Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 13 September 18:
1. Isaiah 16:5 – “…then a throne will be established in steadfast love, and on it will sit in faithfulness in the tent of David one who judges and seeks justice and is swift to do righteousness.” God expects rulers to be instruments of justice and righteousness for all people, not instruments of greed and oppression.
– “The prophet has constantly kept before his mind the image of an ideal king. The ideal was partially fulfilled in Hezekiah, yet only partially; the prophet was sure One was coming who would fulfil it in its utmost meaning, and he steadfastly kept his eye on the bright day when God’s throne should be established among the nations, and His sceptre should be extended over all. God does not exist merely to destroy, nor does He rule only in order that He may humble and crush; His purpose is one of equity, righteousness, blessing, cultivation.” (J. Parker, D. D.)
2. Isaiah 16:12 – “And when Moab presents himself, when he wearies himself on the high place, when he comes to his sanctuary to pray, he will not prevail.” Sin hinders prayers. Many people who are very active in the church still treat sin casually. This is unacceptable to God. Worship that is acceptable to God is obedience motivated by genuine love, with confidence, appreciation, and reliance on His grace. God is not deceived by outward appearances as people are, and He knows the truth of the worshipper’s heart. “The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.” (Proverbs 15:29) “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:16) “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (1 Peter 3:12)
3. Isaiah 16:14 – “But now the Lord has spoken, saying, ‘In three years, like the years of a hired worker, the glory of Moab will be brought into contempt, in spite of all his great multitude, and those who remain will be very few and feeble.’” God pronounced a judgment that would not occur for three years but was inevitable. Current prosperity is not necessarily an absence of judgment but merely the calm before the storm. God holds everyone accountable in His own way and in His own timing. Do not fret when the wicked seem to prosper – God is in control.
4. Isaiah 17:4-6 – “And in that day the glory of Jacob will be brought low, and the fat of his flesh will grow lean. And it shall be as when the reaper gathers standing grain and his arm harvests the ears, and as when one gleans the ears of grain in the Valley of Rephaim. Gleanings will be left in it, as when an olive tree is beaten— two or three berries in the top of the highest bough, four or five on the branches of a fruit tree….” God uses hard times (in this case an Assyrian invasion) to deal with the pride and vanities of His people, to discipline them and purify them. For those who are not saved, God’s judgment means condemnation. For those who are saved, God’s judgment means discipline and sanctification, that we would be conformed to the image of His Son.
5. Isaiah 17:7 – “In that day man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will look on the Holy One of Israel. He will not look to the altars, the work of his hands, and he will not look on what his own fingers have made, either the Asherim or the altars of incense.” Often God has to bring the prideful to their knees for them to see that they are truly powerless and totally dependent upon Him. Self-sufficiency is an illusion.
6. Isaiah 17:13 – “The nations roar like the roaring of many waters, but he will rebuke them, and they will flee far away, chased like chaff on the mountains before the wind and whirling dust before the storm.” All the powers that men can obtain and wield are absolutely nothing before God. The most powerful nation on earth can be decimated in a day, without any warning. The only foundation that is sure in the storms is the Rock of Jesus.
7. Proverbs 13:1 – “A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.” A scoffer is a person who simply won’t listen to reason and truth because of their pride. The Bible has much to say about scoffers:
– Don’t listen to scoffers, argue with scoffers, or associate with them. (Psalm 1:1)
– Scoffers enjoy and take pride in their rebuttal of truth and ignorance of truth. (Proverbs 1:22)
– Arguing with a scoffer will only cause you needless pain. (Proverbs 9:7)
– Scoffers hate those who speak the truth. (Proverbs 9:8)
– Scoffers refuse to accept a loving rebuke, no matter from whom it comes. (Proverbs 13:1)
– Scoffers seek wisdom and often claim wisdom, but they remain foolish because they are blinded by their pride and arrogance – you cannot fix what you are not willing to be honest about. (Proverbs 14:6)
– Scoffers will not seek the counsel of those who are wise but rather will surround themselves with people who tell them what they want to hear. Those who seek the truth are willing to listen to opposing views because truth can withstand any scrutiny. (Proverbs 15:12)
– A scoffer can must be controlled externally because they have no self-control. They need external discipline because they do not have internal discipline. (Proverbs 19:29; 21:11)
– All scoffers are arrogant and prideful. Pride leads to destruction. (Proverbs 21:24)
– Scoffers are the source of quarrelling. Where there is no scoffer, there is no quarrelling. (Proverbs 22:10)
– Scoffers are an abomination to mankind before the Lord. (Proverbs 24:9)
– Scoffers start fights that can destroy society; they increase disunity rather than unity. (Proverbs 29:8)
– Scoffers cannot ‘hear’ (understand or accept) God’s word, even if someone explains it clearly and shows it to them practically. They don’t have an intellect problem; they have a heart (spiritual) problem. Sound reason and evidence cannot convince them. (Isaiah 28:14; Acts 13:41)
– Scoffers will be destroyed and face eternal judgment. (Isaiah 29:20)
– Scoffers will increase in the last days. (2 Peter 3:3; Jude 1:18)
– Scoffers are led by their passions rather than by the Spirit. (Jude 1:18)
– Scoffers are fools. There are 118 Bible verses that deal with foolishness. Do a topical study on foolishness to learn more.
8. Proverbs 13:13 – “Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.” Ignoring God’s word or making light of it is the same as despising it. When God speaks, it is either everything to you because it is the word of the KING, or it is nothing at all. To approach God’s word casually is to disrespect the Majesty and Sovereignty of God.
9. Proverbs 13:20 – “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” The Bible is clear that only followers of Jesus are “wise,” it is not an intellectual endeavor but rather a spiritual one. If you aren’t walking with fellow committed Christians, disciples of Jesus, you will suffer harm. Are your friends strong Christians who are helping you get closer to Jesus every day while you help them do the same? Do your friends challenge and encourage you to me more like Jesus each day?
[Note: Here is a link to a video overview of Hebrews: https://youtu.be/1fNWTZZwgbs]
10. Hebrews 1:1 — “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” The Bible gives us the great testimony of the prophets who were used mightily by God at critical times in history and who stand as great examples to us, but we, in our age, have been given so much more through Jesus, direct access to the Father and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. You don’t need to have someone else speak to you on the God’s behalf if you are willing to truly listen. In fact, you have been given the authority and power to be a disciple maker, and the Bible says you are called to be a priest on this earth (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). With great power comes great responsibility. What are you doing with Jesus in this age?
11. Hebrews 1:3 — “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.” The Bible says of Jesus, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” (Colossians 1:15) Likewise, the Bible says, “we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.” (1 Corinthians 15:49) In fact, we were “predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.” (Romans 8:29) Many ask, “What does God want me to do with my life?” Well, the Bible tells you – you are to become the image of Christ, the radiance (or reflection) of his glory. But imaging Christ is a process of development – “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18) The Spirit transforms us but we must choose to partner with the Spirit, to “live by the Spirit… [and] also keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25) In describing Jesus’ imprinting of the Father, the first chapter of Hebrews only mentions one character trait — “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.” (Hebrews 1:9) As we endeavor to grow in the image of Christ, we must both plant seeds of righteousness (Proverbs 11:18) and remove weeds – “If you love flowers, you must hate weeds.” It is a two-fold process of growing the good while removing the bad. Many are familiar with Romans 12:2 which says, “be transformed by the renewal of your mind,” but we forget the whole verse – “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” The first step is to make the ground ready for the seeds. You may have some plowing to do. We cannot partner with both the world and the Spirit. We all have to make a conscience choice to both love righteousness and hate wickedness. In this, the Bible gets pretty specific:
– Colossians 3:1-17 — If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. When we finally get to heaven, May God say to us, “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.” (Hebrews 1:9) “Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.” (Luke 19:17)
12. Hebrews 1:9 – “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness….” Jesus hates wickedness. Do you?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 13 Sep 18: Focus on growing in wisdom today by getting closer to Jesus. We don’t create wisdom, it emanates from the Creator and flows through us as we, the branches, remain connected to the vine of Jesus (John 15). Get closer to Jesus and get wiser. Walk with Him intentionally and thoughtfully today. Don’t pursue mere ‘goodness’ today, pursue unity with Him. (See today’s readings)