Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 15 September 18:
1. Isaiah 20:2 — “…the Lord spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, ‘Go, and loose the sackcloth from your waist and take off your sandals from your feet,’ and he did so, walking naked and barefoot.” The Lord commanded Isaiah to walk naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and portent against Egypt and Cush. I suspect most wrote Isaiah off as crazy. What does it take for God to get your attention? As much as God reveals Himself to people, most refuse to see the obvious. Also fascinating is the fact that Isaiah obeyed God and was willing to walk naked for three years. Fortunately, we now live in an age where God speaks through His word and the Holy Spirit and does not demand such actions from us. Rather, the Bible calls us to be clothed in Christ (Galatians 3:26), which should be as obvious to others as Isaiah’s nakedness was to the Egyptians and Cushites.
2. Isaiah 21:8 — “Upon a watchtower I stand, O Lord, continually by day, and at my post I am stationed whole nights.” Are you paying attention when most aren’t? Are you alert to what God is doing in this day?
3. Isaiah 21:16 — “Within a year, according to the years of a hired worker, all the glory of Kedar will come to an end.” God is patient to judge nations, but when He judges, He judges swiftly. The glory of prideful people and nations is often destroyed instantly like the falling of a house of cards. To most it comes without warning, but not without warning to the faithful watchmen.
4. Isaiah 22:8-14 – “But you did not look to him who did it, or see him who planned it long ago.” The people went to great lengths to prepare to defend the nation against their enemies, but they didn’t do the one thing that was required – repent before the LORD. When they should have been mourning their sins, they were celebrating (vs, 12, 13). God’s judgment was upon them, and no military strategy could save them.
5. Isaiah 22:16 – “….you have cut out here a tomb for yourself.” If our work is not committed to the LORD, we are just digging our own graves.
6. Proverbs 15:1, 18 — “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Do your words bring peace or escalate strife?
7. Proverbs 15:4 — “A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” Do your words bring healing or pain?
8. Proverbs 15:7 — “The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools.” Do your words instruct or distract?
9. Proverbs 15:8 — “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him.” Don’t ask for things from God while you knowingly continue to disrespect Him in sin.
10. Proverbs 15:8 – “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him.” Many will not truly appreciate the importance of this proverb because the wicked usually don’t see themselves as wicked and remain confident in their “sacrifices” as if they are in good stead with God. Many prideful church goers believe this proverb to be intended for someone else. They confidently proclaim they have been “saved by grace” and then continue in sin without much concern, failing to produce the fruit of true repentance. Only the humble will take pause at this verse and go to their knees.
11. Proverbs 15:13 — “A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.” Do your words lift people up or tear them down?
12. Proverbs 15:14 — “The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly.” Do you talk when you should be listening and learning?
13. Proverbs 15:16 – “Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it.” If you are near to Jesus, your circumstances won’t affect your joy. Paul said he had discovered the secret of contentment in any circumstances. They secret was learning to rejoice in the Lord, always, and remaining focused on your relationship with Jesus. (see Philippians 4)
14. Proverbs 15:23 — “To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!” Do you know when to speak and when to be silent? Do you have a good, constructive sense of timing when providing advice to others?
15. Proverbs 15:26 — “The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord, but gracious words are pure.” Are your words gracious, always seeking the best for the other person rather than your own personal interests?
16. Proverbs 15:28 – “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.” As an ambassador of Christ (your purpose on earth), you must be very, very careful to think before you speak, remembering that your words must not be your own but Jesus’. Your words must mirror the words of the Bible. What you think and what you want doesn’t matter and likely only stands in the way of God’s truth. If you feel any self-centered emotion, better to keep your mouth shut than to misrepresent the Lord and Savior. Jesus warns that we will be held accountable for every careless word that comes out of our mouths. How seriously will you take God’s warning?
17. Proverbs 15:28 — “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.” Do you think before you speak?
18. Proverbs 15:31 — “The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise.” Do you receive correction well?
19. Proverbs 15:33 — “The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” You must be willing to read God’s word with a humble spirit and apply the correction of His word, revealed by the Holy Spirit, into your life.
20. Psalm 106:2, 3 – “Who can utter the mighty deeds of the Lord, or declare all his praise? Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!” The more you genuinely appreciate God, the more you will desire to obey Him. If obeying God is challenging in some way, it is an appreciation problem, a relationship problem. Don’t focus on the object of your temptation, focus on Jesus.
21. Psalm 106:6 – “Both we and our fathers have sinned; we have committed iniquity; we have done wickedness.” Remembering that you rely each day on God’s grace should compel you to show grace to everyone around you who offends you.
22. Psalm 106:13 – “But they soon forgot his works; they did not wait for his counsel.” We sin when, at the moment, we forget God.
23. Psalm 106:16, 17 – “When men in the camp were jealous of Moses and Aaron, the holy one of the Lord, the earth opened and swallowed up Dathan….” Jealousy and envy are sins of the heart that lead to sinful, destructive deeds. In actuality, jealousy and envy are not displays of resentment against another person but rather against God as you display ingratitude for what He has given you and resentment for what He has not given you.
24. Psalm 106:25 – “They murmured in their tents, and did not obey the voice of the Lord.” Better to live in your tent given to you by the Lord than to envy the mansions of others. Obeying God often means not enjoying the frivolous or sinful pleasures enjoyed by others around you. When you start to feel sorry for yourself, know that you are experiencing a symptom of losing sight of God and His love for you. Truly trusting God to provide for you is to be grateful for what He has provided without worrying about what He is providing others, understanding that what God provides you is the very best for you. Have you not noticed that the richest people in the world are often the most miserable and untrustworthy? The Israelites in the desert longed for the comforts of Egypt, forgetting that in Egypt they were slaves.
25. Psalm 106:37, 38 – “They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons; they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood.” How many abortions will American Christians commit this year?
26. Psalm 106:40 – “Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people, and he abhorred his heritage.” “His heritage” – Most of the warnings in the Bible are for the ‘believers,’ not the unbelievers. How is the Holy Spirit convicting you through God’s word?
27. Psalm 106:41 – “….he gave them into the hand of the nations, so that those who hated them ruled over them.” God punishes by giving people terrible leaders.
28. Psalm 106:42 – “Their enemies oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their power.” God punishes by giving victory to enemies.
29. Psalm 106:44 – “Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress, when he heard their cry.” God will accept genuine repentance.
30. Psalm 106:47 – “Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.” God intends for His people to honor Him and to be a light among the nations. Our nation’s problem is that the light isn’t bright enough because God’s people have not honored the Holiness of God.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 15 Sep 18: Pray earnestly for corporate repentance in the church and for revival. In your prayer, pray that God will start with you, strengthening your commitment to Him, your love for Him, your faithfulness to Him, and your public glorification of Him.