Tuesday, September 19, 2017

September 19: Isaiah 30:12 – 33:12; Psalm 63; Proverbs 23:22; Galatians 5:1-12


            Isaiah: The Lord said that their destruction will be sudden like a wall falling down because they trust in oppression and despise God’s word. If they return and rest, they will be saved but they were not willing. They will flee and try to save themselves even though he waits to be gracious to them. Blessed are those who wait for him.
            In the future, there will not be any more weeping over past afflictions. They will have a Teacher who will guide them and be visibly with them. They will throw away their idols. God will give prosperity. The light of the moon will be like the sun and the sun seven times brighter.
            But now, the Lord is coming in anger to sift the nations. He will strike the Assyrians while Jerusalem has a song in the night and a holy feast. He has prepared a burning place for the Assyrians and especially for their king.
            Again, there is woe for those who try to escape to Egypt instead of trusting the Lord. They think they are wise. But the Egyptians are not God and can’t help. They will perish. The Lord will protect Jerusalem like a lion over its prey. He tells the children of Israel to throw away their idols. The Assyrians will be killed by God and not men. They will all flee away.
            A king will reign in righteousness and princes in justice. It will be like a refreshing wind. Eyes will be opened and fools and scoundrels will be recognized for what they are. The fool has a sinful heart and speaks against the Lord. The scoundrel plans wickedness and oppression.
            In a year the grape harvest will fail and women who are at ease will shudder. Mourn for the good fields for they will be filled with thorns. The city will be deserted. This will be until the Spirit is poured out and the environment restored with justice and righteousness. Righteousness will bring peace, quietness, and trust forever. God’s people will be secure. But now the city will be laid low.
            The destroyer has not yet been destroyed. He will be when his job of destroying is finished. So, Isaiah asks for God to be gracious while they wait for the Lord. People are fleeing and he asks for their salvation, for God to rouse up.
            The Lord is exalted and he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness. He will bring stability, salvation, wisdom, and fear of the Lord. In the meantime, there is no peace and covenants are broken. The land is in ruins. This is when the Lord say he will arise and be exalted. The people will be burned up like chaff.
            Psalm: David compares his desire for God with the thirst of a person in a desert. He has seen God’s glory and power in the tabernacle and he knows that God’s love is steadfast. So, he will praise the Lord. When he does, his soul is satisfied the same as someone who has feasted on the best foods. He also meditates in the night and has joy. His soul clings to the Lord.
            His enemies will die but he will rejoice in the Lord along with everyone who swears by the Lord. Liars will be silenced.
            Proverbs: Pay attention to your father, you wouldn’t be around without him. Honor your mother when she is old.
            Galatians: Christ set us free from slavery to the Law. Once we put anything in the Law, circumcision, or anything else in place of or in addition to faith in Jesus, Christ is not going to save you. That is because you don’t really have faith in Jesus but it is in the Law and you don’t have saving grace. By faith by the Spirit we have righteousness. Being circumcised or not has no value. Only faith that is demonstrated in love counts.
            At first, it seemed the Galatians were having this kind of faith but who stopped them from obeying this truth? That kind of error didn’t come from God who called them. Paul has confidence that they will listen to him and the ones who are distracting them will be punished. If Paul still preached circumcision he would not be persecuted because the offence of the cross wouldn’t be there. He wishes that that those who are messing with the Galatians would cut off their private parts.

What Stood Out

            Isaiah: “Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him” (Isa 30:18).         
            Psalm: “I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands” (Ps 63:4 NIV).
            Proverbs: “Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old” (Prov 23:22).
            Galatians: “I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you” (Gal 5:2).


            Isaiah: In today’s reading, there are two “waitings.” The Lord is waiting and the people who are looking to the Lord for salvation are waiting. At that time, he was waiting for the people to either turn back to honor him as the Lord or for their evil and injustice to get to the point where he would destroy them. Most of the people were not waiting for him they were trusting Egypt, idols, or their own devices to save them. He says that those who were waiting for Him would be blessed (Isa 30:18). Indeed, he gave examples of how it would be when all the waiting for him would be finishe. There would be peace, justice, and righteousness in Zion and even the whole world.
            We are still waiting for the Lord now. Some are predicting that this Saturday, September 23, 2017 will be the end of the world/rapture. That would be great! But it probably won’t happen because their predictions are more speculations than good biblical research. Namely, that Jesus told us that no one know the day and hour (Matt 24:36). Good research would have stopped at that verse and not looked at the weather, earthquakes, and cosmic alignment to add to the Bible. Now all those things tell us that Jesus’ return may be very near, but predicting a date is not what he wants us to do. He wants us to trust him and be alert doing what he wants us to do when he comes. Just look at all the times in Isaiah that God puts down oppressors, fools, and those who love injustice. Just like he wanted his people to turn from those things, he wants us to live godly lives now. That is the way to wait for him and be blessed.
            Psalm: Why do you praise God? David said he did because of God’s love is better than life (Ps 63:3). Not only did he say he praised God but he would praise him all the days of his life. Do we want to do the same? If asked point blank like that, I’m sure most of us would say we do. Then we should look at our lives and see how much we really do praise him and why we praise him. I would venture to say that many praise him because God has been a “good genie.” He has provided good things, health, healing, position, wealth, and many other things. It isn’t wrong to praise him for all that, but it is if we have that “good genie” attitude toward him. We should first praise him for his love in saving us (Rom 5:8). We should also praise him for the good and bad times. The bad times help us to grow and be molded into the image of Jesus. That is a tremendous reason to praise him. And, yes, we should praise him for all the good things in our lives. They are more abundant that we can imagine.
            Proverbs: Not all fathers give good advice but we should still listen to them, what their life here has taught them. We can learn from them even if they were not the best fathers. When it comes to mothers, they should be honored to the day of their death. Likewise, she may have not been the best mother, but she is still your mother. Be kind to her even if she isn’t kind to you.
            Galatians: Paul’s writing in today’s reading is solid in establishing that you can’t add anything to faith in Jesus in order to be saved. Any attempt to do that proves you don’t have saving faith in Jesus. He says that adding circumcision to faith in Christ will make that faith worthless (Gal 5:2). Why is that? Why can’t we have faith in Jesus and also have some other things that add to it for salvation? That’s what cults do. They say you just need to trust in Jesus and … They add some other person or activity to the requirement for salvation. Adding people is ridiculous because there is no other name under heaven by which me must be saved (Acts 4:12). Adding anything else (circumcision, baptism, communion, sacraments) as a requirement is simply trying to add works to our salvation and that is also wrong because we are save only by faith and that is a gift (Eph 2:8-9). Adding any of the works means that we can boast in doing what we had to do, saying we are were good enough. Adding a person or works means that Jesus isn’t sufficient and he doesn’t get the glory. Adding anything means we really don’t have saving faith in Jesus and have made something else or someone else an idol.


             I want to be obedient. It isn’t to be saved but to show I am saved. That means waiting patiently for him and trusting him. It means praising him all my life.

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