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Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson


June 2014

Daily Bible thoughts 640: Tuesday 17th June 2014:

 Isaiah 13:9-22

Although it is true to say that every judgment Of God in History can in some sense be described as ”the day of the LORD”, it doesn’t alter the fact that there is going to be a final judgment of all mankind. Isaiah, in (9-13), sees the historical judgment on Babylon as foreshadowing the last judgment. So it is important that we should see the particular judgments of God in history as warnings of things yet to come. God hates pride. It always goes before a fall. The Babylonians are a major Bible example of this principle. There can be no doubt that God’s judgment is a terrible thing (14-16). The Babylonians had taken people captive from many lands. Isaiah saw that when the city of Babylon was about to fall, these exiles would try to escape to their native lands. But those caught or found living among the Babylonians would be killed, or ravished, along with the Babylonian people.

At one time, people would have struggled to believe that so great an empire as that of Babylon could be devastated like this (17 – 22). But it did happen, and it stands as a warning to all nations and empires. Although God would use ”the Medes” in His purposes, Babylon would be ”overthrown by God.” (19). The destruction of this city, and the downfall of this powerful empire would be God’s work through His chosen instruments. ”This prophecy has indeed come true. By the end of the first century A.D., Babylon had become a deserted ruin, and it remains so to this day. Ancient Babylon has become a symbol of godless worldly power. In Revelation Chapter 18, Rome, the centre of the world’s greatest empire in Christ’s time, was called ”Babylon” by the Apostle John. The Roman Empire too has fallen, and many others like it through the centuries. Isaiah’s message is this: all nations who set themselves up against God will ultimately come to ruin. We do well to ask: How many ”Babylons” are there in our world today?” Tom Hale: The applied Old Testament Commentary, p.1013.

”…in the landscape of history, as we view it from the eminence of the years, we can detect the…vengeance of the Almighty on the cruel, rapacious, bloodthirsty kingdom of Babylon. She had served God’s purpose, but she had committed such enormous crimes in the process of serving it, that she must be condemned.” F.B. Meyer: Great verses through the Bible, p.274.

Prayer: Lord God, ‘Babylon’ still hits the headlines each day and makes the news. Help me to remember the final chapter of the story however, and thank you for allowing me to read it in advance.




Daily Bible thoughts 639: Monday 16th June 2014:

 Isaiah 13:1-8

The rising and falling of nations are in the hands of God (Dan.4:25, 32; Acts 17:26). In Isaiah chapters 13-23 you have a series of oracles, or prophecies, spoken against various nations in the Middle East that at one time or another were enemies of God’s people. The first concerns Babylon, the capital city of the mighty Babylonian Empire. (See also Jeremiah chapters 50, 51). There is no one too big and powerful, or mean and nasty, that God cannot bring them down. Isaiah pictures God the Lord raising an army of ”holy ones” (3). They may not necessarily be holy in behaviour, but they have been set apart for God’s purposes. That’s the meaning of the word. He tells them to ”enter the gates of the nobles” (2) that is Babylon itself. ”I’ve taken charge of my special forces, called up my crack troops. They’re bursting with pride and passion to carry out my angry judgment.” The Message.

(4, 5): When Isaiah wrote this prophecy, it was the Assyrians, not the Babylonians, who were the Superpower in Middle Eastern politics. But Isaiah was able to see ahead, to the rise of Babylon, the conquest of Judah, and the exile of the Jews. Then he was enabled to see even beyond that to the eventual defeat of Babylon by Cyrus King of Persia (joined by the Medes from Media: verse 17), and the return of the Jewish exiles to their own land (14:1, 45:1, 13). ”It’s GOD on the move with the weapons of his wrath, ready to destroy the whole country.” The Message.

Any day that God intervenes decisively in history can be called ”the day of the LORD” (6). Of course, this expression repeatedly refers to the last judgment. Whenever God’s judgment comes it is terrible: ”…an avalanche crashing down from the Strong God! Everyone paralyzed in the panic, hysterical and unstrung, Doubled up in pain like a woman giving birth to a baby. Horrified – everyone they see is like a face out of a nightmare.” The Message.

”In the defeat of Babylon, Isaiah saw a picture of the final ”day of the Lord” when the world will taste the judgment of God…Isaiah’s message against Babylon was fulfilled, and the city and empire are no more. In Scripture, Babylon symbolizes the world system confederated against God (Gen.11). Like Babylon in Isaiah’s day, the world today seems so successful and invincible; but one day, the whole system will fall (Rev 17, 18). That is why God calls His people to separate themselves from it (2 Cor.6:14-18).” Warren W. Wiersbe: With the Word, p.461.

Prayer: Help me Holy God to have a true valuation of things and ‘love not the world.’





Daily Bible thoughts 638: Friday 13th June 2014:

 Isaiah 12

”This chapter forms a fitting conclusion to the first eleven chapters of Isaiah. Up until now, Isaiah has focused mainly on the people of Judah; he has warned them of judgment to come because of their sins. But he has also prophesied that a remnant would be spared and restored to the land. Not only that, Isaiah has also looked far into the future and has seen a day when the Messiah would reign and all nations would submit to Him. In that day (verses 1, 4), says Isaiah, God’s people will sing His praises.” Tom Hale: The Applied Old Testament Commentary, p.1011

  • The salvation Jesus, the Messiah, brings comes by faith (2a): ”I will trust and not be afraid.” This is a theme illuminated even more clearly in the New Testament and especially in the writings of the Apostle Paul. Someone said that when you read Mark’s gospel you are confronted throughout with a straight choice between faith and fear. You can have one or the other, but you shouldn’t (needn’t) have both. They make alien bed-fellows. It is not true to say that all people are saved because Jesus has come into the world; but the Lord will ”become” (2b) your salvation if and when you put your trust in Him.
  • The salvation Jesus brings means deliverance from the wrath and judgment of God (1), and brings the best and truest form of ‘comfort’ into your life, where you know you are right with your Maker and in a love relationship with Him of total acceptance.
  • The salvation Jesus brings puts a song of praise (even a ”shout” of praise: verse 6) into your heart and on your lips (2b, 5 and 6). The song in (2b) was sung by the Israelites when they were delivered from Egypt (Ex.15:2), and they sang it when they returned to their land from exile (Ps.118:14). We sing it now in this Messianic age. We sing as people who know that ”The Greatest lives among” us (6). The Message.
  • The salvation Jesus brings is something we testify to (4, 5). It is not to be kept to ourselves but published abroad. ”Shout to the nations, tell of what he’s done, spread the news of his great reputation…Let the whole earth know what he’s done! Raise the roof! Sing your hearts out, O Zion!
  • The salvation Jesus brings is an on-going experience (3; see John 4:10, 14). It is to be enjoyed, and it is continually refreshing. ”Joyfully you’ll pull up buckets of water from the wells of salvation.” The Message. You will always be able to ‘draw up’ what you need. Note the plural ”wells”. We love and serve the God of abundant supply. ”Faith is the bucket, which we let down into the fulness of the divine supply…And oh, the joy of realizing that all the wealth of God’s salvation is within our reach; that we may draw for ever without fear of exhaustion…” F.B. Meyer: Great verses through the Bible, pp. 273,274. Thought: ”I will trust and not be afraid” (2a). This is a possibility and an opportunity and needs to be a commitment.

Prayer: Today, Lord God, I want to trust you. I feel my weakness to succumb to fear, but help me to hold tight to your Hand.



Daily Bible thoughts 637: Thursday 12th June 2014:

 Isaiah 11: 10-16

Here are three things about the Messiah who is to come:

  • He will be a ‘magnet’ (10, 12a; see also Rev.22:13, 16): ”In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples…He will raise a banner for the nations…” He will be a rallying point, drawing to Himself people from all over the globe. The Apostle Paul quotes (10) to show that God intended the Gentiles to put their hope in Christ. The Messiah would come into the world not only for Jews (Romans 15:12; see also Acts 4:12). ”For God so loved the world…” (Verse 11 may refer to the remnant of Israel and Judah that would return from captivity. Some scholars believe Isaiah is referring to the Jewish remnant that was dispersed throughout the earth following the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D.70,and their restoration in and around the time of Christ’s second coming.)
  • He will be a unifier (12 – 14): He will ”gather…the scattered…” (12). The divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah (1 Kings 11:9-13) will one day be brought together under the reign of the Messiah. Where they were at each other’s throats in hostility, they will once again be by each other’s side in battle. There will be a great family reunion. Jesus reconciles people to God and to each other.
  • He will be a liberator (15, 16): In these verses a second and greater exodus is envisaged. This theme will be developed more fully in later chapters, e.g. 35:1-10; 48:20, 21. The captives will return. But the Messiah will release people not just from physical chains but also spiritual bondage.

Prayer: Thank you Lord Jesus for all that you are, and all you have done, and do, in my life.


Daily Bible thoughts 636: Wednesday 11th June 2014:

Isaiah 11:1-9                                                                                                                                                                                        How did Jesus fulfil His ministry in the world? The answer is, He was totally dependent on the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:18). That reliance on the Spirit’s anointing was prophesied by Isaiah centuries before Jesus came (1-3a). Jesse was David’s father. After the fall of Jerusalem, the house of David did indeed become a ”stump” (1). It was seemingly dead. There was no nation to rule, no throne to sit on and no power to wield. Yet Isaiah could see that this stump was not completely dead, but would one day produce a ”shoot”. If you remember, Isaiah had previously spoken about the ”Branch of the LORD and about the ”stump” that would become a ”holy seed” (Isaiah 4:2; 6:13). In those verses Isaiah was thinking mainly about the remnant of Judah, the faithful Jews who would return to Jerusalem from Babylonian exile. But here he sees the emergence from among the Jews, of an individual, the Messiah, in the more distant future. God’s Spirit will ‘‘rest’’ on Him and equip Him for ministry. (The idea of resting might well suggest a sense of ease and comfort about coming on Jesus. There was nothing in the Lord to drive away the sensitive, dove-like Spirit of God. He could feel at home with Him.)

Even as God’s Son, Jesus delighted ”in the fear of the LORD”(3a). He spent His life in ”reverent submission” to God (Hebs.5:7, 8; see also Mark 14:36). The Spirit of God will be glad to inspire such an attitude in you and me. I know that I need everything the Spirit of God brought to Jesus. When the Messiah comes, He will not deal with people superficially. He will rule with justice, protecting the poor and needy and punishing the wicked (3b-5). The anointing of the Spirit will give a man a fiery concern for justice, along with the ability to see beyond the surface of things.  The Messiah is ruling now in one sense, but Isaiah seems to be looking way beyond the current church age to a time when Christ’s Kingdom will be fully established over all the earth (6-9). These verses clearly look to a future Messianic Kingdom in which hostility and killing will come to an end, even among the animals. The great predatory beasts will recognise the rule of mankind over all living creatures (Gen.1:28), so that even a ”little child” will be able to ”lead them” (6). Isaiah seems to see a restoration of the Garden of Eden in which there will be perfect harmony. What a day it will be when The whole earth will be brimming with knowing God-Alive, a living knowledge of God ocean-deep, ocean-wide. The Message.

So, God would fell the mighty trees of Assyria (10:33, 34), but from a ”stump” bring about His eternal purposes in the world. Let’s not despise the day of small things

Prayer: I ask just this, Lord, that I will not look down on things that you are in, just because they appear small at the moment. Little is much when you are in it.


Daily Bible thoughts 635: Tuesday 10th June 2014:

Isaiah 10: 24 – 34

There are bully-boy nations. There are mighty men and women in the world, and they can frighten you with their threats, and their ability to make them good. The Assyrians were the world superpower in Isaiah’s day, strutting arrogantly on the stage of world history. They had muscle; they had clout, as well as volume. They kicked up a storm. But mighty as they were, they were going to find themselves in the ring with ”the LORD Almighty” (24, 26 and 33), with an inevitable outcome. No man comes out of a fight with God with a smile on his face. It was true that God was going to use the Assyrians to punish His sinful people. He had made that clear. But the Assyrians would get away with nothing. They too would be judged. Just as God delivered Israel at the rock of Oreb” (Judges 7:25) and at the Red Sea, so He was going to rescue Judah from Assyria. There would be a limit placed on their success (32). They would get close enough to Jerusalem to be able to shake a ”fist” at the city (32), but they would not succeed in conquering it. Really they were raising their fist at the Lord Himself. (All the places Isaiah lists in 28-32 were within 15 kilometres of Jerusalem.) Then they too would be brought down in judgment. Though they could be likened to the mighty cedars of Lebanon, they would feel the divine axe cutting the ground from under them (33, 34; see 2 Kings 19:32-36).

Can you hear ”the LORD Almighty’’ speaking to you today and saying ”do not be afraid of…” (24)? Whoever and whatever it is may look and feel scary. But seeing your ‘Goliath’ in the light of God will bring the perspective you need. There isn’t anyone so big and mighty that God can’t fell him/her/it! If you came to today’s reading feeling discouraged, then you can take encouragement from it.  ”The destruction of Sennacherib is anticipated as resembling the overthrow of Midian by Gideon, and of Egypt in the Red Sea. Then the burden and yoke would be destroyed, so far as Jerusalem was concerned, in answer to the anointed priests who had pleaded for her deliverance. But how much more will the prayer of our anointed Savior bring help to us! ”F.B. Meyer: Devotional Commentary, p.298.

‘’Isaiah – and indeed the whole Old Testament – is showing us that God is the Sovereign King over every nation. Evil nations and their evil leaders, though they prosper for a time, will eventually be destroyed. These words of Isaiah apply just as much to nations today as they did to the nations of Isaiah’s day. Furthermore, those who claim to be God’s people, but who turn from Him will also be judged. Isaiah’s words of judgment against Judah in these opening chapters are also words of warning to the church today. Have we also, like Judah of old, ceased to serve God with all our heart and soul? Have we also begun to love the world and to worship its idols? (1 John 2:15-17; 5:21). This book of Isaiah, together with the entire Bible, is as vital today as when it was written.’’ Tom Hale: The Applied Old Testament Commentary, p.1009.

Prayer: Thank you for your truth contained in every part of the Bible. Thank you for what I have seen today. These are ‘’the very words of God ‘’ (Romans 3:2).


Daily Bible thoughts 634: Monday 9th June 2014:

 Isaiah 10:20-23

I remember meeting one of our lecturers just before he was about to preach at a Wednesday night meeting at our College. I asked him how he was feeling. I’ll never forget his reply: ”Leaning hard brother!” The responsibility obviously weighed on him. But he also knew where to lean his weight.  Verses 20, 21 look forward to the day of Israel’s/Judah’s deliverance from Assyria and Babylon when a ”remnant will return” to the land. (The symbolic name of Isaiah’s first son, ‘Shear-Jashub’ means exactly that: 7:3) These survivors will no longer rely on foreign alliances, such as the one Ahaz made with the king of Assyria. He was the very one who ”struck them down” (20). Instead they ”will truly rely on the LORD”. ”They’ll lean on GOD” The Message. They will be ”leaning hard”. God does not want us to put our trust in idols, and He will do what is necessary to get His people to the place where they rely on Him alone. There is no true help for us apart from Him. We will simply be hurt by our idols.

God promised Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the ”sand on the seashore” (Gn.22:17). Here, at first glance, God seems to be cancelling his promise to Abraham (22, 23). But, in fact, the saving of a ”remnant” was to be the very means of fulfilling that promise. The preservation of a remnant would ensure the survival of the Jewish people, and from that remnant there would eventually come Jesus Christ, whose followers – Jew and Gentile alike – would indeed become as numerous as God said to Abraham (Romans 9:27,28).

God always keeps His promises. We may go through years when the fulfilment looks unlikely, but the Lord knows what He is doing. He is working out His plans, as we will see. For now, ‘believing is seeing’. Let’s ‘lean hard brother/sister’. He can take our weight.

Prayer: Lord God, I thank you that you are trustworthy; that you will never give way under the ‘strain’ of my life.


Daily Bible thoughts 633: Friday 6th June 2014:

 Proverbs 22:1-6

It seems nearly everyone wants to win the lottery. Some of those people even do the lottery!! But there are things that matter more than money (1; see 2 Corinthians 8:18). Our culture prizes cash too highly. ”A sterling reputation is better than striking it rich; a gracious spirit is better than money in the bank.” The Message.  (2) A couple of days ago we were thinking about how Paul wanted there to be a level playing field in the church (2 Corinthians 8: 13-15). Here Proverbs makes the point that ”The rich and the poor shake hands as equals – GOD made them both!” There are practical implications for us in that very point and they should have a bearing on our giving and sharing. Let’s treat everyone with dignity and charity, knowing that they are made in the image of God.

”A prudent person sees trouble coming and ducks; a simpleton walks in blindly and is clobbered.” The Message. With wisdom there comes foresight (3). You have radar that picks up the planes flying towards you before they open fire and drop their bombs. But there are those who remain blissfully unaware of what is coming their way until they hear the roar of aircraft overhead and the sounds of explosions all around them.

The best and most rewarding life anyone can live is one of humbly walking before God and worshipping Him and honouring Him in all things (4; see 1:7; 3:1-4; 15:33; 21:21).

(5) is similar to (3). To live in the humble fear of God will mean avoiding dangers to your soul. You will keep your distance from whatever looks like sin or is likely to lead to it. ”The perverse travel a dangerous road, potholed and mud-slick; if you know what’s good for you, stay clear of it.” The Message.

(6; see Deut.6:7; Eph.6:4) It has often been said that parents have six years to help form a child’s character, and after that it may be too late. Of course, as someone rightly pointed out, with God it is never ”too late”. He can break into any person’s life at any age. But it is the duty of parents to do all they can, with God’s help, to launch their children into life well. This often quoted statement in Proverbs should not be regarded as an absolute promise, but rather as an expectation. Our children are not robots. It is possible for them to turn away or backslide. Most promises in the Bible are contingent on our faith and obedience, and this applies to children as well.

Prayer: I pray for all Christian parents to be given the wisdom and courage to train their children in the ways that please God.




Daily Bible thoughts 632: Thursday 5th June 2014:

Proverbs 21: 27-31

If someone brought a sacrifice To God, but there was no repentance in their heart; no sorrow for sin, God would not be pleased with that offering (27 cf. Prov.15:8). In the same way, God hates religious observance today that goes through outward motions but leaves the life unchanged. When people go to church services for ceremonial or showy (or for other unworthy) reasons, but have no real consideration for God, this is surely detestable to Him.

The next proverb in (28; see Isaiah 9:15 31) shows how much God prizes honesty and hates deceit and lies. Christians should be scrupulously honest. A liar destroys both himself and the one who believes his lie. We remember that our Lord was crucified because there were people who lied about Him and there were others who wanted to hear and believe their lies. (We should also take heart from the fact that God the Father vindicated Him in the resurrection and exposed those lies for what they were.)                                  A wicked man ”puts up a bold front” (29). He refuses to admit he is wrong and pursues his evil plans. But a godly person doesn’t bluster through. He is prepared to listen to others, admit his mistakes and alter his course. He ”gives thought” to his life and doesn’t rush headlong towards destruction. It is stupid to continue down a route that is obviously wrong.                                                       We should take great encouragement from (30). Plans are still made ”against the LORD” in as much as they are made against His body the church. Man’s (and ultimately the devil’s) hatred of Jesus is vented against the Lord’s people. It is still true to say that ”the nations conspire and the peoples plot” (Ps.2:1), but they do so ”in vain”. It is still true to say that men rebel against God’s/Christ’s rule (Ps. 2:2,3). They do not want Him to reign over them. But it is also still true to say that ”The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.” (Ps.2:4). God knows they will not succeed. No coup will topple His government, and the Kingdom of His Son will triumph in the earth. As someone said, going against God is like playing chess against a Grand Master. Even the moves you make against Him He uses to defeat you. Nowhere do we see this more clearly than on Calvary’s hill.

Whatever we do, we need to know that victory comes from the Lord (31). There definitely are things for us to do and we must not seek to evade our responsibilities. We have to get the ”horses” ready. We must fulfill our obvious responsibilities. But we look to God for the winning of the war (Ex.17:10-13; Esther 4:12-14).

Prayer: Help me Lord to get on with my responsibilities, but always looking to you for your triumphant work in and through mine.




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