Friday, September 30: Isaiah 32-A day is coming when.

I know we have to live in the moment. I must live today, September 30, 2011, as best I can. I cannot relive yesterday or any day gone by. Neither can I live tomorrow or any day in the future. The only day I can live is today, making the most of what the Lord gives me and brings my way today.

I can, however, take some moments of today and dream about tomorrow. Now much of our dreaming is little more than projecting our hopes on to the future. But the beauty of scripture and faith in God, who is Lord of time, and who know the future as well as the present, is that He occasionally gives us glimpses into the future. Today’s passage begins with such a glimpse. God allows Isaiah to…

See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice. Each man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land. Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those who hear will listen. The mind of the rash will know and understand, and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear. No longer will the fool be called noble nor the scoundrel be highly respected (1-5)...

When you can feel the pounding of boots of an invading army marching closer, a picture such as God gave, gives hope.

God reminds Jerusalem that a day is coming… a glorious day when His anointed King will reign.

There are days and times when I think about heaven, God’s promise of eternity to His faithful people. Heaven, a place we will live for eternity, where there will be no more tears or morning or crying or pain… (Rev 21:4). Thoughts of God’s grand future have carried me and other believers through countless crises.

As I read about the promised righteous king, thoughts of Jesus’ return and perfect kingdom being established, fill my musings… a delightful and invigorating few minutes and an escape from the daily grind that life can sometimes be…

Lord God, thank You that You have prepared a place for me, and all who love and serve You, in eternity. Thank You that my future in heaven is guaranteed, by Jesus and the Spirit. Thank You for the hope this provides me today.

Now renewed and invigorated, help me to live today faithfully in Your service and for Your glory. In and through Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


Thursday, September 29: Isaiah 31- Return.

Yes, God is angry that Israel has run to Egypt and not turned to God. Yes, God will punish but God’s intent and desire is not to obliterate his people but to redeem them. God’s desire is that they will return to Him.

Return to him you have so greatly revolted against, O Israelites (6) cries Isaiah on God’s behalf.

God seeks relationship. Even after being ‘dissed’ time and again, God longs for His children to turn and return home to Him. To this day God shines with this character of relentless love. Like the prodigal father (Luke 15), God longs for His wayward son or daughter to head home. The author of Hebrews reminds us, Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness (Heb 12:10). Discipline is never pleasant but its goal is to produce holiness.

Before your time ends with the Lord, take a few moments to see if there are aspects of your life that warrants God’s discipline? Could you make changes before His discipline begins?

Do you feel as if God is already disciplining you? If so, spend some time with Him right now, asking Him what He sees and where you need to grow and be transformed into the likeness of Jesus…

God’s Word today is that He is calling you home, to a deepened relationship with Him.  See you at home.

O, Lord, I cling to Your love for me. Teach me Your ways, that I might honor You in how I live. Jesus, my Jesus, I will follow You till the end. Amen.


Wednesday, September 28: Isaiah 30- The challenge of life

It seems every other page of the Bible contains a word about reliance.  What and upon whom do we rely? God lambasts his children for relying on Egypt, for trusting that Egypt will protect them from the approaching Assyrians. Israel did what most would do; they assessed the situation and decided that an alliance with Egypt was their best course of action.

Problem is, they didn’t seek God on this decision. God puts it this way: "Woe to the obstinate children," declares the LORD, "to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh's protection, to Egypt's shade for refuge. But Pharaoh's protection will be to your shame, Egypt's shade will bring you disgrace (1-3).

I have pondered and written about the personal application of a word like this many times. Who/what do I (do you) rely upon in times of trouble, stress and uncertainty?

Interestingly, my thoughts for this morning revolved around the ‘corporate’ nature of this passage. I pondered nations and corporations and churches, groups of people who face troubling and uncertain times. What and upon whom do they rely?

Sadly, the answer seems to be the same today as it was in Isaiah’s day.  They rely upon their best thinking. They rely upon human wisdom. And clearly in today’s world of political correctness, never is God invoked or relied upon in national or corporate decision making. “In God we trust” minted on US coins, means nothing. It is a phrase from a by-gone era, and it may never have truly meant the God of the Bible, Who is sovereign over all. It may have been a deist truncated-god who created the world but then left it to run on its own. (I’ll leave this debate for historians. I have my opinions).

More troubling to me is the church, local and denominations, which seem to rely less and less on the wisdom of God’s infallible scriptures, prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit than on ‘best practices’ and human ingenuity. How sad this is, how far we have fallen, how much like Israel of old we are…

O, God, I fall on my face, confessing I do this., I follow my wisdom and neglect to seek Yours… how sin-filled I am. All I can do is beg Your mercy and seek Your correction so that I may grow more faithful as I age…

And, Lord, in the world beyond myself, all I can do is pledge to seek You as I partner in corporate decisions, whether those of the companies & organizations of which I am part or of my nation. Lord, I cannot control how others come to their thoughts or conclusions, all I can do is come to mine through seeking You and then speak my conclusions as best I can in the forums available to me. Lord, may I do this faithfully to You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


Tuesday, September 27: Isaiah 29- Pretending.

In gold rush days, prospectors panning for gold knew that every goldish shinny nugget was not gold. They couldn’t be fooled by outward appearance. They needed to check each nugget thoroughly.

Woes continue… like the words of judgment and destruction before woes mound upon woes.  A telling word came in verses 13&15. The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. … Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their work in darkness and think, "Who sees us? Who will know?"

How easy it is to pretend; to pretend to be someone or something we are not, to talk of God, to honor the Lord with choice words in particular settings. And yet it is all pretense and pretending. The word ‘hypocrite’ sounds harsh but that is what it really is… pretending, play acting because our hearts are far from God.

God calls Jerusalem on this.  As God’s Words ring out toward Jerusalem, they double back and fly at me…

Am I true to God in word and deed? Am I true to God in word, attitude and heart? I know I am not perfect but there is a HUGE difference between being a sinner and being a pretender. These verses are about pretenders…

Lord, search me and know me. Look deep, clean out the sin and imperfections within me, which are many. Refine me that I may glorify You. Amen.



Monday, September 26: Isaiah 28- A glimmer of hope

In a chapter filled with woe and destruction, a glimmer glows in verse 16.  So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.

A cornerstone sets the foundation… a cornerstone supports the structure. Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of this glimmer. Jesus is the cornerstone of faith.

Have you put your faith in Jesus? Are you building your life on Jesus? He is the precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.

Lord Jesus, I surrender all… all to Jesus I surrender. I surrender all to You, Jesus. Amen


Saturday, September 24: Isaiah 27- Saved to worship.

The last few chapters have been describing the day when the Lord settles accounts, defeats enemies, and restores Israel, His people.  The awesome and mighty day of the Lord. The last verse of the chapter provides an intriguing concluding snapshot of ‘that day.’ And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the LORD on the holy mountain in Jerusalem (13).

The great triumph of that day is that God’s people will gather from all across the earth and worship the LORD! Worship is our crowning glory and our highest accomplishment/task/duty.

I thought about that picture, ‘that day’, when the salvation of the Lord is ultimately accomplished and worship will be our delight. ‘That day’ is the day when no inhibitions or concerns will dampen the worship of the Lord. ‘That day’ is God’s day when the inhabitants of His earth will sing His praise as it was meant to be from the beginning.

Tomorrow we will gather as a community of faith on the Lord’s Day to worship God. I caught a glimpse of our worship tomorrow as a rehearsal for the grand and glorious day in the future. Thinking of Sunday worship here on earth as rehearsal for ‘that great and awesome day’ gives weekly worship an interesting feel…

Think about it as you prepare today for your worship tomorrow.

All glory laud and honor to the redeemer king…

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty the King of creation…

Praise the name of Jesus.  Praise the name of Jesus. He’s my rock, He’s my fortress He’s my deliverer in Him will I trust…

O O Praise Him, O O praise Him. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!



Friday, September 23: Isaiah 26-Perfect peace.

I found myself drawn back to verse 3. I read it over and over, then I looked at it in different translations. I wanted it to sink in. There was something about that verse that beckoned me.

NIV: You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.

NRSV: Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace-- in peace because they trust in you.

NASB: The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.

ESV: You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

Wow, I let this soak in. I read it over again in those 4 translations.

Perfect peace is the result, the result of trusting in You. All too often people seek peace but peace is the fruit of a life that trusts in You. Peace is the gift You give to those who trust in You.

My work, my effort as a person, is to keep my mind steadfast… steadfast on You, that is. I need to be training my mind to think on You, to ponder You and Your ways. In need to intentionally bring You with me into life. The by-gone phrase, “What would Jesus do?,” is one possible tool to keep myself stayed on You. But there are others. I pondered and these additional phrases/questions emerged:

What did God say on this matter?

What scriptures speak to this concern/issue/situation?

How did post-Pentecost apostles act in situations like this?

All of these phrases/questions necessitate that I know God’s Word and know it well. Hmmm, keeping my mind steadfast/stayed on You obviously necessitates that I know Your Word and treasure it in my heart and mind…

“Do you, Bill, do you?” whispers the Holy Spirit.

The words of Psalm 19:7-11 fill my thoughts and become my prayer…

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Amen.


Thursday, September 22: Isaiah 25- Perfect faithfulness

As my eyes lit on the page, refreshment flooded into my life. I was weary from judgment, from the doom and gloom of God’s wrath. Seeing, and then reading, this chapter was like the delight of a cool autumn morning. Praise is good for the soul and for the rest of the body…

O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago. You have made the city a heap of rubble, the fortified town a ruin, the foreigners' stronghold a city no more; it will never be rebuilt (1-2).

My eyes kept returning to two words, perfect faithfulness. I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things. Perfect faithfulness planned long ago…

Isaiah’s trembling before God of chapter 6 has vanished being replaced with praise. God’s forgiveness and cleansing of Isaiah in chapter 6 resulted in a connection and relationship that allows Isaiah to exalt God for His perfect faithfulness witnessed in the judgment of those who oppose the Lord.

Because God knows all, He is never surprised or caught off guard so His decisions are perfect… perfectly executing His faithfulness and His love. Because God ‘sees’ all time at once, His perfect faithfulness was planned long, long ago.

Isaiah sings of this. His soul dances with delight in the Lord his God. Isaiah’s dance is contagious.  Like a great tune, I find my body and my soul dancing with delight in the Lord as well… dancing in delight in the Lord who is perfect in faithfulness…

My soul sings of Your majesty, O Lord. How unsearchable are Your ways… perfect in every way are You and Your decisions. I exalt thee. I exalt thee. I exalt thee, my Lord… my heart delights in You. You, O Lord, are my rock and my fortress, the one in whom I take refuge and find peace…

To You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I sing my praise. You are perfect in faithfulness and in every other way… My soul sings of Your majesty, O Lord. Amen


Wednesday, September 21: Isaiah 24- Sovereign over all that is.

Not only is God- the God of the Scriptures -sovereign over all nations, God is sovereign over everything, all spiritual realms, over heaven and earth, all that is! Check out verse 21: In that day the LORD will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below.

Reading this, I wonder what in the world possesses me to disobey, to ignore and to disregard Almighty God. I mean really? I might disobey the speed limit thinking I can get a way with it, police can’t be everywhere.

I might ignore my body’s need for 8 hours of healthy sleep, yeah, I’m generally a bit tired.

I might disregard some people and the things they say, generally not a big deal.

But God Almighty, the one who plots the course of history, who judges men and women and nations and HEAVEN? Am I nuts?

Would I disobey the speed limit if every offender is caught? Would I ignore the body’s need for sleep if it shut down without sufficient ‘recharge’? Would I disregard that someone if he/she were my boss and would fire me for it?

Thinking about the absolute sovereignty of God and my propensity to go against Him shows me the depth and pervasiveness of sin in my life…

O, God, forgive me. I am a man of unclean lips, unclean thoughts, unclean actions and motivations.  Cleanse me that I might not be banished from Your presence but be able to live in harmony and relationship with You. I dare to ask this through Jesus Christ my Savior and Lord. Amen.


Tuesday, September 20: Isaiah 23- Learning Lessons.

Reading this judgment of Tyre, I was saddened because they apparently will not learn.

Verse 17: At the end of seventy years [years of God’s punishment], the LORD will deal with Tyre. She will return to her hire as a prostitute and will ply her trade with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth.

It is one thing to be disciplined by the Lord. It happens to all of us. But it is a sad thing when we don’t learn and grow and change. Tyre did not grow…

Reading this caused me to review my own life. I never liked being punished growing up. Truth is I still don’t, but I do try to learn from my mistakes and grow to be a better person. I don’t always succeed on the first try, but generally I do try to learn and grow from my mistakes and failures.

I try to live the same pattern in my walk with Jesus.  I try to learn from God’s discipline. I don’t always get it the first time but eventually God’s discipline sinks in.

How about you? Do you learn and grow from God’s disciplines or are you like Tyre? Ponder this before you conclude your time with the Lord this morning.

Lord, even though I don’t like it, I do thank You for Your discipline. I want to be a man that brings You honor and glory, and that will only happen if You discipline the chaff out of my life. I am Yours O, Lord. I am Yours. Amen.


Monday, September 19: Isaiah 22- A failed game plan.

Finally judgment comes to Jerusalem.  And what is their sin? They trusted only in themselves and not in the Lord. After listing some of Jerusalem’s preparations in advance of the Assyrian attack, which in and of themselves is not the problem, we come to the crux of their sin in verse 11. You built a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the Old Pool, but you did not look to the One who made it, or have regard for the One who planned it long ago.

Our ingenuity is never to become a substitute for God… that’s the issue for Jerusalem. They are repeating the sin of Babel (the Tower of Babel, that is.  Check out Genesis 11). Those people thought they could build a tower to God. We cannot. We will never and can never become God. And when we substitute anything for God, that “thing” becomes a rival god and that’s when God disciplines His people. Jerusalem thought they could protect themselves, by themselves, without God. And that’s where they missed the mark.

Now it is good to be ingenious and industrious but we need to remember and live, understanding that God provides the harvest (recall September 13 devotional).

Are you experiencing tough times in your life?  Those situations that can be exhausting? Yes, there are things I should/can/need to do. But key for me is remembering that God is the One who will provide the way out. I don’t want to fall into Jerusalem’s trap and find myself relying totally upon myself. That is a game plan sure to fail.

Think about it…

Lord God, I am so thankful that my life and my issues are in Your hands. Help me to do what I can/should/need to do, and to do them at Your leading and through Your power. To You be all the glory. Amen.



Saturday, September 17: Isaiah 21- An unenviable job.

How many days has it been that Isaiah has been speaking God’s judgments against various nations? How many?  Seven, ten??  I don’t even want to go back and count. My thoughts slide back to Isaiah’s call. I remember God saying Isaiah’s call would be a difficult task, one given to declaring God’s displeasure. I went back and reread chapter 6:9-14. Isaiah’s call was to be a difficult one and it certainly has been hard for me to read judgment after judgment. I can only imagine how difficult it was to speak judgment after judgment.

Some of us, like Isaiah and Jeremiah, receive calls from God that are difficult, taxing and just plain hard. Others have easier more fruit-filled calls. That decision is God’s and God’s alone. Some of us are salves for healing, others swords of judgment. Our task is to do what God asks us to do and go where God asks us to go.

Two days ago I received an email from a friend serving in Africa. On a trip to take their children to the dentist (four hours away), they were waiting in the dentist office when a bomb exploded less than a block away. On the way home they were stopped at a road check when a truck traveling in the other direction couldn’t stop and nearly killed them and many others. Why do they live with heaviness and difficulty like that? All I and they can say is that is God’s call… and I add they are living out God’s call faithfully.

I don’t know your situation and you don’t know mine.  The ponder point for the day is simply this for me. Am I living out faithfully God’s call? Are you?  It really is of no consequence if my life and situation is easy or hard. what matters is, am I faithful to what God asks of me?

Lord, I long to be faithful. I hope and pray I am faithful to You and You, alone. Like Isaiah in chapter six, I pray, “Here am I, send me, use me… wherever and however You please.” For Your glory I live and pray. Amen.


Friday, September 16: Isaiah 20- The Lord speaks.

Ok, I admit this. This short chapter has little or no immediate connection with my life. I re-read it.  It took about 10 seconds. The next thing I know, three words spark some thoughts... the LORD spoke (2). I saw another 4 words, Then the LORD said (3).

God speaks! This is not a particularly new thought, but it is profound. God spoke to Isaiah (I admit I am glad God hasn’t asked me to go around naked for 3 years) and God spoke to the people…

I sat and marveled. Our God speaks. God communicates with people, one-on-one as He is right now with me during my devotions. And God speaks to a group. As elders I have been in meetings where clearly God has spoken to the group. One particular meeting we went from a group divided on very different approaches to a problem. Before prayer we had 2 divergent views- not contentious but strongly held, to after prayer a unified group with one approach to the problem… no hard feelings, no compromise we all were convinced God had spoken!

I served a church that contemplated a merger with another local church. We took three months of prayer for discernment, even as representing teams discussed the possibility. At the end of our three month season of prayer, the church body gathered and overwhelmingly the voice of the people said the merger was not of God. Then a couple of days later some facts came to the representative bodies that confirmed the merger could not work. It was clear a merger was not of God. God had clearly spoken.

Day after day I sit with Scripture open, believing God speaks and He does… even through chapters like Isaiah 20, if I will spend the time to listen…

Thank You, Lord God, for being a speaking God! Amen.




Thursday, September 15: Isaiah 19- No idle threats

I began thinking about all these prophecies of doom and destruction….Assyria, Cush, Egypt, Philistia, Moab, Damascus. As great as that region of the world once was, today most of that region is little above nothing. They are no major players on the world stage. They are not cultural icons in our world. They are constantly fighting and bickering and most of the countries in this region oppress their people. Only oil found in some of those countries causes the region to be of world interest/influence.  And for how long???

These once great nations, filled with culture and beauty, have never ascended to prominence again…

The Lord’s judgments about which we have been reading, came to be…

Hmmm… I thought; the Words of Scripture and the judgments of God are not idle threats.

Am I (are you) taking God’s Word seriously???

Are you living in relationship with the Lord, or are you living a live that will reap God’s judgment? Faith in Jesus, believing in Jesus makes the difference.  Have you put your trust and faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of your life? Think about it…

Yes, Jesus, I believe in You, the Father and the Holy Spirit. And, yes, I confess You to be Lord God Almighty and the Lord God and Savior of my life! Amen.


Wednesday, September 14: Isaiah 18- Every knee will bow.

Accounts of judgment continue.  Another nation (Cush –possibly present day Sudan) is brought under the thumb of the Lord.

The chapter ends with the declaration, At that time gifts will be brought to the LORD Almighty from a people tall and smooth-skinned, from a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers-- the gifts will be brought to Mount Zion, the place of the Name of the LORD Almighty (7). This may have been partially fulfilled when nations sent gifts to Hezekiah after he recovered from his illness.  However, the ultimate fulfillment will be when Jesus returns.

My thoughts slide to Philippians 2:9-11: Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

There will be a day when the entire world recognizes and submits to Jesus as Lord of All. Some will bow willingly as servants of the most high and others will submit as ones conquered and defeated. One way or the other every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

What about you??  Are you a servant or will you be conquered? Think about it…

Jesus, I willingly and lovingly surrender to You, Lord of glory and Savior of my soul! Praise be to You, Lord Jesus. Amen.


Tuesday, September 13: Isaiah 17- God Gives the Harvest

There is an interesting NT verse: I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow (1Corinthians 3:6-7). Paul uses it to speak about how the church grows, but he draws his picture from life.  We plant and we tend the garden but God provides the increase. As humans we have a responsibility to work and do the necessary things, but God gives the harvest.

As I read about Damascus, I saw the above principle at work. Check out verses 10-11: You have forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress. Therefore, though you set out the finest plants and plant imported vines, though on the day you set them out, you make them grow, and on the morning when you plant them, you bring them to bud, yet the harvest will be as nothing in the day of disease and incurable pain. Damascus provides the finest plants and under their caring eye they seem to grow wonderfully.  However, at harvest, nothing.

From an earthly perspective Damascus does everything right, but the yield is zilch.  Why? Because they forgot and forsook God, their Savior and Rock. And because they forgot God, God did NOT provide the harvest.

I jumped from Damascus to my life. I’m pretty good at taking responsibility and doing what I need to do, but I am prone to forget that God provides the harvest, because I am taking credit for what “I produced/did.” 

My morning with God has been a timely reminder that God provides the harvest, not me. My second morning reminder is that my #1 job is remaining relationally connected with the Lord. I DON’T want to fall into the Damascus-Trap of forgetting and forsaking the Lord…

Lord, thank You for these reminders this morning. I am prone to wander…

O to grace how great a debtor; Daily I’m constrained to be! Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, Bind my wandering heart to Thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love; Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.*

In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen


*Come, Thou Font of Every Blessing. Words by Robert Robinson, 1758.


Monday, September 12: Isaiah 16- Justice and Righteousness.

Proverb 16:18, Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall came to mind as I read this morning. Moab, sadly, is a living example. Pride and conceit filled her words yet… her boasts are empty (6) but now as Assyria approaches, Moab begs for Jerusalem’s (i.e. King Hezekiah’s ) help. But help will not come. Moab will be destroyed, as God meets out His judgment.

All around Israel God wreaks havoc.  We have been reading of this for a few days now.  Yet as terrible as those days will be, God offers a glimmer of hope for days yet to come.

The oppressor will come to an end, and destruction will cease; the aggressor will vanish from the land. In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it-- one from the house of David-- one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness (4b-5). God’s punishment will last a season, then is grace will reappear and God will lift of up His people, renewed in heart and vision, for the things of the Lord… in faithfulness a man will sit on it-- one from the house of David-- one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness.

Two words stand as the pillars of this coming time, justice and faithfulness. This will intimately be fulfilled in the Messiah, but likely Hezekiah was to exhibit these messianic qualities as well…

My meditation turns.  Would that those words characterized my life as a son of the Savior and Messiah, Jesus. As a follower of Jesus and a son of faith, does my life exude faithfulness and justice? Faithfulness in my living unto the Lord?? Justice in my actions toward those in need???

O Lord, may it be so.  May I live a faithful, justice seeking life on Your behalf and for Your kingdom’s sake. Amen.


Saturday, September 10: Isaiah 15- More hard words.

It was hard for me to read more judgment.  This time it is Moab’s turn. The whole chapter concerns God’s Words of destruction and judgment against Moab.

All I can think about is that God means business. When we disobey God, when we disregard Him, or seek other gods, a day of judgment will come… guaranteed.

Thinking about God’s judgment rolls over into thanks and praise for Jesus, who through His death on the cross, paid the judgment price for all who believe in Him.

My fate should have been that of Moab’s, but though faith in Jesus, my judgment has been averted. I deserved the cross but Jesus paid for my sin and the sin of everyone who believes in Him when He died on the cross…

Have you put your faith and trust in Jesus? That’s the only way to avoid God’s judgment of the sin in your life…

Thank you, Jesus, for saving me… thank you. Amen.


Friday, September 9: Isaiah 14- Ditto yesterday!.


It was as if today’s reading was a huge exclamation point to yesterday’s meditation. Today, not only does God foretell the coming judgment/punishment of Babylon again, but God adds judgment on Assyria and Philistia, two other nations that oppressed and harassed Israel throughout the generations.

Message to me… God has absolute control, absolute power, and absolute sovereignty!

Interestingly, the chapter began proclaiming God’s compassion and hence God’s love for Israel. The LORD will have compassion on Jacob; once again he will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land. Aliens will join them and unite with the house of Jacob. Nations will take them and bring them to their own place. And the house of Israel will possess the nations as menservants and maidservants in the LORD's land. They will make captives of their captors and rule over their oppressors (1-2).

God loves His people, and God will care for His people.  After a time of discipline, God will release His favor once again. So deep is God’s love for His people.

Lord, You make a distinction between Your people and people who do not serve You. Your people You punish and restore… discipline to correct followed by grace to restore. However, those who don’t serve You receive, who reject You… they receive only discipline and wrath…

Lord, this makes me all the more appreciative of the relationship You have granted me. Lord, I am honored and amazed that You revealed Yourself to me in a way that caused me to respond to You will love and honor and service. Thank You and bless You, O Lord. Through Jesus, My Savior. Amen. 



Thursday, September 8: Isaiah 13- Absolute Sovereignty

The more I read the Bible, the more I observe God’s absolute sovereignty. Ancient Greek gods battled among themselves… who was supreme. It was up for ‘debate.’ Romans had a pantheon of gods; one controlled this and another that. Was there one supreme god who had absolute control over everything?  No, not really. The Egyptians, too, had a plethora of gods.

The ancient cultures around Israel each had their own god, the god who protected them but not others. And so you have the god of the Assyrians and the god of the Babylonians and the god of Damascus, etc.

To the best of my knowledge, only the God of the Bible claims absolute sovereignty. Reading chapter 13, I observed God’s absolute power and control. In this chapter God declares that Babylon –the superpower of the day- will be judged, defeated and destroyed. Period, the end of the matter. Why? Because God decreed it. In this chapter God does not feel the need even to give His reasons. He simply declares, “this is what will be…”  Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the glory of the Babylonians' pride, will be overthrown by God like Sodom and Gomorrah (19).

Reading this led me to meditate on God’s absolute sovereignty. What the God of the Bible says goes. What the God of the Holy Scriptures decrees happens.

I serve THE mighty all-powerful God. I am loved by THE Creator and all-knowing God. Wow, this thought simply staggers me.  I am in awe of God and God’s grace to reveal Himself to me, to us, to the world in the Holy Bible…

O, God, I feel embarrassed that I regularly choose to live my way rather than Your way, to think that I am right and You are wrong about some things. Forgive me for puffing myself up and reducing You. O, God, sin has such a hold on me.  Forgive me. Lord, that is all I can pray right now.  Please forgive me for my foolishness and my sin-filled-ness. I Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.


Wednesday, September 7: Isaiah 12- Being real with God.

Praise, wonderful praise!  This chapter is totally praise. When God restores the remnant, when the shoot grows from the stump of Jesse, praise will erupt from God’s people.

One thing about Israel, they knew how to express their emotions to God. In times of joy, praise bursts forth in Israel like the singing of birds at sunrise. Many Psalms exemplify praise. Chapter 12 does as well.

In times of pain, sadness and bewilderment, Israel knew how to lament, to weep, to cry. Daniel’s lament over the destruction of Israel (Lamentations) and again, many Psalms are examples.

I found myself dwelling on Israel’s ability to be real with God, to express praise exuberantly when joy abounded and to weep rivers of tears when sadness ruled. My life and my emotions seem so muted compared to Israel.

Then I thought it is not the deep valleys and high mountaintops to which I should aspire, but rather the honesty in my relationship with the Lord. When pain hollows out my soul, to weep and cry out to my Lord expresses sincere relationship. And when joy blossoms, may praise flow.

Today I choose to sing with Isaiah because I know my Lord and I know that God’s salvation day is coming… I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation."

So I will "Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.

Yes, I will, Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, …, for great is the Holy One … among you." (2-3, 5-6)

Lord, I know that Your day will come. That Jesus will reign over all the earth and all people will bow and worship You. I know that day is coming.  Father, You have set the time and date, and I will praise You as I await Your consummation and Jesus’ return. What a day that will be. Alleluia! Amen.


Tuesday, September 6: Isaiah 11- Musing on Jesus

I found myself reading and rereading the first nine verses… the stump of Jesse sending forth a shoot. This is a grand prophecy about Jesus and I mused on the riches of the many word pictures in these verses.

How “the spirit of the Lord” would rest on Him. I replayed many of His miracles and Gospel accounts.

The Apostles Creed instructs that ‘He will come again to judge the living and the dead.’ I thought about His judgments how they will stem from righteousness…

I wondered about the life to come, the re-establishment of the harmony of Eden. The lion and lamb together, even the cobra and viper are tamed.  There is no more evil, only the wondrous harmony of God’s perfect world.

All of this rests on the shoulder of Jesus, the shoot that emerges from the stump of Jesse.

Oh, the wonder of a relationship with Almighty God through Jesus Christ, the Lord…

Alleluia, my heart sings. Jesus lives and reigns. Jesus is the Answer and the Victor. O, my Lord Jesus, I bless You, I bless Your name. I thank You for saving me and for allowing me the honor and delight of knowing and serving You. Amen.


Monday, September 5: Isaiah 10- Absolutely and Perfectly Sovereign.

God is angry with His people Israel so He will bring judgment upon them through another nation, Assyria. Then after Assyria has served as a tool in God’s hands, God will bring judgment upon Assyria of which He will say, I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes (12).

Assyria neither served nor acknowledged Israel’s God –the God of creation. In fact Assyria served and followed pagan gods, yet the Lord controlled Assyria’s future even as He controlled Israel’s, even as He controls ours and the world of today.

As I read this chapter I am struck, once again, by the Lord’s absolute sovereignty over the world and all who are in it. The God of creation is not some distant, out of touch God who, like a watchmaker, makes a watch only to let it run the remainder of its life on its own.

No, the God of the Bible, our God, is absolutely and perfectly sovereign. There is no other god that can compare with our God –the God of creation and the God of salvation in and through Jesus Christ. As I read the Bible, God, being absolutely and perfectly sovereign, is a given. It is a foundation of the entire revelation from the first words of Genesis to the final page of Revelation.

Question is do I believe this? And even deeper will I submit to, serve and follow this God or will I serve some other?

How have you answered this question?  What proof is there in your life to validate your answer? Think about this…

Lord God, my prayer is simply this… I believe in YOU and I believe YOU. Here am I, send me and use me for Your bidding, whatever that may be. Through Jesus, my Lord, I pray. Amen.


Saturday, September 3: Isaiah 9- Consequences.


I cannot read verses 6&7 without thinking about Christmas and the birth of Jesus, the Messiah. What a gift God bestowed on humankind! Jesus, the way of salvation, the Lord of glory, who gave His life for mine and all people.

And yet, the wonderful words of life and hope and salvation in verses 6&7 are a future promise from God.  However, in the present moment, God’s anger rages against these stubborn and rebellious people.  Such is the message of 8-21.

Processing all of this, I realize that although God is loving and gracious toward us, God doesn’t take sin lightly. Sin has consequences and we must not take God’s graciousness for granted. If I am living in sin and rejecting God calls to repent and return, then I should not expect to get off scot-free.

I need to think about this some more…

Lord, tomorrow at worship we will celebrate communion.  The bread and the cup are reminders of Jesus’ life and blood given so that we can live. Lord, I am reminded of Peter, when asked on Pentecost what must we do to be saved, replied that people must repent and be baptized. Baptism signified that they believed and worshipped Jesus as Lord…

Thank You, Lord God, for Jesus, the Way of Salvation… Amen.



Friday, September 2: Isaiah 8- In whom do you trust?


We have already read that Isaiah will have a hard word to bring to the people of God. This chapter’s message fits that bill.

Verses 6-7 capture God’s indictment and judgment of His people. Verse 6 is the indictment: Because this people has rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah and rejoices over Rezin and the son of Remaliah. God’s message: you have rejected Me (Shiloah was a place of God’s presence) and turned toward other people for your safety.

And God’s judgment: therefore the Lord is about to bring against them the mighty floodwaters of the River-- the king of Assyria with all his pomp. It will overflow all its channels, run over all its banks, what they feared will happen. They will be overrun by a foreign king (Assyria). Rezin and Remaliah will not be able to save them.

These verses raise the issue of whom we trust. Do I (you) trust in other people or human institutions like government or do we trust in God?

Being honest it is much easier to pose that question than to answer it. I’d like to believe I trust God but it is impossible for me to take people and human institutions totally out of the equation. After all, I pay attention to my retirement investments. I try to be a good steward of the resources God has given me, so I have a measure of trust in banks and the banking system. I am trusting that the government will keep social security solvent.  Again, this shows a measure of trust in the government.

Does this mean I am not trusting in God?  I don’t believe so. But honestly, I must remain vigilant about my faith and trust in the Lord.  It is all too easy to fall into trusting people and institutions instead of trusting in the Lord.

This is certainly worth some spiritual contemplation…

Lord, thank you for the mind You have given me. Help me, Lord, to use it to glorify You and to work and live in ways that honor You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.



Thursday, September 1: Isaiah 7- Pretending to be godly


Ahaz, one of the despicable kings of Judah, is given an opportunity. God wants to do something to save Israel from an army coming against it. So God invites Ahaz to ask for a sign (11).

I am not one that believes we should go around asking God for signs to prove God is God. Gideon asked for a sign and God obliged but since the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, no Christ-follower in scripture asked for a sign. Instead, the Holy Spirit speaks and leads them.

Obviously this is an Old Testaments story and God, through His prophet, invites Ahaz to ask for a sign. But Ahaz, in a mocking tone, refuses, "I will not ask; I will not put the LORD to the test" (12).

This may sound pious but understand Ahaz has thrown God out of the temple and has begun worshipping false gods. He is not pious but mocking.

My thoughts spun. Do I ever use pious sounding talk to avoid God? Or do I ever act piously on the outside yet selfishly on the inside. In other words, do I ever pretend to be faith-filled?

I suspect that most reading this are no where near as despicable as Ahaz, one of the most faithless kings in Israel’s history. But I find it spiritually helpful to regularly examine myself to see if any seeds of faithlessness are growing within. This is what I find myself doing this morning as a result of this reading.

Maybe God is calling you to a time of self-examination as well.  Think about it.

Lord, it seems that You have me on a self-examination trail lately. Opening myself up to Your gaze and scrutiny. Go deep my Lord, that I might live faithfully before You. Root out all sin and wickedness within me, that I might grow in holiness even as You are perfectly holy. In Jesus’ name. Amen.