God’s Promises

Isaiah 40

God comforted His people with a promise. God reassured the remnant that they would be restored. God’s faithful could rely on His promise.

Unlike human promises which are easily broken, God’s promises endure forever (40:8). How do we know we can trust God’s promises?

God is the creator of all we see and feel. While the pagan god, Marduk, sought advice from Ea, the god of wisdom, in the Babylonian creation myth, God consulted no one as he created. God’s promises are everlasting because He is all wisdom and knowledge and does not need to consult anyone else.

God is not an idol made by human hands like the pagan gods. God created the material which people use to create their idols. God’s promises endure forever because He is real and not created by human imagination.

God is in control of the nations. Rulers are appointed by the Lord’s authority. God knows intimate details of His creation. No one is His equal. God’s promises are true because He is greater than anything created.

God does not grow weary. The Lord’s strength carries those who grow tired. God’s promises are timeless because He does not grow weary and is able to keep His promises forever.

You can stand upon the promises of God. God will not abandon you. Repent, be restored, and rest in the promise of your salvation.




Prideful Cycle

Isaiah 38-39

Hezekiah’s illness preceded the attempted Assyrian invasion on Jerusalem. One commentator suggested Hezekiah epitomized the city. Just as Hezekiah was close to death and received a miraculous healing, so Jerusalem was close to destruction and received a miraculous deliverance.

If we carry the idea of Hezekiah as epitomizing the city to the next chapter, we see a healed man full of pride as he gives the Babylons a tour of his wealth. Was Jerusalem full of pride? Did she humble herself before God only to turn back to her prideful ways? Isaiah rebuked Hezekiah for his pride and prophesied the impending Babylonian conquest.

How often do we humble ourselves before God only to become prideful once again? Are we caught in a viscous cycle of repent and sin? God is patient, but just. The Lord delivered Jerusalem from Assyria and then delivered her into the hands of Babylon when she failed to learn her lesson. God extended mercy, but delivered judgement when Jerusalem continued in her sin.

Take time to ponder your motivations.



Seek and Trust

Isaiah 36-37

As I read about the encounter between Hezekiah’s men and Sennacherib’s men at the walls of Jerusalem, my mind wandered to the scene between the French and King Arthur in the Monty Python movie, Quest for the Holy Grail. In the movie, the French taunt King Arthur and his men with silly phrases meant to discourage the grail seekers. Granted, the encounter between Judah and Assyria was more serious, but the taunting was done for similar reasons. The armies attempted to lower morale which would provide an easier defeat.

Today, with long range missiles, drones, and rifles, soldiers can fight impersonal battles (don’t get me wrong, I understand things can get very messy today also). In the ancient world, without modern technology, battles were mainly fought with hand-to-hand combat. Demoralizing the opponent was a necessary part of the engagement.

Taunting happens in every day life. Competition naturally brings out the worst in us. Sometimes teasing can be playful as we engage in a game. Other times, taunting results in low self esteem and self doubt as we struggle against opponents in school, business, and other areas of life.

How do we respond to taunts? Hezekiah’s response to the taunts of the Assyrians provides an example for us today.

Hezekiah began by seeking counsel (Isa. 37:1-7). Hezekiah asked Isaiah to intercede on behalf of Judah. When we feel demoralized and unsure, we should seek counsel from someone who can provide encouragement and pray for us.

Hezekiah prayed (Isa. 37:15). Hezekiah began his prayer by acknowledging that God was supreme (37:16) The king then laid out his troubles before the Lord (37:17-19). Finally, Hezekiah asked God to intervene (37:20).

God chose to respond through Hezekiah’s counselor, Isaiah. We often think we can handle problems on our own, but often God chooses to work through others to provide us with answers. In the end, God supernaturally defeated Assyria and Sennacherib was murdered by his sons.

Now, we should not expect an angel of the Lord to defeat our bullies. What we can expect, if we acknowledge God as creator and King of kings, explain our trouble, and ask for His help, is that He will provide an answer. That answer may come through a counselor or trusted friend. That answer may not be what we expect, but it will provide a solution to our problem.

Just as Hezekiah was not alone in his time of trouble, neither are you. Seek counsel and trust in God.



Joy and Gladness

Isaiah 34-35

Some commentators refer to these chapters as “Armageddon” when God judges the nations of the world and the heavenly realms. Some commentators bring it back to Isaiah’s time with a judgment on Edom before Isaiah shows a glimpse into the future as Edom represents the nations against God. With either approach, the message is clear. God is the judge of heaven and earth.

Hope and blessing once again follows judgment.

Say to those with anxious heart, “Take courage, fear not. Behold your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, but he will save you” (Isa. 35:4).

God is good. The Lord does not forget His faithful followers. God always provides hope and a way for them to find “gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away” (Isa. 35:10b).

Turn to God. Repent and be restored. Find joy and gladness.



What Are Your Motives?

Isaiah 33

Isaiah called out the nations and pronounced doom upon them. While the passage does not indicate which nation received Isaiah’s warning, it is likely Isaiah thought of Assyria. The Assyrian army, made up of warriors from several nations, crouched at Jerusalem’s door.

Isaiah prayed on behalf of Judah. The prophet petitioned for God’s intervention (2-4), affirmed his faith in God’s salvation (5-6), and lamented over the destruction that had taken place (7-9).

God responded. The Lord declared He would intervene and demonstrate His power as He taunted the nation’s (10-13).

Jerusalem worried. The city had been warned of God’s anger against them. Who could live with God’s consuming fire (14)?

God provided hope. The righteous could be identified. God would save His people (15-24).

God knows the hearts of man. God knows your motivations. Why do you attend church? The Israelites continued to offer sacrifices, and yet God was displeased. They offered “lip service” and not their hearts.

God does not want recreational worship. God wants all of you. The Lord desires your devotion to Him in every aspect of your life. Do you attend church on Sunday and then deal unjustly with your employees during the week? Will God determine you are one who walks in righteousness?

Take time to ponder your motives. Repent and receive God’s promise of hope.



Misplaced Trust

Isaiah 32

Isaiah turned his attention to the future.

One day, the eyes of people will open and they will see how they were deceived by fools. Righteous leaders will appear who will judge fairly.

False confidence placed in wealth and status will be replaced with genuine security when people trust the Lord. The land will be restored and justice will prevail when trust is placed in God.

Human nature has not changed since Isaiah’s day. Just as the inhabitants of Judah were deceived by fools, so we are today. We place our trust (and money) in the words of celebrities who are considered “experts” simply because of their fame and wealth.

People profited from oppressing the poor (the women described by Isaiah were benefiting from their husband’s extortion practices). The wealthy had become comfortable and trusted in their own capabilities.

Most of us live comfortable lives. Do we place our trust in our jobs, our homes, our our government programs? Do we only call out to God when we are in tough situations?

Judah’s misplaced trust resulted in a lot of grief. Their alliances came to nothing as the Assyrians destroyed Israel and ransacked the land of Judah. Their comfortable lives came to an end when the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and the temple. Isaiah’s message provided hope for restoration when God’s people repented.

Isaiah’s message provides hope for us as well. Repent and place your trust in God.



All of You

Isaiah 29-31

Isaiah pointed out the insincere worship of Jerusalem (Ariel). The inhabitants were devout in their worship practices, but their hearts were not true. What was portrayed during their services did not transfer to their homes.

Isaiah reminded Judah of her fruitless alliance with Egypt (Rahab). The misplaced trust of the Israelites would not save them from the Assyrian army.

Isaiah reiterated God’s desire to save His people. Egypt would fail the Israelites. God desired repentance from His people. Isaiah foretold of God’s deliverance for a repentant people.

Is your faith sincere? Is God part of your daily life? Where is your trust placed?

God wants all of you. The Lord is not content with half-hearted devotion. Repent of your apostasy and give yourself wholly to God.