Friday, September 8, 2017

September 8: Isaiah 1 – 2; Psalm 52; Proverbs 22:26-27; 2 Corinthians 10



Overview

            Isaiah: This is the account of Isaiah’s visions during the reign of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. He calls on the whole earth to hear what the Lord says about Israel and how they’ve rebelled. Everyone is a sinner and corrupt, forsaking the Lord. God has punished them from head to foot but they still rebel. The country is destroyed and foreigner overrun it. If the Lord hadn’t left some survivors they would have been wiped out like Sodom and Gomorrah.
            God says he doesn’t delight in sacrifices because they are meaningless to the ones who offer them. They keep all the festivals and pray but God hides his eyes from them because of their sins, shedding blood, and oppression. He tells them to do good and seek justice for the fatherless and widows. He says their sins are like scarlet but they can become white as snow if they repent. He will restore their land but if they don’t he will kill them by the sword.
            Jerusalem was faithful and righteous but now is filled with murder, harlotry, thievery (by princes even), bribery, and oppression. The Lord says he will clean them up and restore them and make the city faithful again. It will be redeemed but rebels and sinners will be broken and consumed. The rebels will be ashamed of what they did and be burned up like a dried up oak tree.
            Isaiah prophecies about the far future of Judah and Jerusalem. The mountain of the Lord will be the highest. Nations will come to it learn from the Lord. The law and word of God will go out from it. He will judge nations and peoples from there. There will be no more war.
            But now, God has rejected the people because of their fortune-telling and other evils of other nations, chasing after riches and idols. They are not forgiven and must hide from the terror of the Lord when he is exalted and they are brought low. He will bring down Lebanon, Bashan, all fortified cities, ships of Tarshish, and all proud people. Idols will be destroyed. All this will happen when the Lord rises up and his majesty is revealed. Then man will throw out their idols and hid in caves and rocks when God terrifies the earth. Man is nothing and of no account.
            Psalm: David tells how boastful people plot destruction and love evil and lying. He affirms that God will bring destruction upon them. The righteous will fear and laugh at their downfall. They will recognize that the evil people didn’t trust in God but in their own abundance and riches. David affirms that he trusts in the Lord and will thank him and wait for him along with the godly
            Proverbs: Do not promise to cover someone else’s debt. If you don’t have enough to repay it for him, the debt collector can take even your bed.
            2 Corinthians: Paul says he is bold when away but humble when face to face with the Corinthians. He asks that he may be that way when he sees them and not have to be bold because some of them are openly sinning. He explains that our warfare isn’t like the world’s but we have divine power to take thoughts captive to Christ and to punish disobedience.
            He asks the Corinthians to remind themselves that he belongs to Christ just as they do. Maybe he boasts too much about his authority which the Lord gave him to build them up and not destroy them, but he won’t be ashamed. What he says in his letters he will do in person. He is not like those who commend themselves.
            However, he will boast that they brought the gospel to Corinth as an area that God gave him because he and his companions were the first to bring the gospel to them. As their faith increases, his influence grows so that they can go to other places no one has taken the gospel. He will boast in the Lord because it isn’t important who commends someone but that the Lord commends him.

What Stood Out

            Isaiah: “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool” (Isa 1:18).   
            Psalm: “Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man?” (Ps 52:1).
            Proverbs: “Be not one of those who give pledges, who put up security for debts” (Prov 22:26).
            2 Corinthians: “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds” (2 Cor 10:4).

Insight

            Isaiah: The first two chapters of Isaiah comes with two promises. After God explains that Israel’s destruction was caused by their sinfulness, he tells Judah that they are doing the same thing. But the first promise is that when we agree with God about sins, he will cleanse us from them. It doesn’t matter how dark and ugly they are, he can make us white as snow. We have to be willing and obedient. That is a quick summation of repentance. Agree with God and become obedient.
            The second promise is a distant future when Israel will be the center of the earth for worship and government. There will be no more wars as Jesus judges the nations and maintains strict control of everything. People will be willing and obedient.
            Oh, there is a third promise. There will also be a far distant time in the future when the Lord will bring terror on the earth because of mankind’s wickedness. This will be a global judgment. The wicked and proud people will try to hide in caves to escape God’s judgment. It won’t do them any good. Because man is fragile and weak. It doesn’t take much to kill someone and when you read the book of Revelation you find the same thing, people trying to hide in caves to escape the wrath of the Lamb (Rev 6:16). The only way to escape his wrath is to repent.
            Psalm: Why do people boast, especially evil ones? David answers the question in verse 3. He says they love evil more than good and lying more than the truth. The latter has become the way of our modern culture. We call it relativism when we just think that the truth is what we want it to be. We call it fake news when someone tells a lie and expects people to believe and act on it. When we lie and want the lie to shape public opinion, we call it post-truth. It all comes from the desire of some to rule over and control other people for their own gain. Their refuge is in themselves and they are proud so they will boast to make themselves even more acceptable to their acolytes.
            Boasting is an open expression of pride. Pride in self rather than pride in God. When we are willing and obedient to the Lord we have nothing to boast about except what he has done through us. We also realize that he could have done it through anyone so we aren’t anything special. We just happen to be the one God chose to use.
            Proverbs: Do not cosign for a loan because you will have to pay it when he defaults. With all the emphasis on credit scores today, this would seem like a no-brainer. Yet it must happen quiet often. Parents who want to help out their kids will do it. When asked why you won’t do it, and the kid complains that if you really loved him you would do it for him, tell them the Bible says not to do it. Here’s a better way, teach your kids how to manage money and that will be way better than bailing them out by cosigning for a loan or even giving them money.
            2 Corinthians: One of the problems with some Christians is that they think that they have to do things the way the world does. Among the Corinthians, it was important to have people make recommendations for others to show that they had authority. However, Paul tried to tell them that it didn’t matter who recommended who because it was God’s business who had authority and not a consensus of men. It was evident that Paul had God’s authority as he and his companions were the first to bring the gospel to Corinth.
            How would we apply that today? If a person has been spreading the gospel and people are coming to the Lord because of it, then we should acknowledge that God is working in that person. If a person is gifted in refuting worldly wisdom or the heresies of cults, then it is obvious that he is doing so as a result of God’s work in him. If he is boasting in the Lord and giving credit to God then he should be acknowledged. If he is patting himself on the back and telling how much better he is than others, then watch out. He is without understanding.
            It comes down to this: is a person preaching the word accurately; does he get results; does his life reflect Christ? If so, then he is destroying arguments and lofty opinions that are in opposition to God. He is taking thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ (2 Cor 10:5).

Application

             I don’t want to boast about myself. That leads to pride. Whatever I do, I want it to bring glory to God.

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