March 14, 2019

Today you should read: Isaiah 22

Jerusalem is a light to all other nations, Mount Zion propped up high as a beacon for people to see and follow. In fact, Isaiah said 20 chapters ago:

The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

It shall come to pass in the latter days
    that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
    and shall be lifted up above the hills;
and all the nations shall flow to it,
    and many peoples shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
    to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
    and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
    and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Isaiah 2:1-3

But now in chapter 22, instead of a bright mountain for all to see, it’s described as a valley; a geographic location that is in darkness surrounded by high land, hills or mountains around it. This is exemplified in this chapter as the leaders have fled (v. 3), partying (v. 1) that turns into tumult and confusion (v. 5), enemy chariots (v. 7) and much, much more. What’s sad is how blind God’s people are to how low they have gotten and what’s about to come in terms of consequences. This is evident in verses 12-13 as they continue to eat, drink and be merry, oblivious to their sin and pending judgment.

The apostle Paul uses this same language when speaking about the current generation in 1 Corinthians 15:32, and we could say the same with our current culture as well. Even as Christians, we can have blind spots to past and current sins and even losing the Gospel because of either our witness or allowing false teachings or heresy to creep in.  Instead of weeping and mourning, listening and repenting, we’re entertaining and maintaining, eating and drinking. Let us pay attention to the church as a whole and especially our own church concerning theology, what’s being taught from Scripture and covered in discipleship.

One of the most encouraging things I hear as we read guest cards on Monday morning at staff meetings is the many people who visit and praise our church for teaching God’s Word. We regularly find ourselves asking “What are other churches teaching exactly?”

Let us stay true to the Gospel message and our mission of helping take everyone we meet one step closer to becoming a true disciple of Christ.

By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor

March 13, 2019

Today you should read: Isaiah 21

In today’s reading, God pronounces judgment on Babylon.  This Persian city, as you know, is significant in many ways in Bible accounts and stories.  We read about the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11, Nebuchadnezzar’s reign in Kings, and in Daniel, the captivity of Israel and more.  God promises to bring this kingdom to its knees and that He does.

Often evil seems to prevail – we witness this in others, the world around us, politics, wars, and more.  Evil seems to prevail – but God is just.  The wheels of God grind exceedingly slow sometimes – but God’s will always is done.

Maybe you’re living in a situation that seems unfair and you wonder if God sees and if He will act.  Maybe you’re the perpetrator – bringing pain on others and seem to be getting away with it. Whatever the situation, God’s will will be done.  You can take that to the bank.

Take a moment today and praise God for being all powerful, all knowing, and all kind.  Praise Him for His fairness and follow-through. Praise Him that He has redeemed you by the blood of Christ and made you part of His family.

By: Tim Parsons — Lead Pastor

March 12, 2019

Today you should read: Isaiah 20

To give some background to the situation in this passage, Ashdod is a Philistine city. Ashdod was relying on Egypt for protection from the Assyrian army, but as verse 1 shows, the Assyrians fought and captured Ashdod. In verses 2-3, God commands Isaiah to display this prophetic sign to the people. He is to walk around naked and barefoot. We find out in verses 4-5 that Isaiah is showing what will happen to the Egyptians and Cushites after their defeat from Assyria.

What can we take away from this passage? First, Isaiah was obedient to the Lord. Isaiah was willing to do what the Lord had commanded him, even if that means to walk around naked for 3 years (hopefully God won’t ask any of us to do that). In the same way, we, who are believers in Christ, should have the same mindset as Isaiah. God may call us to do something radical and we have to be obedient to follow His calling.

Secondly, the passage ends with a question: “And we, how shall we escape?” In verse 6, the “inhabitants of the coastland” had put their trust in Egypt and Cush for deliverance, and they saw the demise of both nations. These inhabitants had trusted in the things of this world for protection, and now their trust and hope was lost. Many people do this in the world today. Their trust and hope are in materials, relationships, money, and other worldly things. Isaiah’s answer to, “How shall we escape?” is to look towards the Lord for deliverance. Thankfully for us, Jesus has delivered everyone who has believed in Him. We do not have to walk in spiritual nakedness, but instead can be clothed with His righteousness.

By: Brice Stockton — Student Ministry Apprentice

March 11, 2019

Today you should read: Isaiah 19

Throughout this block of chapters (Isaiah 13-20), we’ve read about five different oracles, or prophecies about nations and events. Today, in chapter 19, we find one concerning Egypt. If you’re like me, these different prophecies can get confusing. The questions we all wrestle with:

Have these things already happened?
Is this about the future?
Can some of these prophecies be figurative, or is this all literal?

I strongly recommend a book to you if these are things you’ve asked. It’s called “According to Plan” by Graeme Goldsworthy. A great read that helps sift through prophecy scriptures and their role in the grand scheme of God’s glorious design of redemption through Jesus. Might be a good holiday read.

Back to today’s passage. There are a couple of things going on. God is first showing that he would bring an end to Egypt’s power, but it’s interesting that He doesn’t stop there. In v.16-25, He shows that He will restore Egypt.

“Isaiah envisions a Godward movement spreading from five cities in Egypt to that entire nation (v. 19) to the entire world (v. 23). speak the language of Canaan. Egyptians, who were prejudiced against Hebrews (Gen. 43:32), will adopt their language, melding with God’s people as one (cf. Gen. 11:1–9). the City of Destruction. See esv footnote, giving a strongly attested textual variant, “City of the Sun,” which would refer to Heliopolis, the center of the worship of Ra, the Egyptian sun-god. A culture of idolatry will swear allegiance to the Lord.” (ESV Study Bible)

What’s the point of these oracles/prophecies? Why so much repetition? A few reasons. First, God cares about the little details. He knows every hair on our head. He knows every grain of sand. No second or minute is outside of His knowledge. Second, the little details come together to make one awesome story. In the end, we will get to see the whole tapestry and we’ll realize just how unfathomable His ways really are. Finally, God reminds us — the Church — and the world that His sovereign hand will reign supreme. Nothing can overtake our unstoppable King. CPC, believe this and take hope in it today!

By: Todd Thomas — Worship & College Pastor