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 you 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!
Do you fear? Click here to have God save you from your worldly fears!
Please join me in memorizing 2 verses of Scripture today:
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV
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!
Oh brother, can I testify to that last statement! I have not drank since August 19, 1987. By God's saving grace.
HE IS TELLING THE TRUTH.
Posted by: Rosemary | September 22, 2007 at 08:53 PM
>>Alcohol can literally destroy lives and relationships, as we all know. >>
Mike—Anything done in excess is dangerous and will destroy your life and I’m using “life” as more than the breathing in an out of air.. The life that is destroyed is the abundant life Jesus talks about in John 10:10. In the USA, we are destroying our lives by being intoxicated with food. Driving while full (DWF), to me, can be the same as DUI/DWI. Anything done in excess is “sin.”
Societies and cultures just excepts certain kinds of excess and puts it's stamp of approval on it. Anything that destroys our relationship with God, anything that causes us to sacrifice our family for the so called "greater good," or for our own personal feel goods, is sin.
Posted by: R | September 22, 2007 at 08:54 PM
This is my first time writing- I started the one year bible blog with you on jan.1st!! I have been so blessed by you and your awesome efforts! I've told many others about you also, including my 75 yr. old mother who also is enjoying your blog!! Thank you - thank you - keep up the great work!
I would like to share a book that is the absolute best on the subject of christians drinking alcohol: "Sipping Saints" by David Wilkerson. It is a very short book, but very powerful!! A must read for all christians! I use to drink once in awhile until I read this book- now I never do.
May God Bless you for the aawesome work you are doing in sharing His Word with us!
Posted by: Lori | September 22, 2007 at 08:54 PM
The oppressed and the poor look for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched from thirst. I, the Lord, will respond to their prayers; I, the God of Israel, will not abandon them. I will make streams flow down the slopes and produce springs in the middle of the valleys. I will turn the desert into a pool of water and the arid land into springs. (Isaiah 41:17-18 NET.)
Reading these two verses brought these Words of Jesus to my remembrance,
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6 NET.)
Everything that is written in the Prophets is found in Jesus. I believe it is not until we get to the place where we are like the dear, with his tongue hanging out from thirst panting for water (Psalm 42:1), that God will quench our thirst and satiate our hunger. When we stop filling ourselves up with things that will never satisfy our thirst then God will come in and give us Streams of Living Water.
I have always loved the first four verses of Isaiah 42 from the very first time I read it.
"Here is my servant whom I support, my chosen one in whom I take pleasure. I have placed my spirit on him; he will make just decrees for the nations. He will not cry out or shout; he will not publicize himself in the streets. A crushed reed he will not break a dim wick he will not extinguish; he will faithfully make just decrees. He will not grow dim or be crushed before establishing justice on the earth; the coastlands will wait in anticipation for his decrees." (Isaiah 42:1-4 NET.)
I’m not sure what specifically in and about these four verse bring me such joy and comfort but I think for me it gives me guidelines in determining or discerning who, is ministering the Gospel. Are they, am I really being led by the Holy Spirit? Or am I being led by my own flesh? When I see or hear people preaching in the street or subway. I ask, “Are they following these guidelines?” Are they witnessing or are they being a witness by their comportment. Can people see in them, can they see in me the indwelling of the Holy Spirit?
God also gives Isaiah a scathing indictment in chapter 42 against God’s people then, and now.
18 "Oh, how deaf and blind you are toward me! Why won't you listen? Why do you refuse to see? 19 Who in all the world is as blind as my own people, my servant? Who is as deaf as my messengers? Who is as blind as my chosen people, the servant of the LORD? 20 You see and understand what is right but refuse to act on it. You hear, but you don't really listen."
Yet, despite all of these charges, we are still God’s people because He loves us unconditionally.
But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, the one who made both groups into one and who destroyed the middle wall of partition, the hostility, when he nullified in his flesh the law of commandments in decrees. He did this to create in himself one new man out of two, thus making peace, and to reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by which the hostility has been killed. (Ephesians 2:13-16 NET.)
These are awesome verses. The Law that kept God Chosen People, the Jews, separated from the Gentiles, that’s me, was done away with. He made two different people, the ones who were given the Law and the ones who were not, into one people group. Even if we refuse to accept that Jews are God’s Original Chosen People God still sees us as One. Even if the Jews fail to accept the Gentiles as part of their family, God still sees us as One Family. We are family not because we accept and are endeared to everyone; we are family by way of Blood, the shed Blood of Jesus Christ.
For a while, I have seen alcoholic beverages as bottled “spirits.” In fact there are still stores in Manhattan that use the phrase, “Wines and Spirits” in the title that identifies their business. I live in the Borough of Brooklyn or Kings County, part of New York City, and my borough is also known as the Borough of Churches. A church building should be a place where folks get together who are filled with the Holy Spirit. However, we know that there are churches all around the world where there is no Spirit: they have a counterfeit spirit. Coupled with the “bottled” spirits we find in liquor stores and those places that operate under a counterfeit sprit these verses, at least to me, do not deal exclusively with the imbibing of many alcoholic beverages.
Whatever the choice, fake sprit or one from a bottle, the consequences are the sam, you will find yourself shipwrecked, so beware.
Posted by: R | September 22, 2007 at 08:55 PM
"When the poor and needy search for water and there is none, and their tongues are parched from thirst, then I, the LORD, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will never forsake them.
I will open up rivers for them on high plateaus. I will give them fountains of water in the valleys. In the deserts they will find pools of water. Rivers fed by springs will flow across the dry, parched ground.
I will plant trees--cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive, cypress, fir, and pine--on barren land.
Everyone will see this miracle and understand that it is the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, who did it.
"Can your idols make such claims as these? Let them come and show what they can do!" says the LORD, the King of Israel.
[Therefore beware] brethren, take care, lest there be in any one of you a wicked, unbelieving heart [which refuses to cleave to, trust in, and rely on Him], leading you to turn away and desert or stand aloof from the living God.
But instead warn (admonish, urge, and encourage) one another every day, as long as it is called Today, that none of you may be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [by the fraudulence, the stratagem, the trickery which the delusive glamor of his sin may play on him].
"I, the LORD, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness. I will guard and support you, for I have given you to my people as the personal confirmation of my covenant with them. And you will be a light to guide all nations to me.
"I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to anyone else. I will not share my praise with carved idols.
** THANK GOD!
Jesus is God’s “personal confirmation of My Covenant”. Isn’t that great!
"Oh, how deaf and blind you are toward me! Why won't you listen? Why do you refuse to see?
Who in all the world is as blind as my own people, my servant? Who is as deaf as my messengers? Who is as blind as my chosen people, the servant of the LORD?
You see and understand what is right but refuse to act on it. You hear, but you don't really listen."
How much are we—am I—like this?
“Faith without obedience and works of love is dead.”
But now, O Israel, the LORD who created you says: "Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
THANK GOD! … Jesus is with us even through our unbelief and “weakness of faith”.
May we be like the man in the Gospel of Mark who PRESSED THROUGH UNBELIEF, the man who Jesus was speaking to:
And it has often thrown him both into fire and into water, intending to kill him. But if You can do anything, do have pity on us and help us.
And Jesus said, [You say to Me], If You can do anything? [Why,] all things can be (are possible) to him who believes!
At once the father of the boy gave [an eager, piercing, inarticulate] cry with tears, and he said, Lord, I believe! [Constantly] help my weakness of faith!
But when Jesus noticed that a crowd [of people] came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, You dumb and deaf spirit, I charge you to come out of him and never go into him again.
THANK GOD! Jesus is very patient with us!
This should SPUR US to obey more!
"From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can oppose what I do. No one can reverse my actions."
I really like these questions:
“ Do you believe that you are God’s very workmanship? Do you believe you were 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 you life? ”
For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
We who believe are carefully joined together, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.
Through him you Gentiles are also joined together as part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.
We are God’s masterpiece!
May we NOT rest in the sense of being lazy! “I am God’s masterpiece—so I will REJOICE in this and do nothing!”
WE SHOULD REJOICE! BUT WE SHOULD ALSO BE ABOUT THE WORK OF THE KINGDOM!
“…He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
Posted by: Vance | September 22, 2007 at 08:55 PM
Isaiah readings (going to skip around)
I, even I, am the LORD,
and apart from me there is no savior.
I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—
I, and not some foreign god among you.
You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "that I am God.
Yes, and from ancient days I am he.
No one can deliver out of my hand.
When I act, who can reverse it?"
I know this chapter is about Israel, but they are his chosen people. Just as believers are His chosen people (remember Ephesians post from yesterday).
Look at the parallels for our salvation:
- God alone is our savior. It is not about anything we can do - it is by His grace giving us faith that we are saved by Him through Jesus Christ.
- It has been revealed to us, we are saved by God, and He proclaims it in His Word. We ARE his withesses That He alone is God.
- Assurance - no one can deliver us out of His hand. Not even we can jump ship. When He acts it is done!
This is why it is so important to know that God has and will keep His promises to Israel. If He can break His word towards Israel, then He can break His word and promises to us. God is a faithful God who will complete His works.
I will say to the north, 'Give them up!'
and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.'
Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the ends of the earth-
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made."
Again about Israel - but it is true for a believer also. We were created for His glory. that is what "God is up to" this whole time - it is not about us - it is about Him. It is for His glory - all his attributes magnified to the highest level that God went ahead with Creation - knowing there would be a turning away from God. Like Joseph said - paraphrased - 'What Satan meant for evil - God means for good.' When it appears that God suffers a setback - as time passes - it is true (sometimes revealed) that it works out for the good - and God is glorified.
"I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
"I am the LORD; that is my name!
I will not give my glory to another
or my praise to idols.
Messianic writings that talk about Jesus in this chapter and what God will do for Israel and us as believers.
He calls us into righteousness, He will keep us and conform us into the image of Christ. He will make us a light that will open the eyes of people and free them from the captivity of sin (the world).
I am the Lord; that is my name is ' I am Jehova (the existing one or "I am"); that is my name.
AND VERY IMPORTANT - He does not share His glory with anyone. If you get or agree that this is all about God's glory, then you should see that:
Salvation is not about grace and works - there is nothing we can do to earn salvation. God does not share His glory with us.
The concept of purgatory is contradicted by God not sharing His glory. We cannot spend some time in some place suffering to earn our way into heaven. It is not about anything we do - but about God.
The idea that any dead human is elevated in heavenly status to deity or near-deity would mean God would be sharing His glory. God does not share His glory, and for His glory to be magnified to fullest - NO ONE else can step in and play godlike roles.
God is big enough to handle the switchboard. The idea that we need an earthly mediator to approach God died at the cross. The idea that a dead human can approach God in heaven on our behalf denigrates Jesus' role as the only mediator in Heaven for us (believers).
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
God does not share His glory - He is BIG enough for the job.
Posted by: John | September 23, 2007 at 10:30 AM
I am at a very trying time in my life and may soon be homeless. This reading today and the things you have put together regarding it have been a great big kiss from God to me. Thank you.
Posted by: Linda | September 23, 2007 at 02:31 PM
Have you read "the Shack"? Please consider after today's proverb about wine and alcohol. I've only read the introduction, and it goes along wit what the proverbs say. Be blessed today!
Posted by: lisa | September 23, 2008 at 06:49 AM
I love the song. It sent chills down my spine. Your site is so rewarding and uplifiting. Thanks for the reminder that God is forever in our hearts!
Posted by: Emily | September 24, 2008 at 05:58 PM