Isaiah 66. Walking With God.

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 66.

The last chapter, the final word from this great prophet, is about worship, how we act and His promises to His children who will worship Him once again in Jerusalem.

“The LORD said, “Heaven is my throne. The earth is my footstool.” (v1, CEV). The image is that of a great and mighty king, right?

The Psalmist says, “The LORD says to my lord: sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”  (Psalm 110:1, NIV).

So, how are we to worship Him? “The people I treasure most are the humble— they depend only on me and tremble when I speak.” (v2, CEV). The Message says “a person simple and plain, reverently responsive to what I say.” We worship God not with brash arrogance nor pride that we are called His children. But rather, with our hands and heart open to receive and a posture turned toward honoring our great King.

Listen to the similar words of another prophet: “The LORD has told us what is right and what He demands: see that justice is done, let mercy be your first concern and humbly obey God.” (Micah 6:8, CEV). The NIV says we “are to walk humbly with your God.” I like the picture of walking with God, don’t you?

God promises that the people of Israel will always have a special place in His heart. “As surely as my new heavens and earth will remain, so will you always be my people, with a name that will never disappear,” says the LORD. (v 22, NLT). What great comfort for the Jewish people, and all of us who have been grafted into this wonderful community because of the resurrection of Yeshua Ha’Mashiach, Jesus, the Messiah!

What is the prophet’s final words, the last verse? “My people will go out and look at the dead bodies of those who turned against me. The worms there never die, the fire never stops burning, and the sight of those bodies will be disgusting to everyone.” (v24, CEV).

This is an image of hell, the true image of not walking with God.

But, as for me and my house, I will choose verse 2 over verse 24. Like Joshua rallied the people of God, I, too, will choose the LORD. How about you?

 

Thanks for reading Isaiah with me these past 66 days! I have loved this journey. I trust along the way you have learned a thing or two about God, and His special love for the people of Israel.  I have.

 

If you’re new to this journey through Isaiah, you can start here.
(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Isaiah 58. A Light Shining Like the Dawn of a New Day.

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 58.

Another wow and convicting chapter. Let me encourage you to read it directly for yourself today. It’s just 14 verses.

God, through the prophet, is asking us to examine ourselves, to look at the motivations of our own heart. How often do we do spiritual things for the show of it and then complain, wonder and ask why He hasn’t answered our prayers? When talking about the spiritual discipline of fasting, for example,

“Do you think this is the kind of fast day I’m after? A day to show off humility?” (v5, MSG).

I’m reminded of a time when I was once asked, “What is the one thing you want to be remembered for long after you are gone?” With my tongue firmly planted in my cheek, I replied, “My humility.”

Have you ever engaged in the spiritual discipline of fasting? There have been times when I have refrained from food for my situation, for my breakthrough. Here the prophet says, no, the goal of fasting is not for our benefit: “I’ll tell you what it really means to worship the LORD. Remove the chains of prisoners who are bound unjustly, free those who are abused.” (v6, CEV).

Then… then when your heart is in the right place, when we are focused not on ourselves but on what God wants, then… “Then your light will shine like the dawning sun, and you will quickly be healed. Your honesty will protect you as you advance, and the glory of the LORD will defend you from behind.” (v8, CEV).

God reminds us of His faithfulness, how He will provide life-giving water in the dry lands. This occurs when we give of ourselves first and put His ways above our ways; when we give food to the hungry and care for the homeless, for example. When we pray for others, even our enemies, before we pray for ourselves.

One of the other ways we honor Him is via worship:

“But first, you must start respecting the Sabbath as a joyful day of worship. You must stop doing and saying whatever you please on this special day. Then you will truly enjoy knowing the Lord. He will let you rule from the highest mountains and bless you with the land of your ancestor Jacob. The Lord has spoken!” (v13‭-‬14, CEV).

Indeed. The Lord has spoken. A good word from Isaiah 58 today!

 

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