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Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson


November 2014

Daily Bible thoughts 758: Friday 28th November 2014:

Isaiah 54

Another repeated theme in the later chapters of Isaiah is that of great numerical growth (see Isaiah 49:19, 20). It is a growth so significant, indeed so miraculous (‘’barren woman’’), that it takes more than the return from Babylonian exile to account for it. These verses must look toward the coming of the Messiah and the advancement of His Kingdom. Following His suffering and triumph, which we thought about yesterday, we see the outworking of that victory in the world. The Apostle Paul quoted (1) and applied it to the ‘’Jerusalem that is above’’, i.e. the church (Galatians 4:24-28). Let’s not be content with a small vision, but work for, and pray for, and expect the church’s growth.

‘’In Christian terms, the Calvary of ch.53 is followed by the growing church of ch.54 and the gospel call of ch.55.’’ Derek Kidner: ‘New Bible Commentary’, pp.663, 664

Verses 1-3: The little post-exilic community of Jews did grow and spread out to some degree, but these words are now being fulfilled in the expansion of Christ’s Kingdom on earth. ‘’Spread out! Think big!…You’re going to need lots of elbow room for your growing family. You’re going to take over whole nations; you’re going to resettle abandoned cities.’’ The Message.

Verses 4-8: Jerusalem will forget the ‘’shame’’ of her ‘’youth’’ (the slavery in Egypt), and the ‘’reproach’’ of her ‘’widowhood’’ (4 – the exile in Babylon). She has a Husband, her ‘’Maker…the LORD Almighty’’ (5). She was like a ‘’wife deserted’’ (6), but was only ‘’abandoned’’ for a ‘’brief moment’’ for her unfaithfulness. However, God was going to turn things around (7, 8) and bring His wife back into the family home. The separation was never going to be final; it was just with a view to bringing the wayward spouse to her senses; a ‘short, sharp shock’ you might say!

Verses 9, 10: This was a ‘line in the sand’ moment, such as when God promised that He would never destroy the world again by a flood (Genesis 9:11). Here He promises that His ‘’covenant of peace’’ will never be removed (10). He will never stop loving His people. They can count on it.This is the covenant in which the Lord promised to be Israel’s God forever (Genesis 17:7). It includes within it a promise of protection and security – that the spiritual enemies of God’s people will never prevail against them (Matthew 16:18).

Verses 11-15: Here we have a figurative description of Jerusalem following the exile. But it is even more a picture of the ‘’new Jerusalem’’ which will come down from heaven at the culmination of history (Revelation 21:2, 10, 11, 18-21). There is no guarantee that God’s people will not come under attack, but in the midst of that they can know ‘’great…peace’’ (13).

Verses 16, 17: ‘’This is the true strength of God’s city, which is promised not immunity from attack but the unanswerable weapon of truth (17; cf. Lk.21:15).’’ Derek Kidner: ‘New Bible Commentary’, p.664.

Prayer: I thank you Lord Jesus for the working out of your triumph in the world, and for allowing me to be part of it.



Daily Bible thoughts 757: Thursday 27th November 2014:

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

‘’Who believes what we’ve heard and seen? Who would have thought GOD’s saving power would look like this? The Message.

This is truly one of the most remarkable passages in that most amazing of all Books, The Bible. It is the last of the four ‘Servant Songs’ It’s like Isaiah, writing more than 500 years before Jesus was crucified, stood at the foot of the cross and witnessed it all. Here are a number of key points to consider:

  • Glorification following humiliation (52:13; 53:10-12): Elevation following execution. The ultimate victory of the ‘Suffering Servant’ (see Philippians 2:5-11). Acceptance following rejection (53:3). Although Jesus would not have natural children (53:8b), He would have many children (53:10). I am one of them! Are you? Although His death would appear tragic, it would end in triumph.
  • Worldwide impact (52:15);
  • Unimaginable suffering (52:14; 53:3): We may not fully understand our own sufferings or those of other people we know (or hear about), but we can affirm that Jesus has suffered more than anyone. His was also totally innocent suffering (5). He was the only morally flawless Man in history: ‘’We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him – our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed.’’ The Message. It was also silent suffering (7); and it was unjust suffering (8a). The corruption surrounding His trial is alluded to here.
  • Christ’s lack of natural physical attractiveness (53:2): ‘’There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look. He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.’’ The Message.
  • His substitutionary death (53:4-6, 8b): Jesus took our place, bearing our punishment. It was all part of God’s plan (10a): ‘’We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And GOD has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him.’’ The Message.
  • Other circumstances surrounding His death and burial (53:9) which are borne out in the gospels.

‘’Still, it’s what GOD had in mind all along, to crush him with pain. The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he’d see life come from it – life, life, and more life. And GOD’s plan will deeply prosper through him.’’ The Message.

‘’Consider the pictures of the Saviour: a beaten servant (52:13-14), a root (53:2), an innocent lamb (53:7), an offering for sin (53:10), a woman in travail giving birth to spiritual ‘’seed’’ (53:10-11), and a victorious general (53:12). Hallelujah, what a Saviour!’’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘With the Word’, p.485. Who can plumb the depths of this truly awesome passage? We are on holy ground and must remove our

Prayer: Thank you Jesus that all my sin and its condemnation were piled on you. Because of your loving sacrifice I am free. ‘Mine is the sin, but yours the righteousness; mine is the guilt, but yours the cleansing blood.’


Daily Bible thoughts 756: Wednesday 26th November 2014:

 Isaiah 52:1-12

The proclamation of ‘’good tidings’’ at the core of this passage, is an announcement of freedom for the captives in Babylon. It is important to always remember that Isaiah wrote these words more than a century before the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians. During Isaiah’s lifetime, Assyria was Judah’s main enemy. But years in advance, the prophet was enabled to see not only Jerusalem’s fall to Babylon, but also the ultimate fall of the Babylonian empire. So we hear the good news that God is reigning, and the captives will be returning (7-10). Again, there is going to be a second exodus (4). God will lead them home (11, 12). God would not have to pay Babylon in order to retrieve His people; they never stopped belonging to Him (45:13).Although these verses primarily apply to the return from Babylon, they must have a greater relevance to the good news of worldwide salvation to come in the Messiah, Jesus (see Romans 10:15). The deliverance from Babylon was nothing in comparison with this. As so often in the prophetic writings, there are layers of meaning. It is fitting that this prophecy of Jerusalem’s redemption should be followed by the one about the suffering Servant. Through Jesus’ sacrificial death, worldwide deliverance was going to be made possible.

God’s punishment of His people, namely their exile in Babylon, provided a reason for the ungodly nations to ‘’mock’’ Him. They were saying, ‘’God can’t save His own people.’’ But God was going to take steps to reverse that opinion and glorify His Name before all peoples (4-6). ‘’…incessantly, my reputation blackened. Now it’s time that my people know who I am, what I’m made of…’’ The Message. In (7-10) Isaiah envisages messengers running across the ‘’mountains’’ towards Jerusalem, to bring the good news of the returning exiles. This return will silence the mockers (5).

In (11, 12) there is a final call to the captives to ‘’depart’’ from Babylon and its ungodliness. They should not defile themselves by touching any ‘’unclean’’ thing or engaging in any unclean act. This exhortation was particularly relevant to the priests and Levites in their company, who were charged with carrying back the sacred temple articles to Jerusalem (Ezra 1:7-11). In the New Testament era, we still need to heed this call to holiness (2 Corinthians 6:17). God has made it possible for us to ‘’Come out’’ from ‘Babylon’ and its pervasive influence. We don’t have to be controlled and dominated by it (Revelation 18:4).

By the way, Ezra, who led back the first group of exiles, must have taken this promise to heart (12; see Ezra 8:22, 23).

‘’In verse 2, Isaiah calls on the Daughter of Zion – Jerusalem and its people – to rise up. God has freed them; therefore, let them act like free people. This is a message for Christians today: we have been freed through Christ, yet too many of us live as if we were still in bondage to weakness, fear and sin. We need to ‘’rise up’’ and claim our freedom to live as free men and women (John 8:31-32, 36; Romans 8:2; Galatians 5:1).’’ Tom Hale: ‘The Applied Old Testament Commentary’, p.1053

Prayer: Lord God, please give us beautiful feet, to carry your good news everywhere. Thank you for the greater freedom Jesus brings. Help us to fully live in it, and declare it to everyone we can.

Daily Bible thoughts 755: Tuesday 25th November 2014:

Isaiah 51:17-23

This is the second of three ‘’Awake, awake!’’ references that come in the space of two chapters (51, 52). The first one was a prayer, asking God to do something (51:9). But in the next two references God responds by telling Jerusalem to do something (51:9, 52:1). In a sense, a prayer for revival is one in which we ask God to ‘wake up His power’. Of course God’s power is never sleeping, but, at times, it can feel like it is. So we ask God to show His muscular ‘’arm’’. Then, in revival, God wakes up His church. Only once in these two chapters does the church ask God to wake up, but twice, God tells His church to wake up. God doesn’t need waking up. It just seems to us that He does. But His church does require an awakening. We are so often like Peter and John on the Mount of Transfiguration: ‘’very sleepy’’. Only when we become ‘’fully awake’’ will we see Jesus’ ‘’glory’’ (Luke 9:32). What kind of impact would a fully awakened church have on this nation; indeed on this world? May God have mercy on us for being so dopey!

God tells Jerusalem and its people to wake up because it’s a new day. They had ‘’drunk from…the cup…’’ of God’s ‘’wrath’’ (17). This is like a cup of strong wine that overwhelms the drinker and makes him ‘’stagger’’. However, all that was in the past. Their enemies would now be made to drink from that bitter cup (22, 23).

‘’You’ve drunk the cup GOD handed you, the strong drink of his anger. You drank it down to the last drop, staggered and collapsed, dead-drunk. And nobody to help you home, no one among your friends or children to take you by the hand and put you in bed. You’ve been hit with a double dose of trouble – does anyone care? Assault and battery, hunger and death – will anyone comfort? Your sons and daughters have passed out, strewn in the streets like stunned rabbits, Sleeping off the strong drink of GOD’s anger. The rage of your God. Therefore listen, please, you with splitting headaches, You who are nursing the hangovers that didn’t come from drinking wine. Your Master, your GOD, has something to say, your God has taken up his people’s case: ‘’Look, I’ve taken back the drink that sent you reeling. No more drinking from that jug of my anger! I’ve passed it over to your abusers to drink, those who ordered you, ‘Down on the ground so we can walk all over you!’ And you had to do it. Flat on the ground, you were the dirt under their feet.’’ The Message.

It is a wonderful gospel truth that no-one in the world need fear drinking the cup of God’s anger, if they put their trust in Jesus who drank it to its dregs for them upon the cross (Matthew 26:39). This passage says that with God there can be a new day and a second chance. Ultimately, all new beginnings in the gospel stem from the cross.

Prayer: I may not know, I cannot tell, what pains He had to bear; but I believe it was for us, He hung and suffered there. Thank you Jesus.

Daily Bible thoughts 754: Monday 24th November 2014:

Galatians 6:11-18

Some people think the illness that brought Paul into the orbit of the Galatians (4:13) was an eye condition. Here is one reason why (11; see 4:15) Paul suffered unimaginably for the gospel (2 Corinthians 11:21-33), yet he gives this fact only a cursory mention in (17). There is something profoundly touching and sad about his words. Paul was ‘’persecuted’’ (12; see 4:29) because he was cross-centred (12-15). One reason why the message of the cross leads to a backlash is because it crucifies pride. It gives you no ground for boasting about yourself and your achievements. You can’t say, ‘I’m in the Kingdom of God because of my efforts; my religious activity. I’m here because of my own merits, because I was circumcised (or some other religious thing.)’ The cross gives you nothing to ‘’boast’’ about except ‘’the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.’’ (14). Simply through faith in ‘’Christ crucified’’ (1 Corinthians 1:23, 24) people are born again and made anew by the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:17). We could argue that (15) sums up the entire letter to the Galatians. It is about ‘’grace’’ , ‘’mercy’’ and ‘’peace’’ (18, 16). We don’t earn anything; we don’t deserve anything because of some religious thing we do. We receive forgiveness of sins and a right standing with God through trust in Christ and His finished work on the cross. He puts His Spirit into us and makes us brand new people. ‘’When I survey the wondrous cross, on which the Prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.’’ The cross of Jesus gives you nothing to brag about, and that is one reason why it gets its preachers into so much trouble. Paul knew that the very people who insisted on the need for circumcision/keeping the law, in fact did not keep the whole law themselves. They were highly selective in what they did (13)

Bill Hybels, the senior pastor of ‘Willow Creek Community Church’ ,Chicago, was attending a party on a boat one night. Just as he was stepping onto the ladder to leave, one of the guests shouted to him, ‘’Hey Bill, What’s the difference between religion and Christianity?’’ He knew that he only had a moment or two in which to answer, but this is what he said: ‘’Well, I spell religion ‘D.O.’ because it’s about all the things that people do to try to get right with God. But I spell Christianity ‘D.O.N.E.’ because it’s about what Jesus has done on the cross to make it possible for us to come to God. We just have to receive this as a gift.’’ We could say that the message of ‘Galatians’ can be summed up in terms of ‘do versus done’. The Judaizers were saying, ‘Do’. They said there are things you have to do to be saved, in addition to believing in Jesus. Notably, they argued, ‘You have to be circumcised’. Paul, however, resisted that notion. ‘It’s all been done for you on the cross by Jesus,’ he retorted.’ You simply have to receive this gift.’ In every generation of the church, people will come along who in some way pervert the truth of the gospel. They will re-shape it in their own image. The error may take on a subtle form, or it may be glaringly obvious. However it appears; whatever shape it takes, ‘Galatians’ shows that Christians must stand for the truth standing on the truth. I don’t believe we should get obsessed with erroneous teaching. Some Christians do, it seems to me, and I don’t believe it is healthy. They become spiritual ‘bloodhounds’, with their noses perpetually to the ground, sniffing out heresy wherever they can find it. They end up finding it where it isn’t! Nevertheless we need to be always on the alert, and ready to put the ‘gloves’ on for the sake of truth.

Well, we can do no better than leave the final word with Paul: ‘’May what our Master Jesus Christ gives freely be deeply and personally yours, my friends. Oh, yes! The Message.

Prayer: Thank you Father God for your amazing grace!


Daily Bible thoughts 753: Friday 21st November 2014:

Galatians 6:1-10

At the heart of this passage you find a statement that encapsulates a truth found all through the Bible (7), namely that what you ‘’sow’’ you will also ‘’reap’’. If you plant corn, you don’t expect to harvest potatoes! ‘’What a person plants, he will harvest.’’ In everything we do or say we are ‘sowing’, either to ‘’please’’ the ‘’sinful nature’’ or ‘’the Spirit’’ (8). Actions have consequences, for good or bad. It depends on the nature of the ‘seed’ we are scattering. (I remember a well-known Christian author/preacher saying that we cannot keep sowing to ‘the flesh’ and expect to grow spiritually. It doesn’t work like that.) We have seen, in this letter that you don’t do good in order to become a Christian. It doesn’t work like that. But as a Christ-follower, indwelt by His Spirit, you are set free to do good (see Ephesians 2:10). This is not in order to become something, but because of what you are in Christ. So we are to sow seeds of goodness everywhere (9). Whether appreciation is shown or not; whether it seems to have any impact or not; whether we benefit from it or not, realise the results are in God’s Hands. We can trust Him with the harvest. Faithful seed sowing must lead to a crop. God will give us what we have worked for. ‘’Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.’’ (10).The Message. At times, we may feel that those around us don’t show the consideration we might like to receive from them. But the issue is not how others are behaving. We can’t control that. We can, however, do something about our own behaviour. We can walk out into each new day, determined to sow goodness seeds everywhere, and as many as possible. Being and doing good today, by the power of the Holy Spirit, are within reach of all true believers in Christ. How many opportunities to do good did we miss yesterday? Today is a new opportunity. Let us ‘seize the day’.

Here are some ways we can show this goodness to others:

  • By gentleness (6a; compare with 5:15, 26): ‘’If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out.’’ The Message. Our aim should be to lift people up where possible, not pull them down.
  • By humility (1b, 3; see Romans 12:3): Recognise your own weakness, vulnerability to temptation, and proneness to fall.
  • By giving mutual support (2; see 1 Corinthians 12:26).
  • By not comparing or competing with our brothers and sisters (4, 5). It is sadly possible to feel good (or better) about yourself by thinking ill of others. But the gospel tells us it is not our job to judge anyone. Conversely, we can look at other people and feel inferior. The message is, ‘Just be yourself in Christ.’ With God’s help; with the power of His Spirit in you, be the best version of who He made you to be that you can be. The only person you can legitimately compare yourself with is Jesus. Doing this will keep you humble. ‘’Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.’’ The Message. The ‘’load’’ in (5) is different from the ‘’burdens’’ in (2). It is about doing your duty; fulfilling your own God-given responsibility; being who God has made you to be.
  • By generosity (6). In this particular case the point relates to looking after those who teach the Word. Prayer: Thank you Lord that this day will be crammed with opportunities to do good. Help me to see, and to seize, each one, for your glory.



Daily Bible thoughts 752: Thursday 20th November 2014:

 Isaiah 51:1-16

‘’Take time to remember your spiritual roots; you will be encouraged in your faith.’’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘With the Word’, p.483.

The opening words of this chapter mirror Matthew 6:33: ‘’Listen to me, all you who are serious about right living and committed to seeking God.’’ The Message. We can only be encouraged when we think about the miracle God did with these two ordinary people, Abraham and Sarah. May He make more of you than you ever thought you could be! May He multiply your numbers and give miraculous church growth! In the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus took 5 and 2 and multiplied them. Here He took 1 and did His multiplication work. If your life seems small in your eyes; if your church seems tiny, you can take heart as you read (2). ‘’Think of it! One solitary man when I called him, but once I blessed him, he multiplied.’’ The Message. As we have seen before in Isaiah, these promises in (1-3) relate to the near future (deliverance from Babylon) and to the distant future (the Messianic age).

In the Bible ‘’righteousness’’ and ‘’salvation’’ are closely linked. We know from the New Testament that being saved and being made righteous are synonymous. God’s righteousness and salvation were initially manifested when He overthrew Babylon. He saved His people, acting in righteousness (i.e. doing justly). He set everything right. But these verses look ultimately to the Messianic age and the world-wide spread of the gospel. God’s ‘’righteousness’’ and ‘’salvation’’ will last forever (6b, 8b), unlike the present universe, which is temporary (Psalm 102: 25, 26; Mark 13:31; Hebrews 1:10, 11). You might also like to consider 1 John 2:17.

In (7, 8) God tells His faithful people not to ‘’fear the reproach of men or be terrified by their insults.’’ (‘’Pay no attention to insults, and when mocked don’t let it get you down.’’ The Message.) Why? Because their enemies will be destroyed, but God’s ‘’righteousness’’ and ‘’salvation’’ will endure. ‘’…my salvation will last forever, my setting-things-right will never be obsolete.’’ (6b) The Message. Here are words always relevant to the church, for saved people, who seek to live right, are still the objects of derision. And the more vocal and visible we are in our witness, the more we’re going to be laughed at.

What God promises, we can ‘stand on’, and pray into fulfilment. That’s what Isaiah does in (9-11; compare verse 9 with 51:17 and 52:1). He recalls some of God’s great deeds in the past: the cutting to pieces of ‘’Rahab’’ (Egypt), and the drying up of the ‘’sea’’ (the Red Sea). Again we see the ‘second Exodus’ theme. ‘’Wake up, wake up, flex your muscles, GOD! Wake up as in the old days, in the long ago.’ The Message.

God answers prayer! He speaks again in (12-16) in response to Isaiah’s prayer in (9-11). The people of God in Isaiah’s day, lived in ‘’terror’’ of the ‘’oppressor’’ (13) – first, Assyria, then Babylon. God tells His people to stop worrying about their human enemies, and consider Him. ‘’Why should I ever anxious be, when such a God is mine?’’ ‘’What are you afraid of – or who? Some man or woman who’ll soon be dead? Some poor wretch destined for dust? You’ve forgotten me, GOD, who made you, who unfurled the skies, who founded the earth. And here you are, quaking like an aspen before the tantrums of a tyrant who thinks he can kick down the world. But what will come of the tantrums? The victims will be released before you know it. They’re not going to die. They’re not even going to go hungry.’’ The Message.

Prayer: I choose to fix my eyes on you Lord, not my fears.



Daily Bible thoughts 751: Wednesday 19th November 2014:

 Isaiah 50

This chapter draws a contrast between ‘’Israel’s Sin and the Servant’s Obedience’’, as the heading in the NIV puts it. Where Israel failed, Jesus succeeded.

Israel failed (1-3): It is true to human nature that people regularly make trouble for themselves and then want to blame God. The Israelites in exile may well have felt that God had ‘divorced’ them, or ‘sold’ them into slavery. But the Lord denies this. He hasn’t cast His people off; they cast Him off. ‘’It’s your sins that put you here, your wrongs that got you shipped out.’’ The Message. Of course God was able to save them from all this mess. They didn’t have to go through it. His power is immeasurable (2b, 3). Think about His ‘track record’. What He has done before He can do again. They had their days of opportunity. God came to them again and again in His prophets. Isaiah was one of them. ‘’So why didn’t anyone come when I knocked? Why didn’t anyone answer when I called?’’ The Message. (You might like to compare verse 2a with Revelation 3:20)

Jesus succeeded (4-9): Here is the servant of the Lord, listening to God and obeying Him. He suffers terribly, but willingly (6) for doing so, and in the end He is vindicated. In a few verses we have a potted biography of the Lord Jesus Christ, who came in fulfilment of this prophecy. Unlike the nation of Israel (Isaiah 42:18-20), this ideal Servant of the Lord responds in obedience and faith (4, 5). He does so in spite of being beaten and mocked (Mark 14:65; 15:15, 19). He endures ‘’such opposition from sinful men’’ (Hebrews 12:3). But He is not ultimately ‘’disgraced’’ (7); the Lord ‘’vindicates’’ Him (8). ‘’ We are not told here how the servant is to be vindicated, but we know from the New Testament that the servant – Jesus – was vindicated by being resurrected from the dead (Acts 2:23-24; 3:15). If the Lord vindicates His servant, who then will bring charges against him? (verse 8). No one. Neither can anyone bring charges against the sinless Jesus – nor, for that matter, against His followers, who have been justified through faith in Him (John 8:46; Romans 8:31-34). Those who seek to condemn the servant (and his followers) will be destroyed like a garment eaten by moths (verse 9).’’ Tom Hale: ‘The Applied Old Testament Commentary, p.1051. Verses 4, 5 show something of the inner life of the Messiah, and His intimate walk with the Father. They also speak to leaders in the church today (and to us all) about the possibility of having such a close relationship with God that needy people benefit from the overflow of our lives. ‘’The Master, GOD, has given me a well-taught tongue, So I know how to encourage tired people. He wakes me up in the morning, Wakes me up, opens my ears to listen as one ready to take orders. The Master, GOD, opened my ears, and I didn’t go back to sleep, didn’t pull the covers back over my head.’’ The Message. ‘’We must be disciples before we can be apostles, and be taught before we teach. We shall never do our best work for God until we accustom ourselves to receive and take his messages; and there is no such time as the early morning for the lowly posture of sitting at the Master’s feet to hear his word.’’ F.B. Meyer: ‘Great verses through the Bible’, p.288. Not everyone would agree with Meyer about the early morning, but those who are ‘larks’ will know what he means. Whatever time of day works best for you, it is good to give quality time to waiting on God. This weary world needs those who have ‘awakened’ ears and ‘’instructed’’ tongues.

Those who fear God will obey His Son, Jesus (10). To trust in the Lord is to walk in His light. But if you walk in your own ‘’light’’ you are heading for ‘’torment’’ (11). Totally different destinies hang upon the acceptance or rejection of the Messaiah.

Prayer: Lord give me ears to hear you, and a tongue that speaks your Word.

Daily Bible thoughts 750: Tuesday 18th November 2014:

 Isaiah 49:22-26

Many years ago I had the privilege of being involved in a service of blessing for a godly couple on their wedding day. The bride’s sister had been invited to sing a solo, which she duly did. But before the song she said a few words. As I recall, she expressed an opinion that there had been a certain amount of disappointment surrounding the occasion. Things had not gone quite as planned. Then she sang the lovely hymn: ‘’He is not a disappointment, Jesus is far more to me, than in all my wildest daydreams I had fancied Him to be.’’

‘He is not a disappointment ‘(23b). ‘’No one who hopes in me ever regrets it.’’ The Message.

Quite explicitly, verses 22 and 23 refer to the coming of Gentiles into the Messiah’s Kingdom. There will be Gentile kings and queens among their number, and, according to this remarkable prophecy, they will ‘’bow down’’ before the people of God, as well as before the Messiah Himself (7). In particular, Isaiah is referring to the part Gentiles (and Gentile rulers) will play in bringing the Jewish exiles home. But it is probably correct to see more in it than that. It also contains the thought of Gentiles coming to the King in His Kingdom. That marriage blessing service, back in the 80’s, was full of Gentiles who could share the joyful view that ‘He is not a disappointment.’

In (24) Isaiah asks the rhetorical question, ‘Will this actually be possible?’ Can captives be rescued from fierce warriors? He is thinking about how the exiles will be rescued from the Babylonians. Maybe he is giving voice to a question the people of Israel might themselves ask when they hear about this rescue. The Lord assures Isaiah that the exiles will indeed be rescued, and he will continue to contend with the enemies of His people, just as He has done in the past. In fact, they will be so overcome by hunger and thirst that they will eat each other’s flesh and drink each other’s blood (26; see and compare Lamentations 4:10). They would reap what they had sown; they would experience what they had caused the Jews to experience.

‘’Can plunder be retrieved from a giant, prisoners of war gotten back from a tyrant?…I’m the one who’s on your side, defending your cause, rescuing your children. And your enemies, crazed and desperate, will turn on themselves, killing each other in a frenzy of self-destruction. Then everyone will know that I, GOD, have saved you – I, the Mighty One of Jacob.’’ The Message.

In all that He does, God is working for His own glory in all the earth. May He be glorified in us today.

Prayer: Lord God, we think of our persecuted brothers and sisters thisday. We pray that they will know that you are for them, and that you will contend with those who contend with them.

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