Isaiah 22:1-24:23 ~ Galatians 2:17-3:9 ~ Psalm 60:1-12 ~ Proverbs 23:15-16
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Old Testament - Today in Isaiah chapter 23 we read a message about Tyre. Ancient Tyre was a city on the seacoast of Phoenicia and is still a city today in modern day southern Lebanon. In the days of the prophet Isaiah, it was a major trading center, wealthy and full of corruption. Tyre was also rebuked by the prophets Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Amos, and Zechariah - books that we'll read later this year in the One Year Bible. A good history & overview of ancient and modern day Tyre is at this website link. Below is a map of modern day Lebanon that shows the location of Tyre. And below that is a modern day picture of Tyre's ancient ruins. Some more great images of ancient Tyre's ruins are at this link.
Isaiah chapter 24 today begins 4 chapters of judgment and blessing in the final days! The time of God's final victory over evil. There is some pretty "heavy" stuff to consider about the last days when reading this chapter, to say the least. But, I absolutely love the way the chapter ends - as God's story truly will end as we'll read about more in the book of Revelation later this year - with verses 21 through 24: "In that day the LORD will punish the fallen angels in the heavens and the proud rulers of the nations on earth. They will be rounded up and put in prison until they are tried and condemned. Then the LORD Almighty will mount his throne on Mount Zion. He will rule gloriously in Jerusalem, in the sight of all the leaders of his people. There will be such glory that the brightness of the sun and moon will seem to fade away." Are you looking forward to this moment of the Lord's final victory?
New Testament - Paul's message in Galatians chapter 3 verses 6 through 9 is very good news to the 1st century Gentiles and to you and me today too! "In the same way, "Abraham believed God, so God declared him righteous because of his faith." The real children of Abraham, then, are all those who put their faith in God. What's more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would accept the Gentiles, too, on the basis of their faith. God promised this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, "All nations will be blessed through you." And so it is: All who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith." Do you believe that you can share in the same blessing Abraham received? How? Are you a spiritual descendent of Abraham? Why? What do Paul's words "faith in Christ" mean to you? Is this all very good news to you? Below is a painting from the year 1850 by Hungarian artist Jozsef Molnar of "Abraham's journey from Ur to Canaan":
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Galatians titled "The Cost of Changing Course" is at this link. Below is a great image - nice take off from the "Intel Inside" graphic! - from Galatians 2:20 in today's readings:
Psalms - I like the imagery of Psalm 60 verse 4 a lot - "But you have raised a banner for those who honor you -- a rallying point in the face of attack." I do believe that if we honor God, he will in some profound way "raise up a banner" for us. A banner that will rally and encourage us in the face of attack - in the face of doubt or despair or sickness or just plain old fashioned attack from the Enemy - I believe God will give us a banner of hope. This banner could end up being one of a million different things I think, depending on the circumstances. For me, certainly a banner that rallies me each and every day is God's very Word, the Bible. I believe the Bible is indeed a banner that rallies us in the face of attack... What are some banners in your life that God is providing to rally you in the face of attack? Uh-oh, this whole banner imagery has reminded me of an old childhood song... :) Remember that children's song that goes something like this (over and over and over again...) - "Peter built the church on the rock of our faith. HIS banner over me is love."? What a great simple song! God's love very well should be a banner in our lives!
Proverbs - When I read Proverbs 23 verses 15 & 16 today I felt like God was saying this directly to me - "My child, how I will rejoice if you become wise. Yes, my heart will thrill when you speak what is right and just." Yes, it's true that I do not believe I am wise! Isn't it a Proverb that says something like "be not wise in thine own eyes"? Wise advice... :) Truly, I love the thought of actually someday being wise. On my better days, I seek after wisdom. But I'm not there yet by a long shot. So, I guess today's Proverb seemed to be a bit of encouragement to me from God. Do you believe that God will rejoice if you become wise? Do you believe that God's heart will thrill when you speak what is right and just?
Worship God: Okay, I am having way too much fun with YouTube these days! Based on my Psalm reflection above, I went hunting for my old childhood song "His Banner Over Me Is Love" and found out that this song is alive and well today! I found a ton of great videos of people singing this song, but it came down to 1 video I just had to share with you. The video is about 90 seconds long and just incredibly cute as you'll see.
Is God's banner over you? Click here and get under God's banner of love!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20 (NIV)
Prayer Point: Pray that you have been crucified with Christ. Pray that Christ lives in you. Pray that you are living this life in your body by faith in Jesus, who loves you and gave Himself for you. Pray that your friends, family, and neighbors would come to fully know this Truth.
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!