Saturday, September 16, 2017

September 16: Isaiah 22 – 24; Psalm 60; Proverbs 23:15-16; Galatians 2:17-3:9


            Isaiah: God’s word for the valley of vision. The city is in confusion as people go up to the rooftops and there are bodies all over the place because of famine and disease. Leaders and people are trying to escape. The Lord has brought this upon the valley of vision. Jerusalem is being destroyed with archers and chariots all around. They tried to store water and weapons but didn’t ask God for help. He asked you to mourn and weep but you partied saying tomorrow we die. This will not be forgiven.
            Isaiah was told to confront Shebna the palace administrator and tell him that he will be taken captive to a distant land and die there without all that he provided for himself. The Lord will replace him with Eliakim and put him over the people of Jerusalem and Judah. He will have the highest place in the royal court and will bring honor to the house of David. He will be firm and the government will rest on him. But the time when come when he will be broken and everything he supported will fall.
            God’s word for Tyre. The ships of Tarshish and people of the coast and merchants, traders will all weep for Tyre. It will be put to shame and there will be great sorrow as the city will become a silent ruin. The Lord has brought this on the city. He has told the whole earth not to rejoice again over this city. There is no escape from this just as Babylon that is gone, wiped out by the Assyrians. They have turned Tyre into a pile of rubble. It will be that way for 70 years then the Lord will revive it. It will again and trade with all the kingdoms but then, the profits will be set aside to the Lord and used for those who live in the Lord’s presence.
            The Lord is about to destroy the whole earth. It doesn’t matter who people are, none will be spared. The earth will dry up and the richest of the earth will languish. The earth is defiled because they have broken God’s covenant. Everyone is scorched. People will be sad because there is no more wine. All the cities are in ruins. Only a few are left alive.
            Then they sing for joy from the west, let the east give glory to the Lord and the ends of the earth will sing praise to the Righteous One. But for now, Isaiah tells the earth to waste away because of all the way people behave.
            Terror is upon all in the earth. No one can escape it. The earth is broken and split apart. It staggers like a drunk man. Its sins are heavy on it and will not rise again. In that day, the Lord will punish the host of heaven and kings on the earth. They will be put into prison and punished for many days. It will affect the sun and the moon. The Lord will reign in Jerusalem and show his glory to the elders.
            Psalm: David is bemoaning a time when Israel was delivered over to her enemies. However, the Lord is a banner of protection for those who fear him. Israel is beloved by God and he has declared that Israel is his while Shechem, Moab, Edom, and Philistia are not. David asks for help against Edom and says that God has not gone out with his armies. Man’s work for victory is vain but with God, he will defeat his foes.
            Proverbs: If your child has a wise heart, it will make you glad. It gives joy to a parent to hear good things being said by your children.
            Galatians: Paul says, “If I sin after becoming a Christian, I can’t blame Christ for my sin. It just proves that sin is still in us and going back to the Law doesn’t help, it just condemns me. Instead, I stop trying to keep the Law so that I can live for God. That old self has been crucified with Christ and Christ now lives in me. He enables me to live in this sinful body by faith in Christ who loves me and died for me. If I could become righteous by the Law, then Christ would not have had to die.”
            Paul wants to know who it was that has led the Galatians astray. He clearly told them that Jesus was crucified for them. Did they really think that they received the Spirit by obeying the Law? Do they really think that obeying the Law (human effort) would help them get to heaven or have the Spirit work miracles among them? No, it is because they believed what they heard.
            Abraham believed God and that is where his righteousness came from. All who believe are children of Abraham. The Bible tells us that God would justify Gentiles by faith and that is the gospel that was revealed when he told Abraham all nations would be blessed in him. Anyone who has faith is blessed along with Abraham.

What Stood Out

            Isaiah: “Therefore a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt;
therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched, and few men are left” (Isa 24:6).          
            Psalm: “You have set up a banner for those who fear you, that they may flee to it from the bow” (Ps 60:4).
            Proverbs: “My inmost being will exult when your lips speak what is right” (Prov 23:15).
            Galatians: “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Gal 2:21 NIV).


            Isaiah: Global warming is real! Just read Isaiah 24:4-6. The big problem with the alarm that is expressed by scientist and politicians around the world regarding global warming is that they think it is all a result of industry. While some of it may be true, the real problem isn’t that we are causing the earth to warm up by our economic endeavors, but we are disobedient to God’s word (Isa 24:5). In the middle of this destruction is the promise that God will be glorified and he will be praised. The reason he will be glorified is that he is the one that will bring global warming, or I should say global heating. If this were simply a result of natural changes due to our activity on the earth, there wouldn’t be any reason to say God brought this upon the earth.
            Changes won’t happen by political or even scientific solutions. While there will be some times in history when people repent and follow the Lord, this prophecy is a sure thing. Global repentance will not last and people will continue to turn against the Lord. That is why the amillennial view of the end times just doesn’t work. Mankind will not keep getting better until all the world’s problems are solved and have Jesus will return to a heaven on earth. This prophecy in Isaiah agrees with what Paul taught. Things will get morally worse in the last days before Jesus’ return (2 Tim 3:1-5).
            Psalm: It doesn’t matter how bad things get. We may face the end of the world as we know it or we may escape. However it works, we know one thing and that is God is a banner for all who fear him. When we trust in the Lord with all our hearts and have surrendered to Jesus, we have a place of safety. We are told that God will always give a way to escape temptations when we take his way out (1 Cor 10:13). While we may not be spared physical trials, we can always run to the banner to find hope and consolation in times of trouble.
            Proverbs: Just as there are proverbs that speak about the heartache that we face when one of our children turns out to be a fool, this is the antithesis of those. It is a real joy to have your children grow up and walk with the Lord. Not only can you heart be jubilant, you can have peace knowing that they will be doing what is right with their children. This is a blessing that comes from the Lord as he works in them what he has asked us to instill in them from an early age.
            Galatians: Yesterday’s reading was important because it verified that Paul did have the correct gospel. Today’s reading is important because it firmly establishes that salvation can’t come from obedience to the Law and that means any kind of doing good deeds to earn or deserve salvation. Galatians 2:21 is a foundational truth that no one can refute. If I or anyone else in this world could be good enough to be righteous then Christ didn’t have to die. He died because no one can be good enough to save himself or anyone else either. Only the sinless Son of God could do that.
            Paul takes it a step further and explains that once we are saved, we can’t go back to observing the Law in order to grow spiritually. That is also a matter of faith. It should result in obedience to Jesus, but it doesn’t have to be obedience to the Law. Since our righteousness is based on faith and not obedience, then our faith is the same as Abraham’s and he didn’t even have the Law yet.
            This doctrine is something that should make us rejoice. We are free from trying to please God by keeping checklists that we can’t possibly keep perfectly. We are free to obey Jesus in loving God and loving each other. If we do that, then obedience should be a joy and not a burden and definitely not a matter of the Law.


            I’m looking forward to the day when the Lord will judge the earth and remove all sin. I don’t want it because it will mean the destruction of evil people, I’d rather they get saved. It means that sin in me will be destroyed. In the meantime, I’ll joyfully rely on Christ living in me.

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