Isaiah 47. Only God is Holy.

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 47.

Here’s a simple reminder that self-centeredness leads to calamity. The warning of this chapter is to the “great” Babylon. God is a holy God. He sits on the throne of Heaven. When we as individuals, or as nations, dethrone Him in exchange for the things we deem for our pleasure, it is not a good thing.

“Our Redeemer—the Lord Almighty is his name— is the Holy One of Israel.” (v4, NIV).

Only God is holy. Only the triune God, only Jesus, only the Holy Spirit sits on Heaven’s throne.

“You have trusted in your wickedness and have said, ‘No one sees me. Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you when you say to yourself, ‘I am, and there is none besides me.’” (v10, NIV). How many people believe they are above the law? How many believe they are more important than God?

We cannot say “I Am.” That is something only God can say. I can say “I am nothing,” because that is true. Without Jesus, without the Holy Spirit, I am nothing. We are nothing. Once again, we are reminded why the Jewish leaders falsely called Jesus a blasphemer for He dared to say “I am.”

And yet, He was the “I Am!” And He is! And He is to come again! Only He is Holy!

And Babylon? It’s been gone for centuries and centuries.  And dare we say the same will happen to us here in America if we continue to choose to put any political agenda above the trust that we proclaimed in God at the outset of this nation’s founding?

My heart grieves for the next generations.  There is a warning for us in the Old Testament, many years before Isaiah. “After a while, the people of Joshua’s generation died, and the next generation did not know the Lord or any of the things he had done for Israel.” (Judges 2:10, CEV). Those immediately following the generation of the great leader, Joshua, completely turned their backs on God! These are the children of the father who boldly proclaimed, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15, NIV). It doesn’t take much. In fact, all it takes is apathy.

And yet, my heart also has hope because of the remnant few who put their trust in Jesus. Keep trusting, keep worshipping. Watch what God can do with a small group who are faithful.

Here is how Paul sees it: “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” (Ephesians 3:20-21, MSG).

Let’s all take Isaiah’s warning to heart. Do not trust in yourself. Do not let your self-centeredness lead to your calamity. Let us all be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit — to the leading of God — today.

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

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Lessons from the Fathers’ Hearts: Joshua

A devotional look at eleven Biblical dads and what we can learn from them.

JOSHUA

He is the great warrior.  A protégé of Moses.  He was one of the 12 spies that Moses sent out to scout out the Promised Land.  He and Caleb were the only two who told the truth about the giants.  Only he and Caleb believed that God was bigger than the giants and would indeed give them the Land.  And so, Joshua and Caleb were the only two, of all the Hebrew people who left Egypt at the Exodus, they were the only two who were permitted to enter the Promised Land.  All the other men and women and children who left Egypt with Moses died in the wilderness.

And Joshua is appointed by Moses to lead the people into the Land for he was a capable military commander. He also became a strong spiritual leader.

Joshua’s story is told throughout the 24 chapters of the Old Testament book that bears his name.  There are numerous stories of his faithful belief in God.

Continue reading Lessons from the Fathers’ Hearts: Joshua