Isaiah 26: Content in God alone.

Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah.  Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.

Isaiah 26. Today’s passages are filled with great promises!

“The Lord gives perfect peace to those whose faith is firm. So always trust the Lord because he is forever our mighty rock.” (v3‭-‬4, CEV).

You see that? “Perfect peace.” Ah… “Mighty Rock!”

Then there’s this encouraging word to persevere:

“People with their minds set on You, You keep completely whole, steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don’t quit. Depend on God and keep at it because in the LORD God you have a sure thing.” (v4-5, MSG).

Two times he says “keep at it.” We must keep our minds set on God and our eyes fixed on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). How many misunderstandings would we avoid if we kept our minds on the things that matter most to God instead of those things that matter most to us?

For those facing trials, there’s this:

“Our LORD, you always do right, and you make the path smooth for those who obey you. You are the one we trust to bring about justice; above all else we want your name to be honored.” (v7‭-‬8, CEV).

Finally, can this be our prayer?

“Who You are and what You’ve done are all we’ll ever want.” (v8, MSG).

Can we be content in God alone? I believe when we seek Him with all our heart, we’ll always find His peace. Even today.

Here’s what Paul says in Philippians about being content with the physical things we own. As you read this, think also about being fulfilled spiritually in God alone.

“I am not complaining about having too little. I have learned to be satisfied with whatever I have. I know what it is to be poor or to have plenty, and I have lived under all kinds of conditions. I know what it means to be full or to be hungry, to have too much or too little.  Christ gives me the strength to face anything.” (Philippians 4:11-13, CEV).

There’s true peace in being content in God alone. “Who You are and what You’ve done are all we’ll ever want.” (v8, MSG).

 

If you’re new to this journey through Isaiah, you can start here.

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Isaiah 25

Celebrate! God keeps His promises!

Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah.  Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.

Isaiah 25

Time to celebrate!

“God, you are my God. I celebrate you. I praise you. You’ve done your share of miracle-wonders, well-thought-out plans, solid and sure.” (v1, MSG).

So. Much. Joy! God keeps His promises. He is a place of safety for the poor and needy. He is our shelter.

And then there’s this:

“Here the Lord will strip away the burial clothes that cover the nations.   The Lord All-Powerful will destroy the power of death and wipe away all tears. No longer will his people be insulted everywhere. The Lord has spoken!” (v7-8, CEV).

John’s Revelation confirms this as well: “He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain. These things of the past are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:4, CEV).

Where does this happen? On Mount Zion! The place where Abraham offered Isaac. The place where David purchased a threshing floor. The place where Solomon’s temple once stood. In Jerusalem!

“At that time, people will say, “The Lord has saved us! Let’s celebrate. We waited and hoped— now our God is here.”” (v9, CEV).

Our God offers us all such great hope! Our God is here! He’s here in the presence of Jesus, His Son. He’s here in the comfort and guidance of the Holy Spirit. He keeps His promises. We can trust Him. We can celebrate His miracles. He promises new wine. He promises a choice feast. (v6). Remember yesterday’s thoughts about wine and the joy it represents?

I’m reminded of a worship song with these lyrics:

“Where there is new wine, there is new power. There is new freedom. The Kingdom is here!” (New Wine, by Hillsong Worship, 2018).

The Kingdom IS here!

Celebrate with me!

If you’re new to this journey through Isaiah, you can start here.

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

 

Isaiah 24

The Temple Rock in Jerusalem is Mt. Zion!

Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah.  Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.

Isaiah 24

The sad prophecy continues:

“Happy times have disappeared from the earth, and people shout in the streets, “We’re out of wine!”” (v11, CEV).

Why does that sound familiar? Jesus’ very first miracle:

“When the wine was all gone, Mary said to Jesus, “They don’t have any more wine.””  (John 2:3, CEV).

When they turned to Jesus — even though He told His mother that His time had not yet come — He turned water into wine! “Fruit of the vine” is a symbol in Jewish tradition of joy overflowing. It is a prayer of thanksgiving every Sabbath: “Praised are you, oh Lord our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth fruit from the vine.” The cry of the people, the cry of the bride and groom in Galilee, the cry of Jesus’ mother was the same: May happy times, joy filled times, return to The Land.

Do you think she knew? Do you wonder if Mary had heard the Isaiah 24:11 prophesy? Did she see the running out of wine at the wedding as a fulfillment of this passage? Did she say “They are out of wine” because she knew who Jesus was? Was she trying to “push along” the rule of the Almighty on Mt. Zion and usher in the revealing of the Glory of God?
Hmmm.

 

Back to the beautiful promise in Isaiah, the prophesy of what will ultimately occur after there is nothing left on earth: His glory will be fully revealed!

“The Lord All-Powerful will rule on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, where he will show its rulers His wonderful glory.” (v23, CEV).  He will show us His wonderful glory. He is showing us His wonderful glory. Every day! He will reign on Mount Zion in Jerusalem once again. He is reigning in the hearts of believers. Every day!

If you’re new to this journey through Isaiah, you can start here.

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Isaiah 23

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances.

Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah.  Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.

Isaiah 23.

More woe. That certainly appears to be a constant theme, right? This time the circle expands to the north of Israel, to what is Lebanon today. Tyre of Ancient Days is near today’s Beirut. It is most associated with precious metals and the source of King Solomon’s wealth. The location of Tarshish has been lost to antiquity. Some suggest Italy or as far away as southern Spain. Or even right near Tyre.

This is again a reminder that man’s wealth is but a mere speck in time. It comes and goes as the waves of the oceans upon which the sailor journeys.

One day, the city of Tyre’s wealth will be restored. But look at this:

“At the end of those seventy years, the Lord will let Tyre get back into business. The city will be like a woman who sells her body to everyone of every nation on earth, but none of what is earned will be kept in the city. That money will belong to the Lord, and it will be used to buy more than enough food and good clothes for those who worship the Lord.” (v17-18, CEV).

This outlines an amazing principle. No matter the source of the wealth, it all belongs to God and God will use it for His purposes. He can use even the evil of the world to bless those who worship Him.

I’m reminded of the story of Joseph in Genesis. His was a life of major trials. His own family sold him into slavery. He was unjustly imprisoned for years. And yet, God used all of that for God’s glory and Joseph’s joy. As the story concludes Joseph is reunited with his brothers and declares that he holds no ill-will towards them:

“Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people.” (Genesis 50:19-20, MSG).

As you trust Him, God will use your trials — even things that might be considered evil directed against you — for His good, for His glory, and your joy. Our call is to be faithful to Him no matter the circumstances or situation.

Paul says it this way: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (I Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV).

 

If you’re new to this journey through Isaiah, you can start here.

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Isaiah 22

Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah.  Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.

Isaiah 22.

Verse 11 brings us wisdom and caution: “You looked and looked and looked, but you never looked to him who gave you this city, never once consulted the One who has long had plans for this city.” (v11, MSG).

I’m reminded of Proverbs 16:9: “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.”

We must always, always consult, pray, ask and seek God’s counsel as we make decisions. And trust Him as He leads. How do we know it’s Him leading versus us following our own ways? That’s a great question! I wrestle with it daily, especially in seasons of uncertainty. His ways will always line up with Scripture. And, we are to seek the counsel of those who know us, who may be able to see another angle, and who might be able to affirm or offer other thoughts — also through the lens of Scripture.

Another favorite Proverb: “With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment. Always let him lead you, and he will clear the road for you to follow.” (Proverbs 3:5-6, CEV).

So, whenever you have a big decision to make, or even daily as you seek to walk where God leads, consult Him. Follow His ways. Discover His best for your life!

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Isaiah 21

Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah.  Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.

Isaiah 21.

Babylon. Edom. Arabia. More woe!

“Look, here comes a man in a chariot with a team of horses. And he gives back the answer: ‘Babylon has fallen, has fallen! All the images of its gods lie shattered on the ground!’” (v9, NIV).

I’m reminded of the very first of the Ten Commandments:

“Do not worship any god except me. Do not make idols that look like anything in the sky or on earth or in the ocean under the earth.” (Exodus 20:3‭-‬4 ,CEV).

Babylon has fallen. Its images of its gods lie shattered on the ground. There is a lesson for us. If we worship other gods — and I believe the definition for both “worship” and “gods” is quite broad — we too will fall. Our joy is that we can worship the One, True, Living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is our only source of life and life to the full. Isaiah will ask the reader later in Chapter 44: 10: “Why make an idol or an image that can’t do a thing?”

Instead, let us fix our eyes  on Jesus (Hebrews 12) and follow hard after God and let His powerful right arm support us (Psalms 63:8).

We make idols all the time, don’t we? They may not look like gods, but they are all around us. These are things that take our attention away from the eternal. When we do fall, when we prioritize idols over God — like a person or a job or a newly acquired thing — I’m thankful for the grace of Jesus. He offers new life time and time again as we recognize our folly.

“…and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:24, NIV).

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Isaiah 20

Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah.  Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.

Isaiah 20.

Well, you just have to read this one yourselves…

I’m reading a number of commentaries to try to understand.

Three years Isaiah walked around town naked. Most of the Puritan era commentators say “well, he wasn’t really naked…” I think he was. It was complete exposure, complete humility. And it was a sign that this is what happens to a people who trust in mere man — as they were doing.

“They will be confused and frustrated, because they depended on Ethiopia and bragged about Egypt.” (v5, MSG). Where is our dependence? On man or on God? Who do we brag about? God or man?

What kind of things are we to wear? Paul spells it out in Colossians 3:

“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.” (Colossians 3:12-14, MSG).

And in Ephesians 4, as a sign of our maturity in Christ, we are to: “put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24, NIV).

Look at the words of Jesus:

“And I, when I am lifted up  from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:32‭, NIV).

Jesus had to die, naked and completely humiliated and thoroughly exposed, so that we might have eternal life through His resurrected body, clothed in the righteousness and the fullness and the beauty of God. Those new clothes are ours, as we humble ourselves and put our trust in God alone.

Only in our humility, will He raise us up as He raised up Jesus.

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.