Isaiah 41:17-43:13; Ephesians 2:1-22;
Psalm 67:1-7; Proverbs 23:29-35
God is continuing his explanation to the nation of Israel about their future, His character, His secret plans for human history, and His superiority over idols.
The prophesies of Isaiah are given to the Southern Kingdom of Judah in the generation prior to them being taken into captivity by Babylon. The Southern Kingdom follows the despicable practices of the Northern Kingdom of idol worship. Although the Southern Kingdom had a number of good kings of which Hezekiah is one, most of their leaders worshiped Baal and Asherah. The people as a whole did not acknowledge the God of Israel.
Today, as our reading begins, God is telling the future to Israel and challenging them as to whether or not any of the idol gods that they follow are able to do the same. We see in Isaiah's prophesies many references to God as the Creator of all things in heaven and in earth. This position places Him above idols and gives Him authority to sovereignly rule all people on earth. He will also justifiably judge the earth. The description in verse 25 is that a leader from the north will be stirred up to trample on Israel. This occurs when Babylon overtakes Judah. It is also a foreshadowing of end times when an invasion from the north will create peril for the regathered nation of Israel. Chapter 41 ends with God declaring that idols are unable to predict these things and are as empty as the wind.
Chapter 42- The Chosen Servant
- God is pleased with Him. Think back to the baptism of Jesus. God declares "This is my Son in whom I am well pleased." Vs. 1
- He will reveal justice to the nations. Vs. 1
- He will be gentle in that he will not raise his voice in public. Vs. 2
- He will not crush the lowly. Vs. 3
- He will not stop until righteousness and justice prevail on earth. Vs. 4 This will occur completely during his millennial reign.
- Even distant lands will be instructed by Him. Vs. 4
- He will be a light that guides all people to God the Father, the Creator of all things. Vs. 6
- He will open the eyes of the blind and free the captives from prison (of death). Vs. 7
- The Lord is His name. Vs. 8
- He is able to tell the world the future before it happens. Vs. 9
Chapter 43- God with Israel in the midst of suffering
This chapter begins with the amazing statement that God has ransomed Israel. This means that their sins have caused a debt to God, but He has graciously paid off their debt. He promises to be with them when they go through deep waters and are in great trouble. They will not drown in rivers of difficulty. They will not be burned up in fires of oppression. At least they will not be consumed by the fires. Why? Because the Lord is their God, the Holy One of Israel. They are to be confident and not afraid in their trials.
Do you feel confident in the midst of trials because you are a follower of the God who controls the whole universe?
Gather the nations together! This is God's call for all people groups on earth to be reconciled to Himself. Israel is His witness of these things to come. You and I are reading this book because of the faithful witness of the nation of Israel. God gave this chosen group His Story. God is from eternity to eternity. No one can oppose what He does. No one can reverse His actions.
Have you listened to the truth in these passages? Do you glory in God's awesome power and wisdom revealed? Are you thankful that the Jewish people have recorded and preserved God's plan for humanity in the Scriptures? Have you thanked God for His plan and for using the nation of Israel?
Paul is ready to explain the ways of the world to the Ephesians. Part of God's plan has been for Satan to have an impact on this world. Paul describes Satan as the prince of the power of the air. He is the spirit at work in the lives of those who refuse to obey God.
Paul establishes that all of mankind is born with an evil nature and are therefore under God's wrath. This is why God's rich mercy and love raised us from the position of being spiritually dead. Just as Jesus is in the heavenly realm after being raised from the dead, we are positionally already in the heavenly realm by being saved by God. God saved each person who believes in Him by His special favor. It is not something that we can take credit for. It is not a reward for good behavior.
Believers are God's masterpieces. He is an artist at work in our souls. Our purpose is to do good works that were planned for us long ago. Gentiles who were once unaware of the One True God and were apart from Him have now been brought close to God. Jesus Christ is who has made peace between the Jews and the Gentiles. Jesus' death ended the whole Jewish system of the law according to Ephesians 2:15. Both the Jews and the Gentiles now draw near to God through the same Holy Spirit. Both Jews and Gentiles are God's house built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. We are a holy temple of the Lord.
Did you know that the good works that you do were planned by God before the foundations of the world were formed? How does that change your perspective on the importance of your life? You matter to God. Do you feel like a masterpiece? Are you thankful to be saved?
What a beautiful psalm of praise. It is appropriate with what we have been studying.
This is a proverb about avoiding being a person who relies heavily on alcohol. It is a picture of a person who is out of control.
What did you notice as you read?