Day 123 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Isaiah and Psalms.
Isaiah 55 – We are often tempted to think we must clean ourselves up to be worthy of God’s concern. But that is to misunderstand God and His saving grace. In our desperate thirst and poverty God says, “Come, buy and eat!” And all is free—obtained “without money and without price.” His bounteous goodness is only for those who resist the impulse to pay for it. His love and grace come to us not because we have been so good but because He has been so gracious.
In light of the mercy secured for God’s people by “the arm of the Lord” (53:1), the call for repentance goes out. God’s invitation echoes through creation, calling us to seek, hear, and come to the Lord. As we behold God’s righteousness and are honest about our sin, we become able to experience His saving forgiveness. We turn to the Lord and forsake our unrighteous ways. Then we enter into the movement of divine generosity, proclaiming His grace and caring for others in need (2 Corinthians 9:8–15).
Here we find hope and a promise that this good news is meant for the whole world: “a nation that did not know you shall run to you.” And now, as Believers who proclaim Jesus crucified and risen (Acts 13:34), we go out to the ends of the world, proclaiming His name to all peoples and nations (Matthew 28:19–20). We go confident in God’s promise that when His word goes out, it never fails. It extends His praise across his creation.
How does knowing that it is God who brings people to Himself free you to simply share the reason for your hope in Jesus?
Isaiah 56 – Turning from a section of Isaiah where the looming concern is the Babylonian exile (chs. 40–55), we now enter the final section of the book, where attention turns toward Israel’s return home (chs. 56–66).
God’s saving purposes are ultimately expansive, reaching out beyond the territory of ancient Israel. Symbolized through the “foreigner” and the “eunuch,” God shows His redemptive acceptance to those who are “joined” to the Lord, for the Lord’s house is not confined within the physical walls of the temple.
God’s house was always meant to be “a house of prayer for all peoples.” Given God’s particular concern for the neglected and vulnerable, which appears throughout Isaiah, it should be no surprise that the Lord here promises to gather “the outcasts of Israel” as well as those not already within the fold.
Jesus takes this text and proclaims it as He cleanses the temple. Embodying God’s promises and purposes, the blind and lame come to Him to be healed in the now cleansed temple (Matthew 21:12–14). We discover that Jesus himself is God’s holy temple, and to come to Jesus is to be in God’s presence (John 1:14; 2:19). As the resurrected temple, Jesus becomes the focus of salvation that is now proclaimed by His disciples, not only in Jerusalem and Judah, but from Samaria “to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Even as God extends His promises, there is also the danger that the “watchmen are blind,” indulgent and neglectful rather than offering the protection and vigilance of wise shepherds. Consequently, we will see in the next chapter, the people are enticed by sorcery, sexual perversion, and false spirituality, a path that leads to ruin rather than life. Idols cannot hear the cries of the people, and they do not bring deliverance.
We must always be mindful of the temptation to turn to trendy forms of spirituality rather than trusting in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who is the God of the living, not the dead (Matthew 22:32). Jesus, the long-promised Seed of Abraham and David, is not trendy. He is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). But unlike idols created by current trends and tastes, He will never let us down. Unlike idols, He always remains a tender and compassionate master (Matthew 11:28–30). Whatever happens in your life, bank on Him.
How does this truth encourage you to trust God?
Isaiah 57 – God’s holiness is seen in His condescension: while dwelling “in the high and holy place” He is also “with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit.” Rather than trust in idols, God’s people are called to return to Him, not by cleaning themselves up but by confessing their sin. What an amazing and counterintuitive pathway of healing. God offers healing, restoration, and comfort to those who mourn over their fallenness rather than those who seek in a self-generated way to overcome it.
Those who humbly bow down before the Lord hear His pardon of “Peace, peace” which goes out “to the far and to the near.” But the wicked drown out the calls for repentance with their arrogant actions and zealous running after false spiritualities: for them, therefore, “there is no peace.”
How does the gracious character of God revealed by Isaiah, remind us that only in Jesus is true peace available and it is available to any who ask for it? Hint: John 14:27.
Psalm 119:129-152 – Again reading Psalm 119 should bring Jesus to mind in at least two ways. First, He lived out the principles and commandments of this Psalm perfectly as He loved the law of the Lord and meditated on it day and night. Second, His very life gave the fullest expression possible of this Word, as He came as the very living Word of God Himself. Jesus is Himself God’s message to the world.
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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