Thursday, September 21, 2017

September 21: Isaiah 37 – 38; Psalm 65; Proverbs 23:24; Galatians 6


            Isaiah: When Hezekiah heard what the Rabshakeh had said, he went to the house of the Lord and sent his officials to Isaiah. They asked Isaiah to pray so that the Lord would save the remnant left in Judah because the Rabshakeh had mocked God. Speaking for God, Isaiah told them not be afraid because the Lord would put a spirit in the Assyrian king so he would go back to his own land and die by the sword.
            The Rabshakeh went back to the king of Assyria at Libnah. The king left Lachish because he heard the king of Cush was coming to fight. The king sent a message back to Hezekiah also mocking the Lord because he had conquered other lands and gods.
            Hezekiah took the letter to the temple and placed it before the Lord and prayed. He acknowledged God as king over all and asked him to hear and see the word of Sennacherib. He admitted that Sennacherib had done all he said but the gods were nothing but wood and stone idols. He asked the Lord to save them so all kingdoms on earth would know there is only one God.
            Isaiah responded by the word of God because of Hezekiah’s prayer with a prophecy about Sennacherib: Zion despises the Assyrian king because he reviled the Lord of Israel and because of his boasting. The Lord asks Sennacherib if he hadn’t heard that God determined long ago that his would happen, that Sennacherib would defeat lands. The Lord knows all his moves and his raging against the Lord. Therefore, the Lord will control him and send him home.
            Hezekiah was given a sign: they would eat what grows by itself, the second year what springs from that, and the third year they will sow and reap for a remnant will come out of Jerusalem.
            The Lord said that the king of Assyria will not enter Jerusalem because the Lord will defend it. That night, the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrians and Sennacherib went home where his sons killed him.
            Hezekiah became ill and close to death. Isaiah went to tell him he would die and Hezekiah wept. He prayed to be spared because he had been faithful. So, the Lord turned Isaiah around to tell Hezekiah the Lord had given him 15 more years. He was given a sign, the sun turned back its shadow ten steps of the sun dial.
            Hezekiah wrote a poem about the experience. In it, he bemoaned that he was going to die at midlife. He would not see the Lord in the land of the living. He told of how he was feeling in his illness and bitterness at leaving life. But he acknowledged that God had spoken. He asked to be restored to health for it was for his good that he suffered. But in love the Lord delivered him from death and forgave his sins. The grave doesn’t praise or thank God, only the living do, that as he now does, and he will tell his children. He will play music all the days of his life in the house of the Lord.
            Isaiah had told them to put a fig poultice on the boil to heal him.
            Psalm: David says praises are due to God for he hears our prayer and he atones for our sins. He chooses whom he saves. God answers us with righteousness and is our hope. He is the one who rules over all nature. Everyone in the world sees this. He provides for the earth with rain and bountiful harvests. The wilderness provides grass and the meadows are filled with flocks. All shout for Joy.
            Proverbs: A person with a righteous and wise child will have joy.
            Galatians: We need to be careful how we work with someone caught in sin. We need to do it from a position of being spiritual and gentle. Working with them can tempt us to sin. We need to first deal with our own sins and fulfill Christ’s law. If we think we are good at this when we aren’t, then we deceive ourselves. We need to examine how we do this and not compare ourselves to others. When we are instructed, we should be willing to share with our instructor the good things we have.
            Be aware that God can’t be mocked. If we feed our sinful nature, we will be destroyed by it. But, when we do what the Spirit wants, we’ll receive eternal life from him. So, let’s not get tired and give up doing good because we will be rewarded in the end. We need to do good to both believers and everyone else.
            Paul penned at least one line in his own hand writing and in big letters. He summarizes that those who force circumcision are doing it for show and to persecute the cross of Christ. They don’t even keep the whole Law but want them to be circumcised to boast of converting the Galatians. Paul will only boast in the cross of Jesus Christ, which has put the world to death to him and him to the world. Circumcision or not is of no matter, but becoming a new creation is important. Keep this in mind and do it and you will have peace and mercy along with the Israel of God.
            From now on, stop giving Paul trouble because he has suffered physically for Jesus.
            Paul blesses the Galatians with grace from the Lord Jesus Christ.

What Stood Out

            Isaiah: “Behold, it was for my welfare that I had great bitterness; but in love you have delivered my life from the pit of destruction, for you have cast all my sins behind your back” (Isa 38:17).         
            Psalm: “We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!” (Ps 65:4).
            Proverbs: “The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him” (Prov 23:24).
            Galatians: “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted” (Gal 6:1).


            Isaiah: In reading this account of Hezekiah’s illness in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles, it doesn’t mention Hezekiah’s poem after his recovery. In relating what happened to him, he passes on a very profound statement about the situation. He says that his bitterness came for his welfare. People are usually bitter about what the Lord is doing in their lives because there is some root of sin. They could be prideful and rebellious. They could be focusing their attention too much on worldly things and not on the Lord. From 2 Chronicles 32:24-30, it is clear that Hezekiah had a pride issue even after his healing and he also had great riches.
            Hezekiah also acknowledged that his healing came only because of the Lord’s love for him. In the other accounts, it would appear that he was healed only because he prayed. We should remember that when the Lord answers our prayers, it isn’t because of something we’ve done or any merit we have in ourselves. It is because of his love for us. He knows what is best and because of his love he will work out a good solution to our prayers, not necessarily the one we think is best.
            Hezekiah also was aware that in delivering him, the Lord had also forgiven his sins. Sometimes in the middle of our bitterness, we wake up and realize that it is sinful. When we confess those sins, that bitterness and others, God is faithful to forgive us.
            Psalm: What is one sign of a person who is maturing in his relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ? David expressed it in Psalm 65:4. After admitting that sin often prevails and defeats us he announces that God atones for them. The result of that atonement is becoming satisfied with God in his temple. Back then, it was all about being in or near the temple of God. Now, we have the Holy Spirit living in us and we are the temple of God (1 Cor 3:16). As we mature in Christ and as we become more and more successful in preventing sin from prevailing over us, we become more and more satisfied with the Lord. It is only because of the Holy Spirit living in us that this happens and that is one of the reasons we are satisfied in the Lord instead of all the things this world offers.
            If we are not satisfied in the Lord, we will look for other things to be satisfied. The truth is that nothing outside of the Lord can satisfy us. Therefore, we put other things in place of the Lord and guess what? Sin prevails over us. Paul said he had learned the secret of being content or satisfied (Phil 4:11-12). He expressed it as being able to do all things through Jesus (Phil 4:13). That sounds like being satisfied in the Lord. We need to work on being satisfied in the Lord if we want to be mature and content.
            Proverbs: We can’t guarantee that our kids will grow up to be righteous and wise, but we can be diligent to teach God’s word to them and live it out in our lives (Deut 6:5-9). When we do that, it will make a difference. One thing that living out our lives by God’s word means is that we don’t exasperate our kids when we instruct them (Eph 6:4). This is probably the number one reason that kids rebel. Our teaching doesn’t match up with our walk and our discipline chaffs them instead of smooths them. Having our kids grow up to be godly has a lot to do with us, but ultimately, it is between them and the Lord. We can rejoice when we see them walking with the Lord as adults.
            Galatians: Not everyone should become a Christian biblical counselor. While we are called upon to help others in their spiritual crisis and even ongoing sin, we have to be careful how involved we become. First of all, not everyone is competent to counsel even though Paul said the Romans were (Rom 15:14). They were competent because they were filled with goodness and knowledge to do so. An important part of this is be filled with goodness. When we are really struggling with sin in our lives we make lousy biblical counselors. Everyone sins so I’m not talking about that and neither was Paul. If he was, then no one should ever counsel another. Paul mentions that we need to fulfill the law of Christ (Gal 6:2) and that law tells us to love one another but it also says we need to get rid of the major sins in our lives before we start picking at the little ones in other people’s lives (Matt 7:3-5). We need to work on our goodness.
            The other thing we need to do is work on our knowledge. If we don’t have a good grasp on the word of God, then we will be lousy counselors because we will not be biblical. Human phycology is a poor substitute for biblical knowledge. It is based on human reason and human reason is flawed because of the fall. So, we need to stick to what has proven right and that is the Bible.
            When a person is ill-prepared to bear another’s burdens, a strange thing happens. The very sin that the you are trying to help a person with becomes a temptation to you. That is Paul’s warning for even experience counselor (Gal 6:1).


            I want to find all my satisfaction in the Lord. If things don’t go the way I want or think they should go, I do not want to be bitter. If I can to this, then I pray I will be able to offer good counsel to help others carry their burden.

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