Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 1-2:22; 2 Corinthians 10:1-18; Psalm 52:1-9; Proverbs 22:26-27
Today we start reading the prophetic books of the Old Testament, starting with Isaiah. Isaiah was a prophet who lived right around the time that Israel was about to be conquered by Assyria. We read about this period in 2 Kings.
All prophets were called by God to issue a message to the people of Israel/Judah on His behalf.
God’s message through Isaiah was that the people He created and cared for had rebelled against Him (Isaiah 1:2). We can all relate to this. Some of us are parents. All of us have been teenagers who have rebelled against our parents. But mankind’s rebellion against God is even worse. In fact, we are worse than animals who know their owner and do what he wants.
The same thing is true today only on a grander scale. God has cared for this planet for thousands of years and continues to do so. Yet the world isn’t aware of it (Isaiah 1:3). The true God is not recognized by the majority of people and is barely an after-thought in the lives of the rest.
Notice that we bring our own bad fortune upon ourselves (Isaiah 1:5-9). God created us so He could bless us. If things go poorly we have no one to blame but ourselves. We can have all the blessings of God if we just turn to Him.
Instead of humbling themselves before God many people turn to ceremony in an effort to please God. But God does not accept this (Isaiah 1:10-15). What pleases God is a heart that is surrendered to him. The ceremony offered by so many denominations such as Catholicism is an attempt to justify themselves before God. It is empty and meaningless.
Despite the rebellion of His children God continues to offer to heal our brokenness (Isaiah 1:18-20). Notice that we need God to fix us. Oprah may think otherwise, but we cannot fix ourselves. We cannot make ourselves right with God. He has to do it.
He will do it if we just obey Him. God asks us to obey Him not because He has a big ego but because He knows that He has the answers we need. We do not. Not following God is an unreasonable way to live (Isaiah 1:18 ESV). Submitting to God is common sense.
The books of the prophets contain prophecies that came true during the Old Testament and during the time of Jesus. But they also contain prophecies about things that have yet to happen. Isaiah addresses one of those in Isaiah 2:2-4. Here Isaiah refers to the last days – a reference to the earth’s final days.
During this time Israel will be the most prominent country on earth (Isaiah 2:2). People from all over will recognize the one true God (Isaiah 2:3). This prophecy refers to “The Millenium” – the 1,000 years when Jesus rules over a peaceful earth (Isaiah 2:4).
This time will be very different than the world we live in now. People will be humbled and only Jesus will be exalted (Isaiah 2:11). There will be no worship of false gods (Isaiah 2:17-18).
Christians should not approach a volatile discussion about Christ as the world does. Instead of “fighting” with manipulation, ignorance, and deceit we should “fight” with love, truth, and respect with the goal of debunking false arguments that stand in the way of people knowing God (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). This may appear to the world to be weakness but it is actually strength – the strength of God.
Its important for us as Christians to work only within the area God has given us (2 Corinthians 10:13-14). By doing so we can do a good job with what God has asked us to do. The people we affect will have their own “sphere of influence” which will be a natural extension of our sphere. We may think we aren’t affecting many people but if we do our job right, we will be.
Don’t put too much trust in a person who boasts about him or herself. Such talk doesn’t count for anything. The only opinion that matters is God’s (2 Corinthians 10:17-18).
There are many differences between people who recognize Jesus as the their God and those who don’t. Psalm 52 mentions one important one.
Those who don’t know God will be uprooted. Notice the verb tense is in the future (Psalm 52:5). These people think they are protected but they are not. What they think will save them (their money, power, or good works) will not. The future will be a eye-opener for them.
But those of us who know Jesus already have roots like an olive tree which are strong (Psalm 52:8). The verb tense in this verse is in the present – we already have all the protection we need in Jesus. Hence we can praise and trust Him (Psalm 52:9).
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