Isaiah 62:6-65:25 ~ Philippians 2:19-3:3 ~ Psalm 73:1-28 ~ Proverbs 24:13-14
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Fall! And we're 3/4ths of the way through the Bible! There is something about the season of Fall and the One Year Bible readings that I just love. I think it is in part because we start to move through several Epistles in the New Testament quickly. While we do move through these Epistles in short order – and many of them are just a few chapters – please don’t brush over them too quickly. There are so many amazing teachings about our Christian faith and how our lives should be transformed as disciples of Jesus’ in these Epistles. Don’t miss these teachings! Additionally, we’re coming up to some great books in the Old Testament during this season of Fall with Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel and Daniel on deck. Last but not least, maybe I love the season of Fall and our One Year Bible readings because we have read through 3/4ths of the Bible this year and we’re now in the last 1/4th of our readings. Maybe I love the fact that we are in the "home-stretch" of our One Year Bible readings. I do want to congratulate each of you for making it this far. Press on toward the finish line here in these last 3 months! Yay God for the season of Fall! (and for those of you participating in the One Year Bible readings in the southern hemisphere – Yay God for Spring! :)
Old Testament - Today in Isaiah chapter 63 we read about God's judgment against his enemies. It is interesting dialogue in verses 1 through 3: ""It is I, the LORD, announcing your salvation! It is I, the LORD, who is mighty to save!" Why are your clothes so red, as if you have been treading out grapes? "I have trodden the winepress alone; no one was there to help me. In my anger I have trampled my enemies as if they were grapes. In my fury I have trampled my foes. It is their blood that has stained my clothes."
Isaiah chapter 64 verses 5 through 7 stood out to me as a stark reminder of why Jesus came into our world as our Savior eight centuries after this was written by Isaiah - and why we still need Jesus today as our Savior... - "But we are not godly. We are constant sinners, so your anger is heavy on us. How can people like us be saved? We are all infected and impure with sin. When we proudly display our righteous deeds, we find they are but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall. And our sins, like the wind, sweep us away. Yet no one calls on your name or pleads with you for mercy. Therefore, you have turned away from us and turned us over to our sins." Do these verses remind you of your need for Jesus? Has Jesus saved you from your constant sinning? Have you been saved from the "infection" of sin? This is great wording in these verses by Isaiah - we are all "infected" with sin... praise God that Jesus saves us from this infection! C.S. Lewis says this about Christianity being a "good infection" -
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Isaiah chapter 65 titled "The Lord's Answer: Mercy for Israel" is at this link.
New Testament - Philippians chapter 3 verse 3 is a great teaching from Paul - "For we who worship God in the Spirit are the only ones who are truly circumcised. We put no confidence in human effort. Instead, we boast about what Christ Jesus has done for us." How do you worship God? Do you worship in the Spirit? Do you put no confidence in your own human efforts? Do you today boast to others about what Jesus Christ has done for you?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Philippians chapter 2 titled "A Few Good Men" is at this link.
Psalms - Wow... Psalm 73 today is amazing! I love it. I actually had lunch with a good friend who said to me verse 13 almost verbatim - "Was it for nothing that I kept my heart pure and kept myself from doing wrong?" It was so sad for me to hear him say this... but he obviously is not alone. The Psalmist thought this too, and I imagine each of us might feel like this is at times. Praise God that the Psalmist rallies, as hopefully do we, in verse 23 - "Yet I still belong to you; you are holding my right hand." And then I absolutely love where he goes with verse 26 - "My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever." I can quickly think of people in our world today where this verse 26 is so applicable... let us pray that those in time of failing health and spirit have God remain the strength of their heart!
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Psalm 73 titled "Is Your Spiritual Vision 20/20?" is at this link.
Proverbs - I like Proverbs 24 verse 14 a lot to day - "Wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short." I don't know about you, but I want wisdom. I want a bright future with God. I don't want my hopes to be cut short. I want to be with God forever. I believe the Bible is the place I will find the wisdom I so crave. I do not think there is really anything else that will provide the True wisdom that I so desperately crave here on this material earth other than the Bible... What about you? Do you crave wisdom? Do you believe that wisdom is sweet to your soul? What out there will give you more wisdom than the Bible? Do you look forward to finding wisdom in the Bible today, tomorrow, and every day into your golden years?
YouTube - Today's readings remind me of the song "A Better Way" by the band Downhere:
Please join me in memorizing a verse of Scripture today:
"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:26 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!
Three things that can divide Christians:
Critical attitude towards others; selfishness and conceit.
How to deal with them:
Critical attitude: If any encouragement in Christ or any fellowship in the Spirit - THEN remember what you share in Christ with other Christians and act on that fact. Know that God is working in their lives also.
Jumping ahead to Phil 4:8 Paul says it beautifully:
"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." NIV
Selfishness: Deliberately look to the interests of others.
Conceit: "consider others better than yourselves". Allow that another may be more faithful to God at his/her stage than you are at yours. Allowing that possibility quickly deflates the "balloon of conceit".
The Secret of Humility
[***I have com to look at these verses a little differently***]
Paul is writing these verses as a prelude to discussing the quarrelsome differences between two ladies in the church of Philippi. When people are quarreling, the path to peace is to seek humility.
"When non-Christians quarrel, all that is possible is compromise, which is really a way of perpetuating pride on an agreed level, what we call "saving face".... Christians can achieve peace--not merely a truce, or cold war, or an agreed settlement, but peace, which is a mutual sense of wrongdoing. Mutual-did you get that word? Each person acknowledging they have contributed to it, and burying the past in forgiveness. The result is a deeper sense of acceptance than ever before." - Ray Stedman
"YOUR ATTITUDE SHOULD BE THE SAME AS THAT OF JESUS CHRIST."
Not imitating Christ's attitude, but having his attitude.
1) Christ gave up the right to enjoy the rights of God. Christ did not give up His deity, He emptied Himself of every expression of Deity. ["He did not come to manifest what God was like. He came to show us what man ought to be." (Ray Stedman)]
Note: Christ only expressed the Words of the Father, and I believe worked miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit.
2) Humility - If all Christ did was show how man ought to be - then we would have the perfect example, but alas, one we could never be. No, in addition Jesus also assumed all the indignity, the injury, and hurt, all the rejection of an unbelieving world himself, WITHOUT COMPLAINT.
That is the key WITHOUT COMPLAINT. Remember, Christ was misunderstood by family, called a "bastard" all through his life, betrayed, deserted by friends, etc. and in the end suffered the worst method of execution ever invented. His ending is our beginning.
Paul, I think is saying, remember the attitude of Christ when you are having a quarrel with brethren. Just like Christ - give up your rights, and endure the injustice. Then you will find peace.
3) Because Christ gave up His rights, and endured extreme injustice - He was glorified by God. (vs. 9-11).
When we give up our rights and endure injustice (like Christ) we too shall achieve the victory and peace and be exalted by our Father at the appropriate time.
Phil 2:13 "for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."
[Note: All the verbs and infinitives are in the Present Active cases. God is doing the actions and it is ONGOING.]
In the previous verse, Paul tells the church to keep working on their salvation (sanctification) and do it with "fear and trembling".
Why with fear and trembling? Perhaps it is because on our own we know we cannot get very far along the path of "righteousness".
"..For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out." NIV
We shall continue to live and make choices, but be secure in the knowledge that God is at work in you, and He knows what He is doing. We should believe that and quit thinking we can screw things up. That our "will" can supersede God's Will. Believe in God and His power.
Remember back to chapter 1:6 - "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Posted by: John | September 27, 2007 at 07:46 PM
[If one accepts that at the end of chapter 59 that God is referring to Israel (Jacob), and his covenant (promises to Abraham)with Israel, then it follows that chapter 60 is talking about the blessings that will come to Israel at the Second Coming of Christ and the fulfillment of the covenant(s)with Israel.]
It is about the blessings accorded to "them". Again, since it is Isaiah talking to Israel, and for the other aforementioned reasons - this is about Israel.
Perhaps some interesting things for some people here on the blog:
We have talked about the kinsmen-redeemer before - Heb. "goel". Many acknowledge the role of the kinsman-redeemer as being the blood relative that can redeem one from slavery. (Lev 25:25). but few realize that the same word - "goel" - is used in Numbers 35 as the "avenger of blood".
In his first coming Christ, our kinsman-redeemer, provided the method for redemption. At His second - He will be the "avenger of blood", and destroy the wicked.
Is60:2a "See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples"
Perhaps it is as Amos says in Amos8:11
"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:"
Perhaps it is a spiritual darkness. Why can't anyone hear the words of the Lord???? because the Church is gone (Rapture),and perhaps the Holy Spirit also (not sure on this???) and there is no one to proclaim God's Word.
Is60:6 "The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense;"
Interesting. At Christ's first coming the gifts were gold (for kings), frankincense (for High priest), and myrrh (for prophet/embalming ointment).
Here Christ is ruling, and he receives gifts for High Priest and king, but no myrrh. Why? Because their is no need for a prophet now (Christ lives with us), and death is behind Him having been conquered at resurrection.
BTW: the Hebrew word for incense in IS 60 is literally translated "frankincense".
Is 60:21 "Then will all your people be righteous
and they will possess the land forever.
They are the shoot I have planted,
the work of my hands,
for the display of my splendor."
All this is being done not because of any merit on Israel's part - but because God will keep His Word. All these things display the power and sovereignty of God, and it is to His glory and splendor that this comes about.
As Ramona mentioned Christ reads from this passage in Luke 4:18-21, and Jesus said, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
Notice Jesus stopped in the middle of verse 2. The fulfillment was in the coming of the lamb - the redemptive mission of God. Jesus stopped in the middle of the verse because "and the day of vengeance of our God" is yet to come. The Lion of Judah has not returned - yet.
More on blessings until we get to:
IS61:10a "I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness"
Who clothed us? Who provides Salvation? Who provides justification (righteousness)?
God does - salvation is of God. Man can not cloth himself in (provide for his)salvation, nor can we achieve righteousness through any actions on our part. We can not be righteous. We must wear his robe of righteousness through the blood of Christ.
Posted by: John | September 27, 2007 at 07:47 PM
I've always struggled with the prophet Isaiah because it is such a long book, my mind tends to wander after hearing about the destruction and restoration of Israel told and retold... Blogging about this is new to me and reading other opinions and views helps to break it down "Barney" style (as in Barney the purple dinosaur). Reading Isaiah was a little easier this time and I hope I'll be able to do better with the remaining major and minor prophets. Keep up the good work.
Posted by: Jim | September 27, 2007 at 07:47 PM
God’s people, even though they, God’s people, turn their back on God, He is still their God. Though some of His people come to destruction because of their choices, He still keeps a remnant. And even in their sins, our sins, God provided for our Salvation.
For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Savior. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bore them, and carried them all the days of old. (Isaiah 63:8-9 KJV).
While we are in so much sin, God carries us just like the poem, Foot Steps. While we shake our puny little fists at God, He still provides a way of escape for us that is not of our own making. For me it is almost unfathomable in my understanding that God will not hold our sins against us when we accept His Salvation—Glory be to God who Loves us with an everlasting Love.
Posted by: R | September 27, 2007 at 07:47 PM
"Did you notice something about these two men, Timothy and Epaphroditus--two quite different personalities, weren't they? But the same essential character in each, for the secret of these two men is not that they struggled and tried to live heroic lives with a devil-may-care attitude. But shining through each man's life is the splendor of Jesus Christ. Their personalities, you see, were not destroyed. They were enhanced by the presence of Christ.
When Jesus Christ comes into your life, he doesn't come to destroy your personality. He does destroy your ego, and it's good for it to go-that independent self that seeks always to be the center of the stage. He will wage relentless, unending war against that, and the weapon he uses is the cross, those hardships and trials and humiliating experiences which he brings you through that brings that ego to an end. It puts it where God put it-on the cross, in the place of death. He does not destroy the essential man; he indwells it, he enhances it, he glorifies it." - Ray Stedman
"Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh—" NIV
The Greek word contrasts between "circumcision" and "mutilators of the flesh" tells us that Paul is refering to Jewish converts that were legalists. Teaching a combination of the Law with Christianity.
1) Dogs (Gk. "Kuon")- this is not your cute little pet dog, that is another Greek word. These are the dogs of the street.
These are the dogs outside the gates in (Rev22:15), the ones who licked Lazarus' sores (Luke16:21), and whom we are not to give that which is holy (Matt7:6). In a derogative fashion the Jews universally called the Gentiles this type of "dog".
"Dogs roamed the streets. Dogs were scrounges, they were scavengers. They roamed in packs....Would literally prowl the ancient streets without an owner and without home, they would feed on the garbage, on the filth. They would fight one another. They would attack people. - John MacArthur
Dogs of the street ate stuff that was once good and useful (like the Law), but now was useless and had been thrown out. They attacked, just as the "dogs" would follow Paul and attack his teaching.
2) men who do evil - in the KJV "beware of evil workers". They pride themselves on being workers of righteousness. And Pride is the root of the problem. By teaching a list of do's and don'ts, they are trying to please God - but it is rooted in pride. That (religious) man alone can devise ways to please God or earn His favor is false teaching.
Romayne's friend is right. It is only by the grace of God that we can do "good" things. Only in "knowing" Christ (Matt 7:21-23)If I ran across a church that had lists of "do's"; I would head for the exit fast. That church misses the point of being "in Christ".
(Again) Paul in Romans 7:18 said - he wanted to do good but he could not. We need to depend on the grace of God, the Holy Spirit, and not some list of "do's", ritualistic ceremonies, or formulaic prayer. If we depend on the grace of God - the "do's" will come, the ceremonies would be more meaningful, and the prayer more heartfelt.
3)mutilators of the flesh - Ouch. Originally Circumcision was meant to recognize a person as belonging to God. Because of the false teaching that one could come to God through circumcision, Paul here says it is of no more value than the Baal prophets who mutilated (gashed themselves) on Mt. Carmel in the confrontation with Elijah.
Rom2:29b "...and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code.
"Leviticus 26:41 talks about the circumcised heart. Deuteronomy 10:16, the circumcised heart. Deuteronomy 30 verse 6, the circumcised heart. Jeremiah 4:4, the circumcised heart. Ezekiel 44:7, the circumcised heart. That starts all the way back in Exodus 6...Leviticus, Deuteronomy, the Pentateuch already when God said, "I want an outward sign," He was saying, "I also want an inward reality." A circumcised foreskin can only be a sign of the need for a circumcised heart, a cleansed heart. But it wasn't long after God instituted it that they had already begun to deteriorate and that's why you have those passages where God says circumcise your hearts. That's why those are there because already the thing began to deteriorate and all they were living by was the physical sign and disregarding the spiritual counterpart."
So - "it is we who are the circumcision".
We who worship in the Spirit of God. Not like the dogs who feed on the discarded refuse of the streets, but we feed on the Word of God.
["But he answered and said, it is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matt:4:4 also in Deut8:2-3 and Luke4:4)]
It is "we" who glory in Christ. The works we do are initiated by God and by knowing Jesus Christ - that the glory may be His.
"we" who put no confuidence in the flesh - for outward signs mean nothing if we are not changed internally - and that can only happen through Christ.
Posted by: John | September 27, 2007 at 07:48 PM
Thanks Mike for your ongoing loving coaching and prodding through the year to finish well, and to be consistent and attentive in our readings. All the 'extras' YOU TAKE TIME TO PROVIDE US with serve us OYBERS :) well to keep up this vital spiritual discipline of scripture reading/meditation and application.
you are like timothy of whom Paul said, "I have no one like him genuinely cares for your welfare for they all seek after t heir own interests not those of Jesus Christ. ONe of Jesus' great interests for us is stated in Matt 4:4 "People do not live by bread alone but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God." Your web site helps us not have any excuse for feeding ourselves.
bless you bro
Posted by: luciano Del Monte | October 01, 2007 at 04:20 AM
The LORD has made proclamation
to the ends of the earth:
"Say to the Daughter of Zion,
'See, your Savior comes!
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.' "
And then comes the end, and I think this is Jesus' second coming - where "his reward is with Him" is the believing Christians, who were chosen and given by the Father as a love gift to Christ - his brothers and sisters and co-heirs to heaven. There will be tens perhaps hundreds of millions (maybe even billions) of saved sould arriving with Christ at Second Coming.
His recompense or "work" that is before Him - I believe that is the eradication of evil on earth, the final destruction of all non-believers.
Who is this coming from Edom,
from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson?
Who is this, robed in splendor,
striding forward in the greatness of his strength?
"It is I, speaking in righteousness,
mighty to save."
If you are coming from Edom and Bozrah then you pass near Petra. This is where many (myself included) think the remnant of Jewish people escaping the Anti-Christ willl be holed up. It is here where the anti-Christ will attack with a huge army to try and destroy the remnant and make God a liar. This is Jesus' battle. He alone will trod the winepresses in wrath against this army. It will be easy enough - with just a "Word" from His mouth, but the result will be total bloody anihilation of the enemy forces. Thus the reason Jesus' robe is metaphorically or literally stained red with blood.
"I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me;
I was found by those who did not seek me.
To a nation that did not call on my name,
I said, 'Here am I, here am I.'
Verse 1 refers to the Gentiles, and verse 2 on to Israel.
This is the picture of Salvation. It is about God - not us. It is the mystery Paul refers to in ephesians where Gentiles and Jews will be saved. The Gentles were not seeking or asking for God - we are ALL sheep gones astray - byt God reveals, God saves, there is nothing we can do to earn Salvation - we must turn to God when He draws us, Repent, and confess Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
Posted by: John | October 01, 2007 at 03:40 PM
"For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh—" - NIV
Rememeber Jesus' conversation with the Samaritan woman:
"Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
Paul is warning against people who want to tie the Law or rules to a Christian - thus making works necessary to maintain salvation.
As Jesus and Paul say - it is WE (believers) who are correctly circumcised - that is in the heart. It is we who acknowledge the Father-child role and yield to God and access the Spirit. This makes us able to worship God in the Spirit. If you do not believe, you are not a child of God, you cannot access the Spirit, and there is no way you can worship in the Spirit.
Jesus mentions the "true" worshippers worship in the Spirit and the truth. The Spirit part is explained above, the "truth" is Christ (I am the way the truth and the life....). We worship in the Spirit because we (believers) are the children of God, and we abide in Christ and He in us - thus we also worship in the "truth" (Jesus).
Posted by: John | October 01, 2007 at 03:50 PM
Psalm 73:26 is the scripture that sits atop my computer.... to remind me that its not about what my flesh can do or even my heart believe. My flesh will fail and my heart doubt or be divided... but his relentless love pursues me and strengthens my heart. So it's not because of anything I have done or said, and in spite of all the things I have done and said.... I come away undertanding afresh that HE is my portion the truest love I will ever know.
Posted by: Rita | October 02, 2007 at 10:27 AM
Dear Mike, just want to say you have been a real blessing. You have shared so much with us in all these months. You made this journey so interesting. May the Lord anoint you daily for the work He has called you to. And may He minister to you and your family in your every need. I pray the Lord raise up many more faithful Mikes thru your ministry.Jessy, from Mumbai,India
Posted by: Jessy Daniels | September 30, 2008 at 10:10 PM
thanks mike for your faithfulness and ongoing encouragement to keep on keeping on. I am enjoying this round of readings and especially loved the c. s. lewis quote on 'good infection' that you posted.
Posted by: luciano Del Monte | October 01, 2008 at 03:52 AM
Hi, I have enjoy the daily reading, it gives me inspiration to go on even in these trying times. my problem seem like your site has change. I can't get the full site in with the all of the daily scripture. has it change. charlotte.
Posted by: charlotte King | October 01, 2008 at 05:17 AM