Isaiah 33. Blessings Follow Obedience.

The Western Wall in Jerusalem.

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 33.

There is doom again in today’s chapter. But this time it is reserved for the Destroyer, likely Sennacherib, the king of Assyria.

Look at those, however, who will speak to God in this humble and honoring way: “You are the foundation on which we stand today. You always save us and give true wisdom and knowledge. Nothing means more to us than obeying you.” (v6, CEV).

You. Always save. True wisdom. Obeying you.

Nothing means more than obeying God. We want to obey, right? May His Holy Spirit lead us and give us the strength to do so. May we hear and obey His still quiet voice and His promptings deep within our souls.

I believe as we obey, we are assured His blessings.

“But there will be rewards for those who live right and tell the truth, for those who refuse to take money by force or accept bribes, for all who hate murder and violent crimes.  They will live in a fortress high on a rocky cliff, where they will have food and plenty of water.” (v15-16, CEV).

Later: “The Lord is our judge and our ruler; the Lord is our king and will keep us safe.  The Lord will forgive your sins, and none of you will say, “I feel sick.”” (v22, 24, CEV).

He will provide! He has forgiven us through the grace of Jesus. Paul says often in the New Testament “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” What does this mean? Our pastor recently said it means something like this: “Everything that God is like be upon you.” God is Love.  So let love be upon you. God is Joy. So let joy be upon you. Peace. Comfort. Care. Protection. Health. Wellness. Everything that is God. Let every amazing and divine thing that is, be upon you. This is the culture of the Kingdom of God.

I love that as we read the Old Testament it points to Jesus! He forgives. He gives grace. We follow. We trust. We obey. We have life! We have His life and every spiritual blessing that goes with it.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3, NIV).

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

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

 

Isaiah 32

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 32.

“When the Spirit is given to us from Heaven, deserts will become orchards thick as fertile forests.” (v15, CEV). Guess what? I believe the Holy Spirit has been given to us! It happened first on the day Jesus rose again. And then again on the day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2.

From John’s Gospel: “Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”” (John 20:22, CEV).

From Luke’s account of Pentecost: “Peter said, “Change your life. Turn to God and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, so your sins are forgiven. Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is targeted to you and your children, but also to all who are far away—whomever, in fact, our Master God invites.”” (Acts 2:38-39, MSG).

Back to the promise from Isaiah 32: “Honesty and justice will prosper there, and justice will produce lasting peace and security.” (v15-16, CEV). He continues: “And where there is right there will be peace… quiet lives and endless trust. My people will live in a peaceful neighborhood in safe houses in quiet gardens.” (v18, MSG).

When does this happen? After the Spirit has been given to His people. Again, this is something that has already happened. He has given us the opportunity to live in peace as we trust in Him.

Deserts will become orchards. Peaceful neighbors. Quiet gardens.

For those with endless trust.

There’s that word again. Can we trust God above all else? We must!

 

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

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Isaiah 31. Our Help Comes From the LORD.

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 31.

Isaiah 31 begins with the admonition to put our trust in God alone. Don’t trust in Egyptians or Americans or your boss or your favorite sports team. They will fail you. They are mere humans.

“You are in for trouble if you go to Egypt for help, or if you depend on an army of chariots or a powerful cavalry. Instead you should depend on and trust the holy Lord God of Israel.” (v1, CEV).

We’ve seen throughout Isaiah the encouragement to trust God! Why? Because as verse 2 reminds us: God does what He says. He keeps His promises.

And then there’s this:

“I, the Lord All-Powerful, will protect Jerusalem like a mother bird circling over her nest.” (v5, CEV). One translation says “like a huge eagle…”

God has a special place in His heart for Jerusalem and its people. He also has great fondness and love for those who believe Jesus is the Messiah. Believers in Yeshua are like those who live in Jerusalem. We are included in that group, thanks to His “grafting us in” via the cross and the empty tomb! So, we can say that God has a special place in His heart for you and me. And like an eagle or a mother bird, He will watch over us and protect us!

I’m reminded of this beautiful Psalm:

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you— the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalms 121:1‭-‬8, NIV).

He is watching over you today! He sees your hopes, dreams, challenges and struggles. He will lead you to straight paths, meadows of rest and streams of living water.

He loves you and is proud of you, dear child of God. You can trust Him.

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

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Isaiah 30. Trust God. Be Blessed.

God blesses everyone who Trusts in Him.

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 30.

More warnings and doom for those who continue to sin and turn their back on the Almighty. These words might be found anywhere in today’s media: “Don’t tell us what God has shown you and don’t preach the truth. Just say what we want to hear, even if it’s false. Stop telling us what God has said! We don’t want to hear any more about the holy God of Israel.” (v10-11, CEV). Sounds like a spoiled child with their hands over their ears, right?

Yet for those who will put their trust in God: “The holy Lord God of Israel had told all of you, “I will keep you safe if you turn back to me and calm down. I will make you strong if you quietly trust me.” (v15, CEV).

Another promise to those who trust Him: “The Lord God is waiting to show how kind he is and to have pity on you. The Lord always does right; he blesses those who trust him.” (v18, CEV).

He blesses us when we trust Him! King Solomon echoes these words: “God blesses everyone who trusts him.” (Proverbs 16:20, CEV).

Can I tell you from firsthand experience: I have trusted God and He has blessed me. Many others can repeat those words, too.

Blessings come through trust.  Blessings come through the truth, if we are open to hear it and receive it. The Lord always does right.

 

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

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Isaiah 29: Holy God. Holy Worship. Holy Lives.

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 29.

Here is a humbling, yet, an encouraging chapter today.

The Master said: “These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their hearts aren’t in it. Because they act like they’re worshiping me but don’t mean it, I’m going to step in and shock them awake, astonish them, stand them on their ears. The wise ones who had it all figured out will be exposed as fools. The smart people who thought they knew everything will turn out to know nothing.” (v13-14, MSG).

How many times have we made a big show out of worship? How may times have I, as a pastor and prior to that an event producer, made a big show out of worship? Once I was responsible for 12,000 people coming together for one church service at a public arena. It was a big deal! Hopefully, those who attended saw past the big stage, the celebrity worship leader, the lights and sound system. With humility, I believe most worship leaders, pastors and producers do their best to make worship about providing a space where a heart to heart connection with God is encouraged and facilitated.

Isaiah’s word for the day is a good reminder to bring our heart-felt worship to the Father, every day, not just on Sundays. And to not act arrogantly. I don’t want to be stood on my ear or called out by God as a fool, do you?

There is great reassurance as this chapter ends with a true promise:

“And finally this, God’s Message for the family of Jacob, the same God who redeemed Abraham: “No longer will Jacob hang his head in shame, no longer grow gaunt and pale with waiting. For he’s going to see his children, my personal gift to him—lots of children. And these children will honor me by living holy lives. In holy worship they’ll honor the Holy One of Jacob and stand in holy awe of the God of Israel.”” (v22-23, MSG).

That’s life change! That’s true heart transformation! We are called to live holy lives and honor God in holy worship. Let’s do that!

We don’t need to hold our head in shame. Can we stand in holy awe of God and worship Him in Spirit and in truth today? Sunday? Every day?

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

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Isaiah 28: A Firm Foundation

A Trusting Life Won’t Topple.

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 28.

“I’m laying a firm foundation for the city of Zion. It’s a valuable cornerstone proven to be trustworthy; no one who trusts it will ever be disappointed.” (v16, CEV).

Look how it is written in another version:

“And this is the meaning of the stone: A TRUSTING LIFE WON’T TOPPLE.” (v16, MSG).

I believe that cornerstone is Jesus. Trust. Trust. Trust. We must trust His love, His grace and His plan for our lives. As we do, our lives won’t fall apart.

Webster’s Dictionary defines trust this way: “a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.”

Only Jesus is reliable. Only Jesus is truth. Only Jesus is strength. We will fail each other. We will disappoint.  Try as hard as we might to be reliable, truthful, able and strong, we will fall short. That’s why I’m thankful for His grace — grace that is extended to us and grace that we can offer to others.

We will never be disappointed in Jesus! He is the cornerstone, the firm foundation upon which we build our lives. It’s only because of Jesus that we can trust each other. And we can trust others who trust Jesus because we know that we’re all trusting Jesus. It’s a wonderful circle, built on a firm foundation. That’s what a beautiful community or family or church body is designed to look like.

In a building, the cornerstone is firm. It is solid. It is an anchor between two key walls. It’s strength allows other stones to be built on top of it. Lots of other stones. Every building has one. What, or who, is the cornerstone of your life? Can I suggest that if your cornerstone is anything but Jesus, you are taking a risk with the stability of your life.

Jesus can be that unshakable, unyielding foundation for our lives. But only if we are willing to fully trust Him.

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

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Isaiah 27

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 27.

God has promised to deliver His people, the children of Israel. And, by way of the work of Jesus on the cross and at the empty tomb, God will deliver you and me as well.

Isaiah opens this chapter with a vivid picture of God defeating a giant on our behalf — a leviathan. Most scholars believe at this telling, the prophet is not talking about an animal of the sea, but rather evil in general. We can be encouraged that ultimately God defeats evil and rescues His people who turn to Him.

“Let them come to me for refuge; let them make peace with me. Yes, let them make peace with me.” (v5, NIV).

Maybe that monster is anything that gets between us and God? He is judge and He is worthy to be worshiped! Israel is challenged to tear down altars of false idol worship. We are too! What are things in our lives that not only get in our way of seeing God, but actually work against us? There’s a pretty stern warning, even a sad declaration, for those who have turned their backs on God.

So, the God who made them, (those who will not tear down the altars of the world) will have nothing to do with them. He who formed them will turn His back on them.” (v 11, MSG).

But there is good news! He has an exciting plan for a rich harvest of His children and for His children:

“At that time God will thresh from the River Euphrates to the Brook of Egypt, And you, people of Israel, will be selected grain by grain. At that same time a great trumpet will be blown, calling home the exiles from Assyria, welcoming home the refugees from Egypt to come and worship God on the holy mountain, Jerusalem.” (v12-13, MSG).

He will choose us. Ephesians says He already has chosen us, to be His people, His children:

“Before the world was created, God had Christ choose us to live with him and to be his holy and innocent and loving people. God was kind and decided that Christ would choose us to be God’s own adopted children.” (Ephesians 1:4-5, CEV).

God is so kind to us. And we can be thankful that He calls us His very own children. We can find true peace in His arms.

 

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

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.