Archive for the ‘Isaiah’ Category

Project 66 – Isaiah

It was tough to choose just a singular portion of Isaiah. So much great stuff, especially in the last 27 chapters of the book.

Perhaps you have heard the book of Isaiah compared to the Bible as a whole, since it has 66 chapters, just as the Bible has 66 books.

The first chapter begins with sin and transgression while chapter 39 ends with negative consequences and captivity. (The Old Testament has 39 books)

Then springs forth chapter 40 with great comfort, carrying it all the way through the 27 chapters to 66th as it closes in with a new heaven and a new earth. (The New Testament has 27 books)

The central chapter of the second portion of Isaiah is the 53rd chapter just as the central theme of the New Testament is the Cross.

Interestingly, Isaiah is midway between the time of

  • Moses (giver of the law) and
  • Christ (though Whom came Truth and Grace), and
  • in Isaiah we clearly see the distinction between Law and Grace.

So the portion from Isaiah comes from the central chapter in the second portion of Isaiah, Isaiah 53, which talks about the central theme in the New Testament…

Isaiah 53 – Jesus Christ and His work on the cross

Surely He has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned,
every one,
to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on Him
the iniquity of us all.

All we like sheep have gone astray

I need a Shepherd

It was my grief He bore.

He not only knows my grief, but He bares it for me. I’m sure many have felt nearly swallowed up by overmuch grief, I know I have. So I cannot even begin to imagine how it would utterly crush me altogether if it were not for Christ bearing my grief.

It was my sorrows He carried.

I picture sorrows like an Alfred Hitchcock movie with spiders and roaches crawling all over the body…desparately, maddeningly, swatting and lashing out at them with a complete insanity and inability to do anything else, except to writhe in disgust trying to swipe them away.

But what’s more…sorrows are the vermin of the heart and soul, not the body. And Who will rescue me from the attack of these insidious cockroaches?

Thanks be to God, Jesus Christ has carried away my sorrows to the tree of Calvary.

And though the crowd may have looked on at the time of His crucifixion and determined that Jesus was being punished on the cross for His own sins, yet today, I cannot help but acknowledge, it was for my transgressions, for my iniquities, and all in order that I might have peace, in order that I might be healed.

The truth is it was I who went astray and walked in my own selfish way. The very wanderings that fell me headlong into the pit of poisonous insects and rodents. I want to be the kind of sheep that turns to the Shepherd for guidance rather than brashly making poor choices and suffering for them afterwards.

Just thinking about this portion of Project 66, compels me to thank God with the words from this hymn…

Why would I ever leave the suffering Shepherd’s side who never leaves my side?

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Project 66 – Isaiah

It was tough to choose just a singular portion of Isaiah. So much great stuff, especially in the last 27 chapters of the book.

Perhaps you have heard the book of Isaiah compared to the Bible as a whole, since it has 66 chapters, just as the Bible has 66 books.

The first chapter begins with sin and transgression while chapter 39 ends with negative consequences and captivity. (The Old Testament has 39 books)

Then springs forth chapter 40 with great comfort, carrying it all the way through the 27 chapters to 66th as it closes in with a new heaven and a new earth. (The New Testament has 27 books)

The central chapter of the second portion of Isaiah is the 53rd chapter just as the central theme of the New Testament is the Cross.

Interestingly, Isaiah is midway between the time of

  • Moses (giver of the law) and
  • Christ (though Whom came Truth and Grace), and
  • in Isaiah we clearly see the distinction between Law and Grace.

So the portion from Isaiah comes from the central chapter in the second portion of Isaiah, Isaiah 53, which talks about the central theme in the New Testament…

Isaiah 53 – Jesus Christ and His work on the cross

Surely He has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned,
every one,
to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on Him
the iniquity of us all.

All we like sheep have gone astray

I need a Shepherd

It was my grief He bore.

He not only knows my grief, but He bares it for me. I’m sure many have felt nearly swallowed up by overmuch grief, I know I have. So I cannot even begin to imagine how it would utterly crush me altogether if it were not for Christ bearing my grief.

It was my sorrows He carried.

I picture sorrows like an Alfred Hitchcock movie with spiders and roaches crawling all over the body…desparately, maddeningly, swatting and lashing out at them with a complete insanity and inability to do anything else, except to writhe in disgust trying to swipe them away.

But what’s more…sorrows are the vermin of the heart and soul, not the body. And Who will rescue me from the attack of these insidious cockroaches?

Thanks be to God, Jesus Christ has carried away my sorrows to the tree of Calvary.

And though the crowd may have looked on at the time of His crucifixion and determined that Jesus was being punished on the cross for His own sins, yet today, I cannot help but acknowledge, it was for my transgressions, for my iniquities, and all in order that I might have peace, in order that I might be healed.

The truth is it was I who went astray and walked in my own selfish way. The very wanderings that fell me headlong into the pit of poisonous insects and rodents. I want to be the kind of sheep that turns to the Shepherd for guidance rather than brashly making poor choices and suffering for them afterwards.

Just thinking about this portion of Project 66, compels me to thank God with the words from this hymn…

Why would I ever leave the suffering Shepherd’s side who never leaves my side?

Bit of Balm for the Broken

A few choice verses for those who maybe suffering through loss or from a shattered heart:

“The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart; and saves those who have a crushed spirit.” Psalm 34:18

“You know my wanderings;
You put my tears into Your bottle;
You record my aches in Your book.
When I cry out to You…
This I know, God is for me.” Psalm 56:8-9

“He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

“He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,…to set at liberty them that are bruised,” said Jesus. Luke 4:18

“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, … to comfort all that mourn.” Isaiah 61:2

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” Psalm 51:17

They looked, but never Looked to Him!

I picked a few good chapters to miss as St. Philip’s goes skipping through Isaiah two chapters at a time! It’s been Isaiah declaring the Lord’s assessment of the enemy nations that surround His people. Not a very pretty evaluation.

But then we come to His own people, Jerusalem of Judah in Isaiah 22. They aren’t measuring up either. This chapter personifies how we can look to every scheme and tactic to deliver us from a problem and yet not look to the very One who put us in that situation to provoke us to repent.

I’m just baffled by the 40-50,000 people who opted to stay in Galveston and other coastal areas while the National Weather Service officials were promising “certain death”. (thankfully, their guarantee for death was inaccurate!)

But, it was somewhat similar in Jerusalem’s day. While Isaiah was tearfully telling them that Babylon would overthrow Jerusalem with arrows and chariots, they instead opted to fortify their homestead and hunker down. No wonder Isaiah said, “I will weep bitterly” when he saw God’s warning being outright ignored.

So instead of preparing Jerusalem for an attack depending on their own plans and schemes, they should have turned their hearts in humble repentance to the Lord. Instead of humbly seeking the Lord, the people of Jerusalem had both

It’s more than the addict who lives in denial!

A good specimen of the scoffer is Shebna. Shebna was a servant of good King Hezekiah, both a steward . . . over the house and a scribe (2 Kings 18:18, Isaiah 37:2). These were both positions of honor and responsibility. Shebna was one of King Hezekiah’s chief assistants.

Isaiah prophesies that the people of Judah and Jerusalem would be carried away into exile, but Shebna didn’t believe it. He built this elaborate tomb to himself in Jerusalem, as if to say, “I will never be carried away in exile. I am so certain that I will die here that I will build my tomb here.”

It is a very interesting description of how the Lord stripped Shebna of his office (especially in the Message translation) and gave it to Eliakim the son of Hilkiah. God will get His work done! The question for me is whether or not I want to be a part of it by faith, or to miss the opportunity due to my unbelief!

So while Shebna’s peg came crashing down, Eliakim was being established.

Interesting that the Lord uses this passage to speak of Himself in Revelation 3:7:

These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens.”


Jesus is the one with the keys of Hades and of Death (Revelation 1:8), who has all authority both in heaven and on earth. I want to hang the all of my hopes on my Tent Peg, Jesus Christ (Zechariah 10:4).

And I need not fear what kind of vessel I am that hangs on that peg, for there are many different vessels in the Lord’s house, with many different sizes and purposes. But they all must hang on the same peg! All are equally wrecked if they drop from the peg. The safety isn’t in the size or the quality of the vessel, but in its attachment to the peg.

Judah and Shebna saw the prophecy given to Isaiah all of this come to pass, just as God had said.

Divine Tent Peg, be my surety, my stability and my confidence. May I be like Eliakim, one who can help hold others up because of believing in You and Your word. Keep me from being a Shebna and trusting in my own power. I want to live a life where I can hear from You and believe it and move forth with confidence. Thank You for Your clear and faithful warnings. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Lord Invites ALL to Trust

The Daily Bible in Chronological Order 365 Daily Readings with Devotional Insights to Guide You Through God’s Word published by Harvest House in the New International Version (NIV) has been very helpful in putting Isaiah’s prophecies in their historical context.
For example, here is the history listed for Isaiah 6-12.
Isaiah 2:1-5 The Last Days
2 Kings 15:19-28 In Israel (742-741 BC)
Isaiah 6:1-13 Isaiah’s Mission Told in a Vision
2 Chron. 27:3-6 Jotham’s reign in Judah
Micah (the whole book dedicated to Judah)
1 Chron. 5:23-26 Early Beginnings of Captivity in Israel
2 Kings 15:37 War between Syria, Israel & Judah (In Judah)
Isaiah 7:1 – 12:6 Isaiah’s Prophesies about a Saviour
7:1-2 Ahaz Learns of Alliance
7:3-9 God’s Message to Ahaz
7:10-12 Ahaz Refuses a Sign From God
7:13-15 Isaiah Foretells Savior to be Immanuel
7:16-25 Assyria to Destroy
8:1-10 Syria and Israel to Fall
8:11-18 Isaiah Calls them to Trust God
8:19-22 Others Cannot be Trusted
9:1-7 Savior’s Kingdom Coming
9:8-21 God’s Wrath Against Israel
10:1-4 Anger Against Injustice
10:5-19 Assyria’s Punishment
10:20-23 Remnant to Be Saved
10:24-34 Captivity will be Overcome
11:1-9 Savior’s Lineage from David
11:10-16 Savior to Gather Remnant
12:1-6 Praise for Deliverance
2 Chron. 28:5-8 Judah Defeated by Allies
2 Chron. 28:9-21 Captives’ Release Secured

When you read it in the book itself with its historical notes and easy reading layout…it’s a real joy!
Anyway, today we are looking at Isaiah 7, and hopefully we will write about chapter 8 later on tonight.

The northern nation of Israel (referred to by the dominant tribe of Ephraim) and Syria combined to attack Judah (the southern kingdom). The alliance between these two nations and their ultimately unsuccessful attack on Jerusalem is described in 2 Kings 16.

But the war against Judah took a great toll against the southern kingdom. 2 Chronicles 28:6 documents the damage:

For Pekah the son of Remaliah killed one hundred and twenty thousand in Judah in one day, all valiant men, because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers.

2 Chronicles 28:5 says that the Syrian army carried away a great multitude of them as captives. The king of Israel also captured 200,000 men, women and children as captives, but sent them back to Judah at the command of the prophet Oded (2 Chronicles 28:8-15).

Ahaz was a wicked king of Judah, worshipping other gods and even sacrificing his son to Molech (2 Kings 16:1-4). The only good thing Ahaz seemed to do was father Hezekiah, who became a good king of Judah.

And still the Lord invited this evil king to trust in Him to give Judah the victory against the Israel/Syrian alliance. What a mercy of God, that even to such a rebel, He offers His grace and care.

But instead Ahaz prefers to enter into an ungodly alliance with Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria, and even gave Tiglath-Pileser silver and gold that was found in the house of the Lord as a present to win his favor and protection (2 Kings 16:7-9).

If the king of Judah and the people of Judah had put their trust in the Lord, they would have had the peace of God in this conflict, instead of shaking like a leaf in the wind.

Why would Ahaz find it so hard to trust in the Lord instead of looking to a cruel enemy to become allies with him? Perhaps the devastation that had wracked Judah thus far had made Ahaz stop trusting in God. “If God loves me, why am I in this mess at all? Trust Him now, after all He has allowed to happen? Are you crazy?”

Ahaz was unable to see the situation the way the Lord did. Ahaz looked at Israel and Syria and saw a terrible threat. God looked at Israel and Syria and saw two stubs of smoking firebrands. To the Lord, they were all smoke and no fire!

God gives a promise with a warning: If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.

So Ahaz has a challenge. God has promised, now the king of Judah must believe. If he will not believe, it will not affect the outcome of the attack against Jerusalem. God has already decreed that their attack would not succeed. But it would affect the course of Ahaz’s life and reign as king (surely you shall not be established).

As it happened, Ahaz did not believe. He did not put his trust in the Lord. He put his trust in his own scheming and logical methods and allied himself with the king of Assyria.

Jerusalem was spared, and Ahaz no doubt believed he was successful, and his plan worked. But if he would have just trusted in the Lord, Jerusalem would have been spared, and Ahaz would have been blessed.
Even when God invited this wicked king to ask Him for a sign, Ahaz refused, knowing that he would be held accountable for what God spoke. So Ahaz cloaks his rebellion in the words of humility and spirituality. But God saw right through it!

This sounds very spiritual from Ahaz. He almost seems to say what Jesus said in Matthew 4:7:

You shall not tempt the Lord your God.

Though the words are similar, the hearts are far apart. Ahaz refused to ask for a sign, because when God fulfilled the sign, he would be “obligated” to believe.

This was not tempting or testing God in wrong way. It is never testing God to do as He says, and if the Lord invites us to test Him, we should.

In Isaiah 7:14 we have one of the most famous prophecies regarding the birth of Jesus the Messiah in the Bible. It also illustrates a principle of prophecy, that prophecy may have both
  • a near fulfillment and
  • a far fulfillment.
The near fulfillment of this prophecy centered around Ahaz, Jerusalem, and the attack from Israel and Syria. For Ahaz, the sign centered around a time span. Simply put, God would give Ahaz a sign that within a few years, both Israel and Syria would be crushed. This was a sign of deliverance to Ahaz.

The far or ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy goes far beyond Ahaz, to announce the miraculous virgin birth of Jesus Christ. We know this passage speaks of Jesus because in Matthew it says regarding Him:

Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us.”

So for us, the ultimate fulfillment is good news giving us abundant life!

But for Ahaz, who had been foolishly trusting in Assyria instead of the Lord, the near fulfillment was bad news. It is as if the Lord is saying, “It will seem to you like trusting in Assyria is a clever move, because the armies of Syria and Israel will be defeated. But the Assyrians will end up defeating you also.”

Captain of my soul, thank You for fighting on my behalf, even when the circumstances of life seem to mount up against me. Immanuel, thank You for Your ever-present company. That You are there in the beginning of the day, throughout the events of the day during my waking hours, as well as when my head hits the pillow at night. Lord, remind me to always attribute every good and perfect gift to You and not to some scheme or strategy that I have implemented. All victories come from You! We love You, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

God is on the Throne

Isaiah 6 is strawberry-jam-pack-full! I’m going to just jot down a variety of notes, without much continuity.

First, the history of King Uzziah and his reign can be read about in 2 Chronicles 26 & 2 Kings 15 (btw: Azariah = Uzziah). He was 16 years when he came to the throne and reigned for 52 years.

Overall, he was a good strong king. But later in life there was a downfall that occurred summarized succinctly in 2 Chronicles 26:16:

But when Uzziah was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.

So Uzziah remained a leper until his death as a result of violating the Lord’s temple. And yet, in the year that he died, Isaiah has a holy vision somewhat parallel to the very sin that caused Uzziah’s downturn.

The train of His robe filled the temple…above it stood seraphim…house was filled with smoke…live coal taken from the altar…iniquity is taken away.

Just something I hadn’t seen before. It is interesting that when God directs you to do something, it leads to blessing (iniquity taken away) while if God has not directed you to it, or has even commanded you NOT to do something that negative consequences occur (leprosy for the rest of your life, even after a long faithful reign).

Another truth I’m struck by is the idea that the Lord often reveals Himself in the time of crisis:

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on the throne, high and lifted up.

High King of Heaven, I pray you will grant me the kind of eyes Isaiah, that could see You even in the midst of calamity.

Isaiah may have been depressed or discouraged because a great leader of Judah was no longer on the throne. God in heaven now shows Isaiah, “Don’t worry about it, Isaiah. Uzziah may not be on his throne, but I am on My throne.”

Another point is that Isaiah may have been a righteous, godly man by all outward appearance. Yet when he saw the enthroned King, the Lord of hosts, perhaps even King Jesus Himself, he saw how sinful he was in comparison.

But when we see Jesus face to face (and not merely in a vision) we shall be pure even as He is pure!! I guess Isaiah got a little of that from the coal taken from the altar and applied to his lips.

So why the burning coal?

  1. to burn away the sin, especially sins of the mouth
  2. and to put such a heavenly flame of desire in him that he burned with passion to serve God and tell others about Him

O Holy Spirit, let Your fire burn in me. First to purge me of my sin, and secondly to have Your light so shine through me that people will turn to You and give You the glory.

God said, “I will light a fire in you!” That is why a burning coal was used to purify Isaiah. “Jehovah, who is a consuming fire, can only fitly be served by those who are on fire, whether they be angels or men.” (Spurgeon)

I wonder sometimes if I have gone to “the nations” before being “sent”. Notice Isaiah’s prayer “Send me” which meant Isaiah was submitted to the Lord in all his service. He didn’t even say, “Here I am, I will go.” Isaiah would not go at all unless he knew he was sent by the Lord.

Lord of the harvest, I pray that I will be patient, and not run headlong saying, “Here I am, I will go” but rather I will wait for the directive from You Yourself to send me.

Isaiah was a missionary:

  • First, he had a heart that had been in the presence of God.
  • He had a heart that knew its own sinfulness.
  • He had a heart that knew the need among the people, the need for God’s word.
  • He had a heart that had been touched by God’s cleansing fire.
  • And he had a heart that heard God’s heart to reach the nations.

An outline jotted down from a preacher’s sermon:
Woe is me! – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -Confession of the sinner
Lo, your iniquity is taken away! – – Cleansing from sins
Go and tell! – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Commission from the Sovereign

Sovereign King, no matter what crisis we may find ourselves in I pray You would give us eyes to see Your glory and Your sovereignty. But not only to see it, but to be affected by it, cleansed by it, and then to go and tell others about it. Thank You for purging our sins by pouring out the fire of judgment on Your Son, Jesus, for our sake. In His name I pray, Amen.

Importance of Good Choices

Well, I’ve been torn as to whether I should stay my own course of Bible reading and blogging, or let St. Philip’s 3-year-bible-reading-plan dictate what passage I should read for the day. I’ve decided to follow St. Philip’s reading plan.

So you may get a few missed chapters along the way (especially when they ask for more than one chapter a day!). Otherwise, if I fall one or two chapters behind, I have tendency to just skip it all together. So, God and I shall rendezvous around the chapter given by St. Philip’s for the day.

So today I am sacrificing the hope-giving story of Esther 3 for the fierce warning of judgment against Judah and Jerusalem in Isaiah 3.

God, in no uncertain terms, is letting them (and us) know that obsessing over extreme luxury while stealing from the poor shall NOT be tolerated. No wonder He responds with a shortage competent leaders.

He shall give the people what their wicked hearts desire, ungodly, incompetent leaders. Things can become so bad, that in the minds of the people, the smallest achievement will qualify a man for leadership. (you can read 2 Kings 24:14 for the fulfilled account of God’s warning…guess He wasn’t kidding). The lack of strong godly leaders will lead to shortage of water, food and justice.

Governor of the Universe and hearts of mankind, I pray for the United States and the upcoming election. May your choice (and not our own) be elected. Grant us a person who will lead us on in righteousness.


I’m struck, that if Jerusalem and Judah could have sinned against God in what they say and in what they do, does that necessarily mean that we can glorify God by what we say just as much as by what we do?

Guardian of my Life, I pray that You would set up a centurion over my mouth and lips so that I will only say that which glorifies You and edifies others. May my deeds and words be pleasing to You.


It seems to me as if God is rather passive in judgment (though we know He is always in control). For example, in today’s passage all He does is leave Judah alone, and they end up bringing evil upon themselves. Often times we choose pain and heartbreak rather than follow His guidance.

Great Shepherd, I pray that where You lead, I will follow. I know if left to myself I will surely fall headlong into evil, so I pray, keep close to You and Your flock.


Wow! When you look at the list of accessories that the women devoted too much of their lives too, you can’t help but imagine the size of the malls they must have had in Jerusalem! Though it is often argued that the fact these accessories are mentioned in regards to judgment, that they are wicked in and of themselves, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Isaiah tells them this is for oppressing the poor and making them pay for your luxuries. You might say even in their day, there were the ‘have’s’ and the ‘have-not’s’ with the rich taking from the poor more and more.

And as it always seems to be, He drives us yet again to Himself for direction. We can’t get it from anyone else, or from headquarters to inquire just exactly where that fine balance is. We must get it for ourselves from the Creator and Designer.

But there is one apparel that we can be confident that is pleasing to God as He commends it in 1 Peter 3:3-4:

Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.


BTW: verse 17 makes me wonder if the last part of the verse refers to rape. It does make me wonder about that life-long question: “where is God when something as atrocious as rape is occurring?”

Lord Jesus, thank You that You are in control, and thank You for taking the time to communicate with us Your ways. I pray that we will always find ourselves running to You, our Creator and Designer, for guidance and direction, rather than to some rule book or person or board of directors. We want to use our ignorance as just another excuse to come and rendezvous with You. Thank You for Your warnings. Strengthen us all to choose the way that is right in Your eyes. In Jesus’ name. Amen