Anybody else besides me need to learn this lesson?
I talked to the editors at Gospel Minutes and I received their permission to put up a PDF of the article that I referenced a few days ago written by Clem Thurman called “Bed Too Short and Cover Too Narrow.” I encourage you to check it out if you don’t receive these papers through your congregation. Brother Thurman did an excellent job relating an “obscure” piece of scripture that’s thousands of years old to our modern-day mindset when it comes to finding fulfillment in the wrong places of life. Just click the link below!
There is definitely more than one wonderful verse about Jesus in Isaiah but one that I don’t hear referenced very much is Isaiah 59:17. There the scripture says, “For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, And was clad with zeal as a cloak.”
Some may shy away from this verse because of the reference to violence. But one should not be afraid to use this verse in connection with the gospel. Jesus refrained from using justice filled violence while subjecting himself to the justice of God and the unjust violence of men and women here upon the earth, but Jesus’ life here on Earth is over and when Jesus returns it won’t be a picnic for the enemies of God much to contradicting advice given by all the “universalists” out there.
Jesus is the slaughtered Lamb of God for our sins, but Jesus is also the Lion of the tribe of Judah for unrepentant sinners!
“since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 – NKJV)
A good number of years ago Neil Diamond wrote and sang a song that still resonates with me today. That song: “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show.” I suppose a number of people can interpret it any number of ways, but I interpret it as both humorous and as a slight against preachers who have more interest in promoting themselves with their “healing” services than they have in promoting the gospel of Christ. The Scriptures are rather plain-spoken about such people – and they need to be called out (2 Corinthians 11:13-15; 1 John 4:1).
“It has been said that God has performed many miracles through Chiles,” we are told. During the days of the prophet Isaiah, God’s prophet was preaching to and against the charlatans of his day. The standard by which any and all preachers were to be judged was the written word of God (Isaiah 8:20). The subjective feelings of a person were only accorded respect when that person lived by the Lord’s expressed word. For the individual or individuals eternity hung in the balance!
It may seem harsh to some to call out preachers who promote things contrary to the Lord’s written words, but it is necessary (Jude 3). It may be that these self-promoting preachers are doing many good things in the community and, if so, there will be nothing negative coming from me in that regard. On the other hand, whatever good may be done or may have been done does not allow a compromise of the Lord’s will as expressed in His holy word. In fact, the good that was done by any and all will not be that which judges us on Judgment Day; it will be the words spoken by the Lord Himself.
The challenge, therefore, to all religious folk is to measure everything by the Lord’s word (John 12:48; Romans 15:18; 1 Peter 4:11).
This is a letter to the editor that is pending
Arise! Shine! For your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. Isaiah 60:1
For several years I read through Oswald Chambers’s devotional book, My Utmost for His Highest, and greatly benefited from it. Times are, however, he goes badly wrong, and his comment on this verse is one example of that. He begins by writing,
We have to take the first step as though there were no God. It is no use to wait for God to help us, He will not; but immediately we arise we find He is there.
Chambers quoted only the first two words of this verse in his devotional thought. The rest of the verse is necessary to understand the imperatives given to Israel. Man is able to arise and shine because the light of God has already come to him and the divine splendor has risen like the sun to illuminate his day.
The first command to arise calls Israel to rouse herself from her stupor. This third section of Isaiah, 56-66, sees beyond the exile to the restoration, to a people returned to a devastated country, a destroyed temple, a world in shambles. To a broken spirit. Their return may be dulled by the reality of their situation.
But, no! Isaiah will not have it. God’s glory is focused on them. It is not time for mourning, but shining. The shining of the city (metaphor for the people) is to serve the nations who come to the light. It is the light of salvation. The people of God are called to shine forth as God’s beacon.
My mind ties this verse together with Matthew 5:16, “In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven” (NET).
At the top of the list of good deeds is the proclamation of the gospel, just as Jesus was doing during that moment of teaching on the mount.
The verse has inspired a number of hymns, among them, “All Ye Gentile Lands Awake.” Here’s the first stanza:
All ye Gentile lands awake!
Thou, O Salem, rise and shine!
See the day-spring o’er you break,
Heralding a morn divine,
Telling, God hath called to mind
Those who long in darkness pined.
Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
This is a verse that sadly, even many Chrisistians only look at or refer to at Christmas time when peoples thoughts are about Jesus and His birth. I know that He was not born on Dec. 25th but we need to use that opportunity to reach folks who at other times would not be as responsive.
But the main thrust of this short passage to me is that at all time of the year and forever it gives us a picture of the Lord Jesus and who He was, is and is to come. Thanks be to the heavenly Father that we have a Savior who is called ” Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Theses traits that He has help us understand just how much the Godhead loves us! We can rest assured that the Lord Jesus will always be there for His people showing the example we need to be fruitful, productive members of His Church who are always ready to reach the lost and strengthen the saved. So, when you hear these words in Is. 6:9, and I hope that it is not just at Christmas, share them with others and stop to praise our “Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ!”
Isaiah 66:1, 2
There are so many special and meaningful passages in Isaiah, but this is the one I choose. Where does God reside? “On Him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.”
Many years ago I met a lady who was abrasive and unfriendly the first few times I visited her (her mother was a member and shut-in). But finally she agreed to study with me. We had a simple open Bible study and as we neared the end of our study, she was literally and visibly trembling. I suggested we go and she be baptized and she immediately agreed and was.
A couple of months later I had a study with another lady about the same age. We went through the same process and just as before, this lady visibly trembled at the Word. I suggested that we go and she be baptized. She paused, offered a couple of excuses and declined. I couldn’t persuade her. She never allowed me to study with her again.
The ability to tremble at the Word of God is a wonderful thing. Ezra witnessed its power (9:4, 10:3). But it is only one virtue among many and can be tragically lost if it is not accompanied with obedience.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8,9).
Since God’s ways & thoughts are so far above ours, what right do we have to question God or His word? None whatsoever. We have no right to object to ANYTHING He might ask of us through His word. Everything He commands and asks is right and proper—whether we agree or understand why is beside the point! We have as much right to object to the instruction and correction of our heavenly Father as a toddler does to object to the instruction and correction of his earthly father! He’s the potter, we’re the clay; He’s the shepherd, we’re the sheep; He’s the master, we’re the servants! Friends, we must exercise faith, submission, & humility before God. Why? Because His thoughts & ways are above ours in every way (cf. Job 42:1-6). May we reflect on this great truth regularly.
As Isaiah preaches, he forthrightly declares what God will not do; it is a petition stated in a declarative way: “Therefore, do not forgive them!” The NET reads, “Don’t spare them!”
Israel (man), in all his wisdom, is going to be humbled and the Lord will be exalted! It was man’s pride that brought all these vices into the land of Israel and corrupted it (and them). Can man hide from God? Not a chance! There is not a place man can know or go that God doesn’t know or is already there. But, with man’s inclination of self-preservation, he seeks to hide in the rocks from the terror of the Lord; as he exalts himself the only real result will be haughtiness humbled.
After not paying attention to this little service for some time, I opened it up this morning and was encouraged by this:
Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” Isaiah 6:8, NLT
The more clearly Isaiah saw God, the more aware Isaiah became of his own powerlessness and inadequacy to do anything of lasting value without God. But he was willing to be God’s spokesman.
When God calls, will you also say, “Send me”?
This from the Life Application Devo. Besides the obviously missionary theme, the phrase about doing something of last value caught my eye.