November 19, 2014

Today you should read: Isaiah 3

Welcome to the study through Isaiah – this will take us through the holidays. It’s a rich book, but one that must be understood in light of prophecy. It’s a prophetic book – in other words, God is using the prophet Isaiah to foretell what will happen to Israel, the coming of a Messiah – Jesus, His death, and more. You must read it with that as a backdrop. Also, remember that prophecy isn’t often segmented like we think it should be. More often than not, it spans many years – even thousands of years in one section.

It’s sufficient to say that God is angry with His people. They continue to turn their backs on Him and worship false idols. God warns them over and over – but they persist. Now it’s judgment time.

…they are doomed! They have brought destruction upon themselves. (v.9b)

Never forget – Sin brings destruction. Everytime. I know we live in a day of grace when it seems like we get by with things – but it’s not true. Our sin has consequences.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Galatians 6:7

Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. James 1:15-16

Sin always has consequences. I know what some of you are thinking… This is too strong Tim – what about grace. I’ll get to that in a minute – but we live in a time where theologians and pastors want to water down God’s judgment. You and I need to understand that sin always has consequences. For many Christians today – the reason that many can sin without giving it a second thought – is because they have forgotten this. Yes – Jesus paid the price for our sin – Yes – we are forgiven of all sin by Him and His death – but we must not forget that our sin had a very high price-tag. And even though you aren’t the one paying for it – you must remember the cost.

We also must be cognizant of the fact that even though grace cleanses and forgives us – it doesn’t always take away the consequences.

Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay. – unknown

Praise God for His Grace and Mercy! Because of God’s love and grace (giving us what we don’t deserve in any way) and mercy (not giving us the penalty we truly deserve) we are forgiven. Praise Him for His kindness.

Tell the godly that all will be well for them. They will enjoy the rich reward they have earned! (v.10)

Praise God today for His grace in your life – take a minute and bask in the goodness of it. Then quickly take a look at your life – is there any sin that you’ve ignored that will reap unfavorable consequences? Confess it – Repent – and Change.

Posted by: Tim Parsons

November 18, 2014

Today you should read: Isaiah 2

“The Lord alone will be exalted in that day,
and the idols will totally disappear.” (v.18)

Today’s passage is a commentary on two types of people, the proud and the humble. As you would suspect, God has two very different messages for each group. For the humble the future is bright. God is taking away the sin, the war, and He will walk close with them. However, the proud will find themselves in a very different scenario. They will fear God’s wrath and will hide from his presence. This day is coming and it is important for each of us to decide which type of person we will be.
With that being said let’s look at the characteristics of both Pride and Humility from this passage.
1. The Proud

The proud are characterized by self worship.

“They bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made” (v.8)

Idol worship is just self worship. Idols are just things we trust in to give us what we want for ourselves.

That’s why when we talk about the idols we struggle with we need to be careful not to talk about them in a victimization type of way. We are not subject to our idols we create them. We must take responsibility and repent from them.
2. The Humble
The humble are characterized by the worship of God and not self.

The humble seek after God and look to learn the ways of God and walk in them (v.3).

Those that are humble are very aware of their imperfection and need for God. Don’t mistake this as a haughty legalism of religion. The humble know their need for God and love the grace and mercy that the cross provides. Their actions are fueled by their love for Christ and their actions toward others are evidence by their hearts (Romans 12:9-21).

So the question today is a very simple one. Which camp do you fall in? Are you proud or humble? Your answer right now is not your greatest concern. It is what you plan on doing in response to your answer that matters. If you find yourself in the camp of the humble then continue to grow in that. If you find yourself dominated by pride then be encouraged by 1 John 1:8-9,
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Posted by: Chad Wiles

November 17, 2014

Today you should read: Isaiah 1

I hate being the bearer of bad news. Many of you can remember the walk of shame into the house when you had a bad report card or failed exam. Or the sting of having to tell someone about the death of a loved one. Or you may remember how anxious you were as you went to confront someone about an issue.

While we all have experienced this at some time or another, none of us knows the weight Isaiah felt when he penned this exhaustive book of scripture. He had the responsibility to proclaim God’s message of disappointment, frustration, and judgment to Israel. These were Isaiah’s people. These were his friends. Yet, now he had to put that aside for the purpose of being God’s prophet in a troubled time.

Here’s some really solid introductory material on the book of Isaiah that I found helpful:

The central theme of the book is God himself, who does all things for his own sake (48:11). Isaiah defines everything else by its relation to God, whether it is rightly adjusted to him as the gloriously central figure in all of reality (45:22–25). God is the Holy One of Israel (1:4), the One who is high and lifted up but who also dwells down among the “contrite and lowly” (57:15), the Sovereign over the whole world (13:1–27:13) whose wrath is fierce (9:12, 17, 21; 10:4) but whose cleansing touch atones for sin (6:7), whose salvation flows in endless supply (12:3), whose gospel is “good news of happiness” (52:7), who is moving history toward the blessing of his people (43:3–7) and the exclusive worship due him (2:2–4). He is the only Savior (43:10–13), and the whole world will know it (49:26). To rest in the promises of this God is his people’s only strength (30:15); to delight themselves in his word is their refreshing feast (55:1–2); to serve his cause is their worthy devotion (ch. 62); but to rebel against him is endless death (66:24).

A microcosm of the book’s message appears in 1:2–2:5. The Lord announces his basic charge against the people: they have received so much privilege from God and ought to be grateful children, but “they have despised the Holy One of Israel” (1:2–4). He describes the purpose of the various judgments they face, namely, to bring them to repentance, or at least to preserve a remnant who will repent (1:5–9). Judah is very diligent to observe the divinely appointed sacrifices, but the people’s hearts are far from God, as their unwillingness to protect their own weakest members exhibits (1:10–20). The Lord called his people to be the embodiment of faithfulness in this world, and yet they are now filled with rampant unfaithfulness at every level (personal, religious, and social); but God intends to purge Zion of its sinful members and set her up as a beacon of light for the whole world. In view of this glorious future, Isaiah’s contemporaries should commit themselves afresh to walking “in the light of the Lord” (1:21–2:5).

There are two main thoughts I want to leave with you today:

1) Maybe God is calling you to be an Isaiah in someone’s life. Is it time for you to share the message of salvation with a friend or family member? Is it time to have that tough, confrontational conversation that you’ve avoided? Step across the line as the Holy Spirit leads. The time may be now.

2) Maybe you’re the recipient of the hard words. Have you been disobedient? Are you straying from your First Love? Do what Isaiah was telling Israel to do: repent and fall into the arms of grace.

What did God teach you in Isaiah’s first chapter? Share your thoughts in the comments section below! Blessings, dear friends.

Posted by: Todd Thomas