Isaiah 41:17-43:13 ~ Ephesians 2:1-22 ~ Psalm 67:1-7 ~ Proverbs 23:29-35
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Old Testament - Today in Isaiah chapter 42 we read some amazing prophecies about Jesus! Verses 1 through 4 in Isaiah 42 are known as the "Servant Song," in which the servant is the coming Messiah, Jesus. There are 3 other servant songs in Isaiah we'll read in the coming days. The nation of Israel, as well as the Messiah, are both often called "servant". The nation of Israel was to be a kingdom of priests and the Messiah is the high priest who atones for the sins of the world. In Isaiah chapter 42 verse 1 today we read: “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations.” Verses 1 through 4 are quoted in part in Matthew 12:18-21. Do you see the prophecies about Jesus as you read today's chapter 42? Is this chapter and its prophecies encouraging to you?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Isaiah titled "The Lord is the Gracious Redeemer" is at this link. Below is a great image for Isaiah 43:2-3 from today's readings:
New Testament - Today in Ephesians chapter 2 verses 8 through 10 we read: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (NIV) Have you been saved by grace through faith? Do you believe that salvation is a gift that cannot be earned? Have you ever felt that you had to work for your salvation? What does Paul say about works related to salvation in these verses? Do you believe that you are God’s very workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works? Do you believe that God has prepared good works for you to do in advance? Are you participating in God’s plan for your life?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Ephesians titled "The Guilt of Men and the Grace of God" is at this link. Below is a great image from Ephesians 2:10 from today's readings:
Psalms - Psalm 67 verse 2 today sounds very Great Commission-ish: "May your ways be known throughout the earth, your saving power among people everywhere." It's interesting to read this verse when just recently I was reading a review in my local newspaper about a book that "exposes" evangelical Christians. This book really dives into how "successful" evangelical Christians are in "recruiting" young adults ages 20 to 35 with their ministries. And this book reviewer - and the book author - were very disdainful of Christianity. Saying it threatened secular society... and this just made me realize that the more we do indeed make God's ways known throughout the earth - the more we introduce people to God's saving power among people everywhere - well, then the secular world will push back big time with books and reviews like the one I read. And the secular world will even push back in more severe ways as well. This makes me realize that indeed our efforts to make God's was known - God's love, grace, mercy, salvation, call to repentance - are being noticed by others! But hopefully more than just being noticed by others, let us pray that our Kingdom work actually introduces others to God's only son Jesus, who transforms hearts and lives for eternity!
Proverbs - Proverbs chapter 23 verses 29 through 35 is one of the largest portions of Proverbs that we will read on one day this year in the One Year Bible. I'm sure you've noticed that usually our Proverbs readings each day are one or two verses. Well, these 7 verses today are well worth presenting together all at once! I pray these verses speak to each of us powerfully about the dangers of overdoing alcohol and being out late partying: "Who has anguish? Who has sorrow? Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining? Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns, trying out new drinks. Don't let the sparkle and smooth taste of wine deceive you. For in the end it bites like a poisonous serpent; it stings like a viper. You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things. You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast. And you will say, "They hit me, but I didn't feel it. I didn't even know it when they beat me up. When will I wake up so I can have another drink?" This is so very true! I have to share with you here that I have really been convicted lately of how dangerous alcohol can be for so many people in our society. Recently I've had a couple of good friends share with me their struggles with alcohol - and they are heartbreaking stories. Alcohol abuse can literally destroy lives and relationships, as we all know. I'm not a prohibitionist. But, I do see so much truth in this Proverb and I think we all need to recognize the danger of alcohol abuse - not to mention the dangers of drugs. Please please please, don't ever let the sparkle and smooth taste of wine deceive you! For in excess it can indeed bite like a poisonous serpent...
Worship God: Wow, I forgot how powerful Isaiah chapter 43 is until studying it a bit more just now. Next year I'm going to have to give some more commentary on this chapter! I recalled while reading Isaiah 43 an incredible worship song a church I used to attend sang called "Do Not Fear (Isaiah 43)." Fortunately YouTube has this song associated with a video! This song seriously would nearly bring me to tears for some reason every time we sang it. I guess because it just reminded me of the sovereignty of God in such a beautiful way. So, check out this video and worship along with the words that will come up in the video!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you realize that you are truly God's workmanship. Pray that you are doing good works that God prepared in advance for you to do. Pray that you realize that works don't save you, but that you know the truth of grace from Ephesians 2:8-9, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you from today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
Grace, love, peace, and joy!