Tuesday, September 20, 2011

September 20- The Highway of Holiness

September 20, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Isaiah 33:10-36:22; Galatians 5:13-26;
Psalm 64:1-10; Proverbs 23:23

Isaiah 33:10-36:22

Have you ever been on a long road trip out West?  As you look down the road into the desert, you wonder where the highway is leading you and how long it will be until you see civilization.  It can be a lonely and desperate feeling.  Sometimes this world and this life feel like a long road trip.  Sometimes, we wonder where are we going and when will we get there.  The Bible provides answers to what is really in the future for all people on this planet, whether you are dead or alive.  There is a future that God is going to unfold and God has given Isaiah a glimpse into that future.  The future includes a highway of holiness.

Chapter 34- The Battle of Armageddon

Before we experience this highway of holiness, God once again explains that there will be a day in the future when God's judgment against the evils of mankind will once again come upon the earth.  Noah's flood and the decimation of Sodom and Gomorrah are Biblical examples of God's judgment against wickedness, but Isaiah chapter 34 describes the final earthly judgment of God.  We call it the Battle of Armageddon. The words in this chapter explaining God's emotions and actions include enraged, fury, completely destroy, slaughter, rotting bodies, flowing blood.  We see that God's wrath even includes altering the heavenly bodies in the sky.  God is a consuming fire that even causes the stars to fall like withered fruit from a tree.  God's wrath will be poured out during this final confrontation with the enemies of God in the end times.

Edom is used as the symbol of all those who hate God.  Remember that Edom is Israel's enemy in the Old Testament.  The name is used prophetically here to describe all the nations who come against Israel and God in the end. The Bible describes the strong men coming against God, but God treating them as a sacrifice resulting in the land being soaked in their blood. This is the day of the Lord's vengeance.  This is pay back. The world will be covered in smoking pitch and smouldering fire. We get a glimpse into the final destination of the wicked. These are the people who spent their time on earth traveling the Highway to Hell.  They are consumed and an eternal smoke rises to signify their destruction.  Destination achieved.

The Bible describes the conditions on earth after this battle as the Land of Nothing (Vs. 12).

Chapter 35- The Millennial Kingdom on Earth

Chapter 35 brings restoration and renewal to the earth after this final battle.  With God's wrath satisfied by judgment upon the wicked, God's Spirit sweeps across the earth to create a Highway of Holiness. The desert will blossom. It will be as green as the mountains that are covered in trees. We are to find strength in this promise.  God's promise is that He will destroy evil.  The evil-hearted will not be part of this kingdom on earth.  Fools will not walk on these paths. Only the redeemed of the Lord will enjoy His reign on earth.  Who are the redeemed?  Those who have been ransomed by His death and resurrection. Sorrow and mourning will disappear. They will be replaced by joy and singing.

These are God's beautiful promises to those who love Him.  Do you claim His promises?

Chapter 36- The Southern Kingdom with King Hezekiah

Chapter 36 begins Isaiah's historical look at the reign of King Hezekiah in the Southern Kingdom. We see that King Sennacherib is miffed that Hezekiah is resisting Assyria's advance upon Jerusalem.  Sennacherib sends a message to be read aloud to the people of Jerusalem challenging Hezekiah.  We see Sennacherib's lack of knowledge about the One True God in Israel as the Assyrian king claims that God must have been offended by Hezekiah tearing down his altars and shrines.  Sennacherib does not realize that the God of Israel wanted those pagan shrines torn down.  King Hezekiah had done a good thing when he rid the land of idols.

Hezekiah commands his people to not respond to the message of these potential invaders.  The people obey and are silent in the face of Sennacherib's taunts.  Hezekiah's advisers come before him with the message and tear their clothes in despair.  It is a desperate situation as they face invasion by the Great Assyrian Empire.

Have you ever had a situation that seemed insurmountable?  This is what the Southern Kingdom is facing.  We will see how good King Hezekiah handles it, tomorrow.

Galatians 5:13-26

We have been discussing how Christians are free from the Law.  Today, the Apostle Paul explains that this freedom is not freedom to be licentious.  It is freedom to serve one another in love. This is accomplished by living a new life in the Holy Spirit and rejecting what the old sin nature craves.

Paul explains that the old nature and the Spirit nature are in constant conflict within us. We can know if our old nature is dominating if our behavior includes: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participating in demonic activity, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, angry outbursts, selfish ambition, divisions by group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins. If your life is consumed by these behaviors and there is no repentance from sin evidenced in your life, you are not truly saved and will not inherit eternal life.

The Holy Spirit produces a nature within us that includes: love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.  These are the fruits of the Spirit.   There is no law against these behaviors.   If you belong to Jesus, you have nailed worldly passions to His cross.  They are to die with Him.

Are you living a life that reflects the fruit of the Spirit in you?  If you have habitual sins that must be conquered, consider picturing those behaviors being crucified and dying to you.

Psalm 64:1-10

God is the one who can protect us against our enemies.  The godly will stand in awe at His deliverance.

Proverbs 23:23

The truth is worth purchasing and keeping.

What did you learn today?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

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