September 14, 2011
Isaiah 15:1-18:7; Galatians 1:1-24;
Psalm 58:1-11; Proverbs 23:12
Isaiah receives a prophecy that Moab will be judged by God. The Moabites are long standing enemies of Israel in the ancient world. This prophecy predicts their demise. Included in the prophecy is the prediction that a faithful king will reign in Israel one day. This king will always do what is just and right. You and I know that this king is Jesus Christ. His earthly reign will fulfill this prophecy. Moab has been destroyed and most people on earth today do not even know that it once was a great kingdom.
The next group Isaiah prophesies about is Damascus and Israel. Although Damascus is still a city that exists, these prophesies are probably against Damascus meaning Syria. This judgment is against the alliance between Israel (the Northern Kingdom) and Syria as they aligned against Judah (the Southern Kingdom). Sections of this prophecy describe Israel being stripped of its people. This certainly happened in history. The prophesy also predicts the eventual demise of Asherah worship. It describes a day in the future when the people will have respect for the Holy One of Israel and will remember their Creator.
Finally, Isaiah prophesies about Ethiopia in Africa. The inhabitants of Ethiopia are described as smooth-skinned people who are known for their conquests and destruction. God is described as watching their exploits quietly, but eventually pruning them with judgment. In a future day, the Ethiopians will come to Jerusalem during the Millennial reign of Christ bringing gifts to the Lord Almighty.
What do you think about God showing us the future before it happens? What is God proving by doing this?
Today, we begin to read the epistle to the Galatians. In this letter, Paul will defend the doctrines of the faith and fight against the attempts to live by legalism that many Galatians were being taught.
Paul introduces himself as an apostle who has been personally called by Jesus Christ to his position. It is important for the Galatians to realize that Paul has authority to speak the truth from God.
Paul's first order of business is to say that he is shocked that the Galatians are turning away from the Good News to which they were called in order to follow a false teaching. Paul reminds them that the teaching that he taught them was a direct revelation from Jesus Christ himself. Paul emphasizes that no one but Jesus taught him the gospel message.
Paul explains that he was a zealous Jew, but it pleased God to choose Paul and call him as an apostle even before he was born! He was chosen to believe in Christ and reveal the Good News of the gospel to the Gentiles. Paul is a man who knows his purpose on earth.
After his conversion experience on the road to Damascus, Paul did not rush out and consult with anyone. He went to Arabia (the desert) where he was personally taught by Christ. Later, he went back to Damascus and stayed for three years. After that, he finally went to Jerusalem and met Peter and James.
Paul's conversion was reason for people to give praise to God. He had been such a great persecutor of men that his conversion brought glory to God.
Paul is establishing his authority to lay out the truth about Christ by explaining the process by which he became an apostle. The Church's foundation is the teachings of the Apostles. Orthodox belief rests on Paul's teachings, as well as the other writings of the New Testament.
Do you trust in the teachings found in Paul's letters? Paul was a man who knew his purpose on earth. What is God's purpose for you on earth?
This is a psalm decrying unjust rulers. It finishes by declaring that God is a just judge who will rule one day on the earth.
One must commit themselves to instruction in order to learn truth. This takes humility.
What did you see today? Please share.