Thru the Bible – Day 114

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Day 114 – Thru the Bible

Today we continue in Isaiah and Psalms.

Isaiah 23 – Faced with their own destruction, those living in Tyre struggled with a question: “Who has purposed this . . . ?” There must be a reason behind it. There must be a larger narrative explaining this disaster. Isaiah wastes no time in answering their question: “The Lord of hosts has purposed it.” Why? Because of the “pompous pride” which aggressively put itself in a position above all others. Such arrogance can become a civic idol; Tyre had sold its soul. Consequently, the final image here is not one of wholesome health and harmonious delight but of a “forgotten prostitute” that would never be mistaken for an innocent or a life-giving beauty.

If pride is an issue for you, how do you guard against it overshadowing the truth that apart from Jesus there is nothing of lasting value that we can do?

 

Isaiah 24 – Often referred to as “the Little Apocalypse,” chapters 24–27 turn our attention from divine judgment on individual nations to a global apocalyptic vision of the end of the whole earth.

The judgment coming is utterly fair and impartial, treating equally slave and master, maid and mistress, creditor and debtor, as the whole earth is emptied. Using strong and often frightening apocalyptic images, Isaiah portrays a scorched earth scenario, where things are utterly destroyed and flattened out. Chaos reigns.

Only a “few men are left,” but this remnant gleaned from the harvest appear to raise their voice in praise to God, joyfully giving Him glory. A new day is coming, and the result is that “the Righteous One” will be praised from “the ends of the earth.” In the end, a song will rise up from those whom God has “ransomed” from “every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9; 7:9).

Isaiah’s brief focus on these voices of joyful praise in verses 17-23 is quickly replaced by his return to an apocalyptic message. “The earth staggers like a drunken man; . . . its transgression lies heavy upon it, and it falls, and will not rise again.” Sin has affected not just one person, not just one people, but all of humanity, of every nation. Under the weight of sin we stagger and, like a drunkard, we fail to distinguish the good from the evil. We have plunged into our own ruin (Ephesians 5:18).

But the day is coming when all in heaven and on earth will gather together, and all shall see and behold God’s glory (Revelation 21:22–27). So clear a contrast will it be from this fallen cosmos that even the “moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed.”

How does Paul declare this recognition of God’s reign? Hint: Philippians 2:9–11.

 

Isaiah 25 – Whereas “ruthless nations” used their strength to bring oppression and foster injustice, God is a “stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.” While they may be forgotten and mistreated by society, God remains a refuge for them.

Biblically, a paradox arises: it is precisely God’s impartiality that makes Him partial to the poor (Deuteronomy 10:17–18; James 3:17). We think of fairness as treating everyone the same, yet God sees perfectly the many ways in which things are not the same for all people. The world gives inherent priority to the powerful, wealthy, and beautiful. Impartiality for God does not mean treating everyone the exact same way at all times, since He alone perfectly takes into consideration all things (Romans 11:33–35). It is in fairness that God favors the forgotten and receives the rejected (Psalm 113; 107:41; 136:23). God’s royal majesty is seen in His tender mercy Luke 1:52–53).

How easy it is for us to forget that God gives priority to the weak, the vulnerable, and the needy (James 2:5). Accordingly, one of the marks of a healthy church, and a healthy Believer, is an impulse to extend God’s compassionate care to those most in need—supremely those in spiritual need, but also those in physical need. The church thus becomes a “stronghold” for those must vulnerable, bringing the peace of Jesus to trial-ridden lives.

God’s mercy to the needy has a flip side here, according to Isaiah: he will not turn a blind eye toward the injustices carried out by the nations. The sovereign Lord, who has “done wonderful things,” will act “faithful and sure”, and this includes His plans to carry out a just judgment against the idolatrous and tyrannical nations. He will “lay low” the “pompous pride” of such harmful power.

Furthermore, the Lord promises to “swallow up death,” not for a time but eternally. He will “wipe away tears from all faces,” taking away his people’s “reproach” (Revelation 7:17; 21:4).

How did Jesus conquer sin and death? Hint: 1 Corinthians 15:54; Hebrews 9:8–24.

 

Isaiah 26 – Judah’s song praises God and calls the people to be centered on their Lord. Amid the storms of life, we can be reminded that “the Lord God is an everlasting rock,” and thus, standing on him, we are kept “in perfect peace”. While “other lords besides you have ruled over us,” the song proclaims, “your name alone we bring to remembrance”. Like the psalmist writing during times of difficulty, we see the wisdom of bringing to mind God’s faithful actions in the past, since such “remembering” also serves to bring us courage and peace in the present (Psalm 42:3–11; 77).

God has been faithful, He has not forgotten us, and He will remain faithful through eternity. Hebrews 11 is guided by this very belief, for the examples of “faith” in that chapter ultimately point to God’s faithfulness, rather than to mere human loyalty.

As in the Passover, God’s people are invited to “come” into their chambers, so that they may be hidden “until the fury has passed by” against the iniquity of the earth.

Under the New Covenant, how do we see that Jesus is our Passover lamb? Hint: 1 Corinthians 5:7.

 

Isaiah 27 – “Leviathan” represents powers—natural or supernatural—raging against God. God will cast down such powers “in that day,” showing that there is only one true sovereign Lord. With the coming of King Jesus and the dawning of His kingdom we find Jesus similarly testifying that He “saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven,” cast down by God’s authority (Luke 10:18–20).

Again Isaiah presents the Lord as the owner of the vineyard who “every moment” takes care of it, “lest anyone punish it.” God’s anger here is not against His vineyard but against the “thorns and briers” that compromise His harvest’s health.

Our omnipotent and omniscient Lord never forgets us. He is present and concerned for us “night and day”. Forgetfulness may mark our lives, but not so with God. He is the one who nourishes His vineyard as well as the one who actively seeks to protect it from dangers that steal into His fields. The Master Himself will, in the end, separate the weeds from the wheat (Matthew 13:24–30). Until the final harvest, the “weeds” sown by the “evil one” may penetrate the fields (Matthew 13:36–43), but those who look to the Son of Man in faith will bear good fruit (e.g., repentance, humility, grace), showing their connection to the life-giving vine of Jesus (John 15:1–17).

How do you see God’s grace working in your life?

 

Psalm 114 – This hymn of praise reveals God as the Ruler of the forces of nature, who chose the people of Israel as the focal point of His dominion over all. It shows God’s greatness and power alongside His intimate love and care for His people. We read of the miraculous ways in which God delivered His people out of bondage in Egypt by parting the sea, preserving them with water and drink in the rugged land of their wanderings, and opening a pathway through the Jordan River to enter their Promised Land.

God’s control over sea, river, rock, and hill demonstrates His sovereign power over all His created order, yet this very power is exercised not for mere show but for the express purpose of delivering, protecting, and providing for the people of His covenant love. That the preincarnate Jesus may indeed be understood as the God who controlled nature to provide for them is suggested especially by the last verse, where we see God turn “the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water.” Paul instructs us that the rock of their provision of water in the wilderness was none other than Jesus, their God and Provider (1 Corinthians 10:4).

How does the New Testament point or Jesus as the Creator, Sustainer, and Ruler of creation? Hint: Colossians 1:16–17; Hebrews 1:1–3.

 

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.

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