Isaiah 19:1-21:17 ~ Galatians 2:1-16 ~ Psalm 59:1-17 ~ Proverbs 23:13-14
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Old Testament - Today in Isaiah chapter 19 we read the message concerning Egypt! You can gain further context on this chapter today by reading Jeremiah chapter 46 and Ezekiel chapters 29-32. Both of these books we will be reading later this year, just after Isaiah. Below is an image of the Egyptians in dismay, seeking counsel from their idolatrous priests per verse 3: "The Egyptians will lose heart, and I will confuse their plans. They will plead with their idols for wisdom. They will call on spirits, mediums, and psychics to show them which way to turn."
There are some really interesting verses at the end of chapter 19, beginning in verse 18 and going through the end of the chapter. Verses 19 & 20 are awesome: "In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and there will be a monument to the LORD at its border. It will be a sign and a witness to the LORD Almighty in the land of Egypt. When the people cry to the LORD for help against those who oppress them, he will send them a savior who will rescue them." This reminds me of Joseph & Mary's flight to Egypt with Jesus as an infant to be safe from Herod's decree to kill all boys under the age of 2! (see Matthew 2:13-21) Our Savior was sent into Egypt for a brief period of His life!
New Testament - We have great readings today in Galatians chapter 2 as Paul confronts Peter! I think this is a powerful lesson for us to learn. It is okay - in fact good - to confront other Christians when they are out of line. We should do so in the spirit of love. Speak the truth in love to our brothers and sisters who step out of line. But let us not be too meek in this area and let somebody we love slide by because we're too scared to say anything. Is there anybody in your life today that you are being led by God to speak the truth in love to? (there is someone in my life I'm being led to do this... and I confess that I have been dragging my feet...) Let us learn today from the example of Paul confronting Peter!
I have to tell you, for some reason the parenthetical point from Paul in verse 6 today really stood out to me - "(By the way, their reputation as great leaders made no difference to me, for God has no favorites.)" This is really a profound thing for each of us to realize! No one is above you! No one is below you! God has no favorites! I really really love thinking about this. This means we should respect all, but fear none. God is the only one we should fear. You, your pastor, your president, the homeless person on the street corner are no more or no less favored by God comparatively. God has no favorites! And - if God has no favorites, what do you think this should mean to us. Should we have favorites? Should we give more respect to those who we think are in better social standing than others? Should we love the pastor more than the homeless person? Should we love the celebrity over the waiter? This really is something for us to think about... Paul said people's reputation as great leaders made NO difference to him. Should people's reputations in our world today make any difference to us?
Psalms - Psalm 59 has some powerful imagery of the "night of danger" in verse 14 and the "morning of deliverance" in verse 16 - "But as for me, I will sing about your power. I will shout with joy each morning because of your unfailing love." I like that thought - shouting for joy each morning because of God's unfailing love. I pray that in some way I "shout" for joy each morning because of God's love. How about you? Do you in some way "shout" for joy each morning because of God?
Proverbs - We have a powerful Proverb in chapter 23 verses 13 & 14 today: "Don't fail to correct your children. They won't die if you spank them. Physical discipline may well save them from death." I can see how this Proverb applies to our own children, as long as we are disciplining in a godly manner with love - "tough love" though it may be at times. I can also see how this Proverb applies to you and me from our Heavenly Father. I honestly believe that God does not fail to correct us! :) Really.... He'll "spank" us if he needs to. Because He loves us. And when He disciplines us, he may very well be saving us from death... Do you believe there is such a thing as positive discipline? One of the best books I read on this concept of God disciplining us is Bruce Wilkinson's "Secrets of the Vine." This book does a great job of explaining how God "prunes" off the sin in our life. And while the pruning can hurt, it is critically important for us to stay under the Godly pruning! And not try to run from it! Plus this book goes deeper into John chapter 15, which is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. Oh - and it's a quick read too, which is nice. Check this book out if you haven't ever really thought about the concept of God disciplining you on occasion as a parent might discipline a child.
Worship God: Psalm 59:16 reminded me of Chris Tomlin's great song "Made to Worship!"
Are you made to worship? Not sure? Click here and be made to worship!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble." Psalm 59:16 (NIV)
Prayer Point: Pray that you praise and worship God every morning, whether in prayer or in song! Pray that God is truly your fortress and your refuge in times of trouble.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!