Day 109 – Thru the Bible
Today we move forward to the prophets before the exile and dive into Isaiah. We also continue Psalms. Here’s a video that walks us through Isaiah 1-39.
Video – Read Scripture: Isaiah
Isaiah 1 – The first six chapters of Isaiah provide the tone and setting for the entire book. They anticipate some of the main themes, introduce us to prominent imagery, and show how we can see a gospel pattern emerge within the book as a whole.
Isaiah ministered during turbulent times, specifically addressing God’s people in Judah and Jerusalem. Under the covenant, they were called to be faithful to Yahweh, but as we have seen in our reading and quickly discover in this opening oracle that all is not well. God’s children have rebelled against Him…again.
God makes it clear He is not interested merely in religious rituals: God desires a true love of Him that inevitably overflows to a love of neighbor, especially directed toward the needy (Matthew 9:13; 12:7; Luke 10:27). When divinely sanctioned ceremonies are divorced from an active love and concern for the most vulnerable, they fail to reflect the very truths they were meant to reveal: God’s compassion for us in our utmost need.
So is there any hope? We will find throughout Isaiah, especially in the first 39 chapters, consistent divine confrontations and warnings, but sprinkled throughout these sober judgments are words of promise and future redemption.
Despite their unfaithfulness, God will not abandon His people. Hints of the promised future surface even in this first chapter as God preserve a remnant. Out of this remnant will come the Messiah, who will alone prove to be the embodiment of God’s heart, full of love, mercy, justice, and righteousness, with powerful concern directed to the most needy and vulnerable.
How do you reflect all you’ve received through Jesus to those around you?
Isaiah 2 – This chapter opens with a much-needed promise. Judah was meant to bring hope to the nations by being a light to them, providing a powerful vision of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. However, Judah was not displaying the beauty of God’s law and love, and thus they were often indistinguishable from the other nations.
With the coming of the Messiah, the Word of God becomes flesh (John 1:14), becoming one of the people. In this way, the Son of God becomes the very embodiment of Israel, faithfully loving his Father and His neighbors in a way disobedient Israel has failed to do. Not only through His obedient life but also by His substitutionary death, Jesus offers Himself in Israel’s place.
Consequently, when He rises from the dead and ascends into heaven He demonstrates that in Jesus all things are being made new. The result is Jesus pours out His Spirit in Jerusalem, and His disciples are enabled to speak in the tongues of the nations, representatively drawing all the peoples of the earth back to the one true God (Acts 1–2).
As Believers, we are part of what Jesus is making new. It begins with our identity. We’ve been given new hearts, and our Spirit has been made one with His Spirit. We are now children of God.
How will you embrace this transformation and allow it to guide you in loving those around you?
Isaiah 3 – Sober words of warning continue, with God’s particular concern addressing “their speech and their deeds.” The rich have feasts in their homes while the deprived workers who labored for this food are crushed and left empty-handed. Such sin demonstrates that the wealthy are ultimately “against the Lord, defying His glorious presence,” for genuine love of God and love of neighbor are connected.
In His just love, God will not turn a blind eye to this situation, and He warns of a reversal to come. God will expose the uncaring, taking away all of the false security and comfort they find in their luxury; they will come to recognize that they are also the needy, unprotected, and weak.
While we may not all suffer material poverty, we are called to recognize that we are “poor in spirit” (Matt. 5:3; Luke 6:20). Thus the church, living in response to God’s radical grace, is invited to participate in His generosity. We sacrificially and joyfully give of our time, talents, and treasure to those in need, and in this way we demonstrate the grace and love that mark God’s kingdom, as opposed to the kingdoms of this world.
How has God been generous to you? How will you allow this generosity to flow through you?
Isaiah 4 – In the midst of God’s warnings the people are called to turn to Him.
The result will be a changed people. They will be “holy,” for God shall “have washed away” their filth that came with their arrogant words and deeds; they are “cleansed,” interestingly enough, “by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning.” This is what John the baptizer said of Jesus—He will bring a baptism “with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16).
When God comes and rescues, He does not leave us as we are, but purifies us and changes our lives. This grace of God finds full expression in the work of Jesus, as his Spirit makes us new creatures, accomplishing our sanctification (spiritual maturity) through our union to the crucified and risen Lord (Galatians 2:20).
How will you enjoy your union with Jesus today?
Psalm 109 – In this personal Psalm of lament, David reflects upon his great need for and dependence on the Lord in the face of the relentless cursings and threats the wicked pour out on him. Though David has shown love and kindness, these wicked men return evil for good.
In this respect, this psalm from Israel’s king anticipates something of the opposition King Jesus Himself experienced from many of those to whom He showed kindness. The most notable example is Judas, whom Jesus chose as one of His disciples, yet who betrayed Jesus and plotted to gain monetarily as he handed Him over to be killed. There is reason to think of Judas from this Psalm as Acts 1:20 quotes verse 8, where Judas’s suicide presents the need for another to take his place.
So, while much of this Psalm reflects the specific reality of bitterness and opposition David faced, it likewise foreshadows the opposition Jesus, the Greater Son of David, would face in even greater ways.
The most difficult part of the Psalm is the extended curse upon and woe to the wicked themselves. Some would like to dismiss these as rash, ungodly cursings. We must recall, however, the similar woes Jesus pronounced upon the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23:1–36). It is not rash to denounce evil, for evil deserves denouncing.
In the end, David trusts in God to deliver him while he pledges to praise and thank God for His goodness. In these ways David anticipates the trust that the Savior puts in God, who will vindicate him in the face of his accusers.
How do you rely on Jesus to bring you through when others oppose you?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s video and reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.
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