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January 31,2015

Today you should read: Isaiah 66

Isaiah closes off his magnum opus with some final words on his final judgment and fulfilled promises. God as sovereign King makes it clear that there is nothing that we do for Him or against Him that is out of His control (v. 1-2a) and that He will look upon those who recognize this and have humble hearts and trembles at God’s Word (v. 2b).

God then reminds Israel of what that final judgment will look like in Isaiah 66:15-16:

15 “For behold, the Lord will come in fire,
and his chariots like the whirlwind,
to render his anger in fury,
and his rebuke with flames of fire.
16 For by fire will the Lord enter into judgment,
and by his sword, with all flesh;
and those slain by the Lord shall be many.

You can read this passage (and many others like it) and walk away quite terrified of God and His judgment. In fact it’s part of the reason why God sent prophets throughout history and ultimately the One True Final Perfect Prophet, Jesus Christ. To warn us of His impending wrath upon us. However God will also fulfill His merciful and gracious, good promises in v. 22-23:

​[22] “For as the new heavens and the new earth
​​that I make
​shall remain before me, says the LORD,
​​so shall your offspring and your name remain.
​[23] From new moon to new moon,
​​and from Sabbath to Sabbath,
​all flesh shall come to worship before me,
​declares the LORD.

God reminds us that He will make all things new and that God’s people will remain worshiping Him forever and ever like He promised them when they placed saving faith in Him. This theme of judgment and goodness in His promises reminds me of how the kids described Aslan the Lion, an allegorical Christ in C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.”

“Lucy asked, “Is he—quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.” “That you will, dearie, and make no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.” “Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy. “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the king I tell you.””

Posted by: Erik Koliser

January 30, 2015

Today you should read: Isaiah 65

“ I was ready to respond, but no one one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me.” Isaiah 65:1a

The God of the universe good ready for the people. He was absolutely prepared to forgive their sins, cleanse them from their unrighteousness, rescue them from danger and bring them into a right relationship with himself. “ But no one asked” and “ no one was looking”. Those are two unbelievable statements to me. If you knew your life and your eternal destiny your on the line and you knew true happiness and fulfillment and salvation were readily available wouldn’t you ask? Wouldn’t you seek it out? “ But no one asked” and “no one was looking”. The truth is, as Paul says in Romans, quoting the Psalms, “ there is no one righteous, not one. There is no one who seeks after God”.

So why can we do? If no one seeks God yet he is “ ready to be found”’what is going to happen? In steps the beautiful mystery of faith. Faith, both a gift from God to us and a responding of us to Him. How does it work? Where does it come from? Who does it, us or God? That’s the mystery. We have both sides present simultaneously. We see both Joshua 24:15, “ choose this day whom you will serve” and John 15:16 “ you did not choose me, but I chose you” (Jesus speaking). So whether it’s God choosing or us choosing, one thing is clear here in Isaiah

“ I was ready to respond, but no one one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me.” Isaiah 65:1a

So, how do you respond? Are you seeking Him? Are you looking? Sure, we see this played out primarily in salvation and many reading this know the Lord, but what about the other areas of your life? What about repentance of sin? What about walking in holiness? What about the daily walk of sanctification? Are you looking? Are you seeking? Our passage promises to those who do an eternal life of blessing and hope and peace and for those who don’t a life of misery and hopelessness. So my challenge to us all today is two part:

1. Do you know Him?

If you don’t, seek Him in the gospel of Jesus. His death, burial and resurrection for the payment of your sin and mine on the cross. Remember, He is waiting to be found.

2. Are you daily seeking and calling on Him?

If you do know Him, seek Him daily and call on Him to continue to save you and sanctify you.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

January 29, 2015

Today you should read: Isaiah 64

There are a lot of good things to discuss in this chapter, and not enough space in this devotional to write about all of it. I’d love to write about the God “who acts on behalf of the one who waits for Him” (vs. 4). It would be good to discuss how even our most “righteous deeds are like a filthy garment” (vs. 6) before a Holy God, and how we could never do enough good to earn God’s favor. I’d like to dwell on the fact that “We are the clay, and You our potter” (vs. 8).

What struck me today, though, is the powerful prayer in verses 1-2:

1 Oh that You would rend the heavens and come down, That the mountains might quake at Your presence—2 As fire kindles the brushwood, as fire causes water to boil—To make Your name known to Your adversaries, That the nations may tremble at Your presence. (Isaiah 64:1-2)

As soon as I read this today, two things happened. First, I was reminded that only God can truly make His name powerfully known to people. Secondly, I wanted to pray this for the town of Richmond. So, I’m going to write out my prayer, and maybe you’d like to do the same for Richmond, Lexington, or wherever you are.

Father, I’m reminded of the fact that You are all-powerful. You can do more in a wink than I could ever do in a lifetime of work, service, strategizing, and stressing out about the work, the service, and the strategizing. I confess how easy it is for me to forget that You love the people of Richmond more than I do. I forget that You are ultimately the One who causes growth and life change to happen. Help me to remember who You are as I/we serve and strive to reach people in Your name.

So, as I think about Richmond, I know there are people who are opposed to You. Some of them don’t even know they are your adversary. God, oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at Your presence to make Your name known to people in our city and county. You can do it. I believe You desire to do it. Please allow us the privilege of partaking in your extension of mercy and grace by speaking through us. I humbly ask even to see the visible fruit of your work through us in Richmond. May we see your glory in this way.

Posted by: Rich Duffield

January 28, 2015

Today you should read: Isaiah 63

I will tell of the Lord’s unfailing love. I will praise the Lord for all He has done. I will rejoice in His great goodness to Israel, which He has granted according to His mercy and love.

God has been incredibly good to us! His blessings in our lives are beyond measure. I want to lead us today in a time of thanks to Him for what He’s done. Will you join me in a prayer of thanksgiving to God?

1. I will tell of the Lord’s unfailing love
How has God’s shown His love to you? What are the ways? How have you seen God’s love to be unfailing in your life? How does that bless you?

2. I will praise the Lord for all He has done
What has God done for you? List as many things as you can think of – write them down if that’s possible. Praise Him for each.

3. I will rejoice in His great goodness
How has God been good to you? What form has His goodness taken in your life? What are some that you’ve overlooked in the past?

4. I will rejoice in His mercy and love
Mercy is God not giving you what you really deserve (punishment for your sin). Praise God for His Mercy to you. God’s love is big and broad in our lives. Thank Him for loving you perfectly.

Posted by: Tim Parsons

January 27, 2015

Today you should read: Isaiah 62

Give God No Rest …

This is one of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible. God’s promises in this chapter bring me deep, soul-satisfying joy. God is promising that the mourning of His people will be turned into deep joy in Him. We see things like:

• Isaiah’s deep love for God’s people
• Isaiah’s deep prayer for God’s people
• Isaiah’s wish for God’s people to burn bright!
• The promise of the Lord delighting in His people and His people delighting in Him
• God’s people being renamed to “The City of God’s Delight” and “The Bride of God.”
• The picture of God rejoicing over His people like the bridegroom over His bride.
• The picture of the path being made for God’s people to return!
• The savior rescuing His people and bringing with Him the gifts of His victory, which are His people!!
This stuff is incredible. Especially in that it is speaking to the current situation as well as what is to come for God’s people through Jesus!!

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

On top of all of these truths, Isaiah speaks, perhaps, the most incredible truth about prayer in the entire Bible. In verses 6 – 9 Isaiah speaks of the Lord posting watchmen on the walls. He is speaking of “prophetic guardians” who were watching for God’s movement and praying for Him to fulfill His promises. But what it says next is incredible. God says, “Give me no rest.” In verses 6b-7, we read,
“Take no rest, all you who pray to the Lord.
Give the Lord no rest until he completes his work,
until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth.”

Through Isaiah, God says to His people, “Pray. And continue to pray. Give me no rest. Keep asking me. Over and over. Until I fulfill my promises to my people.” That’s incredible. And through this, my encouragement to you is to pray. Give God no rest. Because He has great things planned, to draw all people to Himself.”

Watch and listen to this “Sermon Jam” of Matt Chandler. Towards the end he quotes this verse, and it is powerful. I hope it spurs you on towards unceasing prayer.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

January 26, 2015

Today you should read: Isaiah 61

Isaiah 61 makes me happy. Here’s why: it’s the foreshadowing of salvation to the Gentiles — you and me! We will highlight some of that in a moment, but first, let’s talk about how this passage starts. What we find in these initial verses is strong messianic prophecy. Here are the opening words: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.” Does it sound familiar to you? It should, because it echoes the words we looked at a few weeks ago from Isaiah 48:

Draw near to me, hear this:
from the beginning I have not spoken in secret,
from the time it came to be I have been there.”
And now the Lord GOD has sent me, and his Spirit.
(Isaiah 48:16 ESV)

This was the foretelling of Jesus’ coming, then Him leaving His Holy Spirit with us. Let me say this in no unfamiliar terms: this is bedrock Christianity. God coming to us, and His Spirit indwelling us, are two of the most vital truths of our faith. And they didn’t appear out of thin air in the middle of the New Testament. This was prophesied, and God was true to His promise. What exactly was the prophecy?

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; (Isaiah 61:1-2 ESV)

Who are the beneficiaries of this text? Well… we are. That what it goes on to say, especially in places like verse 5, where it talks about “strangers” being a part of God’s workforce and family. We have been invited in! The salvation that was once for the people of Israel is now ours as well through the person and work of Jesus Christ! Rejoice in that incredible truth!

Today, here’s what I want to encourage you to dwell on: the Maker of Heaven and Earth keeps His promises, one of which was the invitation extended to you to become one of His children. He loves you, and He shows that by His relentless pursuit of you. Let these things marinate in your mind. Let them overwhelm your heart. May the Lord bless and keep you today and this week.

Posted by: Todd Thomas


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