say, “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being. May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord…. Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord!” If your heart isn’t yet filled with this level of adoration for the Lord, pray that God will more clearly reveal His Glory to you as you meditate on verses such as found in Psalm 104.
18. Psalm 104 — Everything is perfectly orchestrated by God. Everything is totally dependent upon God.
19. Psalm 104:24 – “O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all.” The natural laws and the laws of ethics (justice) were both created by God in perfection. They both determine the order of things, and the outcomes (or consequences) of God’s natural and ethical laws are inextricably linked, reliable and predictable. If we attempt to defy God’s natural laws (the laws of science or nature), we will face devastating consequences. Likewise, if we attempt to defy God’s moral ethical laws, we will face devastating consequences. Again, God will not be mocked. There are predictable consequences for every action. God’s word can guide you down the path of predictably good consequences. Do not be deceived by following the teachings of man rather than the teachings of God. God is the author of “principles” (the truth about how life works) and “ethics” (justice), but man is the author of “values” (mankind’s interpretation of principles) and “morality” (mores, customs, what is generally considered good and acceptable by the majority). Today, we use all these words interchangeably, and values and morality are preached rather than God’s principles and ethics. This is the story of the Book of Judges where the people did “what was right in their own eyes.”
20. Psalm 105 — God has orchestrated history for His purposes and is still in total control. He holds the future in His hands.
21. Psalm 105:4 – “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” The Christian life is a daily endeavor to grow closer to Jesus and to know Him or intimately. A popular song in the 1960’s said it like this: “Day by day, oh, dear Lord, three things I pray: To see thee more clearly, Love thee more dearly, Follow thee more nearly, day by day.” Is that your prayer today?
22. Psalm 105:43 – “So he brought his people out with joy, his chosen ones with singing.” God does not intend to keep you from trials and tribulations but rather to lead you through them with joy and singing. God intends both good times and bad times to draw you closer to Him. He is where we find joy despite circumstances.
23. Psalm 105:44, 45 – “And he gave them the lands of the nations, and they took possession of the fruit of the peoples’ toil, that they might keep his statutes and observe his laws. Praise the Lord!”
– God blesses you that you might obey Him and reveal His Glory and Majesty to the world. He intends His people to reveal Kingdom principles to the world through their actions and influence. Christians translate God’s spiritual principles and ethics into the physical world, living by the motto, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
– God’s purpose for His people has always been obedience to Him, motivated by love, for His glory.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 9 Sep 18: Today, this Sunday, seek with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength to grow closer to Jesus and to proclaim Him to all around you. (see today’s verses and notes above)