Day 110 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Isaiah and Psalms.
Isaiah 5 – While Isaiah sprinkled in words of promise amid the strong warnings of the first four chapters, here in chapter 5 such hope is hard to find. The first seven verses include what is commonly called the Song of the Vineyard. Isaiah sings on behalf of his “Beloved”—the Lord—who had a vineyard that he loved. He prepared the vineyard, protected it, and tended to its needs with the expectation of fruit. But the vineyard yielded “wild grapes”.
When Jesus came, He identified Himself as the final and true vine (John 15:1). United to Him and cleansed in Him (John 15:3), we bear good fruit (John 15:5).
In light of the failures of the vineyard presented in the previous chapter, we read six “woes” from the Lord, speaking judgment against Judah’s greed, self-indulgence, cynicism, moral distortion, blinding arrogance, and corruption and drunkenness. Each of these, in their own way, distorts God’s good creation, making a mockery of His wisdom and justice.
Similar to the underlying concerns expressed here by Isaiah, Jesus offers strong words against the Pharisees when He gives a list of “woe” declarations to them. The religious leaders “neglect justice and the love of God,” dishonoring God by making the burdens of others heavier, rather than working to bring them assistance and grace (Luke 11:42–52). But Jesus comes “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). He promises to set us free from our self-absorbed sin so that we might joyfully put our neighbor above ourselves.
How do you celebrate the fact that you’ve been set free?
Isaiah 6 – Having expressed the ominous prospects for Judah, the book now turns to Isaiah’s call from God. Isaiah has a profound encounter with “the Lord sitting upon a throne,” where his splendor is revealed. This Lord’s glory fills the heavens and the earth, being perfectly complete and unmistakably holy.
The revelation of the glory of God results in statements of humility and confession from the prophet—regarding both himself and his people. Here we discover important truths: real perception of the holiness of God necessarily results in acknowledgment of our sin and our need of His mercy; and, for all who are called to proclaim God’s majesty and mercy, we must confess, “Woe is me!”
When in the divine presence, Isaiah doesn’t stand over against the people to whom he preaches; he identifies with them: “for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” Isaiah does not promote a deceptive modesty based on comparison to others; instead he experiences genuine humility that comes when his “eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”
We become emotionally and spiritually able to address the needs of others only after we come to recognize and confess our own great need and dependence upon God. Until that happens we inevitably slip into mere self-help advice, rather than the repentance unto life into which the gospel invites us. The touch of the burning ember (from the altar of atonement) to his lips indicates that he has been made pure by a work beyond himself, so that now he can sing of, and give witness to, his God.
We too have been touched by the “burning coal” of the altar where the sacrifices were made, having been purified by Jesus’ atoning sacrifice that put an end to the need of the altar’s fire. Restored by His forgiveness and liberated from sin to be sent out, our lips may joyfully testify to the holiness and mercy of our God.
While Judah may appear hopeless, yet “the holy seed is its stump,” for out of this stump of Jesse will come the heir of David (Romans 15:12), our Savior Jesus the Christ (Acts 13:23).
How does this reality that God always has a plan to redeem us form all the things we get ourselves into help you turn away from your sin (repent) and back to Jesus?
Isaiah 7 – Chapters 7–39 can be understood as dealing with the call (and failure) to trust in God. Will Judah trust foreign powers, their own ingenuity, and handcrafted idols, or will they trust Yahweh, the only true God? Isaiah provides a summary statement for this whole section: “If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.”
Ahaz and the people show how fragile their trust in God is, for when the threat of Syria and Ephraim appears, their hearts all “shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.” What is more foundational to true love than trust?
In light of the sending of Jesus for our salvation, we have sufficient reason for such trust (Romans 8:32).
Isaiah tells his audience that “in that day” devastation will come from the hand of Assyria, the very power they decided to lean on instead of trusting God. Their short-term solution leads to long-term misery. Although the circumstances seem frightening, with Jerusalem under immediate threat, God again promises deliverance that can come by “the Lord himself.” The sign of this promise was “the virgin” who “shall conceive and bear a son,” and this son will be called “Immanuel,” which means “God is with us”.
While there may have been some immediate fulfillment of this promise in the time of Ahaz (perhaps Maher-shalal-hash-baz or Hezekiah), Believers rightly recognize, in light of the rest of Scripture, that this promise is ultimately fulfilled in the incarnation of the Son of God. He alone uniquely fulfills God’s promise to be “with us” (Matthew 1:23; Romans 8:3; Galatians 4:4; Philippians 2:7; 1 John 4:2; 2 John 7). He alone will ground the promises of God, not merely in words but in His life, death, and resurrection. He alone will be faithful even amid the greatest temptations and trials, even unto death. Therefore, He is now the anchor and center of our faith and trust.
How will you remember it’s ultimately not about your faithfulness but Jesus’?
Isaiah 8 – The Bible calls us to be in awe of God and not man, but this can be such a challenge for us when our circumstances and all we see make us fear what others will think and do. In such situations, we must regain Isaiah’s perspective: “do not fear” what the world fears, “but the Lord of hosts, Him you shall honor as holy.” For Isaiah’s audience, this meant a call to “wait for the Lord” and a cultivated commitment to “hope in Him.”
Peter applies these words to his readers, who are facing the challenge of suffering for the gospel. However, whereas Isaiah spoke of honoring God as “holy,” Peter specifically applies that description and reasoning to Jesus: “Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy” (1 Peter 3:14–15). Peter puts an eternal perspective on suffering, for “even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed” (1 Peter 3:14).
How are you waiting upon the Lord and cultivating your hope in Him?
Psalm 110 – This Psalm of David, has two parts: (1) verses 1–3 announce Yahweh’s declaration of the Lord whom He will set at His right hand as king over all, to rule even over His enemies; and (2) verses 4–7 announce Yahweh’s unchangeable oath that this Lord, this anointed King, will likewise be an eternal Priest of the people. This Psalm, then, is fundamentally about David’s Greater Son who will be both King and Priest, a dual role that none of the previous kings of Israel or Judah could play.
Since David (the highest human authority) is writing this Psalm, the second “Lord” (of “the Lord says to my Lord”) must refer to a divine figure rather than to David himself. Thus, this second “Lord” must be the One whom we know as the Son of the Father, Jesus Himself (Matthew 22:41–45; Acts 2:34–36).
His role as this King-Priest will be as the incarnate God-man. Notice that in executing His judgment, He will “drink from the brook by the way,” indicating He comes as a man, the Son of David, who nonetheless is David’s “Lord” and hence, also, fully God. Jesus, the God-man, then, is the subject of this, the glorious and final King and Priest over His own people and over the whole world.
How does this foreshadowing of Jesus as King and Priest lead you to see how all of the other kings and priests are point us to Jesus?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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