If you use Facebook, we are posting these each day on our page there, and we will also post these here each day. We welcome your thoughts here or on Facebook.
Day 115 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Isaiah and Psalms.
Isaiah 28 – The Lord of the harvest is “wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom.” All He does has purpose, even when that purpose is not immediately clear during times of plowing, planting, pruning, and production. God will not abide the pride of nations, and they will find their once powerful stature diminished and fading.
The rest and repose offered by God to His weary people is too often ignored; rather than listening to Him they seek deliverance from other tongues. Nonetheless, a “remnant” will be preserved; those included will find their strength in “the Lord of hosts,” who will be their “crown of glory, and a diadem of beauty.”
We may similarly be tempted to follow every trend of wisdom and “spiritual insight” coming from outside of God’s Word. We should never forget that God’s final word and self-disclosure is found in Jesus alone (John 1:16–18). Any voices that lead us away from the incarnate Son of God are voices that are not for us (1 John 4:1–2). Jesus alone is the true “precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation,” and so in Him we believe and put our trust (Acts 4:11; Matthew 21:42; Romans 9:33; Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:6–7).
How do we know that on Jesus alone can we build our lives, and on Him alone will the foundation hold? Hint: Matthew 7:24–27.
Isaiah 29 – The people of God must always remember that their Lord has not abandoned them, even when hope is dim. Here the attacking nations appear ready to devour Zion (Ariel), but at the last moment God provides deliverance. Probably the initial promise is experienced in 701 b.c., as the divine warrior fights for his people against Sennacherib’s attacks (see 37:33–37).
Yet the danger of spiritual blindness remains. It can be self-imposed or it can be a verdict of God, but it always puts one in danger. God warns against fostering hypocrisy, by which the people’s mouths claim to “honor” God while in reality their “hearts are far from me.” God will keep working, doing “wonders,” but rather than wholeheartedly embracing Yahweh the people end up appearing foolish though imagining themselves to be wise (1 Corinthians 1:19).
Jesus applies Isaiah’s concerns to the Pharisees (Mark 7:6–7). The rituals and words are meant to flow from a broken and contrite spirit, not an arrogant and hard-hearted one (Psalm 51:17).
God remains the Creator, and we the creation. And this Creator has no difficulty reversing the brokenness of this world, making the deaf to hear and the blind to see. But who is it that hears from God? Who sees? The meek and the poor.
That is what we see with Jesus, the Light of the World (John 8:12–30). Religious leaders who were meant to see Jesus were blinded by their sin (John 8:39–59), while the physically blind could, by humble faith, receive the grace of Jesus which gave them eyes to see and ears to hear (John 9:1–41). Mindful of God’s mercy, let us recognize that we too are by nature spiritually blind. It is grace alone that has restored our sight. We too once were blind, but now we see (John 9:25).
How has God cleared your vision to see the good news of the Gospel?
Isaiah 30 – Rather than turning to God, the people “add sin to sin” and apathetically fail to ask for divine direction, instead seeking “shelter in the shadow of Egypt.” But what at first appears a safe haven ends up being a position of shame and disgrace. What is Egypt in comparison to the Creator? In the long run, her “help is worthless and empty”, whereas God is our ever present help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
We are always tempted to create idols, even provoking our spiritual leaders to ignore God’s warnings and instructions. May it not be so! We must be willing to hear the full counsel of the Lord, trusting His word over the perverted powers of the age. Sometimes we imagine God prefers punishment to pardon, but Isaiah reminds his listeners, “the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore He exalts Himself to show mercy to you.” He is exalted as He comes low, forgiving, restoring, and enlivening. Those who “wait for Him” experience His merciful justice.
These words find their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus, as we see that the blow against our sin fell on Him, and so the “holy feast is kept”; we now eat of His body and drink of His blood in remembrance of what He has done on our behalf (Luke 22:14–23; 1 Corinthians 11:23–26). By His wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24).
How does this truth humble you and lead you to worship Jesus?
Psalm 115 – God’s people are called to celebrate the truth that their God, the God of Israel, is the one and only true and living God.
The contrast with the idols of the nations could not be more painfully clear. These pretender deities, though fashioned often to appear as personal beings, have only man-made mouths that cannot speak, eyes that cannot see, ears that cannot hear, noses that cannot smell, hands that cannot feel, and feet that cannot walk. These are the creations of man, fully incapable of doing anything whatsoever, and those who make them will be as impotent and inglorious as the idols themselves.
The God of Israel, on the other hand, is full of steadfast love and faithfulness. Hence this God alone, the true and living God, the God of Israel, should receive all glory. He can be trusted, for He will not fail to remember His people in their need, to bless and favor them as they look to Him.
This Psalm reflects the core of the good news that the people of God have always been told: our hope is in God, and not in ourselves. His abundant mercy, His faithful commitment, His inexorable power, and His steadfast love provide His people with the basis for full assurance of His care for them.
For this reason we place our hope and trust in God alone. Because of who God is—not because of who we are or anything of our making—“we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.”
How has the Lord’s powerful care been decisively proven in 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.
Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.
All links you need to be a part of this are here – Thru the Bible in 2018.