Monday, September 12, 2011

September 12- Inside The Mind Of God

September 12, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Isaiah 10:1-11:16; 2 Corinthians 12:11-21;
Psalm 56:1-13; Proverbs 23:6-8

One with God is a majority. 
~Martin Luther

Isaiah 10:1-11:16

Do you have a busy life?  Do you spend your time making grocery lists and running errands, having coffee with people and watching TV?  Is your mind filled with thoughts of small details and frivolous minutiae? Sometimes when things settle down in our lives and we have time to contemplate, we think about the bigger issues.  Perhaps we wonder why God allows suffering. Maybe we lament that death exists. It could be that we look to the sky and shout, "Why?" 

Today, Isaiah has the privilege of being a man through whom God speaks to tell the nation of Israel and the world some of the why's and how's with regards to the future of this planet and the nation of Israel.

In today's reading, Isaiah's prophecy explains God's motivation in causing Assyria to invade the nation of Israel.  One reason that Israel is being invaded is that they have become corrupt and have rejected justice for the poor, the widow and the orphan (Vs. 1-2).  God's fist is poised to strike against the unjust on the earth.  God is revealing his passion for justice.  We have a strong movement in the world today for social justice.  A good reading of the Bible will prove to us that only God will be able to bring about complete social justice in the future.  Man can attempt this, but man's efforts will fail.  This is not to say that we should not try to help others.  We are commanded by the Lord to help those in need, but we should not be so arrogant to think that we can solve the problems that come about in the world because of man's sin.  Only God can accomplish this.

Isaiah's prophecy also reveals that after using the King of Assyria to accomplish His purpose of punishing Israel for their corruption and lack of faith in God, God is going to punish the King of Assyria and the whole nation of Assyria.  They are a godless and ruthless people.  After using them, God will punish their actions.  We see that God understands that the King of Assyria is prideful and believes that it is through his own power he has become a world conqueror.  We get a wonderful section of Scripture that reminds us that God is in control in the universe,
"Can the ax boast great power than the person who uses it? Is the saw greater than the person who saws? Can a whip strike unless a hand is moving it? Can a cane walk by itself?"  Is. 10:15
Do you acknowledge God's control of all things on earth?  We are given limited free will, but should never believe that we are the master's of our own destiny.  I'm sure the King of Assyria would have loved to have sung "I did it MY WAY."  This passage of Scripture tells us that if he had sung that, he would have been wrong because he did it GOD'S WAY!

Verse 20 projects a look into the future.  Here we see Israel in the last days.  This would be the Great Tribulation followed by the Millennial Reign of Christ on the earth.  Although we are reading about Assyria, Bible commentators and scholars agree that there is a double meaning in these passages.  Assyria also represents invaders from the north (Magog) in the future who will invade Israel during the Battle of Armageddon.  The Lord will save the remnant of Israel who have not died at the hands of the Antichrist during the Great Tribulation. The description of these events are in Verses 20-34.  It should be noted that the cities listed in these verses were invaded during the Assyrian invasion of Israel.  Commentators note that these same geographic places will be invaded in the future during the last days.

Description of Israel's Earthly King and Savior (Chapter 11)

Jesus is described as a new Branch that grows out of an old root.  The old stump or root would be the defeated nation of Israel, who will have been persecuted and scattered throughout the world at the time of Christ's birth.  Jesus is a branch that will bear fruit.  Here are the descriptions of His character:
  • The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon Him (think back to Jesus' baptism by John with the Holy Spirit rested upon Him like a dove). Vs. 2
  • He will have the Spirit of wisdom and understanding (think of how the book of Luke tells us that Jesus grew in wisdom and stature). Vs. 2
  • He will have the Spirit of counsel and might (think of Jesus in the Temple at 12 years old discussing theology with the priests and think of Jesus driving the money changers out of the Temple in his adulthood). Vs. 2
  • He will have the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. How can the Lord have the fear of the Lord?  This gives one a glimpse into the nature of the Trinity.  Jesus has knowledge about God the Father and is obedient to God the Father through the power of God the Holy Spirit.  Isaiah's prophecy is teaching us this concept.  Isaiah is telling us the truth about Jesus centuries before His birth. Vs. 2
  • He will delight in obeying the Lord. Vs. 3
  • He will never judge by appearance, false evidence, or heresay. Vs. 3
  • He will defend the poor and the exploited. Vs. 4
  • He will rule against the wicked and destroy them with the breath of his mouth. - Vs. 4 Please notice that when Jesus defeats His enemies in the Battle of Armageddon, He accomplishes this with the breath of his mouth and with the sword of truth (his words) as recorded in  Revelation 19:15.
  • He will be clothed with fairness and truth. Vs. 5
What a Savior!  Oh, to be in His presence is a privilege.  Have you ever hoped for justice and for things to be made right on this earth?  Rely on Jesus.  He is the answer and He will make all things right.

The Nature of Jesus' Kingdom on Earth (Chapter 11:6-16)

Isaiah is given a wonderful picture of what the Millennial Reign of Christ will be like on earth.  Here are some features:
  • The animal kingdom will no longer be in conflict and will dwell together in safety.  The Bible describes a child being able to lead all animals, including lions and poisonous snakes. Vs. 6-8
  • The earth will be filled with people who know and love the Lord. Vs. 10
  • The earth will rally around Jesus, who will be like a banner that a king has before his troops in battle.  He will be a banner of salvation to the whole world.  There will be spiritual unity on earth. Vs. 10
  • The nation of Israel will be united and back in their Promised Land. Vs. 11
  • Jesus is described as performing the miracles of both Moses and Joshua when he parts the sea so that the people of Israel can enter the Promised Land for that final time.  Israel gets her earthly king and her land as part of God's covenant with them. Vs. 15-16
So, we get a glimpse of the how's and why's of God's sovereign plan through Isaiah's prophesies.  God is unfolding the end of the story for Israel and the world.  He intends to have a happy ending.  Justice will rule on this planet.  The wicked will be destroyed.  Even the animal kingdom will experience peace.

Do you believe God's story as laid out by Isaiah? 

2 Corinthians 12:11-21

Paul is confirming to the Corinthian church that he is the twelfth apostle who replaces Judas Iscariot.  He confirms that like an apostle, he was given the power to do signs, wonders, and miracles among them.  Paul wants them to understand that this was God's will.  Paul was to be the apostle to the Gentiles.

Paul tells the Corinthians that he does not want what they have; he wants them.  He sees himself as their spiritual parent.  Because he is their parent, he provides for them, rather than them providing for him.

There is apparently some dissension among them about Paul's motives.  He is working to clear up the issues. Paul laments that like a parent who is having to deal with a rebellious child, he may come to Corinth and find them engaged in gossip, quarreling, selfishness, impurity, sexual immorality and lustful pleasure.  These are signs of weak faith and outright rebellion.  Paul is hoping that this is not the case.

Does God look down from heaven and see any of those behaviors in your life?  God is a father who is concerned for your spiritual well being.

Psalm 56:1-13

I love this section of the psalm, "You keep track of all of my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book."

Now that is a loving God who is concerned about our lives!!

Proverbs 23:6-8

Stingy people are not worth being around.  It's a bad vibe.

What did you see today?  Please share.


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

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