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Day 126 – Thru the Bible
Today we finish Isaiah and continue Psalms.
Isaiah 65 – Two options surface in this and the final chapter. One group seeks the Lord and experiences His festive blessing while the other’s arrogance leads to dissatisfaction and shame. Quoting Isaiah 65:1–2, Paul applies it to the call to believe that goes out beyond Israel to all the nations (Romans 10:20–21). He warns Israel of her lingering self-righteous hardness toward God even as he holds out the promise of salvation to any who confess Jesus as risen from the dead (Romans 10:8–13). God calls out and identifies Himself even to those who were rebellious and distant from Him (those who “did not ask”; vv. 1–2).
The New Testament manifestation of this promise occurs as, through faith in Jesus, Jew and Gentile are brought onto the same path, the new exodus accomplished by King Jesus (Romans 3:21–31; Galatians 2:15–21). What a salvation! What a Savior!
The promise of a new creation is not “new” because it lacks continuity with the past; it is new because it brings about a radical renewal of God’s fallen creation. The holy God created the “former things” to be good, and He delighted and rejoiced in that original work; He invites people to enter into His joy with His promise of the renewal of shalom on earth.
Sin ruptured and compromised God’s harmonious creation (Genesis 3), but God promises that the weeping, distress, death, and disorder will be overcome with a life-giving congruence between God, humanity, and the earth. The Serpent will face his doom so that this peace may go forth (Revelation 12:7–9; 20:7–10; Romans 16:20).
How does Isaiah’s glorious portrait always remind us that God’s restorative salvation will ultimately touch everything?
Isaiah 66 – With an ending that reflects the rhythm of the book as a whole as well as the previous chapter, Isaiah closes with two paths, one filled with promise and the other with warning.
Simply engaging in religious activities—even those commanded by God (e.g., offering sacrifices)—is not the mark of faithfulness and love (recall 1:11–20). When divorced from a “humble and contrite” spirit, these rituals become offensive to the Lord (recall 57:15; Luke 14:11). Such perversion fosters judgmental intolerance rather than gracious neighbor love. The warning is clear: “the Lord will come in fire,” and here the particular focus of His judgment is those who are apostate, having claimed the name of God but with hearts and lives far from Him. Jesus’ strong words against certain Pharisees seem to grow out of this divine concern.
Judgment is not God’s preference, for He delights in life, not death (2 Peter 3:9). He calls us to recognize His holiness and our dependence; when we have fully believed this, we then humbly “tremble” at the sound of His word (Philippians 2:12; 1 Peter 5:5.), thankful to hear the divine voice offering life-giving grace.
The call is to trust in God’s coming deliverance that will bring great rejoicing, peace, and comfort. A time is anticipated when God’s salvation goes to nations far beyond the geography of Israel, bringing “all your brothers from all the nations as an offering to the Lord.” But the offering is the people themselves, not animals (Romans 12:1–2). There will be a “new heavens and the new earth,” for the Creator Lord is reclaiming His creation, bringing Sabbath communion to people across the earth who see His glory and trust in Him.
Qualification for God’s attention comes in a strange way: by admitting our disqualification. This is the nature of the God whose grace is displayed throughout the Bible. This is the God of Isaiah. Trust Him.
Take a few minutes to reflect on how much Jesus you’ve experienced reading this prophets words over 700 years prior to Jesus’ arrival in the flesh.
Psalm 121 – In their ascent to Jerusalem, pilgrims traveled dangerous roads and pathways. Their confidence along the way was focused on the destination point—not merely the “hills” where Jerusalem lay but more importantly the God of those hills and of that city. For this was the covenant God who had promised His people His care, provision, and protection as they walked faithfully with Him. Indeed, their help came from the Lord, Yahweh, the God who made the heavens and the earth. As they traveled uncertain paths, they knew His presence would never fail. Day and night, He would watch over them.
As people traveled down the Jordan Valley southwards and then turned west to ascend the steep roadway to Jerusalem, the sun would be to their left side. The Lord, then, was likened to the shade on their right hand, where comfort and protection was felt. God would keep them from danger as they traveled to and then from the city of God, and throughout all the days of their lives. We see, then, the covenant care and grace of God toward His people.
The good news of God’s grace toward His people, involves not only their past—forgiveness of sin—but also their futures—trusting His watchful care of their lives daily as they walk by faith in His power, His promise, and His presence. For we have been united to Jesus, whose invincible care for us will never fail—“from this time forth and forevermore” (Hebrews 13:5–8).
How does knowing God has your past and your future covered give you the confidence to rest in the finished work of 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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