~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Isaiah 37:1-38:22 ~ Galatians 5:13-26
Psalm 64:1-10 ~ Proverbs 23:24
Old Testament - Great readings in Isaiah featuring King Hezekiah today! You'll recall from yesterday's readings that King Sennacherib of Assyria's representative threw down some serious smack-talking at the walls of Jerusalem. (see yesterday's blog entry below). Well today in chapter 37 we read about Hezekiah seeking the Lord's help. Hezekiah takes all of this to God in prayer. Good move! How often in our lives today, when challenges come our way, do we take the challenges everywhere else BUT to God? Wouldn't it be easier to take them directly to God? Why do we turn to alcohol or drugs or food or worrying or whatever - can we simply take our challenges to the one true living God who can actually do something with them? Can we model what Hezekiah did when he received distressing news from the King of Assyria, in verses 14 through 17: "After Hezekiah received the letter and read it, he went up to the LORD's Temple and spread it out before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed this prayer before the LORD: "O LORD Almighty, God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth. Listen to me, O LORD, and hear! Open your eyes, O LORD, and see! Listen to Sennacherib's words of defiance against the living God."
Well, Hezekiah's prayer is clearly answered as we read in verse 36: "That night the angel of the LORD went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian troops. When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere." Below is an engraving of this verse by Gutave Dore.
I love Hezekiah's poem of praise in chapter 38. Verse 16 stood out to me - "Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health." Would you agree with Hezekiah on this point? Is God's discipline good? Does God's discipline lead to life and health? Are you accepting God's discipline in your life today? I found this little reminder of some "good discipline" from a school website below. Not quite "the" Golden Rule below, but overall good stuff! :)
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Isaiah chapter 38 titled "The Deliverance of Judah's King" is at this link.
New Testament - We finish up Paul's letter to the Galatians today. Paul's letter to the church in Ephesus begins tomorrow! Powerful teachings in Galatians chapter 6 today. I love verse 1 - "Dear brothers and sisters, if another Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself." This is such a great teaching. And one that I have a hunch we do not follow often enough... When was the last time you gently and humbly helped someone who is overcome by sin get back on the right track? I know for me that it has not been recently. And I know I've missed some opportunities in this regard. The last sentence in this verse is powerful and reminds me that we need to be particularly careful around sexual sin I think - to make sure we don't fall into the same temptation ourselves. One important note for all of us is to not discuss with someone of the opposite sex their struggles with sexual sin - it's foolish to do so I believe. Men can discuss and counsel men in the area of sexual sin. And women, women. But I think it is just way too risky for men to discuss or counsel women in the area of sexual sin - and vice versa. I think we just open ourselves up potentially to temptation if we do this. I'm sure there are exceptions to this, but generally speaking, don't go into a discussion on personal sexual sin struggles with someone of the opposite sex. While I'm on the topic here of sexual sin, does anyone have any good book recommendations for anyone who struggles in this area? I've mentioned Lauren Winner's "Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity" recently on the blog. Another good book in this area is Josh Harris' book "Not Even a Hint: Guarding Your Heart Against Lust."
Psalms - Psalm 65 has some amazing verses about nature! I love verse 8 - "Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy." When is the last time you have been inspired to shout for joy to God for the beautiful sunset he created?
Verse 7 of the Psalm says this - "You quieted the raging oceans with their pounding waves and silenced the shouting of the nations." When is the last time you have stood in complete silence before God because of his beautiful Creation?
Proverbs - Proverbs 23 verse 24 is one of those Proverbs that simply states a fact without giving advice per se - "The father of godly children has cause for joy. What a pleasure it is to have wise children." This is of course true. My question for us today - are we ourselves godly children to our parents? Are we giving our parents pleasure because we ourselves are wise children?
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!