Isaiah – Chapter 42

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Verse 1 – “Behold! My servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.

Verse 2 – He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.

My servant – This phrase denotes a person that acknowledges and worships God; anyone who is regarded as serving or obeying Him. At Gethsemane Jesus went quietly when arrested. He later quietly bore the crossbeam of His cross a portion of the way as He walked the streets toward His execution, Golgotha (John 19:17).

Verse 3 – A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth.

The word ‘reed’ means the cane which grows up in marshy or wet places; that which is fragile or weak, easily waved by the wind or broken down; people who are conscious of feebleness and sin; that are broken by calamities; feel that they can no longer handle life. So, this servant in these verses will have compassion on anyone who has a glimmer of hope. Christ will never toss you aside.

Verse 4 – He will not fail nor be discouraged, till He has established justice in the earth; and the coast-lands shall wait for His law.”

Verse 5 – Thus says God the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk on it:

Verse 6 – “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand; I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles,

Verse 7 – to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison-house.

Part of Christ’s commission on earth was to enlighten people to God’s righteousness. Through Christ, all people have an opportunity to be a light to others. However, first seek His righteousness, in order for it to shine forth to others.

Verse 8 – I am the Lord, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to graven images.

Verse 9 – Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”

Do you know God reveals what He is about to do? He puts a stirring in your spirit at times for us to be aware a change is coming. He will use pastors to lead others into His calling as well as close friends or people who have the spirit of discernment and have developed it. What’s sad though is that a lot of people, Christians, are not listening to what the Spirit has to say. They have grown dull in their hearing because of the cares of this world and they won’t take the time to get in God’s presence.

Verse 10 – Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you coast-lands and you inhabitants of them!

Our praise should reflect all the good God has done for us. I’m amazed at the callous way some walk into a worship service. Some come in carrying coffee an donuts, like they are going to a business meeting and then they wonder why they never feel the spirit move. Or how about the one’s that come late and interrupt “your’ time of worship with no regard to anyone around them. I think the worse thing someone can do though, is leave during an altar call, only caring about being the first one out of the parking lot. Shame on you!

Worship time is either revered or it’s not. I’d rather give God praise every time I’m in His presence then leave and feel empty.

Verse 11 – Let the wilderness and its cities lift up their voice, the village that Kedar inhabits. Let the inhabitants of Sela sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains.

Verse 12 – Let them give glory to the Lord, and declare His praise in the coast-lands.

Verse 13 – The Lord shall go forth like a mighty man; He shall stir up His zeal like a man of war. He shall cry out, yes shout aloud; he shall prevail against His enemies.

Verse 14 – “I have held My peace a long time, I have been still and restrained Myself. Now I cry like a woman in labor, I will pant and gasp at once.

Verse 15 – I will lay waste the mountains and hills, and dry up all their vegetation; I will make the rivers coast-lands, and I will dry up the pools.

Often, when God shows up as a warrior, it can have catastrophic results for the physical creation. But yet people will take heed only for a time. They might be thankful for a while, but if they are not fully committed to Him, they go right back to what they were dong before. Keep in mind; He controls it all!

Verse 16 – I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. These things I will do for them and not forsake them.

The blind – The Gentile who have not known the truth. He will take away all hindrances; He will direct the right way to go – He will see them through to the end of their journey.

Verse 17 – They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, who trust in carved images, who say to the molded images, who say to the molded images, you are our gods.’

Verse 18 – “Hear, you deaf; and look, you blind, that you may see.

Verse 19 – Who is blind but, My servant, or deaf as My messenger whom I send? Who is blind as he who is perfect, and blind as the Lord’s servant?

Verse 20 – Seeing many things, but you do not observe; opening the ears, but he does not hear.”

How could Israel and Judah be God’s servants and yet be so blind? This is a spiritual disability. They, as do we, see, but yet don’t understand, or knowing what is right, but not doing it.

Verse 21 – The Lord is well pleased for His righteousness sake; He will magnify the law and make it honorable.

Verse 22 – But this is a people robbed and plundered; all of them are snared in hole, and they are hidden in prison houses; they are for prey, and no one delivers; for plunder, and no one says, “Restore!”

Verse 23 – Who among you will give ear to this? Who will listen and hear for the time to come?

Too often we are so eager to direct what God says, to others, that we fail to take our own advice. Leaders and teachers of the Word don’t have to be perfect, but God holds them to a higher standard. When the Holy Spirit gives revelation, be sure and take that advice.

Verse 24 – Who gave Jacob for plunder, and Israel to the robbers? Was it not the Lord, He against whom have sinned? For they would not walk in His ways, nor were they obedient to His law.

Verse 25 – Therefore He has poured on him the fury of His anger and the strength of battle; it has set him on fire all around, yet he did not know; and it burned him, yet he did not take it to heart.

The Jewish people had hardened their hearts so much, God considered them a house on fire, without perceiving their coming danger. However, God promises over in Isaiah 54:8, 9 that: With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,” Says the Lord, your Redeemer. (Verse 9) “For this is like the waters of Noah to Me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.

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Isaiah – Chapter 41

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Verse 1 – “Keep silent before Me, O coast-lands, and let the people renew their strength! Let them come near, then let them speak; let us come near together for judgment.

To all the nations of the world, be quiet as God presents the evidence in support of His case.

Verse 2 – “Who raised up one from the east? Who in righteousness called him to His feet? Who gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? Who gave them as the dust of his sword, as driven stubble to his bow?

The one to the east is Cyrus, king of Persia, whom God used to defeat Babylon in 539 B.C. This brought Judah’s exile to an end.

Verse 3 – Who pursued them, and passed safely by the way that he had not gone with his fleet?

Verse 4 – Who has performed and done it, calling generations from the beginning? ‘I, the Lord, am the first; and with the last I am He.’ ”

Though Cyrus was the human agent behind these predicted events, God took credit because Cyrus succeeded under His sovereign control.

Verse 5 – The coast-lands saw it and feared, the ends of the earth were afraid; they drew near and came.

Verse 6 – Everyone helped his neighbor, and said to his brother, “Be of good courage!”

Verse 7 – So the craftsman encouraged the goldsmith, and he who smooths with the hammer inspired him who strikes the anvil, saying, “It is ready for the soldering”; then he fastened it with pegs, that it might not totter.

The craftsman and the metal worker were those who created the idols in whom the nations trusted.

Verse 8 – “But you , Israel, are My servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the descendants of Abraham My friend.

Verse 9 – You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest regions, and said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away:

Verse 10 – Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

God chose Israel through Abraham because he wanted to, not because they deserved it (Deuteronomy 7:6-8; 9:4-6). God had chosen them to represent Him to the world. We in turn as Christians, are to represent our heavenly Father also.

Verse 11 – “Behold, all those who were incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; they shall be as nothing, and those who strive with you shall perish.

Verse 12 – You shall seek them and not find them – those who contend with you. Those who war against you shall be as nothing, as a non-existing thing.

Verse 13 – For I , the Lord God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’

A spirit of fear does not come from God. God’s Spirit gives us power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

verse 14 – “Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I will help you,” says the Lord and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

You worm – who are weak in thyself, and trodden under foot by the proud enemies. The inability of other nations to contend with Israel was because of divine protection. Israel did not have the strength or ability to protect itself, but God would sustain them.

Verse 15 – “Behold, I will make you into a new threshing sledge with sharp truth; you shall thresh the mountains and beat them small, and make the hills like chaff.

This metaphor emphasizes how thoroughly and violently Israel would defeat the nations.

Verse 16 – You shall winnow them, the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them; you shall rejoice in the Lord, and glory in the Holy One of Israel.

Verse 17 – “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongues fail for thirst, I, the Lord, will hear them; I the God of Israel, will not forsake them.

Verse 18 – I will open rivers in desolate heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I, will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.

Gods people who are like a dry land, He will abundantly water with my blessings.

Verse 19 – I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree, the myrtle and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine and the box-tree together,

Verse 20 – that they may see and know, and consider and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has done this, and the Holy One of Israel created it.

Turning a desert into an orchard, is an act only God can do.

Verse 21 – “Present your case,” says the Lord. “Bring forth your strong reasons,” says the king of Jacob.

Verse 22 – “Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; let them show the former things, what they were, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare to us things to come.

Verse 23 – Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; yes, do good or do evil, that we may be dismayed and see it together.

Verse 24 – Indeed you are nothing, and your work is nothing; he who chooses you is an abomination.

Israel was surrounded by many nations whose gods supposedly has special powers, such as raising crops and providing victories in wars. Our trust cannot be placed in money, our career, or other people, because they will all fail us. When you’re in need, ask God, first. He will make a way when there seems to be no way.

Verse 25 – “I have raised up one from the north, and he shall come; from the rising of the sun he shall call on My name; and he shall come against princes as though mortar, as the potter treads clay.

King Cyrus of Persia is in mind here. Cyrus was born in Persia, in the country scripture calls ‘the east,’ but he came from Media under the direction of his uncle, Cyaxares, when he attacked and subdued Babylon. Media was situated on the north and northeast of Babylon.

Verse 26 – Who has declared from the beginning, that we may know? And former times, that we may say, ‘He is righteous’? Surely there is no one who shows, surely there is no one who declares, surely there is no one who hears your words.

Verse 27 – The first time I said to Zion, ‘Look, there they are ! ‘And  I will give to Jerusalem one who bring good tidings.

The idols were ignorant because they did not really exist. The coming of Cyrus was good news to Jerusalem because his defeat of Babylon would mean God’s people could go home.

Verse 28 – For I looked, and there was no man; I looked among them, but there was no counselor, who, when I asked of them, could answer a word.

Verse 29 – Indeed they are all worthless; their works are nothing; their molded images are wind and confusion.

 

 

God is asking which one of these idols know the future; which one can give counsel? Though these idols were often consulted, none of them could give any certainty about the future.

Rule and Reign

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Do you know that as a Christian, we are to rule the world that God has placed us in? Your world, not another’s. We have the responsibility and the authority to rule on God’s behalf, the things in our world.

So what does it look like when we’re ruling God’s way? Too many Christians have given up their rights to rule. How? They let their circumstances, people, problems, and challenges,  call the shots to their world. Too often we lose sight of our spiritual authority.

In Genesis chapter one, God shows His creative genius through the creation of the world, by the Word. God spoke and it was so, over and over, and it was good. On the sixth day, in verse 26, He said “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness: let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle , over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Now don’t miss this, because the image in which He created is very important: (verse 27) So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And then He did this: (verse 28) Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

God spoke it, God created , and then God blessed them. Elohim is the first name used for God in the Old Testament and it means plural in form. God is plural in nature – the trinity – 3 persons, all equal, distinct in personality, yet One in essence. Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

Let us make man in our image and likeness and let him rule, have dominion. God, Son, and Holy Spirit made man, and turned the ruler-ship over to him, Adam.

Don’t misunderstand, God never gave up His ownership, but He placed dominion in man’s hands. Think of it like this: You own a business, you have a manager in charge. He can choose to do things the way you want them or he can destroy what you have built and you’ll give the responsibility to someone you can trust.

In the same way, God accepts our decisions we make whether we choose to include Him in them or not. It’s called freewill. This authority that we have is so important, that at times God waits on us before He will act. If you truly want what God wants for your life, you have to spend time in His presence and in His Word. Please don’t ever think that you are not significant in God’s plan, because each person has an abundant life He wants to give them. Don’t be discouraged about the preparation time either. If you’re not ready and you step out of His timing, it could all fall apart.

Look what Psalm 115:16 says, “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; but the earth He has given to the children of men.” We are not to let circumstances and the enemy rule over us. We are to use His Word to call those things that be not as though they were (Romans 4:17)!

Let me show you something else that proves what I’m saying: Whenever God wanted to do something on earth, He had to find a person. He didn’t just come down and do it. He found somebody through whom to do it. He creates Adam; He finds Noah; He locates  Abraham; He finds Moses; He raised up judges; He identified prophets; He anointed kings, and when things got really bad He became a “Man, the Lord Jesus Christ!”

Satan doesn’t want you to know this, but he lost his chance to shut me up over 25 years ago! Satan doesn’t want us to rule over anything that God has created. He wants us to go through life never believing that God loves us. He wants to steal your confidence in God so you won’t trust Him. Satan wants to kill, steal and destroy anything that God brings to life.

We do not rule without God. 2 Corinthians 6:1 says, We then, as workers together with Him… God provides the Spirit, because we have His image, man provides the physical, because we live in a physical realm. So the way God gets His Spiritual (His will) done, is through a being that has both physical and spirit – that’s us!

What the enemy has done, is cause us to separate the two  – Spiritual on Sunday and physical on Monday. That’s not how we were created to operate. We were made in God’s image with His Spirit living on the inside of every believer.

Please don’t misunderstand this ruling spiritually. Adam wasn’t to rule the whole earth just his garden. It was man-kind to rule the whole earth. That’s why God said be fruitful and  multiply. So everybody has a garden that they are supposed to be ruling for the Kingdom of God. A ruler-ship of God that is to be manifested in it. Satan’s job is to disrupt and destroy so that we become the tail and not the head. Too often when life gets really tough, people forget whom they belong to. Encourage yourself and remind yourself daily that you belong to the Most High God!

This ruler-ship is never to be apart from God’s image. In everything done, it is to be done the way God wants it and with Him.

Waiting on the Lord does not mean inactivity. This simply means – “Don’t go outside of God to get it done!” Are we going to make mistakes, sure, but don’t give up. God did not create any quitters. I never gave up and I have been through a lot of “Donkey Dung!” Waiting on God means using God’s methods, God’s direction, and His timing to get it done. When we do it His way, then the Lord blesses it.

Blessed – enjoying and extending the goodness of God. A blessing is when God resources your calling – when God provides what is needed to get the job done. The full-blown blessing is when you have enough left over to fulfill others needs. (Remember Abraham was blessed to be a blessing) When God blesses us there will be an overflow to bless somebody else.

Here’s the beauty of all this: God will supply everything needed for the world He wants you to rule. And then you become blessed to be a blessing. We never cross over into another’s world to rule it. We concentrate on the assignment that He gave us as an individual. The hardest obstacle you will have is believing what He said, He will do. Speak His Word, out loud, by faith; decree a thing, and He will do it. Say what He says about you!

We all have a choice to make – Either rule and reign in life according to Christ who gave us that life, or go outside and fail. It’s our freedom of choice. In His likeness we rule and reign.

 

Isaiah – Chapter 40

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The book of Isaiah makes a dramatic shift. The following chapters are about the majesty of God who is coming to rule the earth. Instead of warning the people of impending judgment, Isaiah comforts them. Chapter 40 refers to the restoration after the exile. God uses Cyrus as the instrument of their delivery from Babylon.

Verse 1 – “Comfort, yes comfort My people!” Says your God.

Verse 2 – “Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.”

Judah still had 100 years of trouble before Jerusalem would fall, then 70 years of exile would take place in Babylon. But God told Isaiah to speak comfort to them now.

Wouldn’t you think in 100 years time that Judah would have changed back towards God? They knew what was coming because Isaiah had been prophesying about it.

Verse 3 – The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

This prophecy by Isaiah was spoken centuries before John the Baptist came on the scene in Matthew 3:3. The desert or wilderness is a picture of life’s trials and suffering. John the Baptist used these words to prepare the people for the coming Messiah.

Verse 4 – Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; the crooked places shall be made straight, and the rough places smooth;

Verse 5 – The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Verse 6 – The voice said, “Cry out!” And he said, “What shall I cry?” “All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.

Verse 7 – The grass withers, the flower fades, because the breath of the Lord blows upon it (the spirit); surely the people are grass.

Verse 8 – The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of God stands forever.”

In comparison to God’s word, we as humans are here but for a little while. The most important thing we can do in our short life-time, is know the Word of God so it can guide us. Generations, public opinions, and cultures all change with time, but God’s Word is eternal and unfailing. Only in God’s Word will we find comfort and solutions to problems during our life-time.

Verse 9 – O Zion, you who bring good tidings, get up into the high mountains; O Jerusalem, you who bring good tidings, lift up your voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid; say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!”

Verse 10 – Behold the Lord God shall come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.

Do you know that when the Lord shows up on your behalf, He never comes empty-handed. He always has what we need when we’ve asked.

Verse 11 – He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.

As a shepherd tends to all the needs of his flock, so does the Lord tend to His people. Judah had been subject to evil kings, but the nation would once again have a strong and compassionate shepherd. It’s not what we know that gives us victory, but “Whom!”

Verse 12 – Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, measured heaven with a span and calculated the dust of the earth in a measure? Weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?

These series of rhetorical questions have one intention – to demonstrate the uniqueness of the One True God. These verses assure us God is in Control of heaven and earth and is able to deliver.

Verse 13 – Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or has His counselor has taught Him?

Verse 14 – With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge, and showed Him the way of understanding?

Too often we limit our understanding of who God is. He’s all-powerful; all-knowing; and all present at the same time. I think we forget this sometimes when we need help in a crises or situation. The amazing thing is though: We can know this magnificent God on a personal level through His Son, Jesus Christ. Please don’t ever doubt His love for you. That love is enough to carry us through every storm that comes our way.

Verse 15 – Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the balance; look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing.

Verse 16 – And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering.

Verse 17 – All nations before Him are as nothing, and they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless.

Verse 18 – To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him?

Verse 19 – The workman molds a graven image, the goldsmith overspreads it with gold, and the silversmith casts silver chains.

Verse 20 – Whoever is too impoverished for such a contribution chooses a tree that will not rot; he seeks for himself a skillful workman to prepare a carved image that will not totter.

These verses are referring to the Babylonian gods that were made by workman and then worshiped. Isaiah was telling them, they amount to nothing.

Verse 21 – Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?

Verse 22 – It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.

Verse 23 – He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless.

Verse 24 – Scarcely shall they be planted, scarcely shall they be sown, scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth, when He will also blow on them, and they will wither, and the whirlwind will take them away like stubble.

The idea here is that the princes and rulers that oppose God continue to resist God’s purpose. God can strip off their glory and honor and even obliterate their names.

Verse 25 – “To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal?” Says the Holy One.

Verse 26 – Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing.

The religions of the Near East believed the stars were gods. Judah’s religion asserted that God created the stars, and so do we Christians. These verses remind me in Job where God is talking and says He is the one who created the stars and knows every one by name.

Verse 27 – Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel: “My way is hidden from the Lord and my just claim is passed over by my God”?

Verse 28 – Have you not known? Have you  not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. There is no searching of his understanding.

Verse 29 – He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no mite He increases strength.

God’s source of strength is our strength. Our God never gets tired or weary. We do though, and that is why we call on Him in those times, and He will renew us, “In His strength.”

Verse 30 – Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall,

Verse 31 – but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

So how do we draw that strength from God? Simply by trusting Him. When we trust Him, we are standing in confidence that He is able to deliver, willing, and knows exactly what we need and when we need it!

Isaiah – Chapter 39

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Hezekiah’s Sin

Verse 1 – At that time Merodach-Baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that he had been sick and had recovered.

This letter and gift was part of a strategy to get Hezekiah to join him in a rebellious alliance against the Assyrians.

Verse 2 – And Hezekiah was pleased with them, and showed them the house of his treasures – the silver and gold, the spices and precious ointment, and all his armory – all that was found among his treasures. There was nothing in his house or in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them.

Verse 3 – Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah, and said to him, “What did these men say, and from where did they come to you?” and Hezekiah said, “They came to me from a far country, from Babylon.”

Verse 4 – And he said, “What have they seen in your house?” So Hezekiah answered, “They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shown them.”

Verse 5 – Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord of host:

Verse 6 – ‘Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and what your fathers have accumulated until this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left,’ says the Lord.

Verse 7 – ‘And they shall take away sons of your sons who will descend from you, whom you will beget; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’ ”

Why was it so wrong for Hezekiah to show all his treasures to these men? Because, Hezekiah failed to see that the Babylonians would be his next threat, not the Assyrians. I’m not sure Hezekiah believed Isaiah because at that time, Babylon was struggling for independence under Assyria. We don’t always see deception, but if we will listen to that “still small voice,” the Holy Spirit will guide us.

Verse 8 – Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good!” For he said, “At least there will be peace and truth in my days.”

What a selfish statement for Hezekiah to make. It showed, he didn’t care what happened after he died as long as there was peace in Jerusalem while he lived. Proverbs 13:22 says, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.”

This inheritance is much more than material things. It’s a legacy of how we’ve raised up the next generation. Hezekiah’s son, that would take over the reign at the age of 12, ended up putting the false idols back in place and the people worshiped them. Then the Babylonians took Jerusalem into captivity and carried off all their silver, gold, precious spices, and took the people into captivity.

It’s like a leader of a nation doing everything they can to accumulate their wealth and self-interest, not caring what is destroyed when a new leader takes over. (Sound familiar?)

 

Isaiah – Chapter 38

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Hezekiah’s Salvation from sickness

The events in chapters 38 and 39 happened before chapters 36 and 37. Why they put them after, is anyone’s guess.

Verse 1 – In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Set your house in order for you shall die and not live.” ‘

Verse 2 – Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the Lord,

Verse 3 – and said, “Remember now, O Lord I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Have you ever just been totally baffled by what was happening in your life? Especially when you know you have done everything right you could possible do. Sometimes it has nothing to do with what we have done right. We don’t always know the bigger picture, so we pray, wait, and expect good.

Verse 4 – Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah, saying,

Verse 5 – “Go and say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father. “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; and I will add to your days fifteen years.

Hezekiah was a descendant of David and God had promised David a son on the throne in Jerusalem forever. Hezekiah didn’t have a son at this time to be the heir. So perhaps that is the reason God extended his life. Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh, was 12 years old when Hezekiah died (2 Kings 21:1).

Verse 6 – “I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city.” ‘

Verse 7 – “And this is the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do this thing which He has spoken:

Verse 8 – “Behold, I will bring the shadow on the sundial, which has gone down with the sun on the sundial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward.” So the sun returned ten degrees on the dial by which it had gone down.

Do you remember another time when God messed with the sun? The sun stood still when Joshua prayed and asked so they could finish a battle.God gave Hezekiah a sign that he would recover and be able to go to the temple of the Lord again. And verse 8 is just another sign that our Mighty God controls it all.

Verse 9 – This is the writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick and had recovered from his sickness:

Verse 10 – I said, “In the prime of my life I shall go to the gates of Sheol; I am deprived of the remainder of my years.”

Verse 11 – I said, “I shall not see YAH, the Lord in the land of the living; I shall observe man no more among the inhabitants of the world.

Verse 12 – My life span is gone, taken from me like a shepherd’s tent; I have cut off my life like a weaver. He cuts me off from the loom; from day until night You make an end of me.

Verse 13 – I have considered until morning – like a lion, so He breaks all my bones; from day until night You make an end of me.

Verse 14 – Like a crane or a swallow, so I chattered; I mourned like a dove; my eyes fail from looking upward. O Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me!

Hezekiah was using all kinds of metaphors to describe how fragile his life was while he was sick. He already saw his self dying. But that was not to be.

Verse 15 – “What shall I say? He has both spoken to me, and He Himself has done it. I shall walk carefully all my years in the bitterness of my soul.

Verse 16 – O Lord, by these things men live; and in all things is the life of my spirit; so You will restore me and make me live.

Verse 17 – Indeed it was for my own peace that I had great bitterness; but You have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit of corruption, for You have cast all my sins behind Your back.

Verse 18 – For Sheol cannot thank You, those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your truth.

Hezekiah realized that his prayer brought forgiveness. He also knew that the dead cannot praise God. This shows that Hezekiah knew there was an afterlife of darkness and silence, where he could not be heard. A similar sentiment is expressed by David in Psalm 6:5 – For in death there is no remembrance of You; in the grave who will give You thanks?

Verse 19 – The living, the living man, he shall praise You, as I do this day; the father shall make known Your truth to the children.

The heritage of our faith has come to us because of faithful men and women who have carried God’s message to us across the centuries – from generation to generation.

Verse 20 – “The Lord was ready to save me; therefore we will sing my songs with stringed instruments all the days of our life, in the house of the Lord.”

Verse 21 – Now Isaiah had said, “Let them take a lump of figs, and apply it as a poultice on the boil, and he shall recover.”

Verse 22 – And Hezekiah had said, “What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the Lord?”

Evidently, Hezekiah had an inflaming ulcer. In Arabic, the verb means to be hot, inflamed. This had threatened Hezekiah’s immediate death.

So sad that too many today, except a disease or diagnoses from a doctor, without ever considering to ask God to heal them. I always wonder, why not? When Isaiah told Hezekiah to get his house in order, for he was about to die, he turned to God. Don’t ever think that it’s not God’s will to see us well, because that’s not true. We shouldn’t blame ourselves when we don’t see someone recover either. I used to think, “God, did I not pray right?” God’s Word tells us to believe in the heart when you pray, ask,  and you will have what you ask.

Mark 11: 23, 24 – “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will come to pass, he will have whatever he says.” “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”

God Bless and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Isaiah – Chapter 37

isaiah-chapter-37

God destroys Assyria

Verse 1 – And so it was, when King Hezekiah heard it, that he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord.

After Hezekiah’s officials brought him news of disaster, he put his mourning clothes on and went to God. Why is it people will go everywhere else when disaster strikes for advice, except to the One who should be first?

Verse 2 – Then he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered in sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz.

Verse 3 – And they said to him, “Thus says Hezekiah: ‘This day is a day of trouble and rebuke and blasphemy; for the children have come to birth, but there is no strength to bring them forth.

Verse 4 – ‘It may be that the Lord your God will hear the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king Assyria has sent to reproach the living God, and will reprove the words which the Lord your God has heard. Therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.'”

In Isaiah’s time, people had to go to a priest or prophet whom God had appointed, in order to ask of God and receive an answer. So Hezekiah sent his priests for Isaiah to pray for them. Hezekiah did what Isaiah had been asking the people to do. He turned to God and watched Him come to Judah’s aid. When we turn to God, it means we believe He is able to help deliver us. Isaiah was their intercessor.

Verse 5 – So the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah.

Verse 6 – And Isaiah said to them, “Thus shall you say to your master, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me.

Verse 7 – “Surely I will send a spirit upon him, and he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.”‘”

Verse 8 – So the Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah (a town about 8 miles northeast of Lachish, captured it on their way to Jerusalem.), for he had heard that he had departed from Lachish.

Verse 9 – And the king heard concerning Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, “He has come out to make war with you.” So when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying,

Verse 10 – “Thus you shall speak to Hezekiah King of Judah, saying: ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you, saying, “Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the King of Assyria.”

The rumor of Tirhakah’s advance on his rear flank caused Sennacherib to retreat his advance on Jerusalem, but before he left he sent a message in the form of a letter to warn Hezekiah his departure was only temporary.

Here’s what we should know: When we pray before we even finish, God sets things in motion. That spirit of deception had already done its work on the king of Assyria to cause him to retreat. God hears every prayer and will work all things together for your good, we wait.

Verse 11 – ‘Look! You have heard what the king of Assyria have done to all the lands by utterly destroying them; and will you be delivered?

Verse 12 – ‘Have the gods of the nations delivered those whom my fathers have destroyed, Gozan and Haran and Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar?

Verse 13 – ‘Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah?

Most of the cities mentioned here were in what we call today Turkey (Haran, a city where Abraham and his family stayed a while before going on to the Promised Land) Sennacherib told Hezekiah again that the gods of all these other nations didn’t deliver them so why would they think their God would deliver the Israelites now?

Verse 14 – And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord.

Verse 15 – Then Hezekiah prayed to the Lord, saying:

Verse 16 – “O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim (on the mercy-seat of the ark) You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.

Verse 17 – “Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, who has sent to reproach the living God.

Verse 18 – “Truly, Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations of their lands,

Verse 19 – and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands-wood and stone. Therefore they have destroyed them.

Verse 20 – “Now therefore, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are Lord, You alone.”

If Judah was defeated, then the surrounding nations, would believe that Yahweh was just like the false gods and couldn’t help deliver them.

Verse 21 – Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah saying, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Because you have prayed to Me against Sennacherib King of Assyria,

Verse 22 – ‘This is the word which the Lord has spoken concerning him: “The virgin the daughter of Zion, has despised you, laughed you to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem has shaken her head behind your back!

Our God can answer our prayers through anyone He chooses. Even today, He can send your answer through another; a preacher a friend, or even a total stranger. He speaks through His Word, so if someone ever comes to you and says something that contradicts  God’s Word, don’t you believe it. Because what is said must and always line up with the Word of God!

Verse 23 – “Whom have you reproached and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice, and lifted up your eyes on high? Against the Holy One of Israel.

Verse 24 – By your servants you have reproached the Lord, an said, ‘By the multitude of my chariots I have come up to the height of the mountains, to the limits of Lebanon; I will cut down its tall cedars and its choice cypress trees; I will enter its farthest height, to its fruitful forest.

Verse 25 – I have dug and drunk water, and with the soles of my feet I have dried up all the brooks of defense.’

Verse 26 – “Did you not hear long ago how I made it, from ancient times that I formed it? Now I have brought it to pass, that you should be for crushing fortified cities into heaps of ruins.

Verse 27 – Therefore their inhabitants had little power; they were dismayed and confounded; they were as the grass of the field and as the green herb as the grass on the housetops and as grain blighted before it is grown.

God revealed to Sennacherib the true nature of how he had done nothing without divine design. His victories had come because God had allowed them.

A spirit of pride will come on those who think their success and victories are all because of their own effort. I know in my life that I couldn’t have accomplished one thing except by the grace of God. Give credit where credit is due.

Verse 28 – “But I know your dwelling place , your going out and your coming in, and your rage against Me.

Verse 29 – Because your rage against Me and your tumult have come up to My ears, therefore I will put My hook in your nose and My bridle in your lips, and I will turn back by the way which you come.”‘

It was the practice of the Assyrians to put hooks in their captive’s noses and lips as they carried them off. Now they would have the same humiliation done to them.

Verse 30 – “This shall be a sign to you: You shall eat this year such as grows of itself, and the second year what springs from the same; also in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.

God directed this verse to Hezekiah, king of Judah, to show him it would get better. Because of the siege by Assyria, the Judeans were shut up behind the walls of Jerusalem and had not been able to plant their crops. Thus they would eat what grew on its own. After the Assyrians lifted the siege, they would be able to plant, but not until the third year would agriculture get back to normal.

Verse 31 – And the remnant who have escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.

Verse 32 – For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and those who escape from Mount Zion.

The future will see the remnant become productive again. If you’ve noticed: Every time Israel was attacked by another nation , God would save a remnant to keep His people from completely being wiped out. Why? Because the gospel had to come through the Jew! It is written…

Verse 33 – Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, ‘He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor build a siege mound against it.

Verse 34 – By the way that he came, by the same shall he return; and he shall not come into this city, says the Lord.

Verse 35 – ‘For I will defend this city, to save it for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.”

God would defend Jerusalem for the sake of His honor and for David’s sake in remembrance of his promise to David. The Assyrians had mocked God and insulted him. Now, He would do for Jerusalem what they could not do for themselves.

When we’re in situations that we can’t see a solution, God has already worked it out. However, the biggest thing that can stop your miracle is doubt that He will do what He says. God is willing and able to do what looks impossible to us. He’s a big God that lovers His children!

Verse 36 – Then the angel of the Lord went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses -all dead.

Verse 37 – So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went away, returned home, and remained at Nineveh.

Verse 38 – Now it came to pass, as he was worshiping in the house of Niaroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer, his son’s struck him down with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. Then Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place.

The death of Sennacherib was prophesied by Isaiah in 10:12, 33, 34 and 37:7. His death is also recorded in 2 Kings 19. Moral of that is: God always does what He says He will do -trust Him!