Isaiah 51:1-53:12 ~ Ephesians 5:1-33 ~ Psalm 69:19-36 ~ Proverbs 24:7
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Old Testament - Isaiah chapter 53 is one of the most powerful chapters of the Bible - and one of the saddest to really meditate upon. Isaiah chapter 53 is all about Jesus! This is a powerful chapter to read... I'm sure you likely caught that this chapter was about Jesus when you first read it, but if not, please re-read the chapter again and do you see how Isaiah is prophesying Jesus' passion and death? It is astounding to realize these words of Isaiah's were written in 8th century B.C. Verse 5 tells us: "But he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed!" Do you believe that the words of Isaiah's in chapter 53 today are about Jesus? Do you believe that Jesus was wounded and crushed for your sins? Was he beaten that you might have peace? Are you healed because Jesus was whipped and then murdered on a cross?
Verse 7: "He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth."
Verse 8: "From prison and trial they led him away to his death. But who among the people realized that he was dying for their sins--that he was suffering their punishment?"
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Isaiah chapter 52 and 53 titled "The Triumph of the Suffering Servant" is at this link. Below is a great image for Isaiah 53:6 from today's readings:
New Testament - Ephesians chapter 5 is such an incredible chapter! I know I won't do it justice in this blog posting. There is so much I could dive into in nearly every verse. Actually, I will share this with you. I met with my Pastor a couple of days ago. And he shared with me that he is currently memorizing the entire book of Ephesians! I had shared with him that I'm just starting to memorize Scripture verses - and to invite you along with me on this journey at the bottom of each daily blog posting. Well, you know how Pastors are - they're always a step ahead! And my Pastor is memorizing the entire book of Ephesians... wow. He shared with me that as he's memorizing Ephesians he is amazed how some of the words and meanings of words of Scripture are coming alive to him in new ways! I believe it. I'm curious if anyone reading this today has ever memorized an entire book of the Bible? Or even a chapter? Please post up in the comments below if you have? I have actually downloaded 1 Corinthians 13 onto my Blackberry and I am hoping to memorize that chapter soon! Okay, back to Ephesians chapter 5. You know how I enjoy posting up YouTube videos these days, so I of course loved reading verses 19 & 20, which you'll see in this image below! :)
Ephesians 5:1-2 touches on a theme I've been thinking a lot about lately - living a life of love! - "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (NIV) Have you ever meditated on what it means to live a life of love? I have occasionally. But I'm starting to camp out on this thought a lot more these days. I think it's in large part due to the impact 1 Corinthians 13 has had on me this past year. And it certainly fits in well with Jesus saying the 2 most important commandments are to love God and love people. But perhaps most significantly, I've been trying to live out this thought of "living a life of love" in real life a bit more these days. I definitely don't have it all figured out by a long shot! But I think living a life of love is something we should all seek. Not strive for. But seek. Or maybe "receive" is the better word. I think we can receive from Jesus the ability to live a life of love. I don't think we can get there on our own power. So, there's a lot more I could write about what I've been thinking about in regards to living a life of love. But let me at this point just encourage you to think about this concept. Living a life of love. Do you want to live a life of love? Think you can do this on your own? Or will you invite Jesus and the Holy Spirit into this process each and every day? How does 1 Corinthians 13 speak to you these days?
Ephesians chapter 5 verse 17 really stood out to me today: "Don't act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do." I am wondering how often each of acts thoughtlessly? I am afraid in my case it is far too often. I can sometimes sleep-walk through my day - or even days - or even weeks... and miss the point of life completely when doing so! Paul teaches us here to try to understand what the Lord wants us to do. Why would we want to try to understand this? I think in large part so we no longer act thoughtlessly! I'm afraid we are far too often a thoughtless people in how we live our lives & how we waste so much time in our very short lives this side of heaven... How about you? Are you acting thoughtlessly at all these days? Will you seek to understand what God wants you to do? And then will you go do it and leave your thoughtless ways behind?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Ephesians titled "The Meaning of Christian Marriage" is at this link. Below is a nice image for Ephesians 5:21 from today's readings:
Psalms - I love Psalm 69 verse 33 today - "For the LORD hears the cries of his needy ones; he does not despise his people who are oppressed." God hears the cries of his needy ones. Perhaps the question is then, do we hear the cries of God's needy ones? Do we hear the cries of those starving today? Sick from lack of clean water? Suffering from HIV / AIDS? Spiritually poor? Needing a friend? How is the soil of our hearts if we are not hearing these cries? Should we be hearing these cries? And if we do hear them, what then should we do? Remember Jesus' words in Matthew chapter 25 verses 34-36: "‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’"
Proverbs - Proverbs 24 verse 7 is actually a bit convicting for me - "Wisdom is too much for a fool." I'm not sure if you've ever experienced this, but there have been times when I honestly have not been able to read or digest the Bible. I mean, there are times when I can kind of work my way through reading the Bible, but nothing is sticking. And obviously the Bible is wisdom... I then wonder if at times I am a fool? I don't think I'm a chronic fool... :) But, truly, sometimes I do dumb stuff or live in a dumb season and in retrospect I was acting like a fool in those seasons. And in those foolish seasons wisdom was too much for me... I do ultimately think Jesus / God / the Bible / wisdom brought me out of those foolish seasons. But let us pray that we don't enter into seasons of life where we are acting like a fool, and where wisdom is too much for us. Being a fool is no way to live this beautiful life God has called us to!
Worship God: I'm sure many of you have heard on K-LOVE recently "By His Wounds" by Mac Powell, Mark Hall, Steven Curtis Chapman and Brian Littrell. This song is based on Isaiah 53 verse 5 from today's readings. It is a beautiful song about our beautiful Savior Jesus. Here's a live version of the song:
By His wounds, have you been healed? Click here to be healed!
Please join me in memorizing a verse of Scripture today:
"He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." Isaiah 53:5 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!