YEAR 2, WEEK 20, Day 7, Sunday, 21 May 2023

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 21 May 2023:

Isaiah 14:12, 13 — How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God”

The name “Day Star” is literally translated “shining one,” and likely refers contextually to the king of Babylon, though some have recognized the similarities of the fall of this earthly ruler to the fall of Lucifer. Though the text does not refer directly to Lucifer or his fall, we do know that Satan works through people who are led by him. Jesus called those led by Satan children of the devil, rather than children of God (See John 8). From beginning to end, the Bible describes a contest of kingdoms, between the Kingdom of God and those who worship God as LORD, and the kingdoms of men (led by Satan) who pridefully seek to usurp the Lordship of the Almighty in futility. Whether they acknowledge it or not, everyone has a leader. Everyone follows someone or something, and Jesus warned that a person cannot serve two masters, particularly two that are diametrically opposed. Sometimes, evil people can be influenced to do ‘good’ things, and sometimes ‘good’ people can be influenced to do bad things, but ultimately, everyone is either following Christ or an antichrist which offers another ‘salvation,’ a different gospel which is really no Gospel at all. Earthly leaders are either pointing to Christ or to an antichrist, there is no middle ground. Someone once said, “Leaders know the way and show the way.” Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and The Life. No one comes to the Father but through me.” All other “Day Stars” in their apparent glory will be consumed by the Light and be seen no more. Like a mighty oak, they will be cut down by God. As a leader, be careful not to communicate hope in anything other than Jesus.

Isaiah 14:13-14 – You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”

Sin basically involves placing self above God, thinking your hope and salvation depends on your personal power, thinking you’re in control of your destiny, seeking to build your own kingdom on earth rather than seeking first the Kingdom of God. The message of the world (this shiny forbidden apple) is one of self-actualization, self-realization, self-determination, and self-motivation, and just plain selfishness – humanism. These teachings creep into the church and many blend Christianity with humanism to form a false religion which suggests that God wants me to have what I want and wants to support my little kingdom on earth until I die and go to heaven. Be careful not to change “Thy will be done on earth,” to “My will be done on earth.”

Isaiah 14:16-17 – Those who see you will stare at you and ponder over you: “Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world like a desert and overthrew its cities, who did not let his prisoners go home?”

Even our greatest accomplishments are temporary and insignificant unless they are in fulfillment of God’s eternal plan. Do not labor in vain.

Isaiah 14:24-27 — As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand…. For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?

God has a plan for the world from which He will not deviate and which cannot be altered. His plan is revealed in His word.

Psalm 59:7 — …for “Who,” they think, “will hear us?”

Sinners think they are getting away with something. Sometimes we think they are too. Check your perspective.

Psalm 59:9 — …you, O God, are my fortress.

When God is your fortress, what worries should you have? Who can threaten you?

Psalm 59:11 — Kill them not, lest my people forget; make them totter by your power and bring them down, O Lord, our shield!

David’s sins deserved death, and God could have delivered it, but God made an example of David that His people would never forget; and God used David to reveal the greater truth of His grace.

Psalm 60:11 — Vain is the salvation of man!

There is no strength, no peace, no success, no hope apart from God. Many people are striving today to create their own heaven on earth and to achieve their own salvation from sorrow, pain and death. They come to no lower point in life than when they eventually realize that they hoped in nothing. Salvation is only found in Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The Bible offers many practical steps to better living, but we must be very careful not to turn the Bible into a supernatural self-help book or to preach good advice to others rather than Jesus. The goal of the Bible is found in John 17 – knowing Him and being one with Him. The goal is not comfort but rather Christ Himself.

Psalm 60:12 — With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.

Victory is in the hands of The Lord.

Proverbs 21:15 – When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.

Justice protects a people from themselves.

Proverbs 21:17 – Whoever loves pleasure will be a poor man; he who loves wine and oil will not be rich.

Wealth comes from daily sacrifice and frugality. Why would God bless you with great wealth if you only intend on using it for yourself?

Proverbs 21:25, 26 – The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor. All day long he craves and craves, but the righteous gives and does not hold back.

The righteous are known for both hard work and generosity.

Proverbs 21:27 – The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how much more when he brings it with evil intent.

God hates unrepentant worship.

Proverbs 21:30 – No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the Lord.

If your plans are God’s plans, your plans are guaranteed to succeed.

Proverbs 21:31 – The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.

God is in complete control. Your fate rests solely in His hands and His alone. The only power you have is what God gives you, and the outcome to any situation rests with God and God alone. Replace fear with love, faith, prayer, study, and obedience.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 21 May 2023: “God has spoken in his holiness….” Pray to God with your ears open. Prayer is a two-way conversation. Listen patiently for God’s response to your prayers. Listening requires attentive silence. (Psalm 60:6-8).

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