Wednesday, September 13, 2017

September 13: Isaiah 12 – 14; Psalm 57; Proverbs 23:9-11; 2 Corinthians 13



Overview

            Isaiah: On the day of the second coming of the Messiah, Judah will give thanks, for God’s anger will finally be turned away and they will be comforted. God will be their salvation and they will trust in him. They will call to everyone to make known God’s deeds and exalt his name.
            Isaiah pronounced God’s word in a vision of Babylon. The vision is the gathering of great numbers of mighty men called to execute God’s anger. They are coming from a distant land. This will be the day of the Lord to destroy the whole land. People will be in dismay and melt with fear. The day of the Lord is cruel and will destroy sinners. The stars, sun, and moon will not be seen when God punishes the evil of the world, the proud and pompous. Few people will survive. Wherever they run, people will be killed, man, woman, and infant. The Medes will come against Babylon and destroy it until it looks like Sodom and Gomorrah. It will not be inhabited again except by wild animals.
            The Lord will have compassion on Jacob and bring them back to the land. They will have people from their captors go with them to become slaves to Jacob. When the Lord gives Jacob rest from the Babylonians, they will taunt the king of Babylon. They will recount how the oppressor is now oppressed and broken. The earth will be at rest and rejoice at Babylon’s downfall. The grave will welcome them saying that the Babylonians are now as weak as the rest of the dead.
            Calling the king, the Day Star, Jacob will explain how he was proud and thought he could become just like God. Instead, he is brought down to Sheol. People will stare at him and wonder how this man could have had such power to shake and overthrow cities and kept prisoners captive. But he will be cast out of his grave and trampled underfoot because of his wickedness. Jacob will ask that his evil offspring not be named and be slaughtered so they won’t rise and do the same.
            The Lord says he will wipe out Babylon without remnant or descendants. He will only let animals live there and it will be swept clean.
            About Assyria, the Lord says his purpose for them will be accomplished. Then he will break them and trample them in his land. This is the Lord’s purpose for the whole earth as his hand is over all the nations. No one can change what God has purposed.
            About Philistia, the Lord tells them not to rejoice that their oppressor has been broken. From the oppressor will come another that will cause them to wail and fear. The Lord will also send famine on them to kill those left behind.
            No one can refute what Isaiah has prophesied. The Lord founded Zion and will protect his afflicted people.
            Psalm: David calls to God for mercy as he takes refuge in the Lord and watches the storms go by. He trusts that God will fulfill what he has planned for him. His enemies will be shamed. In the midst of his enemies and troubles, David praises and exalts God. He is steadfast and sings. He looks forward to giving God thanks among the people.
            Proverbs: When in the presence of a fool, it is wise to keep quite or he will simply despise your wisdom. Don’t move landmarks or try to take the field of the fatherless because their Redeemer is strong than you and will take up their case against you.
            2 Corinthians: When Paul visits for the third time, he will ask for witnesses against those who are sinning. When he visited them on the previous trip, he warned them. If they are still doing what they did before, he will not spare them. Some want proof that Christ is speaking in him; Christ will not be weak when he deals with them. Christ was crucified in weakness but now lives in God’s power. Paul is weak in Christ but he will be living in God’s power when he deals with the Corinthians.
            He urges the Corinthians to examine themselves to make sure they are saved. Jesus is living in them unless they fail the test. He hopes the Corinthians will discover that Paul and his companions have not failed the test. He prays that they meet the test by doing right and not wrong even though they may believe Paul and his companions have failed the test.
            But Paul and companions can only do what is true. They are glad when they are weak and the Corinthians are strong. So, they pray for the Corinthians’ restoration. He is writing this now so that when he comes, he will be able to use his authority to build them up and not tear them down.
            He urges the Corinthians to work for restoration and comfort each other. They are to live in peace and agreement. He asks the God of peace to be with them and greet each other warmly and in holiness. All the believers with Paul greet them. He prays for the Lord Jesus Christ, love of God, and the Holy Spirit to be with them.

What Stood Out

            Isaiah: “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!” (Isa 14:12).            
            Psalm: “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me” (Ps 57:2).
            Proverbs: “Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the good sense of your words” (Prov 23:9).
            2 Corinthians: “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2 Cor 13:5).

Insight

            Isaiah: Yesterday, the Lord said he would bring back the remnant of Israel a second time (Isa 11:11). That appears to be the time of Jesus’ millennial reign described in the first part of chapter 11. Today we are tossed back in time to a prophecy against Babylon, Assyria, and Philistia. To make it even harder to understand, some of the prophecy even glimpses of the end time and another is a reference that occurred before time began.
            Isaiah 14:12-15 has often been interpreted as a reference to Satan’s fall. Though the context is clearly a prophecy against the king of Babylon, parts of it stretches your mind to think of Satan. One reason is the title given the king. Day Star and Son of the Dawn. Day Star is translated as Lucifer in the KJV and NKJV, which has made it easy for us to relate this to Satan. While the reference is not Satan, the attributes of Satan are revealed in this passage. His pride in himself made him think he could make himself higher than the angels and even be like God. How conceited is that? While human kings often thought of themselves as gods, I can’t imagine any of them really thinking they could be like the Almighty. All they had to do is stub their toe and realize they weren’t really a god.
            We need to put this into perspective for our own lives. As we read through Isaiah, God’s sovereignty is one of the most important of his attributes next to his holiness. When we are proud and think we are in control of our lives, we are doing the same thing as Satan. We are thumbing our noses at God and telling him we can do what we want. That occurs in the big moments when we engage in what most of us call the big sins, adultery, stealing, or murder. What we don’t realize, is that we consider minor sins: white lies, discontent, or impatience, are just as much of an affront to God’s sovereignty and holiness as the big ones. We are doing essentially what Satan did by thinking we know better than God and that these are OK. We should not think we are better than Israel, Judah, Babylon, Assyria, or Philistia. We will be judged and the only way to escape that judgment is to turn to Jesus for salvation and repent.
            Psalm: Here is David in trouble again and what does he do? This time he calls for mercy and affirms that he is trusting in the Lord to be his refuge. He can be confident that the Lord will be his refuge until the storm passes by because he knows that God has a purpose for his life and he will make sure it is fulfilled. Talking about Satan above, he wanted to fulfil his own purpose instead of God’s purpose. When we want to fulfil our purpose or desires for our lives we’ll run into conflict with God. Guess who wins that conflict?
            On the positive side of that, we know that when we come to Jesus Christ and be saved; God will make sure his purpose for us is completed (Phil 1:6). God began that work in us and he isn’t going to waste his time. We also know that his purpose while we are here is to do good works after we are saved (Eph 2:10). The ultimate purpose of our lives is to give glory to God and we do that as we submit to him and recognize that all these storms as well as the good times are God’s formation process makes us come out in the image of Jesus (Rom 8:29).
            Proverbs: What do you do when someone says something foolish? What do you do when a known fool approaches you as you are having a serious discussion with another person? Do you try to correct him or do you ignore the comment? Do you suddenly grow quiet as the person approaches? This Proverb (Prov 23:9) tells us that it better to not say anything. Now we may have to make sure we know who is a fool. The Bible says a fool is someone who says there is no God (Ps 14:1). This would imply that all atheists are fools. This Proverb is proven true when it comes to some of the militant atheists who would condemn all Christians to the deepest dungeons for child abuse by teaching their faith to their kids. If I run into oned like this, I wouldn’t bother talking to them. It isn’t because I don’t think God can’t save them but they will twist my words and try to use them against me. In my opinion, they are the ones Jesus talks about in Matthew 7:6. He tells us not to give what his holy to dogs or pearls to swine. They will turn and attack you.
            2 Corinthians: Do you ever examine yourself to see if you pass the test? Do you know what the test is? Paul doesn’t outline the test in this letter but there are a few hints. 2 Corinthians 5:17 is one of them. If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. Test question one would be, have you become a different person since you received Christ as Lord and Savior? The second question clarifies what it means to be a new creation. It is found in describing the lifestyle that Paul didn’t want to see in the Corinthians, “For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish … that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder … many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced” (2 Cor 12:20-21).
            In other words, if there hasn’t been any repentance and no there is no advancement in holiness, then you’ve failed the test and Christ doesn’t live in you. This is meant to shake a person to the core who claims to be a Christian. It is not meant to be judgmental or to condemn a person who is struggling with a particular sin. It is a wakeup call for those who think they are saved and are not. It is a plea for churchgoers that have not changed anything in their life since they believe they were saved to either get going or admit they are faking it.

Application

             I need to examine myself to see where I’m at in my walk of faith. I need to be careful not to become proud or let other sins creep into my life. I need to let Jesus be sovereign over my life and not just do what I want.

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