Day 112 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Isaiah and Psalms.
Isaiah 13 – In the next 11 chapters Isaiah turns his warnings about God’s judgment to more direct statements about what will happen to nations beyond Israel. This is the judgment that befalls all those, then and now, who refuse to humble themselves and yield to God’s gracious rule, ultimately secured in His Son, Jesus.
In this chapter Babylon is the first to receive word that God’s patience should not be tested, for He will “punish the world for its evil.” Plunging from its greatness and glory, Babylon will end up becoming like a wild and abandoned territory, ruled by animals rather than by prideful humans.
Isaiah’s warning, while here applied to Babylon, speaks to all who imagine that the prosperity and ease of their life will continue forever, even as injustices and sin accumulate. There is a coming judgment directed not just against a particular region or country but against the world that has rebelled against God and His good creation. Only by trusting in Jesus alone can we rest in the safety of His sanctuary knowing judgment for the Believer has already been satisfied by Jesus.
Such a judgment can be marvelously avoided by trusting in the King who died on our behalf. He made the earth tremble and rocks shake as He faced exile for us (Matthew 27:45–54), but then by His resurrection He brought new life to those who are united to Him by faith (2 Corinthians 5:17).
How does it comfort you to know that your judgement has already been taken by Jesus?
Isaiah 14 – As God’s judgments are turned against Babylon and the other nations, God’s historic promises resurface: He will have “compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel.” We find sober warnings in the Old Testament about covenant unfaithfulness.
As harsh as that may sound, we sometimes miss the contrast that is actually given in those contexts. God’s very heart is to be “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands [of generations], forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” (Exodus 34:6–7; Numbers 14:18). While God never becomes blind to sin, His people must not forget that He is long-suffering and full of grace, and His promises are always there even as He chastens them.
A reversal takes place. Where previously Babylon had taunted Israel, now Israel’s remnant stands over their former oppressors. God’s judgment strikes down this tormentor; a clear outworking of the scriptural principle that God “opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5).
How easy it is when in power and during times of prosperity to become like the self-deluded Babylonians who came to imagine that they stood “above the stars of God” when in fact we always remain under Yahweh’s sovereign reign and rule. When God’s judgment comes, what once seemed invincible can easily be swept away. Turning to the One who “founded Zion” is the only hope; in the city of God’s tender presence and provision, refuge and grace can be enjoyed.
How do we know that such refuge is found only in Jesus?
Isaiah 15 – Moab also is “undone” and filled with humiliation. Pride and insolence lead to this verdict of judgment for Moab (see 16:6). Such devastating decrees against the nations are not something God delights in: “My heart cries out for Moab; [for] her fugitives.” He does not delight even in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23; 33:11). God senses their suffering and pain, and hints of promise can be found even amid this dire situation, but hope will come only from looking to Yahweh for deliverance.
In what ways do you need God’s deliverance today?
Isaiah 16 – Devastation is coming to Moab, as she will eat the fruit of her accumulated sins. Moab will look to Zion for “counsel” and “shelter”, with the hope of escape. Isaiah points them to Israel’s messianic expectation. In contrast to Moab’s injustice and arrogance, there will be “a throne” from the line of David that is established “in steadfast love,” and He who sits upon that throne will “sit in faithfulness,” reigning in justice and righteousness. In other words, the messianic hope of Zion actually offered refuge to Gentiles as well if, in trusting faith, they would turn to this “one” who will establish a kingdom governed by love rather than by abusive power.
With the coming of Jesus, the King of Zion arrives in Jerusalem (Matthew 21:5; John 12:15). His kingdom will be marked by righteousness and love, and the whole world is called to believe in Him so that they may become part of true “Israel” (Romans 9:25; Galatians 3:7–9). This good news must be universally proclaimed, irrespective of nationality and geography, since all can find refuge in the God of Zion.
How are you able to share the good news in your every day life?
Isaiah 17 – Northern Israel and Damascus are thrown together here as the stern oracles continue to come down. What they could expect was “a heap of ruins,” with the “fortress” and “kingdom” disappearing from their lands. What appears so resilient can easily be vanquished when a divine sentencing is uttered and carried out. Again, humiliation becomes reality as they are “brought low”.
The shock of the gospel is that God carried out the supreme divine sentencing against His own Son. Those who see this and who humble themselves by trusting Him find that their justly deserved sentence of condemnation has already been satisfied—at the cross of Calvary.
We receive hints here of the remnant who will cease to look to their self-crafted idols and will instead return to their Creator, who is none other than “the Holy One of Israel.” To forget this God is to forget the hope of salvation and the “Rock of your refuge.”
How do you remind yourself where true hope is found?
Psalm 112 – This Psalm is reminiscent of Psalm 1 with its extolling of the benefits God has in store for those who fear (revere) the Lord and greatly delight in His commandments. The wicked are contrasted (as in Psalm 1), but only in the final verse (112:10), as they revolt against the righteous—to their peril and demise. What characterizes the righteous? They reflect the grace and goodness of their God. They do not fear distressing news or shrewd adversaries but remain steadfast in their trust in God.
The reason for such blessing in this fallen world is not human achievement or resolve. The language used to describe the righteous man in this Psalm is very similar to the description of God in Psalm 111. If the two psalms are read in tandem, they can be seen to prefigure the nature of grace that allows the righteousness of God to become our own, and through which we ultimately know the blessing of God.
No doubt righteous kings like David, Uzziah, Hezekiah, and Josiah could testify that God’s favor indeed rested on them as they walked in His ways. But the fullness of the truth of this passage is seen only with One who is perfectly righteous, One who thus is perfectly blessed by God. Jesus alone fills that description, and this Psalm lifts our gaze ultimately to the only perfectly righteous Man, who shares His righteousness with us (2 Corinthians 5:21).
How does Jesus epitomizes the righteous man of which Psalm 112 speaks? Hint: Philippians 2:6–11
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.
Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.
All links you need to be a part of this are here – Thru the Bible in 2018.