Sat, May 30th - 7:01AM
Book of Isaiah Study
BOOK OF ISAIAH STUDY
He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.
Has He struck him, as he struck those that struck him? or is he slain according to the slaughter of them that are slain by him? (27:6-7)
That the church of God in the world shall be a growing body, and come at length to be a great body (v. 6): In times to come (so some read it), in after-times, when these calamities are gone, or in the days of the gospel, the latter days, He shall cause Jacob to take root, deeper root than ever yet; for the gospel church shall be more firmly fixed than ever the Jewish church was, and shall spread further. Or, He shall cause those of Jacob that come back out of their captivity, or (as we read it) those that come of Jacob, to take root downward, and bear fruit upward, Isaiah 37:31. They shall be established in a prosperous state, and then they shall blossom and bud, and give hopeful prospects of a great increase; and so it shall prove, for they shall fill the face of the world with fruit. Many shall be brought into the church, proselytes shall be numerous, some out of all the nations about that shall be to the God of Israel for a name and a praise; and the converts shall be fruitful in the fruits of righteousness. The preaching of the gospel brought forth fruit in the entire world (Colossians 1:6), fruit that remains, (John) 15:16.
As is plainly seen, verse 7 poses a question. It is a question that has been partially answered already in this book of Isaiah: Why does God judge Israel more than other nations? Light creates responsibility. In view of the fact that Israel had been given more light, her sin was then darker and her punishment was greater. She received more punishment than those nations who struck at her. In Amos 3:2 we can read, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” Israel’s punishment was severe, but God did not destroy Israel as He did some other nations. Psalm 118:18 tells us, “The Lord has chastened me sore: but he has not given me over unto death.” God will not allow Israel to be destroyed, nor will He allow His saints in Christ to be destroyed.
In measure, when it shoots forth, you will debate with it: He stays His rough wind in the day of the east wind.
By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he makes all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up (27:8-9).
Judgment shall begin at the house of God, and those whom God has known of all the families of the earth he will punish in the first place.
This is true of both nation Israel and the church of Christ Jesus. We, as born-again believers, have been given much “light” and we shall be judged as to how we handled that “light.” Did we share it with others? Did we study it in depth to understand it better? Or did we hide it under our beds, ashamed of what we had been given?
It was not the suffering for sin that atoned for Israel’s sin. The sin of Jacob was purged by blood offerings continually given. The sin of the nation will be forgiven/paid by the blood of Christ. Just as we are saved as sinners, which is the way it will take place “in that day.” God will deal with Israel at the very end of this age of ours; He will deal with them exactly the way He has dealt with the Gentiles for two thousand years: Will you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?
Let’s stop there. I know that some people do not believe that God will do anything else with Israel, that He is finished doing anything with them. But there are scriptures that plainly point out that God will be dealing with that nation once again in the end times. Over one hundred thousand witnesses of God are to stand up from within that nation during the latter stages of the Great Tribulation and spread the Word of God. From Jerusalem Christ Himself will physically rule the earth for one thousand years. Christ will not be seated upon His throne in Washington D.C., or Paris, or London, or Moscow. It is to be in Jerusalem. Next time, God willing, we shall see how much of the nation’s physical possessions shall withstand the test of time. Until then may Christ richly bless you in all things, beloved.
Wed, May 27th - 9:03PM
Book of Isaiah Study
BOOK OF ISAIAH STUDY
Getting back into studying Isaiah, we move on to verse two of chapter 27: “In that day you sing to her, A vineyard of red wine.” Dr. Vernon McGee felt that this chapter properly began with this verse rather than the first one. He felt that verse one finished up the prior chapter’s thought. It is purely a technical point, something that does not affect spiritual doctrines, or teachings. But with this verse there is a change of subject. The second half of the verse speaks of abundance, fruitfulness, bounty, and joy that comes with all of them. This contrasts with chapter 5 where the vineyard was sung of but it was more of a dirge. That vineyard was Israel, and God was going to bring judgment because Israel hadn’t brought forth good fruit. Here in verse two we are seemingly looking into the millennium, and there is abundance. The question is why?
I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day (27:3).
God is the husbandman here, He is the one personally taking care of His children, and never again will He ever lease the “vineyard” out to others. He keeps an eye continually upon it. Night and day He watches over it so that no enemy may enter. God waters his vineyard by the ministry of the word by His servants the prophets, whose doctrine shall drop as the dew. Paul plants, and Apollos waters, but God gives the increase; for without Him the watchman wakes and the husbandman waters in vain.This speaks of all of those Israelites that shall become believers in Christ. God is not through dealing with Israel, despite what some scholars may say.
Fury is not in Me: who would set the briers and thorns against Me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together.
Or let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me (27:4-5).
Fury is not in Him towards His vineyard; though He meets with many things in it that are offensive to Him, yet He does not seek advantages against it, nor is extreme to mark what is amiss in it. It is true if He find in it briers and thorns instead of vines, and they be set in battle against Him (as indeed that in the vineyard which is not for Him is against Him), He will tread them down and burn them; but otherwise, "If I am angry with My people, they know what course to take; let them humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and so take hold of My strength with a sincere desire to make their peace with Me, and I will soon be reconciled to them, and all shall be well.’’ God sees the sins of His people and is displeased with them; but, upon their repentance, He turns away His wrath. This may very well be construed as a summary of the doctrine of the gospel, with which the church is to be watered every moment. "Let him that is desirous to be at peace with God take hold of His strength, of His strong arm, which is lifted up against the sinner to strike him dead; and let him by supplication keep back the stroke. Let him wrestle with Me, as Jacob did, resolving not to let Me go without a blessing; and he shall be Israel—a prince with God.’’ Pardoning mercy is called the power of our Lord; let him take hold of that. Christ is the arm of the Lord, ch. 53:1. Christ crucified is the power of God (1 Co. 1:24); let him by a lively faith take hold of Him, as a man that is sinking catches hold of a branch, or cord, or plank, that is within his reach, or as the sinner took hold of the horns of the altar, believing that there is no other name by which he can be saved, by which he can be reconciled.
Have I given enough space to this thought? If we truly wish to be at peace with God we must take hold of Christ who is His power and strength. Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” When a person is ready to agree with God and trust Him for what He has already done through Christ on the cross, then you will have peace. A person can’t have peace until then. Consider this point carefully. We must aggressively do this, it cannot be some wimpy attempt devoid of any energy from us. Are we willing in this day and age, to “wrestle” with God and obtain His blessing? Are we willing to engage intimately with Christ, and in the engaging obtain a deeper, truer faith?
That is all for today, my friends. Next time we are going to see that God judges Israel just as He judges other nations. God may deal very harshly with Israel over time, but He does not intend to utterly destroy the nation. May Christ richly bless you.
Mon, May 25th - 8:09AM
Denial of Essential Truth
DENIAL OF ESSENTIAL TRUTH
I have struggled over the past few days over how to bring this topic into a post on this site. I have even wondered if I should even bother. But I finally reached the point where I knew in my gut that someone was wanting me to give in and not post this.
In wartime soldiers are both brave, courageous, and loyal. But there are also many of them who are in denial that they are in a do or die situation. They become overwhelmed, and they refuse to admit to themselves that they really are in the midst of a war zone. This is also very true of the Western church when it comes to spiritual warfare. People laugh at “The Omen” and “The Exorcist.” What foolishness they say! Their belief is tragic.
A pastor asked a question at a staff meeting, “Perhaps some of the difficulties that we have been experiencing are the work of Satan, what do you think?” Another pastor replied, “Well, I guess that sort of thing could happen, in the Third World perhaps, or to stop a major crusade. You know what I mean, places where there is cutting-edge ministry going on.”
What a tragedy! What a denial of truth! “Nothing important going on here” ought to be hung up outside of that church building. How many more are there like that? The above individuals had already been effectively removed from the war by their Enemy. They pretty much believed Satan’s opening line of attack with us, “I am not real, I am not here. This is all your fault.”
Do we want to be dangerous to our Enemy? Then we must go to I Peter 5:8-9: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”What is the Holy Spirit , through Peter, assuming about your life? That you are under spiritual attack. Peter is speaking to “believers” not to those who do not believe in Christ. Peter is assuming that you and I are under some sort of unseen attack from Satan. His sound advice? Resist the devil, fight back the correct way!
Successful ministries often find themselves in trouble after several years of unparalleled achievement. Why is that? Just pure luck? Satan does not desire anyone to be achieving great things in Christ’s name and when people strike out in faith to accomplish God’s will he attacks them.
Before a successful military strike can be launched, you must take out the lines of communication. Satan does this all of the time; in ministries, in marriages, in churches. Marriage is a stunning picture of what God offers His people. The Bible tells us that it is a living metaphor, a walking parable. Satan knows this, and he hates it with every ounce of his being. Satan has no intention of allowing this beautiful picture to be lived out in view of the world. Satan whispers those little phrases to us about how “You are really blowing it.” And that little voice throws up a roadblock to speaking to your spouse who is more than likely getting hit the exact same way. Both spouses feeling that the other just has to be disappointed in them, and yet neither one has said anything like that to their spouse. Who is the originator of such ideas? Satan.
Commit yourself to prayer for two weeks and see what happens. Witness the things that just seem to pop up and scream for your attention at those times of prayer. It is not accidental, it is very purposeful on the part of our mutual Enemy.
Satan also hits us with propaganda. He tries to demoralize us, get us to become motionless spiritually. When Christ is assaulted by Satan out in the wilderness, the attack is really all about His identity (Luke 4:1-13). “If you are the Son of God,” sneered Satan, “then prove it!” Now follow this point: as long you and I are no threat to Satan, his line is, “You’re fine.” But as soon as we decide to fight on Christ’s side it becomes “You’re a loser, your heart is bad, and you know it.”
Finally, Satan will probe your perimeter defenses looking for any weakness. Perhaps he will throw a thought, or a temptation, across your path just to see if you will take the bait. He knows your history, knows what your weaknesses are, and he will bait and trap you. Peter warns us to be alert, be sober, and know that we are not alone in this war. Brethren all around the world are experiencing the exact same afflictions as we are today.
The trick is to not doubt our heart. If we begin thinking that our heart is capable of all of these dark thoughts, then we are lost. We need to know beyond any doubt that our hearts are good once we have accepted Christ into our lives. If you see a breathtakingly beautiful woman passing by and you hear that little voice inside saying, “You want her” that is Satan appealing to that traitor within you, your flesh. If the traitor within is allowed free reign and replies, “Yes, I do!” then lust will blossom and the pressure will be ratcheted up. This goes on long enough and a good man will cave in to the pressure and will physically indulge the lust. Once he does do this he will then feel self disgust and remorse. He will begin to believe that he is a lustful man even though it is an attack from outside of himself.
I am not claiming that we can blame everything on Satan. We all have issues, we all have problems. It is just that they are a like a fire that Satan can pour gasoline on and watch everything explode. We become so overwhelmed with our feelings that we cannot think clearly as to what is actually causing this to begin with. How could we get into such an all out battle with our spouse over such a tiny issue? Satan. He knows how to push our buttons.
We simply must understand that we are in constant conflict with the ruler of this world, Satan. It is hand to hand battles each and every day. In these skirmishes there is constant back-and-forth blows, dodges, feints, blocks, counterpunches, etc.. It begins in our thoughts. At that time we must hang onto the truth at all costs. Dodge the blow, duck the punch, block the thought with the truth. Christ our Lord did not physically fight back out in the wilderness, did He? No, He used the truth. He spoke scripture to refute Satan’s barbs. Will it be easy? No, since Satan throws feelings at you along with the thought/s.
But here is where real spiritual growth can take place. By exercising your faith in Christ. Stand on the truth and nothing but the truth. Defend your castle, do not allow the traitor within you to decide to lower the drawbridge and allow Satan in. Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard our hearts, not to lock them up because they are wicked and evil to the core. It is always easier to defend against an enemy if they are not allowed to enter into your home. We must stand alert at the doorways to our hearts, keep them pure and strong.
What is so important about recognizing the existence of Satan? James 4:7 says to resist the devil and that he will flee from you. Satan knows he must be cunning, deceitful, and be a liar. Our job is to see him coming, see his traps and snares set out all around us and not step into them. Satan wishes to hit us first, bloody our nose so well that we will turn tail and run away from fighting him at all, to deny his very existence. What do we have to combat his attacks on us?
In Joshua we can find this: “Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shall you divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
Only be you strong and very courageous, that you might observe to do according to all the law, which Moses My servant commanded you: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper whithersoever you go.
Have not I commanded you? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be you dismayed: for the LORD your God is with you whithersoever you go (1:6-7, 9),” which informs us that we are not to fear for Christ is with us always. And He is not just with us, He will fight our battles for us if we will ask Him to and not try and fight them ourselves.
God is a warrior. Exodus 15:3 gives us that fact. Jeremiah 20:11 shows that that prophet also understood what it meant to have God “with him.” Acts 10:37-38 records that Christ also knew this fact for God was with Him. This is the promise that Christ gives us in Matthew 28:20, and repeated for us in Hebrews 13:5. The most dangerous man/woman on the face of this earth is the one who has come to terms with his/her death. The Holy Spirit beckons to us to “Come, and die a deeper death. Lose your life and gain your life.” It becomes a question of do I live my life trying not to screw up, or do I go down swinging at my Enemy as hard as I can? Do I give this my best shot, or do I retreat to the safety of my job, my home, my family, my children? Satan wants me to retreat back to safety. Christ is begging me to allow Him to fight Satan for me which requires me to step out in faith. Faith is in things hoped for but not realized yet. Things unseen, but desired. I have not yet seen heaven, but I have faith in it being real.
I have been long winded in this post. My sincere apologies. But, my friends, this is a truth that is a cornerstone to strengthening your faith in Christ. You have an enemy, and it is not myself. It is also not your wife/husband, nor is it your neighbors or your boss. It is Satan who continually attempts to appeal to your sinful flesh and cast doubts into your heart and mind. Resist him with the truth of the Gospel. He will flee from you. I hope this can be of some little help to you on this weekend for memorial of lost loved ones, soldiers killed in battle, and those who have defended freedom. May Christ richly bless you this holiday weekend.
Fri, May 22nd - 1:26PM
If these things be in you
"For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (II Peter 1:8)
Here in the first chapter of this last letter of Peter's to the churches, the apostle refers to "these things" no less than 6 times. Are they important? They are extremely important things from what is stated in our text. If these things are lacking, one is spiritually blind and has forgotten what Christ did for him/her in salvation (verse 9). However, if he/she does "these things" he/she will never fall, or fail.
So what then are the things which Peter stresses so urgently to us? Verse 8 makes it obvious that they compose simply the hierarchical catalog of Christian characteristics listed in verses 6 and 7---that is, faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance(self-control), patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity(unselfish love).
The exact same word is used in verse 4, where it explains how we are enabled to obtain these traits of Christian character. "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature."
When these things characterize our lives, we become nothing less than Christlike. He, in His humanity, was all of these things as He shared our nature, and we have become partakers of His divine nature when we manifest them.
The absolutely wonderful thing about this is that they are all mediated to us through the gracious promises of the Word of God. The promises are contained right in the Bible! God promises, we believe, and then we receive! Peter had already said by way of introduction, "His divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory and virtue" (II Peter 1:3). We have access to all things concerning life and godliness! It is in the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit brings the truth about these thing to us as well. Don't believe in the Holy Spirit, then you are shutting yourself off to half of the means to discovering truth. Christ has called us to glory and virtue. Virtue is strength of character. It means you have ethics, integrity, morals, a hunger to do what is good and right. Are today's American politicians virtuous? I do not think so, from the President right down through the leaders of both parties in Congress, to the local governments. Virtue is considered to be an old fashioned concept, better left in the dust bunnies of our past. How about all of the people who post comments to articles online? Are they all virtuous? Most of them sadly, are not virtuous either. All that is needed is to read their comments and it becomes painfully obvious how prejudiced and bigoted most people are. "I am a tolerant person, but they should not be allowed to speak in public anymore! They had their chance and they blew it! Go home, and shut up!" Does this sound tolerant? Or how about, "Church and state must be kept separate! Get prayer out of our classrooms! Witches, Islam, Hinduism, and those sorts of things are okay." Is it simply church, or is it Christ who must be kept out of our affairs? Prejudice. Our President has stated that it is time to put science back into its rightful place. Sounds to me like a belief system has just been instituted as the law of the land, and it will be sponsored by our government. Either we all believe it, support it, and worship it, or we will be in serious trouble with our government. This sort of thing is what our Revolution was all about, government telling the people what they were to believe was true, supporting the organization/s that perpetuate that system of belief, and not listening to anything that dissenters had to say about it. Oh, and taxing the daylights out of the people. We can not spend our ways out of this financial mess with money that we do not have, not without figuring out a way of paying it back with interest. I already know that my wife and I are going to be paying for this bailout signed off on by Congress and our fabulous President. What troubles me more than that, is the fact that my son and his wife will be paying for this the rest of their lives as well. Perhaps it will extend into a substantial portion of my grandsons' and granddaughters' lives as well. That is not due to a virtuous decison made by our lawmakers in America. The Democratic Party has a history of throwing money at problems in order to try and make them go away. They have thought for decades that enough money will create the solution to every problem. It does not. It merely wastes what God gives to us. We fritter it away on these grand schemes to solve social ills. There will be no "Great Society" until the day that Christ Jesus returns to this earth to initiate the Millennium. All else is a distraction to that truth. Government is meant to help us, not get in the way, not create more problems, not waste our money. Currently, our government only helps the politicians, the lobbyists, the political action committees, and lawyers. Enough said on that for this day!
Beloved, strive to implement "these things" into your life. Work at finding truth within God's Word. Reach for glory and virtue.
Wed, May 20th - 10:02PM
Book of Isaiah Study
In that day the Lord with His sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and He shall slay the dragon that is in the sea (27:1)
Wow! What in the world is Isaiah writing here for us to know? We have a “leviathan” being called “the piercing serpent,” and the “crooked serpent,” and “the dragon.” Whatever, or whomever, this leviathan is, God plans on punishing them “In that day.” Once again, we see this cryptic phrase showing up. On a specific day God intends to judge this leviathan. As we have seen previously this day in question is the final day of judgment that shall fall upon all of the earth and its inhabitants, including Satan. In that day, at the beginning of the kingdom, Christ Jesus shall bring judgment upon the serpent, leviathan, who is Satan. “And Jehovah God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:14-15). This is the classic reference to what Satan did in the Garden of Eden. In Revelation 20:1-3; “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.” We are told here that Satan will be shut up in the bottomless pit for a thousand years. This is a literal period of time that has not begun yet. In Revelation 12:9 we can read; “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Then in Job 41:15; “His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal.” And again in 41:34; “He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride.” Here we piece together the truth. The leviathan spoken of extensively in Job 41is the same one spoken of in Revelation. This is the same as the serpent of Genesis 3. Of course, their sizes are not the same, but Satan is the one being described and spoken of in these passages. We are being informed of the fact that this spiritual being exists, and that he does not care about us at all. In fact, he dislikes all people and hates those of us who choose to follow Christ. Get that. Satan hates Christians. As can be seen from the above passages, Satan is self deluded into believing that he is invincible behind his scales. He thinks that he cannot be touched. This is the result of his pride. He has forgotten, obviously, that his pride got him thrown out of heaven and exiled to earth. He has forgotten that he failed to deter Christ from finishing Jehovah’s will on earth. From what can determined from scriptures, Satan does not think that he can be judged, even by God. He is deceived into thinking that he is beyond judgment.
How many people today believe that there is absolutely no kind of judgment coming? How many laugh and scoff at the very idea? That is Satan’s kind of thinking, beloved. Who do they listen to? Satan.
It has been suggested that “the piercing serpent,” represents Assyria along the Tigris River; “the crooked serpent,” represents Babylon along the Euphrates River; and “the dragon that is in the sea,” represents Egypt. All three nations in ancient times were deeply steeped in the idolatry of Satan and thus this interpretation would only enforce this line of thought. One could also argue that the dragon is Satan and that he is most definitely in the sea of humanity, wreaking havoc as he will. At that day Christ will slay Satan and chain him up.
That is all for today, my friends. That is one truth that should be chewed upon and digested carefully: Satan is a real, living, being who is out to ruin our lives. He rebelled against God after being one of the angels to stand alongside God’s throne in heaven. He is strong, mighty, subtle, cunning, knowledgeable, and deceptive of appearance. We must learn to properly identify who we fight against each and every day. It is he, not our spouses, nor our bosses, nor our government. We are the frontline troops stationed in occupied territory that must hold our positions until the beachhead arrives. We are literally living out “The Longest Day.” Satan snipes at us all day, every day. He shoots his “fiery darts” at us like screen shots in a hockey game. We think that we know from who they came, but we fail to stop and consider who/what may be behind the obvious things that we see. We never “see” the actual shooter until the damage has already been accomplished: marital fights and eventual breakups, failed ministries, backslidden teachers, and suicidal teenagers. And so I make this clarion call to all who read this post: We do not struggle against flesh and blood beings but against spiritual beings in high places. We struggle against the plans of Satan, we strive to extricate ourselves from his snares and traps. He knows what buttons to push inside of each of us to get us angered, to get us to give into temptation. It is up to each of us to recognize what is actually happening and to call Satan on it. We should be telling him, “Get thee behind me, Satan!”
Next time, God willing, we shall work our way deeper into chapter 27 and perhaps find a change in theme. May Christ richly bless each and every one of you.
Sun, May 17th - 1:21PM
Book of Isaiah Study
Lord, in trouble have they visited You, they poured out a prayer when Your chastening was upon them (26:16).
Some people believe that this verse speaks about the Remnant of believers. I am not convinced that that group is being pointed out here. We have covered several verses leading up to this point in scripture which force us to consider that the nation Israel is being spoken of here. They had been favored with increases in population and territory by God. Now we see that the times when the Israelites turned to God were not during the prosperous times but rather during times of trouble, difficulty, and impending doom. Are we not the same way today, by and large? When we are experiencing good times we forget about thanking God. When the bad times come upon us then even those who hate God fall upon their knees and wring their hands, asking God to help them. My children have implored me that they would be good from now on, as long as I stopped the discipline that had been imposed upon them due to their direct disobedience to house rules. Interestingly, that is how adults still react when circumstances go tragically wrong.
Like as a woman with child, that draws near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and cries out in her pangs; so have we been in Your sight, O Lord (26:17).
Here is a picture of how we appear in Christ’s sight. Our lives are not pleasure filled ones, no matter how hard we may try to achieve that on our own. Our lives are full of recurring pain, whether it be physical or emotional pain. We must suffer through separation from loved ones, loss of loved ones, loss of youth, loss of physical prowess. It seems sometimes to be neverending.
We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen (26:18).
The prophet continues relaying this vision to us. He speaks as a representative of nation Israel, and as a representative of the nation of believers. All of our efforts to leave a physical legacy create no sort of deliverance from judgment. Our enemies have not fallen either despite our hopes. Of course, this has not changed the majority of the wicked into believing in Christ and repenting of their sinful ways. The wicked continue to blaspheme the God of heaven and earth.
Today the suffering that comes to us, like the pangs of birth, will either create something worthwhile, or it can just be useless. Too many of us have suffered for absolutely nothing, simply because we do not see that all things work together for the glory of God. All that we experience now is to benefit us when we enter into the kingdom during the Millennium.
Your dead shall live; my dead bodies shall arise. Awake and sing, you that dwell in the dust; for your dew is [as] the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast forth the dead.
Come, my people, enter into your chambers, and shut your doors about you: hide yourself for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
For, behold, Jehovah comes forth out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain (26:19-21).
Here is a picture of what shall happen upon the sound of the final trumpet, when believers’ souls will become reunited with their glorified bodies and be with Christ Jesus in the air. After this point in history there will be no time to bury the dead, there will be no more graveyards on earth.
Some use verse 19 as a proof that our souls are our bodies. My reply to this claim is simply that this verse cannot contradict other verses within the Bible. Since other passages distinctly showcase the separation of body and soul upon death it becomes extremely difficult to support this position. Upon the cross Christ said that His spirit was commended to Jehovah, before His body ever went into the grave. Christ was no longer in the fleshly body that still hung upon that cross, just as the thief that asked Him to take him to heaven was no longer in his dead physical body still hanging upon the cross beside Him.
Verse 21 reinforces the belief that God shall come out of heaven and come to judge the entire earth.
That is all for now, beloved. Next we shall, God willing, explore chapter 27 which continues this very same theme. Until then, may Christ richly bless you, and your family.
Fri, May 15th - 7:27PM
Book of Isaiah Study
LORD, when Your hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yes, the fire of Your enemies shall devor them.
LORD, You will ordain peace for us: for You also have wrought all our works in us (26:11-12).
God lifts up His hand to give us warning, that we may, by repentance and prayer, make our peace with Him; but we take no notice of it, are not aware that God is angry with us, or coming forth against us: They will not see, and none so blind as those who will not see, who shut their eyes against the clearest conviction of guilt and wrath, who ascribe that to chance, or common fate, which is manifestly a divine rebuke, who regard not the threatening symptoms of their own ruin, but cry “Peace” to themselves, when the righteous God is waging war with them. This aptly describes all of us at one time or another. All of us have variously refused to repent and pray for forgiveness from God. We refuse to make peace with our Creator whom we have mocked, jeered, rejected, and attempted to lessen, and in many cases outright denied the existence of. Those of us who steadfastly refuse to remove the blinders affixed to our minds and our eyes still deny that God exists. No explanation of man, as to how everything came into being, remotely approaches telling the truth in a coherent manner. Only the Word of God gives us a coherent explanation of how we have gotten to where we are today. People may not like the taste of that truth, they may ridicule it, reject it, and mock those who bring the message to them, but it is still the truth.
“They will not see, but they shall see“, shall be made to see, whether they like it or not, that God is angry with them. Atheists, scorners, and the secure, will shortly feel what up to now they will not believe, that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. They will not see the evil of sin, and particularly the sin of hating and persecuting the people of God; but they shall see, by the tokens of God’s displeasure against them for it and the deliverances in which God will plead His people’s cause, that what is done against them He takes as done against Himself and will reckon for it accordingly. They shall see that they have done God’s people a great deal of wrong, and therefore shall be ashamed of their enmity and envy towards them.
O LORD our God, other lords beside You have had dominion over us: but by You only will we make mention of Your name.
They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore have You visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish (26:13-14).
No matter how many “lords” we may experience governing us, God has all authority over this world. Through Him alone do all governments receive their authority. His hand allows or disallows governments to exist. And so we need to recognize this relationship. We live under the rule of men but we give our worship and love to God Almighty. We may give to the government what it is due, but we always give to God what is due Him. Verse fourteen states starkly the truth: remain afar from God and He shall destroy you and cause all memory of you to perish in time.
You have increased the nation, O LORD, You have increased the nation: You are glorified: You had removed it far unto all the ends of the earth (26:15).
Note, God’s nation is a growing nation, and it is the glory of God that it is so. The increase of the church, that holy nation, is therefore to be rejoiced in because it is the increase of those that make it their business to glorify God in this world.Before believers make this conscious step out into faith we suffer from the effects of the previous two verses. Through our sinful choices we become “sold” into servitude to sin, Satan, and those groups of lost people who take pride in their sins. Once we throw off the shackles of lust’s slavery we can become members of God’s family through accepting Christ Jesus and thus the nation is increased. We can also see the direct application in Isaiah’s time for the Israelites increased their numbers during their Egyptian slavery, and also during their occupation of Canaan where they succumbed to the idolatry of the local peoples.
That is all for today, my friends. God willing, tomorrow I shall continue our study and we shall see one of the times in our lives when we automatically turn to God for help. Until then, may Christ richly bless you.
Tue, May 12th - 9:48PM
Book of Isaiah Study
With my soul have I desired You in the night; yes, with my spirit within me will I seek You early: for when Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness (26:9).
Do we truly recognize our great need for communion with Christ? Do we understand our poverty of spirit, our lack of love and compassion? In the Song of Solomon, the bride said, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth…”(Song 1:2). That was a kiss of pardon and of peace and of passion. Isaiah expresses the same thought here. Friends, do you and I have that kind of passion for Christ? Does my soul yearn to seek God out at night and at first light? The “L” word gets thrown around an awful lot these days. The spiritualists are always speaking of “love.” God is love and will not allow the lost to experience everlasting torment, that is inhumane. People pretend to be pious and quote platitudes. “Oh, I love the Lord, and I want to serve Him.” Friends, when you and l lie on our beds at night, do we have a desire for God? Do we really want Him? Is there a real passion for Christ? Are we able to say, “Draw us, and we will run after You, Lord.”
Salvation ought to bring us to the point of desiring, wanting ,and having a passion for Christ. We ought to yearn to learn all that we can about Him, all that we can about how He desires us to live, all that we can about what He wants us to do. Anything less means that we are missing out on something important in this entire process.
I must confess that too many times I find myself either running from Him, or running ahead of Him, out of His will, and then the tension comes, the frustration comes. I begin to stress out. Years ago I failed to realize that it was I who left God, not that God had left me. Now, I understand that it is I who breaks fellowship with Christ, that it is I who runs on ahead of God’s perfect timing and consequently screws things up. As I look around I do not see enough people crying out for God today. I don’t see enough of it today, but when it is detected it is a blessing to my soul.
It is God's gracious design, in sending abroad His judgments, thereby to bring men to seek Him and serve Him: When thy judgments are upon the earth, laying all waste, then we have reason to expect that not only God's professing people, but even the inhabitants of the world, will learn righteousness, will have their mistakes rectified and their lives reformed, will be brought to acknowledge God's righteousness in punishing them, will repent of their own unrighteousness in offending God, and so be brought to walk in right paths. They will do this; that is, God’s judgments are designed to bring them to this, they have a natural tendency to produce this effect, and, though many continue obstinate, yet some even of the inhabitants of the world will profit by this discipline, and will learn righteousness; surely they will; they are strangely stupid if they do not. The intention of afflictions is to teach us righteousness; and blessed is the man whom God chastens, and thus teaches, Psalm 94:12. How sinners walk contrary to God, and refuse to comply with the means used for their reformation. How sinners obstinately refuse to see the truth before their eyes, blinded by their sin. They receive many mercies from God; He causes His sun to shine and His rain to fall upon them, no, He prospers them, and into their hands He brings plentifully; they escape many of the strokes of God's judgments, which others less wicked than they have been destroyed by; in some particular instances they seem to be remarkably favored above their neighbors, and the design of all this is that they may be won to love and serve that God who so favors them; and yet it is all in vain: They will not learn righteousness, will not be led to repentance by the goodness of God, and therefore it is requisite that God should send His judgments into the earth, to reckon with men for abused mercies.
Let favor be shown to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD (26:10).
Beloved, know that all of God’s judgments are meant to save some through chastening, causing them to lose their blinders and see Christ. Some must lose all that they are in order to find themselves in Christ. For some that means losing all of their possessions, becoming homeless. For others it means having to experience near-death conditions. Yet for others it means losing all of those closest to you in one, heart-wrenching accident, forever changing your preconceived notions of “your life.” Losing themselves so that they can find their “true” selves. These are all “crossroads” moments. We can choose the wrong path to walk at these critical moments, or we can choose the right path. One path leads to eternal death, the other leads to eternal life. The sad thing about this is that most people do not even realize what import their decisions are actively having upon their future. Choosing to not accept your brother’s children under your roof upon death of him and his wife in an accident. Or, to invite them to live with you but do not really like the idea at all. To feel obligated due to familial ties does not always lead to loving them with compassion and to try and help them deal with their tragic loss. It is something my wife and I grapple with in raising our two grandsons. We are trying to create a place in our lives, and home, where two boys who are broken can have a chance at becoming whole again. It is not an easy task. It is a day by day task of love. It is a task of being consistent day by day for two boys who have not seen that type of thing in their lives. It means not promising things to them that cannot be delivered as promised. I cannot promise them salvation of myself, that comes from God alone. I must enforce honesty, truthfulness, faithfulness, and love. In other words, I must desire Christ in the night. I must want to find Christ in the early hours of each day. I must have a visible passion to serve Christ however He wants me to. I hope, beloved, that that is something that you desire of in your lives too.
Next time, God willing, we shall continue with the next few verses in this chapter of Isaiah. May Christ richly bless each of you.
Mon, May 11th - 9:33PM
Book of Isaiah Study
For he brings down them that dwell on high; the lofty city, he lays it low; he lays it low, even to the ground; he brings it even to the dust.
The foot shall tread it down, even the feet of the poor, and the steps of the needy.
The way of the just is uprightness: You, most upright, do weigh the path of the just.
Yea, in the way of Your judgments, O LORD, have we waited for You; the desire of our soul is to Your name, and to the remembrance of You (26:5-8).
Here the prophet further encourages us to trust in the Lord for ever, and to continue waiting on him. Christ will make humble those souls that trust in Him to triumph over their proud enemies, Isaiah 26:5, Isaiah 26:6. Those who live loftily, who feel that they are so much better than those who live below them in society shall be brought down to reality by Christ. He shall bring their worlds crumbling down around them. He will do it, for He resists the proud. It is His glory to do it, for He proves Himself to be God by looking on the proud and abasing them, Job 40:12. But those that humble themselves shall be exalted; for the feet of the poor shall tread upon the lofty cities, Isaiah 26:6. This does not necessarily mean the financially poor, but rather, the poor of spirit. These are those people who have realized their spiritual poorness and are humbled by it, becoming meek. God recognizes the way of His people and has delight in it (Isaiah 26:7): The way of the just is evenness (so it may be read): it ought to be our endeavor and constant care to walk with God in an even steady course of obedience and holy conversation. My foot stands in an even place, goes in an even path, Psalm 26:12. You, most upright, do level (or make even) the path of the just, by preventing or removing those things that would be stumbling-blocks to us, so that nothing shall offend us, Psalm 119:165. God weighs it (so we can read it); He considers it, and will give us grace sufficient for us, to help us over all the difficulties we may meet with in our way. Thus with the upright God will show Himself upright. We direct our souls to delight in Christ, to remember the wonderful thing that He has already completed for us in love, verse 8.
That beloved, concludes tonight’s study. It brings us to the brink of what ought to drive us, to motivate us, each and every day of our lives. Next time we shall discover how each of us ought to desire Christ. Until then, may Christ richly bless you.
Sun, May 10th - 9:47PM
Book of Isaiah Study
Now here we find a strange verse:
For in this mountain shall the hand of the Lord rest, and Moab shall be trodden down under Him, even as straw is trodden down for the dunghill (25:10).
Why should Moab be mentioned here? Quite frankly, I am not completely sure why. As you may recall, Moab represents a form of godliness but denies the power of it. We have people that are like that today. They show a form of godliness but do not accept or acknowledge the power of Christ.
And He shall spread forth His hands in the midst of them, as he that swims spreads forth his hands to swim: and He shall bring down their pride together with the spoils of their hands.
And the fortress of the high fort of your walls shall He bring down, lay low, and bring to the ground, even to the dust (25:11-12).
This picture lays out before us how all of the pride of mankind will ultimately be brought down. This will be the time when the meek shall inherit the earth (Matthew5:5). Are they able to inherit the earth as of today? No, they are not, for it is a future event.
That ends chapter 25 and brings us to chapter 26 which continues this kingdom theme.
In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks (26:1).
“In that day” also speaks of a specific day, not just any old day that we pick. When Christ comes and lays low the pride of all mankind and allows the meek to inherit the earth, that is when this new song will be sung in the land of Judah. Salvation is not in new physical walls and bulwarks but rather now it is to be found in the Son of God, Christ Jesus. Do the Israelites today sing this song? No, obviously this present return to Israel is not a fulfillment of this prophecy.
Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in.
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You: because he trusts in You.
Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength: (26:2-4)
We find here a proclamation of how Christ will keep us safe through all trials and tribulations of our individual lives. Verse three provides us the path to walk: allow our mind to dwell on Christ and to trust in Christ. Why do this? Because in Jehovah is everlasting strength, here is where we can almighty dumas, power. If we follow Christ we become a part of that righteous nation which keeps the truth and will be able to enter into New Jerusalem though those gates that shall be flung wide open for us.
That is all for tonight, beloved. I hope that mothers everywhere were properly honored on this day of remembrance. I wish my mother the best, I thank her for all that she did do for me as I was growing up. They were not the best of times for us as a family, but she coped the best that she could and kept our home together. May Christ richly bless all of you who read this post!
Fri, May 8th - 11:30AM
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." (I John 4:1)
In the New Testament there is an unusual emphasis on false prophets. The Greek word pseudoprophetes is found 11 times and has no corresponding word in the Old Testament.
Of the 298 usages of "prophet" in the Hebrew Scriptures, eight of them are connected to "false" prophets, and only in relation to visions and dreams. In the New Testament, the false prophets are workers of "miracles" and "signs and wonders."
John gives us the warning to "try the spirits" because many false prophets are now here among us. Prior to Christ Jesus's coming, the false "dreamer" (Deuteronomy 13:1-5) would quickly be exposed when his prophecy failed to come about. Such false prophets were to be executed.
But the prophets of the "last time" (I John 2:18) will perform great wonders (Matthew 24:24) and can "seduce ... even the elect" (Mark 13:22). "The elect" are the saints of Christ, the believers, the born again followers of Christ.
Here's the problem; they come from among Christians! Peter warns us in II Peter 2:1-3 in five ways:
* They come from a "Christian" background.
* They deny the biblical Lord Jesus in some way.
* They will become very popular, especially with emotionally motivated people.
* They will degrade doctrines of the Bible.
* They will stimulate greed in order to attract followers.
We are directed, warned, to test every last one of them, and when they do not match the doctrine of Christ, we are to then reject their teaching and not have any fellowship with them (II John 9-11). In very simple terms spiritually, they are dangerous (Matthew 7:15)!
Beloved, I urge all of you to be alert and on guard for such people. Do not automatically believe everything that spiritual teachers propose as truth. Much of what they say is manmade traditions originating out of their personal agendas. May Christ richly bless you this day!
Wed, May 6th - 9:03PM
For thou hast been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.
As the heat in a dry place wilt thou bring down the noise of strangers; as the heat by the shade of a cloud, the song of the terrible ones shall be brought low (25:4-5).
God is a sufficient protection to his people in all weathers, hot and cold, wet and dry. Whatever dangers or troubles God’s people may be in, effectual care is taken that we shall sustain no real hurt or damage. When perils are most threatening and alarming God will then appear for the safety of His saints: When the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall, which makes a great noise, but cannot overthrow the wall. The enemies of God’s poor are terrible ones; they do all they can to make themselves so to them. Their rage is like a blast of wind, loud, and blustering, and furious; but, like the wind, it is under a divine check; for God holds the winds in his fist, and God will be such a shelter to His people that we shall be able to stand the shock, keep our ground, and maintain our integrity and peace. A storm beating on a ship tosses it, but that which beats on a wall never stirs it, Ps. 76:10; 138:7. 4. That He does and will shelter those that trust in Him from the insolence of their proud oppressors (v. 5): Thou shalt, or thou dost, bring down the noise of strangers; thou shalt abate and still it, as the heat in a dry place is abated and moderated by the shadow of a cloud interposing. The branch, or rather the son or triumph, of the terrible ones shall be brought low, and they shall be made to change their note and lower their voice.
Seen here is a reference to “the branch” who shall be brought low, or placed back into his proper position. This could be a reference to the Antichrist, or it could be referring to something else entirely. But we are seeing here speech about the “terrible ones” who persecute and pursue those who are not of their persuasion. It is easy to perceive here that this speaks of Christians being earmarked for persecution by those who wish to push them totally out of society’s mainstream.
And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined (25:6).
“Fat things” have to do with physical provision. The redeemed earth produce abundantly. However, the “fat things” are also the wonderful spiritual feast in the last days. The marriage feast of the Lamb occurs during the last days, a time of gathering of the saints with their bridegroom. It shall be a time of intimacy, of sharing, of enlightenment spiritually.
And He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering that covereth all peoples, and the veil that is spread over all nations.
He hath swallowed up death for ever; and the Lord Jehovah will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the reproach of His people will He take away from off all the earth: for Jehovah hath spoken it (25:7-8).
This speaks of the time when God would destroy the “face of the covering…and the veil…” which refers to death and sin. We could even say that “deception” is being spoken of here. Verse 8 reminds us of I Corinthians 15:54 where Paul referred to this statement. Christ is being spoken of here.
And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He shall save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation (25:9).
As we come down to the last verses of this chapter attention is being drawn to the Person of God. It is with Him that men have to do. Antichrist will deceive the entire world, but the real Christ, the real Messiah, the real Ruler of this universe will come. His salvation is going to be vital to mankind in “that day.” Man will be very glad and rejoice in Christ’s salvation. This verse points us to consider a certain day out of all others. One could argue that this speaks of when Christ came and suffered through the crucifixion. It is true that He came that time after His people had waited for Him. But the final complete fulfillment of this verse comes only on “that day.” This is the day of His second Coming, the day of final judgment.
That is all for now, beloved. Next time, God willing, we shall finish up chapter 25 and move on to chapter 26 which continues with the kingdom. May Christ richly bless you my friends!
Wed, May 6th - 12:57PM
Pray according to God's Will
" And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us: And if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him." (I John 5:14-15).
This promise is comprehensive and it is unlimited, which makes it a tremendous assurance of answered prayer. But there is one proviso; according to His will! Today there are numerous Christians who have argued that it shows a lack of faith to add the qualification "if it be Your will" to our prayers. But this argument is deflated by studying what Christ Himself prayed, "O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as You will." (Matthew 26:39).
I guess the real question becomes how to know whether or not we are praying according to God's will. One key, naturally, is to search the Bible. God's will cannot contradict His Word, and it would be utterly foolish to ask God to do what the Bible forbids. "You ask, and receive not, because you ask wrongly, that you may consume it upon your lusts" (James 4:3).
Thus, we must sincerely desire God's will to be done, and so far as can be determined if there is no biblical or personal barrier hindering our prayer, then we can pray with complete confidence even if we do not know what God's exact will is in the matter. Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: But the Spirit makes intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered. And He that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good tothem that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:26-28).
It is abundantly clear here that once we stop attempting to impose our will upon God through our prayers we shall gain the assistance of God's Holy Spirit. He shall help us to either find the words to use in our prayer, or He shall speak for us before God Himself. The Spirit searches out the needs of our hearts and presents them to God. God's will then can be done in these matters and not our own. You may be thinking that this does not allow me to know what was prayed for. But it does. You are searching the Bible for His will and you will find it there. It will allow you to understand the types of things that God desires to be happening in your life, and the lives of those around you. When you begin to see changes happening around you in people then you understand what specifically to pray for in the future for others who come into your life. And the Spirit shall continue to speak for you as before! We simply must acknowledge that we do not know what words to utter while we pray, and then open ourselves up to be used by His Spirit as we prepare to pray. I often do not know exactly what words I should be speaking to God, I ask Him to do His will in my life, in my wife's life, in my childrens' lives, and in my grandchildrens' lives. I trust Him to do what is right.
I pray that all of you, beloved, will pray likewise during your times alone with Christ.
Tue, May 5th - 11:56AM
What to do with the Truth?
"If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." (John 7:17)
The apostle Paul, in his last letter, wrote about certain philosophers who would be "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (II Timothy 3:7). In the next verse, Paul makes it clear why such people, no matter how scholarly or well educated they seem to be, are still incapable of accepting real truth. "So do these also resist the truth," he says in verse 8. They could not learn the truth because they were not willing to believe or obey the truth when they learned it. For example, a very troubling controversy among today's Christians is whether or not the Genesis account of six-day creation can be so interpreted as to accomodate the billion-year geological-age system of earth history.
Perhaps the problem, in this as well as in other such doctrinal controversies, is a basic unwillingness to believe doctrines plainly revealed in God's Word when they conflict with doctrines based completely on human reasoning. When Christ Jesus spoke the words of our text, He was speaking to arrogant religionists who regarded Him as nothing but an itinerant preacher, rejecting His teachings, even though they knew these teachings of His were fully biblical. They were unwilling to believe that it was true.
Christ's rebuke of these hypocrites is truly a timeless criterion for recognizing God's truth and knowing His will. We need to ensure that our heart does not try to twist God's Word to accommodate a human philosophy, nor does it try to accommodate our personal will by persuading ourselves that it is really God's will. God's will is always consistent with God's Word, which is written to be easily understood by anyone who is willing to believe His Word and do His will.
May Christ richly bless you, my friends.
Mon, May 4th - 12:51PM
Satan, our true adversary.
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour." (I Peter 5:8)
This grave warning about the devil (Satan) was given not only to "newbie" Christians, but also to "the elders which are among you" (verse 1). Frequently it seems that Satan's greatest victories are won when he is able to cause a Christian leader to fall, in so doing he is able to destroy that person's influence for Christ, but also giving "great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme" (II Samuel 12:14). Satan is a roaring lion, but he doesn't come at us as such. If he did, we would all flee to safety.
Satan is, above all else, the one "which deceives the whole world" (Revelation 12:9), "transformed into an angel of light" (II Corinthians 11:14). He is deceptive in his approach towards us. As he did with Eve, the "subtle" one will insidiously appeal to our pride, our greed, our fear, or our aesthetic sense, or our appetites, or our overall desire for material things.
Peter could easily speak from personal bitter experience. Satan had desired to "sift you as wheat," Christ Jesus had told him, but Peter foolishly boasted that he would stand true (Luke 22:31-34).
No wonder he was able to warn everyone with such urgency: "Be sober, be vigilant." We should note particularly that Peter is warning against greed (I Peter 5:2) and pride (verses 5-6). We must not allow Satan to "get an advantage of us," Paul says, "for we are not ignorant of his devices" (II Corinthians 2:11). Though Satan is deceptive and powerful, we need never fall to his tempting if we simply "Submit ourselves to God."
Be sober, be vigilant. "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). These are the words that we all must practice daily, from the moment that we wake until the moment that we fall asleep. Amen.
Sun, May 3rd - 7:03PM
Book of Isaiah Study
For You have made of a city an heap; of a defenced city a ruin: a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be built (25:2).
All of the past is gone, the people are delivered from their enemies of the past. Babylon, type of the seat of Antichrist, to be destroyed in the last days (compare Jeremiah 51:37, with Revelation 18:1-24, followed, as here, by the song of the saints’ thanksgiving in Revelation 19:1-21). “Heaps” is a graphic picture of Babylon and Nineveh as they now are. Babylon was the city of the “foreigners” which is all of those who are non-Jewish. This prophesies the ruination of Babylon, and also of Nineveh and the other cities of those empires that invaded and conquered Israel through the millennia.
Therefore shall the strong people glorify You, the city of the terrible nations shall fear You (25:3).
This verse may be understood to be of those people that have been strong and terrible against God. Those that have been enemies to God's kingdom, and have fought against the interests of it with a great deal of strength and terror, shall either be converted, and glorify God by joining with His people in His service, or at least convinced, so as to admit themselves conquered. Those that have been the terror of the mighty shall be forced to tremble before the judgments of God and call in vain to rocks and mountains to hide them. Or this verse could be speaking of those that shall be now made strong and terrible for God and by Him, though before they were weak and trampled upon. God shall so visibly appear for and with those that fear Him and glorify Him that all shall acknowledge them a strong people and shall stand in awe of them. There was a time when many of the people of the land became Jews, for the fear of the Jews fell upon them (Esther 8:17), and when those that knew their God were strong and did exploits (Daniel 11:32), for which they glorified God. Isaiah observes what is, and ought to be, the matter of this praise. We and others must exalt God and praise Him; for, 1. He has done wonders, according to the counsel of His own will,Isaiah 25:1. We exalt God by admiring what He has done as truly wonderful, wonderful proofs of His power beyond what any creature could perform, and wonderful proofs of His goodness beyond what such sinful creatures as we are could expect. These wonderful things, which are new and surprising to us, and altogether unthought of, are according to His counsels of old, devised by His wisdom and designed for His own glory and the comfort of His people. All the operations of providence are according to God's eternal counsels (and those faithfulness and truth itself), all consistent to His attributes, consistent with one another, and sure to be accomplished in their season. 2. He has in particular humbled the pride, and broken the power, of the mighty ones of the earth (Isaiah 25:2): “You have made of a city, of many a city, a heap of rubbish. Of many a defenced city, that thought itself well guarded by nature and art, and the multitude and courage of its militia, You have made a ruin.”
We understand how mighty and influential cities do come to reach a point of extinction or at the very least, they do become minor players on a national basis. Richmond Virginia at one time was one of the major banking and commerce centers of America. All sorts of commercial traffic flowed through this mid-southern city up until the beginning of the 20th century. Then a shift in commerce left this city floundering to find its identity. Paradigm changes often overwhelm certain cities, causing them to either languish in decay or they reinvent themselves and move in new directions commercially. Detroit Michigan currently is one city that will either spiral down into decay or it shall become reinvigorated and moves in new directions in order to survive as an influential city in America. These are simply some examples as there are numerous examples from every nation around the globe.
That is all for this study today, beloved. Next time we shall see that God fully intends to supply our daily needs with abundance. God willing, we shall meet here again and share in His Holy Word. May Christ richly bless you, my friends!
Fri, May 1st - 9:50PM
Book of Isaiah Study
After Christ Jesus returns (the Second Coming) and ends the Tribulation, He establishes the kingdom. Chapter 25 of Isaiah begins to bring us into this period. This kingdom has been predicted throughout the Old Testament. When John the Baptist began his ministry, his message was, “,,,Repent you for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). Then Christ took up the theme, “…the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). The first time Christ was here on earth He was rejected as King. Since we all know that there cannot be a kingdom without a king, this means that He is coming back. When He was rejected the first time He told individuals, “Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). This is still His invitation today, beloved. It is a message to be sent out to individuals today asking them to exercise their free wills. Whether or not you and I know it, we are making a decision today. We are either accepting Christ or we are rejecting Christ. There can be no neutral ground. Our Lord said, “He that is not with Me is against Me…” (Matthew 12:30). This 25th chapter of Isaiah is a song of praise, a song of undiluted joy for God.
O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will praise Your name; for You have done wonderful things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. (25:1)
Here is the prophet praising God for deliverance of His people. Sheer delight, wonder, and worship of God’s decisions throughout time are displayed here. Isaiah has come into a new knowledge of who God is and what He has done.
This is not our average song service found on Wednesday nights. Those nights some of the saints sit there and wonder why they came at all. Those who are singing this particular “song” are those who are eager to worship God because of His faithfulness and because He is true. These two things are attributes of Deity, and they are foreign to mankind. In Psalms it says, “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man” (118:8). Faithfulness is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, not the work of our flesh. Truth is the very opposite of man. In Psalm 116:11 King David said, “I said in my haste, All men are liars.” Is this not true? We all lie to a lesser or greater extent.
I am stopping here for today, my friends. If you do not join in the singing during worship times with your congregation, please ponder the reason why. It is not because you cannot sing very well. That is not a prerequisite of God’s. He says to make a joyful noise unto Him, which clearly implies that He knows that not all of us are capable of what we have decided is “beautiful singing.” If you and I truly love Christ then we will make a joyful noise unto God all of the time. You see, we lie to ourselves and others when we give the excuse for not singing during worship times as “I just can’t sing well.” When you love God you can’t stop yourself from singing! It just wants to bubble out of you all of the time!
Next time, God willing, we shall continue studying this song of praise from Isaiah to God. May Christ richly bless you, my beloved.
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