December 8, 2014

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!

Posted by: Todd Thomas

December 6, 2014

Today you should read: Isaiah 18

I often share with my students who I wasn’t the greatest of academic examples in High School. I was an avid reader and got good grades until middle school where I embraced a sinful identity and reveled in being the rebel kid who smarted off to teachers and didn’t care about school. I barely passed each year. Sadly, after becoming a Christian in High School, I still didn’t put my best effort toward school and struggled with most subjects. Most classes, that is, with the exception of History. After becoming a Christian I listened to my history teacher and read my history books with awe in amazement, as I couldn’t help but to think how a Sovereign God was obviously in control over all of history when rulers were raised up and fell down. I bring this up because I was reminded of these times of worship in high school, seminary church history classes and at times when reading the news today when I read today’s Scripture in Isaiah 18.

Isaiah brings the world’s attention to God’s quiet presence and sovereignty in history in v. 3-6. Like clear heat in the sunshine or a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest, invisible yet known and effective. God works and reveals Himself through history. People and countries try to take control of their own affairs but nothing is done without the permission of God and He quite often acts on His own Will showing people we don’t control our lives and the future but ultimately God does.

Vs. 7 says..

At that time tribute will be brought to the LORD of hosts
from a people tall and smooth,
​​from a people feared near and far,
​a nation mighty and conquering,
​​whose land the rivers divide,
​to Mount Zion, the place of the name of the LORD of hosts.

Which means that every person will recognize God as creator and ruler of all things in history and our lives. This truth will either bring a great peace or a great fear in our heart as we recognize that we are not in control of our own lives, our children’s lives and our children’s children lives. God is and we need to do all that we can to let the world know that and how to enter into a relationship with this God of history through the good news of Jesus Christ in which all of history points to.

Posted by: Erik Koliser

December 5, 2014

Today you should read: Isaiah 17

“Then at last the people will look to their Creator and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel. They will no longer look to their idols for help or worship what their own hands have made.” Isaiah 17:7-8a

Isaiah had a cheerful ministry to God’s people. His job was to hand out messages of destruction and impending judgment to the nations, including God’s people. There were spots of hope for the future woven throughout but it was mainly a ministry of judgment. The sad thing is that all of this could have been avoided if God’s people would have heeded the many messengers God had sent their way. Moses told them, Joshua told them, and other prophets and messengers from the Lord all told the people to follow God and His laws. They were told not to turn from it to other nations and their idols but they just didn’t listen and now the punishment comes.

So we see punishment coming and Isaiah makes an interesting comment in today’s reading that I think we can glean a valuable lesson from. In the verse we opened with Isaiah basically says this for God’s people and for us:

Too many times God has to bring us pain and loss to get our attention

I know it is true in my life and I bet it is for you. We can often live life in autopilot at best and in our own strength at worst when life is good and things are smooth. It is harder to look to God and to rely on Him when things are good and all your needs are met. When we begin to slip into this mindset and we begin to believe that we are doing fine on our own we begin to open ourselves to pride and idol worship. It is such a common occurrence to see someone come to God and to the church for help prayer, and support when life is hard and times are tough. Then when it is all good they are no where to be found. Israel was like that and we are prone to that same temptation as well. So, as we think on today’s passage remember the words of warning from Jesus in Matthew and know that we will all be humbled. Either we do it or He does it but either way, it will happen.

“But those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

December 4, 2014

Today you should read: Isaiah 16

God loves His enemies… and so should we…

It doesn’t make sense. God’s love seriously has no boundaries. No matter how often we discuss it, God’s love will continue to surprise us, if we take the time to notice it. Check this out…

God has been addressing, and will continue to address “other nations.” Moab is one of those other nations. It is a nation other than His people, Israel. It’s a nation that does not pursue the one true God. Moab is an adverse nation. We see glimpses of Moab throughout the Bible at various times, but there is usually some glimpse of sin that comes along with Moab. In our chapter today, as well as in yesterday’s chapter, we see God tell of Moab’s ruin.

God has stopped their pursuits. Yet in the midst of this, God has compassion on this nation.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

Verse 9 and verse 11 tell us that God moans and weeps in His heart for Moab and their destruction. Even in the midst of their lack of submission, and even though God is the one who has ended their pursuits, God still cares for their souls. This tells us a lot about God, and about us.

What we learn about God: God loves people. He brings discipline out of love. He desires not only to restore “His people”, but He desires to bring hope to the whole world (even “other” nations). God is not sinfully bitter towards people who disobey Him. God pursues people who fail to love Him back, whom He knows will leave Him, and who become slaves to their own sin. God’s love is seriously unconditional and perfect.

What we learn about us: We need to love our enemies. We need to pray for those who persecute us. We need to pursue people with the love of Jesus even if they have hurt us. We need to avoid thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought, and being so easily hurt, and instead we should have compassion. We should fight bitterness and actively seek to have a compassionate heart like God. And we should pursue people of “other nations.” We should not be so content with our “church friends” that we forget about the disobedient “nations” around us. We should help the lost people in our lives to end their vain pursuits and live for Jesus.

Today, I am going to try to learn from God’s example and pursue my “enemies” in love. How about you?

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione