Aug. 22. Jeremiah Shown Symbols; Writes Scroll

Jer. 13:1-14; 18:1-17; 36:1-32; 25:1-14

Many of the biblical writings are in parables and symbols. Symbolically, God had wrapped Israel and Judah around His waist as one would use a sash or loincloth. They had refused to hear and obey Him, but had turned to false idol gods. To demonstrate the deteriorated condition of His people, God instructed Jeremiah to place a sash in a rock near the Euphrates River for a period of time. Upon returning after many days, Jeremiah saw that the sash had rotted and was good for nothing—so shall be the pride of Judah and Jerusalem as they would be cast out of their land. Another symbol that He used was filled wine bottles. As people are destroyed by drunkenness, in like manner, the inhabitants of Jerusalem would suffer the same fate.

Since pottery vessels were widely used, there are many references in the Scriptures to potters and their wares. Sometimes during the turning of a new piece of pottery on the potter’s wheel, a hard lump of clay would cause a malformed vessel. With the hard clay removed and as long as the remaining clay was pliable, it could be reformed into a more usable product. God’s power to shape lives is limited only by the pliability or willingness of one to accept in repentance His “molding on the potter’s wheel.” He is the Potter; we are the clay. The “clay of Judah” had become too hard to mold; therefore, they had been rejected as a useless piece of pottery. It is up to us as individuals and as nations to be willing to yield to the hands of God.

In the fourth year of King Jehoiakim, God instructed Jeremiah to write His words on a scroll. Baruch became the penman who recorded the words that God had spoken to the prophet. Since it seems that Jeremiah had been banned from speaking in the temple, he instructed Baruch to read the words of the scroll in the temple to the people during a day of fasting. In time, during the fifth year of the king’s reign, the contents of the scroll were read in the house of the Lord during a time of fasting and passed up the chain of command to the king. With fear coming upon the princes, they sent Jeremiah and Baruch into hiding to escape the wrath of the king. As an act of defiance, Jehoiakim burned the scroll. One may ignore the word of God. He may attempt to destroy it by cutting it out or burning it, but His message and its consequences WILL remain. Baruch was given another scroll to rewrite God’s message and, “there were added to them many similar words.”

Jeremiah’s message from God stated that since the Judeans had not heeded His words urging them to repent, they would be invaded by the “families of the north…and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon.” That desolation would not only include Judah, but other nations around them. “And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” At the conclusion of the seventy years as Judah would be freed, Babylon would also be punished for her evil ways.

#chronological-bible-study

Aug. 21. Judgments on Philistia and Egypt

Jer. 47:1-7; 46:1-12

The Philistines were long-time adversaries of God and His people. In all of man’s intelligence, he still refuses to accept the truth that God will have the last word against evil. Jeremiah informed them that their Babylonian destructors would come from the north like a rushing water. The noise of horses and chariots would be so intense that fathers would even rush to escape and leave their children behind. God’s vengeance would be thorough as the sword of Babylon would not be sheathed until His purpose was completed.

Egypt had also been a powerful long-time adversary of God. Many centuries earlier, they had enslaved the Israelites. In later years, Judah had attempted to make alliances with them against other powers. Their dependence upon foreign powers instead of having faith in God was causing Judah many problems, but they continually refused to rely upon Him.

As God’s plan for punishing Judah began to take shape, Egypt was becoming weaker and facing struggles against Babylon. Jeremiah pointed out that Nebuchadnezzar would recapture the lands that Egypt had taken only a few years earlier. The remaining strength of Egypt and her allies would not be sufficient to withstand the fury of the Babylonians and their shame would be heard among the other nations.

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Aug. 20. Jeremiah Persecuted

Jer. 26:7-24; 11:1-12:17

Upon hearing the words of Jeremiah, the priests, prophets and other leaders of Judah were filled with anger because of his message. Instead of accepting the importance of the message, man often wants to “kill the messenger.” They seized him and declared that he should die for speaking against the house of the Lord and of Jerusalem.

Jeremiah, with the assurance that God was with him continued to speak the Lord’s word. His message was that Judah should repent or perish. If they would turn back to God, He would relent from the destruction that the prophet had declared to them. His faith led him to state, “As for me, here I am, in your hand; do with me as seems good and proper to you…for truly the Lord has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.”

Even in the most tense situations, “cooler heads” sometime prevail. Micah had uttered the same words many years earlier to Hezekiah and had not been put to death—neither should Jeremiah. He was spared.

The prophet’s message was simple. It was the word of God. He reviewed Judah’s history from their Egyptian slavery through the ages to Jeremiah and instructed him to relay that message to the people. The chief sins of Judah could be summed up as a refusal to completely rely upon their Lord and their worshipping of idols instead of the one true God. Upon their destruction, they would have reached the point that even though they would cry out to God, He would not hear them. Their idols would continue to be helpless.

It is man’s nature to sometimes question God. One of the most common questions is, “Why does the way of the wicked prosper?” Jeremiah, along with others in Scripture made that same inquiry amid other laments. God’s reply was discouraging. Things had been difficult, but the worst was yet to come. Even his own relatives would be against him. However, there would be a time when Judah would be restored from Babylonian captivity.

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Aug. 19. Josiah’s Death; Succeeded by Jehoahaz; Followed by Jehoiakim

II Kin. 23:28-37; II Chron. 35:20-36:7; Jer. 22:10-17; 26:1-6; 7:1-8:3

The life of a king was one of boldness and danger. As Egypt’s King Necho aided the Assyrians at Carchemish, King Josiah of Judah went up against the Egyptian king. Even though the Egyptian battle did not directly pertain to Judah, Josiah perceived it as an Egyptian/Assyrian threat and disguised himself to fight Necho. King Josiah was mortally wounded in that battle after serving thirty-one years as one of Judah’s greatest kings. His death ended Judah’s years of glory as his sons who succeeded him refused to follow his righteous ways.

Jehoahaz was the first of Josiah’s sons to succeed him to the throne. After an evil reign of only three months he was captured by King Necho and imprisoned in Riblah, Hamath in the northern part of what had once been Israel. Upon returning to Egypt, Necho brought the prisoner, Jehoahaz with him. He then made Eliakim, another son of Josiah a puppet king instead of Jehoahaz. Eliakim’s name was changed to Jehoiakim.

There continued to be great mourning for Josiah in the land of Judah. Jeremiah instructed the people to mourn instead for the king, Jehoahaz who had been taken away and would never return. He warned the new king against greed and oppression of his people.

It took only a short time for Judah’s government to fall apart after the death of Josiah. Twenty-five-year-old Jehoiakim being a vassal or puppet king under Egypt gave their silver and gold to Pharaoh and under his direction taxed the people and gave that money to the Egyptian king.

The Lord came to Jeremiah with instructions to stand at the gates of the temple and to speak His warning to the people. God in His mercy was giving them another chance to turn in repentance from their wicked ways. The prophet reminded them of the evils that they had committed and gave them a way to escape God’s wrath. They were guilty of stealing, murder, adultery, false swearing, burning incense and walking after other gods and even sacrificing their sons and daughters as burnt offerings to the god, Molech. Even though Jeremiah was to speak those words to the people, God told him that they would not obey nor answer him.

(We cringe at the thought of offering innocent young children as sacrifices to gods during the times of the prophets. However, somehow it is morally acceptable to abort the lives of innocent unborn babies under the guise of “The Right to Choose.” Whatever happened to the babies’ “right to choose?” Go figure!! God will not hold those murderers blameless if they do not repent.)

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Aug. 18. Habakkuk’s Questions and Prayer

Hab. 1:1-3:19

Habakkuk was a unique prophet in that instead of speaking for God, he questioned God. It is thought that he lived and wrote during the reign of Josiah or soon afterward. There have been evil people and nations on the earth since soon after the beginning. Through their devious methods, they have conquered others and amassed great control and wealth. The psalmist David questioned God about why He allowed that to happen. Habakkuk also had the same misunderstanding of God.

The Assyrians had been a dominant power for many years, but the evil Chaldeans (Babylonians) were even surpassing the Assyrians. Habakkuk asked God to explain why He was allowing a more wicked people than Judah to be His instrument of punishment.

God’s ways are not man’s ways. Man is on the earth for a brief moment in time and looks at the short-term picture. God, on the other hand looks at a broad scope and metes out His justice in His own time. Babylon did eventually pay for her evil.

Habakkuk concluded his message with a psalm-like prayer recognizing God’s glory, power and care for His people. “…The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.”

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Aug. 17. Destruction of Nineveh, One of God’s Tools

Nahum 1:1-3:19

The date of Nahum’s prophesy is unknown, but was probably around 650 B.C. That date would follow Jonah’s earlier prophesy against Nineveh by about a hundred years. Nineveh, known as the bloody city was the capitol of Assyria, a ruthless and dominating world power who had controlled much of the area for hundreds of years. God had used them to administer His wrath against Israel several years earlier. However, that did not mean that He was pleased with the Assyrian people. He was not! It was Nahum’s commission to warn the Assyrians of their impending destruction.

Nahum received his message through a vision from God. He began by relating the immense power of God to the Assyrians. His power is shown by His wrath against those who are evil and through His goodness to those who are obedient to Him. He then began to describe in specific terms how God would deal with them. “The gates of the rivers are opened…” Those words were comforting to Judah as Assyria had been a threat to their security. Archaeological studies relate that the Tigris River overflowed and destroyed a large portion of the city’s wall and left it open for attack.

“Woe to the bloody city!” The prophet listed some of the vile attributes of Nineveh as he warned them of their doom. “‘Behold, I am against you,’ says the Lord of hosts…” As Nineveh had done to those around her, the same fate would befall that great city. “You also will seek refuge from the enemy.” In the end, “All who hear news of you Will clap their hands over you…” God will have destroyed one of His tools, but there would be others.

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Aug. 16. God’s Judgment Is Just

Jer. 5:1-6:30

God declared to Jeremiah that if he could find anyone who sought truth, He would pardon them. He was longsuffering and wishing that He could spare Judah. The prophet observed that the common people had refused to hear his words. He then pointed out that their leaders who should have known God’s way had also turned their backs on Him. Because they had forsaken the Lord, He informed the people of His fierce judgment upon them. The Babylonians were portrayed as wild beasts attacking and destroying their prey. Man may choose to ignore truth and obey a lie; however, that does not change the truth. Truth never changes.

Even though the destruction of Judah would be intense, God would not completely destroy the nation. There would be a remnant preserved to provide an avenue for the coming of His Son hundreds of years later.

As Jeremiah continued expressing warnings from God, he specifically mentioned Jerusalem and Benjamin. Benjamin was a part of Judah and Jerusalem. He described the disaster that would come from the north. With all of the warnings and details of their impending punishment from God, the people continued to ignore Jeremiah. God still would have spared them if they would have repented. They stated that they would not walk in “the old paths” nor listen to the warnings of the watchman’s trumpet. In the end, “People will call them rejected silver, Because the Lord has rejected them.”

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Aug. 15. Call for Repentance

Jer. 3:1-4:31

The first two of the Ten Commandments were, “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image…” Another commandment was, “You shall not commit adultery.”

God likened the idol worship of Israel and Judah to the sin of adultery. They, as God’s “wife” had conducted themselves as a wife who had left her husband and had embraced the life of a harlot. In His mercy, He had pled for Israel to completely turn from their idolatry in repentance and wholeheartedly return to Him. They did not. God was also pleading through Jeremiah the same plea for Judah to turn back to Him before it was too late.

Jeremiah painted a desolate picture of destruction and ruin in a land that had refused to repent and return to their God. That picture was of Judah and her cities that would lie in waste. So great would be Judah’s destruction that the prophet saw a land that was without form and void with black heavens as it had been before the beginning creation. Jeremiah took no joy in relaying his message of doom. “O my soul, my soul! I am pained in my very heart!”

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Aug. 14. Jeremiah Begins to Prophesy

II Kin. 23:26, 27; Jer. 1:1-2:37

It is unclear as to the exact time that Jeremiah began his prophecy. His father was Hilkiah, a priest. He was possibly the high priest that was serving during the time that King Josiah was restoring true worship in Jerusalem. Some speculate that he may have been born during the thirteenth year of Josiah’s thirty-one-year reign and actually began to prophesy several years later as Josiah’s reforms may have begun to crumble. He continued to prophesy until Judah was carried into Babylonian captivity.

As Moses had done many years earlier, being slow of speech, Jeremiah humbly objected to his call stating that he was a youth. God stated that He would provide what the prophet should speak and would be with him. Also like Moses, he accepted his commission and moved forward. Likewise, the Lord has provided His word for us in the Bible and we are to speak it—whether we are young or old.

Jeremiah’s mission was to purge by condemning the evil of the people and to rebuild by giving hope if they would repent and return to God. The picture of a boiling pot being poured out from the north signified the destruction of Judah by the northern Babylonian empire and other invaders from the north.

As the Christian life has its struggles with various persecutions, Jeremiah was faced with suffering. If he failed through dismay to speak God’s word, God would add to his dismay. If he did all that was commanded of him, everyone would become his enemy, “but they shall not prevail against you. For I am with you…to deliver you.”

The Lord instructed Jeremiah to remind Jerusalem of the highs and lows of the wilderness wandering after their deliverance from Egypt. He pointed out the law/covenant that He had made with them on Mt. Sinai. God had delivered Israel/Judah from a land of slavery into a land flowing with milk and honey. They had shown their gratitude by turning from Him to worship the handmade gods of other nations.

God referred to Himself as a fountain of living waters and the false idols as broken cisterns that can hold no water. Instead of turning to Him for help, Judah had turned to other nations and to their gods. However, in times of deep trouble, they would turn to Him to, “Arise and save us.” God had reached the point that He said regarding their gods, “Let them arise, If they can save you in the time of your trouble…” The sins of the people would ultimately bring them into ruin with their hands upon their heads being led into slavery.

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Aug. 13. Josiah Turns Judah back to God; Psalms of Joy, Praise and Thanksgiving

II Kin. 23:1-25; II Chron. 34:29-35:19; Ps. 33:1-22; 66:1-67:7; 100:1-5

Upon hearing the words of the Book of the Law or Covenant, Josiah called for a general assembly of all of the people of Jerusalem, “both small and great.” He proceeded to read the complete book in their hearing and made a covenant with the Lord, “to follow the Lord and to keep His commandments and His testimonies…that were written in this book.” All of the people took their stand with him. (It would be great if our nation and all of the world’s nations had leaders who followed the word of God as their guide.)

At the king’s command to Hilkiah the high priest the work of clearing out and destroying everything that pertained to the worship of idols in the land was begun and accomplished. Assyria’s power had weakened in what had been the Northern Kingdom of Israel. That enabled Josiah to even destroy places of worship in that area. Some of those places of worship had been in existence since the days of Solomon and Jeroboam hundreds of years earlier.

With the purging of idol worship and the people’s desire to also please God, Josiah ordered the resumption of observing the Passover. That feast had been absent since the days of Hezekiah when he had restored its celebration after being long neglected. The Ark of the Covenant had been placed in its rightful position in the Most Holy Place. With all things in order, the Passover was observed on the fourteenth day of the first month. “Such a Passover surely had never been held since the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah.” There was great joy, happiness and singing during the Passover celebration.

“Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him.”

There was great rejoicing, praise and thanksgiving as Josiah led his people back to the proper worship of God. We view the following psalms in that setting as they were possibly sung in worship at that time.

The psalmist rejoiced at the great power of God. It was through His breath that He spoke everything into existence. There are some who refer to the existence of God as a “fairy tale” or figment of one’s imagination. It is more reasonable to attribute the creation of the universe and its inhabitants to the work of a divine Being, than to rely upon the thought of a random explosion that resulted in order out of nothing. God’s presence is universal. He sees all things—both good and evil. Man was not placed upon the earth to flounder on his own, but God is there as our help and shield for our survival. Nations have fallen because of a lack of trust in Him. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”

Man was instructed to make a joyful shout to God by singing praise and honor in thanksgiving to His name. The psalmist presented a lengthy list of the things that God had done for His creation including the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt. Some were not pleasant. However, as it takes fire to refine precious metals, hard times refine His people. A resolve to worship Him followed the listing of God’s blessings. If we will fear Him, He will hear us.

The people were urged to praise God for His righteous judgment of all nations. That eventually would include the Gentiles after the establishment of His church. Many times, judges either through mental errors or from corruption make decisions that do not properly reflect the testimonies presented before them. God is a merciful Judge who does not take bribes nor make mistakes. We must serve Him faithfully in order to receive the reward of a favorable judgment at the end.

Songs of thanksgiving were repeatedly sung by the children of Israel when they were faithfully following God. There were many times when they would backslide and worship idols instead of the living God. Those periods were followed by a return to Him with praise and thanksgiving for His mercy and compassion. Thanksgiving should be a constant attitude among God’s people and not just at a designated time of the year.

#chronological-bible-study

Aug. 12. Messages of Zephaniah

Zeph. 1:1-3:20

The apostle Peter stated that the Lord is not slack concerning His promises, but is longsuffering not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (II Pet. 3:9). God exercised much restraint and patience with His people as He prepared them for the coming of the Savior. He sent many prophets to warn Israel and Judah of His displeasure with their actions rejecting Him for false gods. Among those prophets was Zephaniah, a great-great grandson of King Hezekiah. Zephaniah brought God’s word to Judah during the times of Manasseh, Amon and probably the early period of Josiah’s reign. He described the mass destruction of Jerusalem and the sinful people of Judah. Idolaters, rulers, merchants and complacent cynics would all feel the wrath of God in that day. Gold and silver of the wealthy would not buy their deliverance.

The prophet urged the people to repent and return to God. Destruction of Judah was certain, but there was still time for the obedient to escape and “be hidden In the day of the Lord’s anger.” The remnant who escaped the captivity would be able to return to the coast lands. As other prophets had spoken earlier, Zephaniah reiterated that Assyria and Nineveh, who would be God’s tools for destruction would themselves be brought down because of their dependence upon false gods.

Zephaniah continued to warn Jerusalem of their impending destruction. They had repeatedly ignored and persecuted the prophets who had brought God’s warnings to them. Their leaders had defiled the temple and broken His laws. Even after various calamities had come upon them, they still refused to be obedient. The remnant of righteous that would escape would be restored to God. Eventually, the people would be freed and would return home to their land.

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Aug. 11. Wicked Reins of Manasseh and Amon in Judah; Reforms of Josiah

II Kin. 21:1-22:20; II Chron. 33:1-34:28

Manasseh was only twelve years old when he became king of Judah. His fifty-five-year reign was the longest of the kings of Judah. During that time, he became the most wicked of the Judean kings. He rebuilt and restored idols and altars that his father had destroyed. The message that God sent to him through the prophets was, “…Behold, I am bringing such calamity upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whoever hears of it, both his ears will tingle…I will forsake the remnant of My inheritance and deliver them into the hand of their enemies…because they have done evil in My sight…”

It has been said that he had the prophet, Isaiah placed inside a log and sawed in two. Upon being imprisoned in Babylon, Manasseh repented and was returned to his throne. He removed the idols and altars that he had rebuilt and restored worship back to God.

Following Manasseh’s death, his son, Amon reigned as king for two years before being assassinated. During his reign, he continued the evil practices that had been put into place by Manasseh instead of continuing the reforms that his father had restored in his later years.

When one reads of the righteousness of King Hezekiah and the wickedness of his son and grandson, Manasseh and Amon, anger arises over how persons who saw the results of righteous living would turn completely from such a godly example. We need to look into the mirror and judge ourselves according to those two standards. If we see Manasseh and Amon in our lives, now is the time to repent as Manasseh did AFTER God had brought him low during his Babylonian imprisonment by Assyria.

Assyria had become strong and had maintained control of several nations around them. During the reign of Hezekiah, Judah had begun to pay tribute to the Assyrians. That practice continued throughout the reigns of Manasseh, Amon and the early years of Amon’s successor, Josiah. As the Judean kings were somewhat subjected to Assyria’s rule, they had adopted Assyria’s religious practices.

Josiah, in an attempt to assert his independence began to restore once again the worship to the true God. He destroyed idols and altars that had been erected to the false gods of the Assyrians and to restore the house of God. During the course of events, Hilkiah, the high priest found the Book of the Law (probably Deuteronomy) amid the construction. Upon hearing the words of the law read, Josiah was so horrified that his nation had been so unfaithful to the Lord that he tore his clothes in anguish.

The prophetess, Huldah responding to the king’s request to hear from the Lord spoke, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel…‘Behold, I will bring calamity on this place and on its inhabitants—all the words of the book which the king of Judah has read…Therefore My wrath shall be aroused against this place and shall not be quenched.’” However, because of Josiah’s zeal to do His will, God promised to allow him to reign in peace and that the destruction would not occur during his lifetime.

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Aug. 10. Judgment of God; Praise and Songs to God

Is. 24:1-27:13

Isaiah painted a bleak picture of the impending destruction that would come upon Judah. They would not escape God’s judgment. Those whom one would think of as superior in rank would become as empty of possessions and status as those of lower class. The land would become “entirely emptied and utterly plundered.” Where joy and happiness had been, only desolation would remain. As olives and grapes are overlooked in the harvest and are found by the gleaners, a remnant of godly people would escape the wrath of destruction. They would praise the saving hand of God as He reigned on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem was often referred to as the city of God. Eventually, the Lord’s church was established in that city as the family of God. Those who would submit to God’s rule would rejoice and praise Him. Death would be destroyed in God’s salvation as Jesus the Son of God would conquer death through His resurrection. His justice, however, would administer the proper punishment for sin.

There are numerous occasions in which God’s children sang praises to Him. Many of those events were upon their deliverance from some type of affliction or oppression. Isaiah composed this song of joy for those who had been rescued from the lofty city of the enemy. Various lands and cities were synonymous with sin. God, through His city/kingdom/church would appoint salvation to all who would obey, both Jews and Gentiles. Sin’s lofty city would be destroyed and leveled. “The way of the just is uprightness…” However, even if grace is “shown to the wicked, Yet he will not learn righteousness…” The sins that man commits will eventually be uncovered and brought to justice.

God often compared His people to a vineyard. No one would be allowed to completely hinder the care of His vineyard. They would eventually prosper as red wine that would be produced. Even God’s enemies would be accepted if they made peace with Him by turning from their evil ways. As Isaiah prophesied regarding the Babylonian captivity of Judah, he also saw a time when God would bring His scattered people back to Jerusalem. The future King was destined to emerge from that people.

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Aug. 9. Judgment Against Jerusalem and Tyre

Is. 22:1-23:18

Isaiah presented a very vivid description of the destruction that would come upon Jerusalem. Instead of viewing the prophet’s warning with horror and turning to God in repentance, the people partied in defiance of the Lord saying in ridicule, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!” Shebna, who had been King Hezekiah’s steward, was singled out because of his haughtiness. He would be cast into a foreign land where he would die. He would be succeeded by Eliakim who would “be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem And to the house of Judah.”

The prophet turned his attention to the Phoenician seaport city of Tyre. It would be laid waste and the merchants who depended upon it in their trades would be distressed over the loss of their port. Isaiah asked why this crowning city would be destroyed and answered his own question. “The Lord of hosts has purposed it, To bring to dishonor the pride of all glory…” Tyre would be a wasteland for seventy years and would then be rebuilt to regain its former glory.

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Aug. 8. Woes of Rebellious People; Blessings from Relying upon God

Is. 30:1-32:20

Isaiah continued to point out the folly of Judah depending upon Egypt for defense against Assyria. He had previously stated the perilous condition of the Egyptians and further warned of the impending doom of that nation. God stated through the prophet that woe would be upon those who would go to Egypt instead of depending upon Him for advice. Even in the face of those warnings, there were those who turned deaf ears to Isaiah and called for smooth words and deceitful prophecies. Their end would be sudden and swift destruction.

However, even in His anger, God is patient and not willing for any to perish. He continued to wait for Judah in order that He would be exalted. God also made a series of promises for those who would wait upon Him instead of trusting in others for deliverance.

As stated earlier, God’s tools for carrying out His plan were also subject to punishment for their refusal to follow Him. Isaiah turned to Assyria and described how they would be beaten down through the wrath of God.

One person plus God equals a majority. Isaiah again emphasized the woe that would come upon Judah if they trusted in Egypt and their army. God’s strength and tenacity in protecting His people are described as the fearless lion facing a multitude of shepherds and the birds protecting their nests. If Judah would put their idol gods away, God would deliver them from the hands of Assyria.

The prophet pronounced the coming of a true leader who would rein in righteousness and justice allowing peace and calmness within the land. Judah had enjoyed a period of time with Hezekiah as such a leader. There would continue to be times when foolishness and complacency would cause the people to lament and mourn. Those times would, however, be followed by a return to God with ensuing periods of peace and rejoicing. The world needs true leaders today who will seek to do God’s will as they serve their people.

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