Isaiah- Week 1- Day 5

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

Isa 1:18-20

Explanation:
God had been making an argument. The people were putting their faith in performing rituals while being blatantly disobedient in every other area of their lives. What was the point of the rituals in the first place?

We know that God justified those who believed in Him. They were justified because of their faith. Their faith was demonstrated through obedience to the rituals and ceremonies that God required of them. The shedding of blood through the sacrifices God demanded were a picture of the coming sacrifice of Jesus, God’s Son, for the sin of the whole world.
God had been calling out the children of Israel because of their disobedience to his commands throughout their lives, and then their ritualistic adherence to the ceremonial law. Their lifestyle outside of their obedience to the rituals demonstrated their lack of faith in God. They may have had faith in the ritual, but they did not have faith in God.
So God says to them, “let us reason together.” He’s asking them to think about what He has said. If they were obedient to him and sought to obey him, every part of their lives and their faith would justify them. He depicts this transformation from dirty to clean with a very visual picture. Though their sins were as scarlet and crimson to white as snow or wool.
He then tells them that there will be blessing with obedience. If they would obey they will have his favor. But if they disobeyed they would be “devoured by the sword.” So the question he had for them could be phrased this way: “Do you want blessing and life, or do you want wrath and death?

Application:
There is a similar application for us today. True saving faith always results in works. James said it this way.

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

James 2:17-18

These people were thinking that empty ritualism and religious activity would make them right with God. The problem was their hypocritical living revealed their lack of faith in the true God. It is important for us to examine our faith as well. Do we serve God out of sheer tradition? Have we truly repented of our sin and trusted in Christ alone for our salvation? Is there evidence of our faith in God exhibited in our works, or are we content to practice our religion on Sunday and deny Him by our life the other six and a half days a week?

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Philippians 2:12

And like the audience of this first chapter, this is a matter of life and death for us. We will all face eternity, and at that point the genuineness of our faith in Christ is the only thing that will matter.

Response:
• If you haven’t truly trusted in Christ as Savior, know that though your sins be as scarlet they can be as white as snow! Trust in Christ today!
• If you do know Christ as your Savior, has your worship in any way become ritualistic and dispassionate? What do you need to do for that to change?

Listen Up!- Isaiah- Week 1- Day 1

Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.

Isaiah 1:10

Explanation:
Notice the two commands that God gives in this verse: “hear” and “give ear.” The idea of these words were not just to audibly take it in. The idea was to listen and obey.

Also notice the two audiences: “rulers of Sodom” and “people of Gomorrah.” When you read the context here, God is speaking (1:2) to the nation of Judah and Jerusalem specifically (1:1). He is not talking to the actual cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Those cities were known to be very sinful cities.

But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.

Genesis 13:13

These were the cities who faced the fire and brimstone of God’s wrath because of their wickedness.

Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.

Genesis 19:24-25

In essence God was calling Jerusalem and Judah the future objects of his wrath. He was calling them wicked. By calling them to listen to His Word and His Law he was being merciful. He was warning them of the status of their behavior.

Application:
It is so important for us to listen to God’s Word. It’s not enough to know what His will is. We must be dedicated to doing it.

Response:
• Are you being disobedient to God’s Word in any area of your life?

Listen, kids! Proverbs- Week 1- Day 2

My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:  (9)  For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.

Proverbs 1:8-9

Explanation:

Solomon has begun the book by laying out the purpose of the literature. The purpose of these Proverbs is to give wisdom and instruction to the young, to the simple, and to those that will listen. This culminated to the most foundational beginning and primary truth. That truth is that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge”.

It is in that context that Solomon begins to speak to his son. We as readers get to lean in and listen to this instruction. Certainly we can believe that any father would give their son the best advice they can give. There is little incentive to give your own children bad advice. They bear your name! God granted Solomon his request for wisdom, and so the ability to read the kingly advice of Solomon to his son is of utmost value.

Solomon tells his son to “hear” the instruction of thy father. The word translated “hear” does not just mean to physically comprehend what is being said. The word means to physically comprehend with an inclination towards obedience. Listen and obey the instruction of your Father. The idea is continued in the parallelism of the phrase. “Forsake not the law of thy mother”. Clearly this is not just speaking about physically listening, but also obeying.

In verse 9 he references “they”. What is “they” referring to? It is referring to the instruction of the father, and the law of the mother. This instruction and law will be an “ornament of grace”. The word for ornament is used twice in proverbs. It is used here, and also in Proverbs 4:9.

She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.

Proverbs 4:9

The picture of this word is a wreath or a crown on the head. It is something that decorates the person wearing it. The idea is that this instruction and law will bring favor to your life by the obedience the son gives to it. Similarly they will be “chains about thy neck”. To wear jewelry and crowns at this time would be a sign of prosperity, favor, and riches.

Solomon is saying that heeding the instruction and law of your parents tends to lead to life, favor and blessing.

Application:

For children still living in their parents’ home, the application of this verse is pretty direct. There is blessing and favor for the child that listens and seeks to obey the guidance of their parents. The new testament repeats this directive and promise.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.  (2)  Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)  (3)  That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

Ephesians 6:1-3

For the adult not in the home, the truth is no less direct. We should remember and not forsake the wise instruction and guidance handed down to us from our parents. If your parent wasn’t particularly wise, it doesn’t mean that there is not anything wise you could learn from them. There are others older and wiser. There are elders you may have access to in your local church from which to gain wisdom and instruction.

In the context of this passage, we all have access to the wisdom of the Lord contained in the scripture. We should heed the wisdom and instruction contained in the pages of scripture. When we obey the wisdom given to us it will bring us blessing.

Response:

  • What is something that you are doing that is unwise?
  • Is there anything that your parents taught you to do that you are forsaking?

Week 12: Day 5- Deuteronomy 30:20

(20) That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

Deuteronomy 30:20

Explanation:
In yesterday’s text, Deuteronomy 30:15-19, we saw clearly that Moses was pleading with the people to choose life over death, blessing over cursing. He pleaded with them to make that a lifestyle choice, and not just a one time decision. He was trying to make clear what would happen with either path. In verse 20, he tells them the purpose of this choice.
“…that thou mayest love the Lord thy God”– In choosing obedience and life, they were showing their love for God.
“…and that thous mayest obey his voice”– Obedience to God and love for God are always linked. Jesus said in John 14:15

(15) If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 14:15

…and that thou mayest cleave unto him”– Obedience displays love, and love brings about intimacy. As we follow God’s path, He blesses us, and as we are blessed an intimacy with God grows.
“…for he is thy life, and the length of thy days”– God is their Creator and Sustainer. He is their One and only ultimate hope. It s truly the same for us.
“…that thou mayest dwell in the land…”– God told them that if they disobeyed they would be scattered, and that if they repented He would bring them back. This was exactly what happened. God is a promise keeping God. His desire for them was to be their in the promised land as a blessed and thriving people. This came with choosing life and choosing obedience.

Application:
We are not the children of Israel, but I can learn much about the character of God here. He is a promise keeping God. He desires obedience. He blesses obedience. Obedience is tied to my love for Him. He wants to have a relationship with me, and so I must maintain that relationship through knowing Him and His will in His Word. It is best for me to choose blessing and love as it is demonstrated by obedience to God.

Response:
Three questions:

  1. How is your love for the Lord?
  2. How is your obedience to the Lord?
  3. How is your faithfulness to the Lord?