Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 26 September 18:
1. Isaiah 44:1 — “But now hear, O Jacob my servant, Israel whom I have chosen!” God chose Israel, not the other way around. God chose you before you chose Him.
2. Isaiah 44:3 – “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.” The dry ground does not water itself. Nor do people give themselves spiritual life. Only God can produce life, both physical and spiritual.
3. Isaiah 44:8 — “Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.” Fear is a lack of faith in who God is and what He has promised. The more real God is in your life, the more confidence and courage you will have naturally. The true witness who has experienced God first-hand will have faith. Those who don’t know God personally but only know about God have limited faith. Trust is formed in relationship. Counter fear by seeking to know Jesus better.
4. Isaiah 44:9-20 – “All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame.” How foolish is it for people to trust in the work of their own hands? God alone can be trusted. Many modern gurus share motivational testimonies of how they have discovered life success, but they are all eventually put to shame.
5. Isaiah 44:22 – “I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.” First God saves by grace; then He demands obedience which remains a choice. Grace doesn’t remove the requirement for obedience, it enables it and demands it. We don’t obey to be saved, we obey because we have been saved. Obedience is the evidence of saving faith. The Christian does not have a holy perfection but a holy direction, a spirit-filled heart to be conformed to the image of Christ in sanctification. Followers of Christ, Christians, disciples obey Christ. Returning to God is about repentance from known disobedience, which is a continual process – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
6. Isaiah 44:28 — “Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfill all my purpose.” God raises up both good and bad leaders for His purposes. If you want good political leaders, go to God. Only revival can save the nation, not politics. Pray for the nation.
7. Isaiah 45:5, 6 — “I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other.” God will use unbelievers to accomplish His purposes. Whether a person believes in God or not, God still determines their fate. Just because a person is used by God doesn’t mean they are saved by God. The book of James tells us that demons believe in Jesus, but they don’t have saving faith. Believers love and obey Jesus.
8. Isaiah 45:9, 10, 19, 22 — “Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’? Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’ or to a woman, ‘With what are you in labor?’… I am the Lord, and there is no other. I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek me in vain.’ I the Lord speak the truth; I declare what is right…. Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” How foolish and arrogant is the person who denies the Creator? How foolish and arrogant is the person who acknowledges the Creator but denies His Lordship and authority over his life? How foolish and arrogant is the Christian who expects God to bless them as they go their own way in life, pursuing their own, self-proclaimed goals and objectives, seeing their life as merely a pursuit of happiness. God is God, and we exist to glorify Him, not to live for self. It is not about us. It is about Him. It is foolishness to resist the will of God in your life.
9. Isaiah 45:19 — “I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek me in vain.’ I the LORD speak the truth; I declare what is right.” God Has plainly revealed His word to the world, and it is not hard to understand. Still, people choose to ignore it.
10. Isaiah 45:22 — “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth!” God desires all to turn to Him and be saved.
11. Proverbs 26:3 — “A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the back of fools.” Those who are not led by the Spirit are much like animals, responding only to the natural instincts and pain avoidance.
12. Hebrews 10:4 — “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” Sin has very real spiritual and practical consequences which religious ritual cannot fix. The debt of sin cannot be paid by man; it must be forgiven by God. Then, a purified heart must stop sinning in the future.
13. Hebrews 10:16 — “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” A person will not obey laws that are not on their hearts. Only God can give you a heart for Him.
14. Hebrews 10:24-25 — “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” The more united you are with God, the more united you will be with other believers. Christians naturally have a longing to be around other Christians who share in their priority of worship. Who do you spend most of your time with? Are your friendships intentional partnerships in discipleship?
15. Hebrews 10:26-31 — “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? For we know him who said, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” I don’t think I have ever heard a sermon include these powerful verses. Have you? Grace demands obedience. Love demands obedience. Faith is revealed thorough obedience. A faith that isn’t displayed through obedience is no faith at all. Do you see your continued sin as a profane trampling of Jesus?
16. Hebrews 10:34 — “For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.” Do you display this sort of grace and joy?
17. Hebrews 10:38, 39 — “‘But my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.’ But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” Don’t shrink back into sin, but have the faith to remain holy and pure.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 26 Sep 18: Today, meditate upon Hebrews and see your sin the way God sees it, and unthinkable offense before the God who has given you grace, forgiveness, and salvation through the blood of Jesus. Repent and live a life worthy of the grace you have received.