Tuesday, August 11, 2020

11 Aug 2020 - Isaiah 22

Daily Devotion 11 August

Isaiah 22

ARROGANCE AND UNREPENTANCE WILL LEAD TO DESTRUCTION

Isaiah delivers a prophecy of destruction to the people of Jerusalem in this chapter. God was angry with the disobedience and sin of the people of Jerusalem. He warned them, through Isaiah, that their enemies would invade and destroy them (v5-7). The people of Jerusalem tried to prepare themselves for this by collecting weapons, storing water and strengthening their walls (v9-10), but they did not to look to God for help (v11). They failed to understand that this destruction was planned by God, as a result of their unrepentance. In giving the people this warning, God gave them the opportunity to repent and to show remorse for what they had done (v12). Unfortunately, they decided to carry on doing what they liked, as though there would be no time of accountability. Their reply to Isaiah was,” Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (v13). They were shameless in their unrepentance and they were going to die in this woeful state. They did not seem to care about God, and they showed contempt to Him and to His prophet Isaiah. God saw the unrepentant state of their hearts and revealed to Isaiah,” Till your dying day, this sin will not be atoned for” (v14). Reading this passage makes me think that the people of Jerusalem had unbelievable cheek! However, once I have thought about this further, I realise how often I have seen this kind of contemptuous behaviour towards God and the people He uses to rebuke others. Do you pay attention when God rebukes you? Or do you disregard His rebuke and reject good advice in order to carry on doing what you want?

God wanted to teach the people humility and to bring them to repentance. He wanted them to realise who had enabled them to build their city and who had blessed them with what they had. Sadly, the people showed great contempt towards God. They did not believe that God would bring justice, or perhaps they were too proud to believe that they were subject to His judgement. Shebna, the palace administrator, gets a special mention here (v15-16) as a man so full of pride and vanity, that he has made himself an elaborate grave high above the city. He had built himself a special resting place after death, to reflect his “high position”, without having any regard to his soul. The Lord warned him that He was about to destroy him and his expensive possessions (“the chariots you were so proud of”) would become a disgrace to his master’s house. Shebna had clearly decided that his worth was in his high position in society and in his outwardly show of wealth. He was full of self-importance. He had failed to look to God and to seek God’s guidance in his leadership duties, but instead took vain pride in his own supposed “greatness’. All these earthly things that he so valued would become meaningless in his death.

God then revealed that he would raise up His servant Eliakin son of Hilkiah and hand Shebna’s authority over to him. God told Isaiah that “I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open” (22). This “key” is a prophetic key that is also mentioned in Revelation 3:7. The holder of the “key of David” is in fact, Jesus. This is a prophecy of salvation from our sins and the great redemptive hope that would come in our Lord Jesus Christ. “He (Jesus) would become driven into a firm place, and become a seat of honour in His father’s house. All the glory of his family will hang on him: its offspring and offshoots – all its lesser vessels…” (v23-24). Therefore, those who cling onto Jesus will become part of God’s family and be saved. Whereas those who hang onto the false peg, which is vanity, pride and unrepentance will fall and be cut down (25).

What is the relevance of this scripture in our lives?

It reminds us that we should have an attitude of gratitude and repentance towards God, instead of contempt and pride. We need to acknowledge that God provides us with everything we have. We should pay attention to him and be obedient to His word and guidance. We may have God’s favour and blessing upon our life, but He can choose to remove these things as He sees fit. We should not fall into the trap of thinking that we are so smart, so powerful, or so “great” that we can outwit God and His will. We should constantly be mindful that the punishment of sin and unrepentance is death and destruction. However, the good news is that we have the hope of salvation through Jesus Christ in our life, if we choose to humble ourselves, repent for our sins and submit to God. We can trade death and destruction for salvation and becoming part of God’s family. What a great exchange! Will you submit to God and accept it?

Suggested prayer:

Father God, forgive us for the times we have failed to look to you for help and guidance. Forgive us for our pride and vanity. Forgive us for the times we have behaved with contempt, arrogance and unrepentance. Help us to fear You and to hang our hope and trust on Jesus Christ. Thank you, God for our salvation and redemption through Jesus. Amen.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

08 Aug 2020 - God commands Isaiah to take off his clothes and sandals!

God commands Isaiah to take off his clothes and sandals!

Isaiah was already wearing sackcloth. Sackcloth as the name suggests, was the cloth used in making sacks. When ancient Israelis mourned, it was traditional for them to put on sackcloth and cover themselves in ashes as a sign of mourning and sometimes repentance. Some commentators like Matthew Henry seemed to believe that sackcloth was almost a uniform for Old Testament prophets. It may have symbolised the hard life of the calling to the office of Old Testament Prophet.

In verse 2 God commands Isaiah to take off his clothes and sandals and go about barefoot and naked. “Really God?” Isaiah might have thought, although Scripture is silent on this point. Was Isaiah really naked for 3 years? Why would God command such a thing? What on earth is going on?

Isaiah may not have been completely without clothes, but likely wore undergarments. Even with undergarments, this was likely to be a powerful visual statement backing up the prophetic words Isaiah was bringing to the people of God. These prophetic words declared how Egypt and Cush (Ethiopia) would be conquered by the Assyrian army. Israel was not to rely on them, but rather trust in God alone.

Often people cover themselves up with clothing when we want to be religious. In this passage, God commands Isaiah in an unusual situation to take off most of his clothes.

Nakedness symbolises vulnerability, as well as spiritual and material poverty. Nakedness or near nakedness was associated with a sense of humiliation, shame and poverty. Being seen only wearing under-garments, made Isaiah like the poorest of people in society.

Being bare-footed is a strong statement of being a slave in Isaiah’s time. Isaiah was prophesying by word and deed about God’s coming judgement against the Egyptians and Cushites (Ethiopians). The Assyrian army was going to turn them into distressed and captive nations under their iron rule.

What is God trying to teach us in the 21st century?

God’s word was not getting through to the people of God so He ordered Isaiah to supplement the spoken prophesy with this powerful visual prophetic demonstration. He did this to try and get the people of God to listen to what He was telling them.

Nakedness is not a good state. In Revelation 3:17 Jesus is critical of the Laodicean church for not realising they are spiritually naked. They were naked because they were lukewarm towards Jesus in their love and deeds. They did not clothe themselves with Christ’s righteousness. Later in the book of Isaiah, God commands us to be clothed in white, (symbolising God’s righteousness in our lives). When we do not seek God’s approval and our hearts lead us astray, we can lose the covering of righteousness over our lives. In this state, we have sin, that has not been put under the blood of Christ and not cleansed from our lives. It is like we are poor and naked in Isaiah’s analogy.

When we put our hopes in mere human beings, in worldly possessions and not in God, we are led astray by such things. This displeases God. We should not be surprised when we are profoundly disappointed, Isaiah in verse 5 uses the word “dismayed”. We are called by Isaiah and others to repent. God is serious about having our attention and allowing His Lordship over our lives.

Suggested prayer: Father God, may You become and remain the first love of our lives. Forgive us when we have put our trust in the wrong people and things. Help us repent and turn to you again. We want to discern Your heart and will and be obedient to Your Word in our generation. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

06 Aug 2020 - Isaiah 18

Isaiah Chapter 18 was a word directed to Ethiopia. Cush is the land of Ethiopia (the Hebrew word for Ethiopia in this passage, and throughout Isaiah, actually means "Cush") and was a chief rival to Assyria. Since Judah was caught in the middle between this conflict, Judah was hoping to align herself with Ethiopia against Assyria. Vs 1-2 characterizes the nation: the whirring insects, the tall, smooth skinned people and how the Ethiopian ambassadors had come to make an alliance with Judah and the other nations of the region against Assyria.

Vs 3-4 “All you people of the world, you who live on the earth” calls out Isaiah. “The LORD said to me, I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place, like shimmering heat in the sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest”  

The meaning is clear here. God does not need any allies, nor does He need anyone to tell him what the dangers are; He is watching everything very carefully from his dwelling place on High. The serenity, composure, and calmness of God are here contrasted with tumult of the Ethiopians and Assyrians. God never needs to get in a hurry.

It also echoes on waiting for God to act. The wisdom of waiting is harder to learn and practice, yet all things come around to him who can wait. The shimmering sunshine and the clouds of dew are both refreshing. Do you see how God’s security, tranquility, and peace in heaven are distinguished from the chaos on earth?  His presence will come as a refreshing strength when we wait on Him.

Psalm 37:7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way! IN GOD WAITING IS ALWAYS WISDOM AND STRENGTH.  God acts on the absolutely best moment.

Vs 5-7 There is an agricultural metaphor and a wild imagery to illustrate what God would do to the enemy, just before the enemy would reach to claim the prize, the disaster would fall. The enemy will be slaughtered all together.  Vs 7 Isaiah announces a day when Ethiopians will come and worship the LORD and bring gifts to Him to the place of the name of the LORD of hosts, to Mount Zion. We know it was fulfilled in Acts 8:26-40, when an Ethiopian came to worship the LORD at Jerusalem, and then trusted in Jesus at the preaching of Philip.

Yes, satan has been decisively defeated in the death and resurrection of Christ. So today we embrace and apply the victory of Christ by faith in our battles against the devil—mainly by believing and wielding the word of God. “Don't be afraid, the Lord will fight for you if you hold your peace and remain at rest." Exo14:14. Notice there was a condition; God will fight your battles if you'll stay at rest.

Identify the peace robbers in your life. What's causing all that stress? Quit worrying about the medical report, a loved one you miss, the contract you didn't get, a difficult child, or those annoying people who are talking about you. God will part the Red Seas; He'll restore what you have lost and the fullness of your calling. He'll fight your battles if you'll remain at rest.

Romans 16:20 “The God of peace will soon crush satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”

Read this Psalm aloud and let this be your prayer today

Through You, we push back our enemies; through Your name we trample our foes. I do not trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; but You give us victory over our enemies, You put our adversaries to shame. In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise Your name forever” (Psalm 44:5-8). Amen

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

04 Aug 2020 - Isaiah 16

04 Aug 2020 - Isaiah 16

The devil is great at sneaking in through open doors.  He wants us to think we can make it on our own – “These rules don’t really apply to you,” “You can get away with this,” and that we can live according to our own wisdom, being righteous in our own eyes.

When the Moabites rebelled against Israel by refusing to pay annual tribute, they obviously felt they were above the consequences.  In His mercy, God warned them that they were in fact, like a wandering bird thrown from the nest – directionless, weak, confused and vulnerable.  He called them proud.  And when we are proud, we have come into alignment with a lie about ourselves, about others, and about God.  I remember once I was taking worship. I thought my walk with God was fine, but in my heart I was proud and thought I was above any consequences of even minor compromise. During the worship God showed me a picture.  It was colourful but blurry, like looking through stained glass.  He told me that I thought I could see, but the reality was I couldn’t.  I was spiritually blind.  Yikes!  God always gives us the opportunity to get right with Him when we repent.

Jesus came to give us life, and life to the full (John 10:10).  This is more than just nice airy-fairy sentiments – it is truth.  And when we let His truth permeate our being in every area, our relationship grows as we get to know Him more.  There are so many good things He wants to show us!  He has poured out His love in our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5) but it is up to us to choose how connected we want to be with Him, how much of His truth we are going to allow to change us. 

Are there any areas of your life where you know you have allowed yourself to align with the enemy?  Are you being truthful with yourself about God’s perspective?  Get it right now, and move on.  Don’t miss out on the exciting things He has for you by holding onto attitudes that are destructive!

You can pray now:
Lord, I am sorry for……  Please forgive me and wash me clean.  Renew my mind and help me have your perspective.   In Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-Zp586pvZg



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuvfMDhTyMA


Saturday, August 1, 2020

01 Aug 2020 - Pride

1 Aug, Sat
Pride
Isaiah 14:1-17

In this passage it speaks first of the deliverance of Israel (vv.1-2). The next part speaks of God's judgment of Babylon and Babylon's downfall (vv.3-12). Before returning to the downfall of Babylon, it speaks of the fall of a greater power, Lucifer (vv.13-15), the fallen Archangel, who before his fall was the worship leader in heaven. Since his fall he is known as Satan.

Why did Isaiah connect Babylon with Lucifer? The answer lies with what is common- both fell from glory and power and the reason for their judgement and fall is one primary thing, PRIDE.

Pride is darkness. Where pride is at full maturity there is only room for one, self. Everyone else means nothing. Even God has no room in one's heart that is filled with pride. Pride makes one think the whole universe revolves around him. Isaiah uses Satan as the epic example of pride. Pride at its fullness thinks he is God.

Guard your heart against pride. Hear the warning in Isaiah against Babylon. When one is proud he becomes not just enemy with others, but ultimately with God. James 4:6 tells us God opposes the proud. This is the idea that God is enemy to the proud. This is what happened to Babylon and Lucifer.

Pride is always knocking at the door of our hearts. You find it knocking at our hearts when we are successful, powerful, rich, good looking .... and even when we pray better or know the Bible better. Can you identify when pride is knocking at your heart? If you don't hear it knocking you are in trouble, it is probably in your heart already. The right response to pride in our lives is always recognising pride and repenting.

And from there, we will always need to consciously work to keep pride as far as possible. How do we do it? Keeping God and His words in our hearts. Prayerfulness.

Prayer: Lord, help me to recognize where my heart is most prone to allow pride to enter. Fill my heart with your presence and words so that I know who you are, who others are and who I am, so that I worship you and become a servant to others just as you did on earth. Amen

Friday, July 31, 2020

31 July 2020 - 1 Kings 1:1-28

31 July 2020 - 1 Kings 1: 1-28

Sometimes life isn’t fair.

“I have always wanted what any other girl wants – a husband and children.  I am in my teens and the most beautiful girl in Israel.  But they took me to be a concubine to an old and dying king.  We were never intimate, and I can never marry another man, so I will never have children.”  Life isn’t fair.

“My dad, the king, is dying.  My only surviving older brother, Chileab, is incapable of reigning.  Following tradition, my dad should pass the crown onto me, but there is talk it will go to Solomon.  He is so much younger than me!  Why aren’t I good enough in my father’s eyes?  Why didn’t he pick me?  Doesn’t he love me?”  Life isn’t fair.

“I have always been the commander of the army.  My decisions are sound and I have brought victory to Israel repeatedly.  I live for my job.  I am the best at it and I deserve the honour of leaving on my terms.”  Not long after, Joab is executed.  Life isn’t fair.

Ecclesiastes 9:11 says the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.  We have all tasted disappointment.  Sometimes God wants to break through our situation.  Other times, it must be endured.  I have found that when I consciously choose to focus on God and worship Him, a lot of the pain evaporates.  It doesn’t change the situation, but it changes me and my perspective.  We can find a deeper walk with God when we choose to push in. 

In Romans 5:2-6 we read that suffering eventually leads to hope.  God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.  When life throws disappointment at us, we still have hope that one day the sun will shine again because of Him who is at work in us.  Make a choice, put the disappointments aside and focus on Him.  Have a blessed day! 

“Blessed be Your Name”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLycgKxlgc0


Thursday, July 30, 2020

30th July 2020 - Isaiah 12

30th July 2020 - Isaiah 12

A SONG OF PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING

This chapter in Isaiah is a triumphant celebration of God’s promise that he will save us and redeem us. The preceding chapters 7 to 11 have told us about the Immanuel prophecy and how God would send the people a Saviour who would save us from the judgment of our sins. Chapter 12 is the climax of these prophecies. It is a statement of faith that what God has promised will come true. Verse 1 thanks God for turning his anger away from the sinner. Instead God will bring us His comfort. God Himself is our strength and defense against sin and He has become our salvation (v2). This repeats the message of salvation in the form of Jesus Christ. He is the source of water, which is life-giving and life-sustaining, from the wells of salvation (v3). Jesus Himself said in John 7:38-39, Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.

In that day (the day we discover that Jesus is the source of life and our salvation, and the day we choose to repent from our sins to follow him), we will be so overjoyed that we will not be able to keep the joy within ourselves. We will praise Him and proclaim His name(v4). We will want to share this miracle with others, because our joy and thankfulness will be so great that we will sing for joy and let it be known to all the world(v4-6).

Let us give thanks to God for his goodness, mercy and grace. Let us thank God for sending us His son Jesus Christ, that we may be saved from the judgment of our sin, if only we choose to accept this amazing offer of salvation. Let us choose wholeheartedly to trade our sorrows for garments of praise (Isaiah 61:3).

Listen to this song of praise while you give thanks to God for saving us from our sins, that we may no longer live under sorrow and judgement, but in joy and victory!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6cNIHUhTqY


Suggested Prayer

Thank you, God for our salvation. Thank you for your love and mercy over us. Thank you that you have saved us from the judgment that we deserve for sin. Instead of death and punishment, you have given us hope and salvation through Jesus Christ. Thank you that you are our everlasting source of life and joy. We are so grateful, God. Amen.