Isaiah 16: The Pride & Destruction of Moab

In this book the prophet Isaiah continues with exposing Moab’s fate. Moab was a nation full of pride and ungodliness. They did not look to God for help and neither did the nation help others.

Verses 1-5: The nation of Moab is instructed on how to get into God’s graces. They will need to be fair and just, and help protect the remnant of Israel. They will also need to follow, consider and give to God in order to have His blessings.

Verses 6-14: Moab’s pride is ultimately the source of its downfall. From pride springs infinite sins. With pride we can justify almost anything. And the sorrow that came as the result of Moab’s pride and sin was great.

More often than not, we retain honor by maintaining silence over a boastful attitude or a loud presence. The answer to pride is humility, meekness and gentleness. To be humble is to accept our station, accept with satisfaction the life that God has given us and not to live in such a way that we:

– Believe that we are responsible for our blessings

– Think more highly of ourselves than others

– Let ourselves think that our lives are better than others’ lives

As the result of their pride, Moab’s prayers would not be heard. Neither their false God’s nor the true God would answer: “And it shall come to pass, When it is seen that Moab is weary on the high place, That he will come to his sanctuary to pray; But he will not prevail.” Isaiah 16:12

Consider these wise proverbs that deal with pride:

“When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2

“By pride comes nothing but strife, But with the well-advised is wisdom.” Proverbs 13:10

“In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride, But the lips of the wise will preserve them.” Proverbs 14:3

“Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18

“A man’s pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit will retain honor.” Proverbs 29:23

To sum up for tonight, the main idea is to resist pride and follow God. In Him lies the answers to our questions and the comfort to our problems. God may not answer our prayers with the speed we want, but He does answer. Doing His will on earth will save us for an eternity in heaven.

“For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” I John 2:16-17

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Kindness & Mercy for All

Tonight I would like to break from our study of Isaiah to look at James 2:1-13.

This is a reminder to be good and kind to all, no matter what their physical appearance or what you think you can deduce about their character from their physical appearance. Just as God’s word is suitable for all people, and salvation through Jesus is offered to all, so our kindness must be offered to all.

This can be a challenge. Personal chemistry can suggest favorites and dislike of others. But God asks us to be better than our standard reactions. God asks us to rise above our normal proclivities and show love, kindness and mercy to all.

I am far from perfect in this regard but the only way I will get better is through effort and practice. Why not try with me? Surely there is someone or some group in your lives that rub you the wrong way. Why not pray for them, or do something nice for them? We don’t know what’s possible in our spiritual lives until we try!

Remember, when we show mercy, mercy will be shown to us.

“My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called? If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:1-13

Isaiah 15: The Fate of Moab

The short selection for tonight in the nine verses of Isaiah 15 concerns judgment on the nation of Moab. Moab was a nation that worshipped idols and was known to be wicked generally. When we consider the beginning of this nation, it is hard to think that they could have been a righteous and godly nation:

“Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father. The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day.” Genesis 19:36-37

The structure of these verses is straightforward and lays out a solid proclamation against Moab. The condemnation is complete and it is accompanied by mourning. Moab’s cities were overtaken by enemies and their idols would not provide relief. Moab’s army would fail and the neighboring nations would grieve for them as well.

Ungodly men, when in trouble, have no comforter. This is what Moab experienced.

May we be so blessed as to receive that comfort from God. God’s children are afforded that comfort which only He can provide. And in like manner, we can share this same condition among those we love that experience difficulties in life.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” II Corinthians 1:3-4

May God bless and comfort you.

Isaiah 14: A Fine Line

The themes in this chapter are not far from our two main tenets of the book of Isaiah: the punishment of sin and the coming Messiah.

This chapter, in part, discusses how Israel, particularly the house of Jacob, will be blessed. There are some parallels to the exodus from Egypt in the first two verses in that Israel will leave oppressors to settle in their own land.

The bulk of this chapter is concerned with the punishments: the Babylonian king, Babylon itself, Assyria and Philistia will all be destroyed for their wicked ways. Their lands will be destroyed and no one will be able to stop it:

“This is the purpose that is purposed against the whole earth, And this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations. For the LORD of hosts has purposed, And who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, And who will turn it back?”” Isaiah 14:26-27

The plight of the Babylonian king is particularly harrowing. Verses 5-8 describe the king’s awful rule and the rest and quiet on Earth after he is gone. On the other side of this idea, verses 9-11 describe how Hell will be excited to meet him. Other kings will greet the king of Babylon as it quickly becomes clear that no matter your status on Earth, if you have been wicked, your place in the hereafter will be one of suffering.

Verses 12-21 are also very interesting. They describe one who has thought himself worthy to be above God. This one wanted to be greater than God by trying to be higher and more powerful than God. Through worldly power, he has esteemed himself greater than God. For this great sin, he is not even allowed to rest in peace:

“But you are cast out of your grave Like an abominable branch, Like the garment of those who are slain, Thrust through with a sword, Who go down to the stones of the pit, Like a corpse trodden underfoot.” Isaiah 14:19

Notice the use of the word “branch” here. Recall from Isaiah 4 and Isaiah 11 when this term was used to describe Jesus. He is the Holy Branch from God that will save us. But the description of the one here in verses 12-21 is of an abominable branch. This branch is one that is false and a nuisance. The one that would be bold enough to try and take God’s place is a shame and a torment.

Whether these verses describe Satan himself as described by Christ in Luke 10:18 (“And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”) or they describe the king of Babylon is not certain as we read this passage. It could mean either, or both. But the lesson is a worthy one, nevertheless.

The idea of not being higher than God is interesting because we are called to be like Him. From passages in Leviticus to this passage in the New Testament, God wants us to be holy: “because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.””I Peter 1:16

Being holy means being set apart, being separate from the rest of the world. When we are holy, we do not have the same desires as the rest of the world, we do not have the same habits and beliefs. In the second Corinthian letter, Paul is exhorting the church in Corinth to be separate and clean in body and spirit:

“O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open. Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.” Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” II Corinthians 6:11-7:1

Tonight my prayer for you is that you endeavor to be holy. Keep your mind and body pure. Keep yourself holy and clean before the Almighty God. Living in God’s Word daily and praying is the absolute best way to do this!

Isaiah 13: The Fall of Babylon

Remember the two themes of the book of Isaiah?

1. The sin of God’s people, the Israelites

2. The redemption all mankind through Jesus

Among these main themes, there are multiple other sub-themes in Isaiah. One of them is the idea that the ungodly (not just the Israelites) will experience consequences as the result of their actions. The great ancient city of Babylon was, for its time, an impressive center of commerce and culture. It was also a den of sin, and for this God brought it low.

This chapter is neatly divided into three separate sections. In verses 1-5, God describes the entities that will be used to defeat Babylon. As in previous chapters we have read in Isaiah, here is the description of God using other nations to exact vengeance on the ungodly.

In verses 6-18, there is the description of the destruction of Babylon. In verses 19-22, we read of the final desolation of Babylon. The city will be left as a ground for wild beasts to tread and will no longer be inhabited by man.

Looking at Babylon, we can see some applications to ourselves: Babylon was primarily concerned with itself. This pride and self-importance led to a denial of God’s rightful place. If we live and love for ourselves only and do not give thanks to God and heed His commands in His Holy Word, we too will be brought low and desolate. Consider the parable of the man who had so many blessings, yet did not consider God:

“Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”” Luke 12:16-21

It is not sin to have a lot of things, but it is sin to be selfish with our blessings. It is also wrong to not have gratitude our be thankful for what God has done for us. This pride was just one of the many sins of the citizens of Babylon. Do we ever trust too much in our earthly things and forsake their true source?

Tonight I urge you to give thanks to God for your car, your clothes, your money and the other things you possess that bring you satisfaction, comfort and ease. Our God is good and He has been so good to us all. Far be it from us to not properly recognize the source of our blessings.

Isaiah 12: A Hymn of Praise

This chapter is six short verses, full of the praise of God, who has revealed His plan through prophecy. Since it is brief, I invite you to read it with me here:

“And in that day you will say: “O LORD, I will praise You; Though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me. Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’ ” Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation. And in that day you will say: “Praise the LORD, call upon His name; Declare His deeds among the peoples, Make mention that His name is exalted. Sing to the LORD, For He has done excellent things; This is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion, For great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!””

God is saying through Isaiah that people will praise Him once they understand the greatness of His blessings through Jesus. In chapter 11, we read of how God will bring peace to the Earth. Now we get the counterpart: the praise of His creation resulting from this great blessing. Let’s look at some additional blessings that accompany His greatest, which is Jesus:

– God, who shows mercy and provides comfort

– God, worthy of trust

– God, a source of strength

– God, a song to delight in

– God, who enjoys saving us

– God, whose name is above all

– God, author of excellence

– God, worthy to be called great

No matter how high or how low you are, God is there. He is around all the time, seeing all, blessing the good and the bad alike. I urge you to take the time tonight to praise and thank Him in prayer, for He has done wonderful things in the lives of us all.

“in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I Thessalonians 5:18

Isaiah 11: Peace Overcomes Violence

Happy New year to you and your loved ones! I pray that 2018 is a year full of the richness of God’s blessings for you and your loved ones. I encourage you to go often to Him in prayer, and to be grateful and joyous in the life He has made for us.

On this new year’s day, we resume our study of Isaiah. Chapter 11 is a truly beautiful and positive chapter. It’s subject is the coming Savior Jesus and the verses of this chapter tout the many blessings and positive turns His coming will bring. Since this book was written before Jesus was born, these are all prophetic statements. I encourage you to read the 16 verses of this chapter before engaging in the study below.

Here is a breakdown of the many wonderful blessings that God gives us through Jesus:

– Attributes of Christ are described in verses 1-5. He is approved of by God and He has wisdom, counsel, understanding and might. Jesus is strong and He understands man because He will live as one. This qualifies Him to advocate on our behalf to God. He delights in fearing and recognizing God for God’s great power and He judges the Earth with righteousness. This means Jesus is fair in accordance with God’s commands and is not biased nor does He show favoritism. The righteous and obedient will be rewarded, while the wicked and disobedient will be punished.

– The descriptions of animals peacefully living together that would otherwise eat each other seems strange. Also unsettling is the description of very young children playing near the dens of dangerous snakes. But the meaning behind verses 6-10 is one of absolute peace. When Christ came into the world, died and rose again, He redeemed mankind to God. Before Jesus, our sins separated us from God but with Jesus’s death, God’s anger at our disobedience is quelled and peace reigns on the Earth. The descriptions of the animals and children among snakes are meant to illustrate this peace.

– The final section of the chapter describes the total reach of the peace that Christ brings. To all nations and all people, Christ brings redemption through His sacrifice, love and intercession. Verses 11-16 describe how the remnant will be saved by God, and that unity will exist between those who believe. The wicked nations will be subject to the good and God will create a highway for His people to return to safety. The safety described can be interpreted as the physical safety of a people devoted to God or the spiritual safety received through salvation.

The main thing to take away from this chapter is to understand the meaning of Christ. Without Him, we have no hope. Without Christ, we have no way to be saved. Without Him, we do not know God.

But through Jesus, we have the rich knowledge of God’s love for us. Through Jesus we have the perfect example of strength and fortitude in the face of evil. Through Christ, we have a true Savior and a true friend. What an amazing blessing He is; our greatest blessing.

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:9-21