Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 14 May 2023:
Isaiah 6:2 – Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
The seraphim were created and equipped to serve God in a very specific way; they even had wings that enabled them to be in the presence of God, covering their face and feet. We too have been made to serve God specifically on earth, physical bodies to transform His will into tangible results on earth.
Isaiah 6:3 — Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.
In the Bible, words are repeated to show emphasis. The only attributed of God repeated three times in the Bible is “Holy,” not “Loving,” not “Merciful,” but “Holy.” The Bible says another word three times: “Woe, Woe, Woe” because the world fails to honor God as Holy. Sin defies God’s holiness.
Isaiah 6:5 – And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
From Henry T. Blackaby — An exalted view of God brings a clear view of sin and a realistic view of self. A diminished view of God brings a reduced concern for sin and an inflated view of self. Isaiah may have been satisfied with his personal holiness until he saw the Lord in His unspeakable glory. Isaiah’s encounter with holy God made him immediately and keenly aware of his own unholiness and the sinfulness of those around him. It is impossible to worship God and remain unchanged. The best indication that we have truly worshiped is a changed heart. Have we so conformed ourselves to a sinful world that we are satisfied with unholy living? Have we sunk so far below God’s standard that when someone does live as God intended, we consider that person “super-spiritual,” [or perhaps fanatical]?
If we only compare our personal holiness to those around us, we may be deceived into believing that we are living a consecrated life. Yet when we encounter holy God, our only response can be “Woe is me!” You will not see those around you trusting Jesus until they recognize a clear difference between you and the rest of the world. God wants to sanctify you as He is holy. When God deals with you, there will be a radical degree of purity about your life that is absolutely different from what the world can produce. The world, including those closest to you, will be convinced you serve a holy God by your consecrated life.
Isaiah 6:7 — Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.
As per the note above, we were given lips to communicate God’s will and word to others. Isaiah’s mouth had to be cleansed because He could not stand before the Lord having failed to honor Him as he had been created to do.
Isaiah 6:8 – And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people….”
Isaiah answered the call to proclaim God’s truth to the people, and God sent him with His word. Will you answer the call and be sent?
It takes a pure heart to see God (Matt. 5:8). You can attend church services, read your Bible, and pray, but if sin fills your heart, you will not see God as you should. Sanctification prepares you to see and hear God more clearly. It enables you to serve Him more powerfully. Only God can purify your heart. Allow Him to remove any impurities that hinder your relationship with Him, and then your service for Him will have meaning as you offer Him your consecrated life.
Isaiah 6:9-13 – Go, and say to this people: “Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.” Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” Then I said, “How long, O Lord?” And he said: “Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is a desolate waste, and the Lord removes people far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. And though a tenth remain in it, it will be burned again, like a terebinth or an oak, whose stump remains when it is felled.” The holy seed is its stump.
Isaiah was given a hard message of judgment to deliver to the people. Are you willing to tell people the truth they don’t want to hear?
Psalm 56:2 – …my enemies trample on me all day long, for many attack me proudly.
Attacks are motivated by pride.
Psalm 56:3, 4 – When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?
The remedy for fear is trust in God. Fear is a trust problem, a faith problem. “Do not be afraid,” is a command often repeated in the Bible. It is a command because, in our lack of faith, we must be reminded to practice trust, to do it even when we don’t feel it. The more we do it, the more we will start feeling it.
These verses tell us that an important process to learning to trust and no longer fear is to ‘praise God’s word.’ It is very difficult to become fearless without impassioned Bible study. Put on the full armor of God BEFORE you begin the day’s battle; praise God (even if you don’t completely feel like rejoicing) for the truths you read in God’s word and trust in them. What does “rejoice” mean? It means, essentially, to ‘joy’ again. When you feel doubtful or down, re-joy – praise God and be filled with joy, despite your apparent circumstances. Focus on the love and faithfulness of God and His promises for you. Obey the command to fear not. Don’t allow yourself to be afraid or the worry. Replace your negative thoughts with the truth of Jesus. This is something you must decide to do.
Psalm 56:4 — In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?
If you truly trust in God, you will not be worried. When you are worried, turn to Jesus. You won’t trust someone you don’t know very well. You can’t know someone very well you haven’t spent much time with and who you haven’t seen to be trustworthy. Spend more time with Jesus and see His love and faithfulness in your life.
Psalm 56:8 – You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?
God knows every bit of your sorrow, counting every tear you shed. The Psalmist is struggling with fear and doubt, and is reminding himself of God’s perfect love and reliability. This is written as an example for us.
Psalm 56:10 — In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise.
How you feel about God’s word reveals how you feel about God. A worn out Bible usually belongs to someone who isn’t.
Psalm 56:12, 13 — I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you. For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.
God loves you so much that He gave his only Son so that you would not perish but would have eternal life. How then should you live your life on earth? Your level of obedience reveals your level of gratitude for Jesus’ sacrifice for you.
Fear is one of the biggest causes of sin. In your fear, remain obedient. In your obedience, God’s fidelity will become more evident to you, you will trust more, and fear less.
Psalm 57:2, 3 — I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah. God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!”
God will fulfill His purpose for you. Even your trials are part of God’s plan for your life, though you cannot understand why while you are going through them. Mary and Martha could not understand why Jesus delayed in healing Lazarus and allowed him to die, but Jesus wanted to bring Mary, Martha, and Lazarus into a much deeper understanding of Him and relationship with Him; He wanted them to truly experience that He is the Resurrection and the Life. God always shows you perfect love and faithfulness, and you might have to go through your own fiery furnace or lion’s den in order to truly see it.
Psalm 57:7 – I will sing and make melody!
During trials, praise God!
Psalm 57:9 — I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations.
What you say to others about Jesus reveals what you really think about Him.
Proverbs 14:2, 7 — Whoever walks in uprightness fears the Lord, but he who is devious in his ways despises him…. Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.
Godly people have no partnership with the world.
Proverbs 14:5, 25 — A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness breathes out lies…. A truthful witness saves lives, but one who breathes out lies is deceitful.
A misrepresentation of the truth is a lie. Lying is cosmic treason for an Ambassador of Christ. There are obvious lies and less obvious lies. When you point people to a “truth” other than Jesus, such as modern ethics, morals, or common sense, you are lying far worse than when you misrepresent yourself or the facts of a matter.
“A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness breathes out lies.” The truth of your words and advice is determined by in whom you have placed your faith. If you are guided by the Spirit and are following Jesus, proclaiming only His word and not your own, you speak the truth and are a faithful witness. If, however, you are merely offering your own opinion based on ‘common sense’ or the teachings and traditions of this world, you are misleading others away from the truth, despite your good intentions. The only word that is inspired, the only word that you are allowed to proclaim as Christ’s ambassador is God’s word, not your opinion. Speak God’s word.
Proverbs 14:6-9 — A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain, but knowledge is easy for a man of understanding. Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge. The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deceiving. Fools mock at the guilt offering, but the upright enjoy acceptance.
Today there are many who scoff at simple Christian faith, thinking themselves so very wise. Their false wisdom can be quite deceiving. Have nothing to do with teachings void of Jesus. The foolish scoffer mocks the need for repentance and the need for reliance on the sacrifice of Jesus (the guilt offering). However, a true teacher starts and ends with Jesus. If your counsellor isn’t continually pointing you to Jesus but rather some form of moralism, psychology, or any other idea that rests on a hope other than Jesus, walk away.
Christians make amends for sin when it is within their power to do so. Exodus 22, Leviticus 24, and Numbers also speak to the principle of restitution.
Proverbs 14:12 — There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
People don’t usually pursue what they think is wrong but rather pursue what they think is right. The problem is that their thoughts are immeasurably far removed from God’s thoughts. Many are very committed to convictions that are very moral in the eyes of society and very sinful in the eyes of God, the Author of Justice. When people do what is right in their own eyes, they perish. Follow the instruction of God’s word through the Holy Spirit rather than your own intellect.
Proverbs 14:15, 16 — The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps. One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.
Don’t believe what you hear from others; believe God and His word. Very, very few read and obey God’s word. If you choose to do that, you will turn away from evil and the majority.
Proverbs 14:21 — Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor.
Own this verse. If you look down on others around you, you are a sinner — it doesn’t say you are sinning; it says you ARE a sinner — it is in your character not just in your behavior. Examine yourself from this perspective. Your generosity to the needy (both physically needy and spiritually needy) reveals what is really in your heart. The problem with being generous to the needy is that they are needy for a reason. They are usually dealing with the consequences of their own sinful behavior. They don’t deserve to be treated well — this is called grace, the same type of grace you have received through Jesus and in which your hope rests.
Proverbs 14:27 – The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.
Stay under the spout where the blessings are coming out.
Proverbs 14:28 – In a multitude of people is the glory of a king, but without people a prince is ruined.
Life is about relationships. Leadership is all about influencing others.
Proverbs 14:31 – Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.
The way we treat people who can do nothing for us reveals the quality and content of our love.
Proverbs 14:34 — Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.
Revival is the only hope for our nation. It must start with the church; it must start with you.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 14 May 2023: Today, make the decision to trust God completely with your trials and challenges. Trust that God knows exactly what is going on in your life and is fulfilling His plan for you which is based on His perfect love for you. Praise God today. Do not worry about anything, but pray about everything. You must decide to trust — today is the day (Psalm 56, 57).