Isaiah 39:1-41:16 ~ Ephesians 1:1-23 ~ Psalm 66:1-20 ~ Proverbs 23:25-28
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Old Testament - Today in Isaiah chapter 39 we read about Hezekiah receiving envoys from Babylon. Unfortunately, he is a bit too hospitable with these envoys! He believes showing off his wealth will prove that he has worldly power and that the Babylonians will respect him and Judah. Isaiah sees that Hezekiah is relying on worldly wealth and not God, and Isaiah delivers a word from God that Judah will be exiled to Babylon Indeed, this comes true in 115 years in the future from when Isaiah delivers this word in this chapter. We will read more about the Babylonian exile later in this year’s One Year Bible readings. How about us, in our lives today – do we try to impress people with our worldly wealth or toys or stuff, like Hezekiah was trying to impress the Babylonians? And further, do we actually try to rely on this worldly stuff rather than rely on God?
You'll notice that our readings in Isaiah today take on a new tone in chapter 40. Isaiah chapters 1 through 35 were prophesies against Judah and Jerusalem, chapters 36 through 39 were prophesies against Assyria and a foretelling of the rise of Babylon, and now in chapters 40 through 66 we will be reading about Judah and Jerusalem as if the Babylonian exile was nearly over. This week in Isaiah chapters 40 & 42 we will read some amazing prophecies about Jesus. (I get chills reading some of the verses in these chapters realizing they were written in the 8th century B.C. . .) Do you see a foretelling of John the Baptist today in chapter 40 verses 3 through 5: "Listen! I hear the voice of someone shouting, "Make a highway for the LORD through the wilderness. Make a straight, smooth road through the desert for our God. Fill the valleys and level the hills. Straighten out the curves and smooth off the rough spots. Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together."
Below is a great image for Isaiah 40:8 from today's readings!
New Testament - Today we begin Paul's letter to the church in Ephesus! The map below shows where Ephesus is located, as well as other churches Paul wrote epistles to:
~ Ephesians ~
Author: Paul the apostle
Date: A.D. 60 or 61
Content: Paul wrote this letter while a prisoner in Rome, his purpose being to comfort and encourage the believers in Asia Minor. He presents them with an overview of history, beginning in eternity past where God worked out his plans for the world, moving to the present where God is saving those who believe in Christ, and then to the future where all evil will be overcome. He points out that in the present there will be great conflict because our battle is with the forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12), but because we are members of Christ’s body, we have the power to withstand. Paul then deals with practical matters relating to living the Christian life: marriage, behavior, parents and children, and servants.
Theme: The basic idea in Ephesians is that God’s eternal plan is being worked out through Christ and his body, the church. When a man believes, he is in Christ and finds salvation and safety. God had planned for this from all eternity and has given to the believer everything that he needs for his Christian life, but it is for him to avail himself of the resources at his command. Paul closes the book by describing the provision that God has made for the believer so that he may withstand the worst of Satan’s attacks and when the battle is over, to be victorious. (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” p. 26) More great commentary on Ephesians is at this link.
There are so many amazing verses in Ephesians chapter 1 today! I love verse 18: "I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the wonderful future he has promised to those he called. I want you to realize what a rich and glorious inheritance he has given to his people." How does this verse speak to you? Is your heart flooded with light today? Do you believe that your heart can indeed be flooded with light so that you can understand your wonderful future in Christ? I love this imagery of our hearts being flooded with light! Let Jesus' light flood us today!
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Ephesians titled "The Hope of Glory" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 66 verses 1 & 2 are awesome! "Shout joyful praises to God, all the earth! Sing about the glory of his name! Tell the world how glorious he is." Do you tell the world about how glorious God is? How do you do this? Think these kids below might be singing & shouting joyfully to God? Think there is anything we might be able to learn from these kids? :)
Proverbs - Proverbs 23 verse 26 today is fantastic - "O my son, give me your heart. May your eyes delight in my ways of wisdom." Can you imagine God saying this Proverb to you? What does it mean to give God your heart? How does one do this? Have you fully given God your heart? Are your eyes delighting in the ways of God's wisdom?
Worship God: The "flood" language in Ephesians 1:18 reminded me of the Jars of Clay song "Flood" that put them on the map many years ago! Lift Me Up!
Per Ephesians 1:18, has your heart been flooded by light? Click here for God's holy flood!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture this week: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23 (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!