Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 20 September 18:
1. Isaiah 31:1 – “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the Lord!” In who or what do you put your trust your security – people, institutions, or God? When a person or a nation begins to rely on their own abilities rather than God, they are doomed. Many people won’t challenge the world because they rely on the world.
2. Isaiah 31:3 — “The Egyptians are man, and not God, and their horses are flesh, and not spirit.” You will either rely on the flesh or the Spirit for your personal decision-making. You will either trust God our people and systems created by man. How incredibly flawed and limited are people, and how awesome is God? Why do the blind still choose to be led by the blind? Because they do not know God to hear God and to trust God. “You do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:26, 27)
3. Isaiah 31:6 – “Turn to him from whom people have deeply revolted.” God expects His sinful people to repent.
4. Isaiah 32:8 — “But he who is noble plans noble things, and on noble things he stands.” Noble things require planning. You may care, but do you care enough to plan? Planning reveals genuine commitment.
5. Isaiah 32:10-14 – God judges complacency.
6. Isaiah 32:14, 15 – “For the palace is forsaken…. until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high.” There is no hope apart from the Spirit.
7. Isaiah 32:17, 18 – “And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation.” Peace comes through righteousness, and righteousness comes from Jesus alone. Walking with Jesus brings genuine peace. Jesus’ first word to His disciples after He appeared to them after His resurrection was, “Peace.” Do you have peace in Jesus?
8. Proverbs 20:3 – “It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling.” Honorable people avoid quarrels.
10. Proverbs 20:4 – “The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing.” You get what you put into it. Successful people are willing to make the daily sacrifices unsuccessful people aren’t willing to make in order to have a long-term payoff.
11. Proverbs 20:6 – “Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find?” God seeks a rare commodity: a faithful individual.
12. Proverbs 20:9 – “Who can say, ‘I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin’?” One of the most important attributes of a successful person is the ability to be humbly self-aware, to look introspectively through the light of the Spirit and identify their own weaknesses. Many, many, many people can’t see themselves, living in prideful denial, walking day-to-day with blinders on.
13. Proverbs 20:11 – “Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.” Everyone tries to put their best foot forward, but inevitably, your actions will reveal the truth of your heart.
14. Proverbs 20:17 – “Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.” Dishonest gain only undermines the development of your ability to produce honestly and to become self-sufficient. It is like getting a hand-out but worse because it cost you your integrity, which is worth more than gold. Productivity is a character trait; dishonest gain robs you of your productivity and character. Dishonest gain is not just stealing; it can also be getting a job you never should have really had, getting paid to do work that doesn’t really add value, or getting paid when you aren’t really working at all. You know if you are being productive or not, but God knows even better.
15. Proverbs 20:21 — “An inheritance gained hastily in the beginning will not be blessed in the end.” Comments on Proverbs 20:17 apply here also.
16. Hebrews 6:4-6 — “For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.” If you are truly saved, you will never look at sin the same again. How could we hold Jesus in contempt by continuing in the sin for which He paid the penalty for us on the cross? To make light of sin is to make light of Jesus’ crucifixion. “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:26-29)
17. Hebrews 6:10-12 — “God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
– Hebrews 6 speaks of an expectation of fruitfulness in the lives of the truly saved. Paul warns not to be lazy in obeying God. Rather than being “sluggish” in our new lives for Christ, Paul encourages us to be “imitators” of those who have modeled holiness and Christ-like character before us. Who within your church models the type of life you would desire to imitate? If someone were to poll your church congregation, your place of employment, or your community, how many people would pick you as their model for Christ-like character, the person they would most desire to imitate? God warns against being lazy or complacent in your faith, as you just read in Isaiah 32:10-14.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 20 Sep 18: Work hard to obey God today. Be diligent, not complacent or lazy. In your obedience, search your heart for your true motives. Are you seeking blessings from God our God Himself? Are you seeking to serve or be served? If your good deeds earned you absolutely nothing and cost you everything, would you do them just the same? 1 John 3:16 — By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. (Isaiah 32:10-14; Hebrews 6:11-12)