Saturday, September 30, 2017

September 30: Isaiah 60 – 62:5; Psalm 72; Proverbs 24:11-12; Philippians 1:27-2:18


            Isaiah: Isaiah prophecies about the time when the Lord will bring light to Israel and his glory will be seen among them. Nations will come to them and all Israel’s descendants will come. Israel will be thrilled as they prosper in trade. The nations will fly to Israel and their hope will be in the Lord. He has made Israel beautiful.
            Foreigners, kings, and nations will serve Israel because the Lord’s wrath has become mercy. Those that don’t will perish. The ones that persecuted Israel will bow before them. Israel will know that the Lord is their Savior and Redeemer when nations will no longer hate Israel.
            Israel’s prosperity will be in abundance. There will no longer be any violence there. The Lord will be their everlasting light, not the sun or moon. Everyone will be righteous and possess the land. They will be very numerous, even the least of them.
            The Lord has appointed Isaiah to bring this good news to the poor, brokenhearted, captives, and prisoners. It is the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of his vengeance. God will comfort those who mourn and turn their sorrows into joy. God will be glorified as they rebuild the ancient ruins. Gentiles will do the dirty work as Israel will be priests to the Lord. All their shame will be taken away. They will have everlasting joy.
            The Lord loves justice and hates wrong. He will compensate Israel for the wrong done them. He will make an everlasting covenant with them. All nations will know the Lord has blessed them.
            Isaiah will rejoice in the Lord and exult in God. God has saved him and given him righteousness just like a bridegroom is finely dressed. The Lord will make righteousness sprout like plants before all the nations.
            Isaiah will not keep silent for Zion’s sake until righteousness and salvation are seen like bright lights. The nations will see this and Israel’s glory. The Lord will give them a new name. Israel will be like a crown to the Lord. They will no longer be called forsaken and the land desolate. The will be called “God’s Delight” and the land “Married.” God will rejoice over Israel like a bridegroom rejoices over his bride.
            Psalm: Solomon asks the Lord to help him rule over Israel with justice and righteousness. He asks for Israel to fear the Lord (most translations) and be blessed as long as there is a sun and moon. He asks for dominion over all nations with kings serving the king. The king delivers and has pity on the needy. He asks for the king to live long and have tribute brought to him. He asks for the land to be bountiful with crops and people. He asks for his name to be remembered forever and people to be blessed in him. He blesses the Lord who does it all and asks for the earth to be filled with God’s glory.
            Proverbs: Do what you can to save those who are being led away to death and prevent those who don’t see it coming to be saved.
            You can’t tell God that you didn’t know better because he knows what is in your heart. He watches over you and you can’t keep anything from him. He will repay according to your deeds.
            Philippians: Paul tells the Philippians that their way of living should be worthy of the gospel of Christ. They are to stand firm in one spirit and mind for faith in the gospel. Don’t let their opponents frighten them. Their suffering is a sign to the opponents that they will be destroyed but the Philippians will be saved. This suffering is the same that Paul has had.
            With all their affliction and participation in the Spirit, Paul has joy when they are of the same love, mind, and accord with him. They should do nothing out of rivalry or conceit but in humility put others above themselves and take care of others’ interests and not their own selfish pursuits. This is the mind to have that is the same as Jesus’. He didn’t even count equality with God as something to keep but made himself nothing, just like a servant and was obedient to the point of dying on the cross. So now, God has exalted him and his name is above all others. Everyone will bow before him and confess he is Lord and bring glory to God the Father.
            In light of this, Paul tells them they should obey and work to show they are saved. It is God who is working in them to do what he wants. So, they shouldn’t complain about what is happening. That way they will show themselves to be blameless and innocent children of God in the middle of all the wicked people around them. They are to stay firm in their faith so that Paul will be proud of them in the day of Christ. He rejoices in them even though he is suffering for his faith and they can rejoice and be glad in him.

What Stood Out

            Isaiah: “Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks; foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers; but you shall be called the priests of the Lord” (Isa 61:5-6).   
            Psalm: “May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him!” (Ps 72:11).
            Proverbs: “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter” (Prov 24:11).
            Philippians: “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:5).


            Isaiah: Welcome to the millennium reign of Christ! You have just read about the way it will be when Christ returns and all Israel will recognize him as the Messiah. It is no wonder that Jesus started his ministry by reading from Isaiah 60:1-2 (Luke 4:18-19). He wanted them to know that the fulfillment of these prophecies is only in him. You will notice that Jesus stopped short in this reading and announced that the fulfilment of these first two verses was in their hearing nearly 2,000 years ago (Luke 4:21). The reason for that is what we call the time of the Gentiles. It takes place from Jesus paying the price for our sins until his return and establishing all the good that is predicted by Isaiah.
            We may see some of these prophecies taking place at this very moment as people from all around the world are flying (literally) to Israel (Isa 60:8). We see Israel’s prosperity but it is nothing compared to what it will be like after Jesus returns. We also see that many of the prophecies are nowhere nearly fulfilled as people hate Israel (Isa 60:15) but they won’t in the future. Since the Lord is not dwelling in the midst of Israel and is not their light instead of the sun and moon (Isa 60:19), it is clear that something dramatic must take place before this will occur.
            One of the things that will happen when Jesus returns is that those of us who have already turned to Jesus as the Messiah will be on the same footing as Israel. We will be priests of Christ and God and we will reign with him during this 1,000 years when Israel will rule the earth under the leadership of the Messiah (Rev 20:6). Are your ready for that?
            Psalm: I really like reading through the Psalms twice a year. They seem like different Psalms when reading different passages from the Old Testament before reading the Psalm. Solomon must have just finished reading from Isaiah just as we did when he wrote this Psalm. It is obviously speaking of the days of Israel’s future glory after Jesus’ return. This will be the time in the future when all kings will bow down before Jesus (Ps 72:11). There will no longer be any doubt in anyone’s mind who Jesus is. He will be the Sovereign who reigns over all the earth. For those of us who have already surrendered to him, it will be a joyous 1,000 years for we will have already been given new bodies at Jesus’ return. For those who enter into this time as mortals, or are born later, they will still need to make up their minds whether to serve him or not. Even if they don’t serve him willingly, they will bow before him. It will be much better for us to do it now.
            Proverbs: I don’t think Proverbs 24:11 is talking about us simply trying to keep people from being killed in war or accidents. This is exactly what we do when we share the gospel with people who don’t know the Lord. They are being taken away to eternal death unless they turn to Jesus for salvation. They are stumbling around in the darkness of their sins just like someone who is about to fall into an ambush to be slaughtered. The only way we can do anything about it is to proclaim the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. They may claim they didn’t know right from wrong but God knows their hearts. They have no excuse when they come before him for the judgment. How much better if they hear from us that they can stand in that judgment blameless and without fault through the blood of Jesus Christ?
            Philippians: Paul speaks a lot about being of one mind with others and even having the mind of Jesus. If we were to boil down the Christian life to something as simple as we could possibly state, it would be this. If each of us had the mind of Christ or the attitude of Christ as the NIV states, we would not have any problems with any other Christians. We would still be persecuted but in our families and in our churches, there would be unity. The big reason for this is because we would be putting other people ahead of ourselves and not being selfish.
            With the outside world, we would be living exemplary lives and this would give people no reason to hate us. However, we would also be doing just as Jesus did when he confronted the religious hypocrites and that would also include any religion that opposes the proclamation of the gospel including atheism. Persecution would not cease but they couldn’t label us as hypocrites.
            That would be the way it should be but we all know that isn’t going to happen as long as we have our sinful mortal bodies. When it comes to eternity, we will see it. We will see it to a lesser extent during the millennium. All that Isaiah predicted will occur because we will have the mind of Christ and those who are still mortal will be kneel before Jesus as Sovereign (Isa 45:23). Until then we should be working toward being in unity with the mind of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit living in us.


             Reading about the millennium where Jesus will reign and eternity where sin will be completely eliminated is inspirational. However, that should only make me want to live a godly life now. I pray I can do that.

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