Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 14 September 18:
1. Isaiah 18:4, 5 — “’I will quietly look from my dwelling like clear heat in sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.’ For before the harvest, when the blossom is over, and the flower becomes a ripening grape, he cuts off the shoots with pruning hooks, and the spreading branches he lops off and clears away.” God waits quietly until He is ready to bring judgment on earthly powers who never see it coming. Many mistake his quietness for a lack of presence or awareness. As the student knows, during an exam, the professor remains silent.
2. Isaiah 19:2-4 – “And I will stir up Egyptians against Egyptians, and they will fight, each against another and each against his neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom; and the spirit of the Egyptians within them will be emptied out, and I will confound their counsel; and they will inquire of the idols and the sorcerers, and the mediums and the necromancers; and I will give over the Egyptians into the hand of a hard master, and a fierce king will rule over them, declares the Lord God of hosts.”
– God rouses the hearts of people and uses them to accomplish His purposes. God also uses the unbeliever for His purposes, but not to their merit. God controls what man cannot control, and nothing happens outside of His control. God punishes nations and people through events, circumstances, and people controlled by Him, though the unbeliever does not see His hand in it. God also orchestrates circumstances for the good of His children, though we often don’t understand what He is doing. We must learn to walk in faith, hope, love, obedience, joy, and confidence through all circumstances, patiently awaiting the final glory.
— Romans 8:18-25 — For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we await for it with patience.
3. Isaiah 19:12 – “Where then are your wise men? Let them tell you that they might know what the Lord of hosts has purposed against Egypt.” God calls wise the one who knows the purposes of God.
4. Isaiah 19:16, 17 – “In that day the Egyptians will be like women, and tremble with fear before the hand that the Lord of hosts shakes over them. And the land of Judah will become a terror to the Egyptians. Everyone to whom it is mentioned will fear because of the purpose that the Lord of hosts has purposed against them.” God brings fear to the most powerful nations.
5. Isaiah 19:21-25 — “And the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day and worship with sacrifice and offering, and they will make vows to the Lord and perform them. And the Lord will strike Egypt, striking and healing, and they will return to the Lord, and he will listen to their pleas for mercy and heal them. In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and Assyria will come into Egypt, and Egypt into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.”
– An indicator that someone truly knows the Lord is that they fulfill their vows to the Lord. Talk is cheap, and gifts that don’t cost the giver much are not usually worth very much.
– Peace in the Middle East (and whole earth) will only come through the Rule of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ –“Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it….. And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.” (Zechariah 12:2-3, 10) Are you placing your trust in worldly kingdoms or the Kingdom of God? Are you pledging allegiance to kingdoms of men or to the Kingdom of God? Are you seeking first the Kingdom of God or a kingdom on earth? Do you realize that all the kingdoms of man are at war with the Kingdom of God? Do you understand that God’s people are to be Christ’s ambassadors in foreign lands, sent on a mission of reconciliation with Him? “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2)
— Joshua 5:13-15 — When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” And the commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
— Zechariah 14 – (The Coming Day of the Lord) Behold, a day is coming for the Lord, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle…. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle…. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him…. And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light. On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter. And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one…. Jerusalem shall dwell in security. And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths…. Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths….
— Daniel 2:44-45 — And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.
— Daniel 7: 13, 14, 22, — I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed…. and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom…. And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. Here is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly alarmed me, and my color changed, but I kept the matter in my heart.
— Revelation 12:5 — She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne,
— Revelation 19:11, 15 — Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war…. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.
— Revelation 20:4, 12, 13 — Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years…. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.
— 1 Corinthians 6:2, 3 — Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!
— Revelation 1:6 — …and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
— Revelation 5:10 — and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
— Revelation 20:6 — Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.
6. Isaiah 19:23 – “And the Lord will strike Egypt, striking and healing, and they will return to the Lord, and he will listen to their pleas for mercy and heal them.” Often God needs to discipline in order to heal and to bring true reconciliation. God cannot allow sinful behavior remain which divides.
7. Isaiah 19:24, 25 – “In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.’” God has always had a plan to make disciples of all nations.
8. Proverbs 14:1 – “The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.” Your thoughts, words, and deeds will either build up or tear down. No matter how smart or good they might seem, if your thoughts, words, and deeds are not led by the Spirit, they are ultimately destructive. Jesus said that He didn’t say anything or do anything that didn’t come from the Father. He is our example.
9. Proverbs 14:2 — “Whoever walks in uprightness fears the Lord.” How you walk reveals how you really feel about God.
10. Proverbs 14:5 – “A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness breathes out lies.” Society has its morals (which comes from the word mores or accepted values of a people), customs, traditions, and common sense, but if they aren’t grounded in the Truth of Jesus and aligned to God’s word, they are lies. Don’t be a false witness and proclaim a false gospel of morality, sound living, and accepted philosophies. And don’t present the Bible as a supernatural self-help book. The Bible is intended to draw you closer to Jesus, not just to make you more comfortable on earth. Proclaim Jesus as the only hope for salvation, joy, peace, love, and unity. Too many Christians have substituted a message of goodness for the message of Jesus, the Gospel. Christians are often comfortable in crowds talking about their views of right and wrong but not about Jesus. We are not called to teach people how to perform good deeds; we are called to make Jesus more known to them. It is hard to be excited about and talk passionately about someone you don’t really know that well personally. If you find it difficult to share your testimony, it may not be very real to you, a religion rather than a genuine relationship. Are you excited about sharing today the Jesus you know personally? How many times will you mention Jesus to someone today? When people talk about the issues of life today, will you talk about what is right or will you talk about Jesus who is real answer. Don’t water down the Gospel today and point someone to a concept rather than the person of Jesus.
11. Proverbs 14:12 – “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” The Bible warns us time and time again that we cannot possibly know the way we should go – this revelation can only come from God. If self is getting in the way of your relationship with God, you will go astray.
12. Proverbs 14:20 – “The poor is disliked even by his neighbor, but the rich has many friends.” Ungodly relationships and ungodly acts of kindness are ultimately selfishly motivated – the worldly friend wants something in return. Godly relationships are selfless, motivated by love alone, desiring nothing in return but to grow closer to the God who is Love.
13. Proverbs 14:34 – “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” God is the only security for a nation. The outcomes of elections don’t determine the fate of the nation, the people’s relationship with God does. Christian love does what worldly, self-centered love cannot do – it loves even enemies unconditionally. Is your love unconditional?
14. Proverbs 14:30 – “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.” The best thing you can do for your physical fitness is work on your spiritual fitness first. Many people dedicate an hour a day to exercise and carefully monitor what they eat. How many people spend an hour a day in Bible study and prayer, and how many carefully monitor what feeds their mind and heart? What will you gaze upon and listen to today? Eliminate the negative and stay focused on Jesus and positive things. “Do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.” (1 Corinthians 14:20) “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8) “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2) “’ “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16)
15. Hebrews 2:1 — “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” You must pay very close attention to God’s word, not just casually reading it but meditating upon it and applying it each day. We are always in danger of drifting away from Jesus’ side. Grace is not a license to be complacent; quite the contrary, grace should compel us to strive for holiness with all our might. The casual Christian doesn’t really understand the value of grace. If you owned a $200,000 car, would you care for it differently than you would an old beater car? How do you treat the grace you have received through the blood of Jesus? The Bible says that continuing in sin is trampling on the blood of Jesus. (Hebrews 10:29)
16. Hebrews 2:8, 9 — “Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” Jesus is in complete control, but this is not apparent in what we see day to day. In Matthew 28, Jesus reminded the disciples that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him by the Father. So, how much has been left for Satan and his followers? None! In that authority, Jesus has made us ambassadors and priests; therefore, His faithful followers are the most powerful people on earth. Do you walk confidently under the authority of the King of Kings? Faith comes not by what the world sees but by truly seeing the truth through Jesus, vision obtained through the Holy Spirit. Keep your eyes affixed on Jesus, and walk in faith, hope, and love.
17. Hebrews 2:17-18 – “Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Only the God/man could be a perfect sacrifice to reconcile us to God.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 14 Sep 18: Today, with a firm reliance on God’s grace, pay closer attention to your obedience to God’s commands in love. Seek purity, holiness, and wisdom with all your might. Resolve to live up to your calling as a disciple, ambassador (representative), and priest of Jesus. Proclaim Christ and Christ alone.