God is Honored- Isaiah- Week 4- Day 5

And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years, that the LORD will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth. And her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the LORD: it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the LORD, to eat sufficiently, and for durable clothing.

Isaiah 23:17-18

Isaiah continues the prostitute metaphor in these verses. At the end of this time of desolation Tyre will be recognized again by the nations. She will begin again to make a profit, and do business with “all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth.” God is going to use her newly accumulated wealth for His honor and for His purposes. Instead of being used to oppress God’s people, it will be used to supply God’s people.

This serves as a reminder to the people of Judah that they need not prostitute themselves with the practices of the pagan nations around them. Jehovah God will provide for them. He will take care of them. They need to not envy the nations of the world that obtain wealth in ways that dishonors God. God is honored by obedience, and He honors those who are obedient to him.

These principles apply to us. We can begin to think that there is some disadvantage to living righteously when we see evil people prospering. We must remember that God will ultimately honor Christ’s obedience who offered His life for us. When we trust in Christ alone for salvation, God justifies us. There are blessings that come with obedience. We must trust God by being obedient even when it costs us in the short term. There will be blessings in eternity for those who put their trust in the omnipotent, sovereign God of the universe.

• Is there a pattern in your life of living like those who do not trust God?
• In what ways does your life show that you trust God and want to honor Him?

God Judges- Isaiah- Week 3- Day 5

For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings. The LORD shall bring upon thee, and upon thy people, and upon thy father’s house, days that have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Judah; even the king of Assyria.

Isaiah 7:16-17

God explains that the sign of this child and his age will indicate His timing for judgement on Syria and Ephraim. He also explains that this judgement will not just be for Ahaz’s enemies. But the judgement will be for Him as well. (Verse 17). Interestingly the thing that Ahaz was trusting in instead of God was the king of Assyria. We know that Ahaz was willing to change the altar (2 Kings 16:10-12) and elements of the temple (2 Kings 16:16-18) to make the king of Assyria happy. He was willing to dishonor God by making appeasement for this pagan king. God tells Ahaz that the king in which he trusted would eventually be what God used to judge the nation for their sins.

It is often the case that God uses the things that we worship other than him to bring about our own discipline. Sometimes God gives allows the things we worship to devour us. How many people have been consumed by sexual promiscuity, drink, and drugs? What they worship ultimately destroys them. You have heard people say to be careful what you wish for. When we trust in something other than God that can become our undoing.

God can be trusted, and when we trust in something else the consequences can be devastating.

• What are you trusting in? Are you putting your confidence in God?
• Is there any false idols in your life that are limiting your trust and dependence on God?

God Announces- Isaiah- Week 3- Day 4

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.

Isaiah 7:14-15

In verses 10 to 13 God offers to give Ahaz a sign so that he would trust God. Ahaz feigned a pious answer and refused a sign from God. When we read verse 14 we realize that God would not be refused. He gives Ahaz a sign anyway.

Verse 14 may be one of the most well-known verses in Isaiah. We often hear this verse around Christmas time because of its clear reference and fulfillment in the conception and birth of Jesus Christ. Matthew quotes this verse regarding the conception and birth of Christ in Matthew 1:22-23.

Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Matthew 1:22-23

So we know, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that Isaiah 7:14 definitely refers to Christ.  Jesus Christ was definitely born of a virgin, Mary.  In Luke 1 an angel came to Mary and told her that she had conceived and would have a son.  Look at Mary’s response:

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Luke 1:34-35

The virgin that would conceive which was foretold in Isaiah 7:14 definitely referred to Mary. Christ was supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit, and could rightly be called the Son of God.
When we read Isaiah 7:14-15 in its context there is clearly a sign that is being given to Ahaz. Ahaz had refused God in asking for a sign (Isaiah 7:12), and had wearied God and man in not trusting in God (Isaiah 7:13). The sign being given is also then a sign to Ahaz.
When reading this verse in the context of Isaiah 7 several positions have been taken.

  1. Isaiah 7:14 is only fulfilled in the day of Isaiah. This is problematic because Matthew teaches that it speaks to Mary and to Christ.
  2. Isaiah 7:14 is only fulfilled in the day of Christ. This is problematic because there is a specific reference to timing in verses 15 and following. The sign of this son named Immanuel would signify that before this son was old enough to discern good and evil (a reference to his age) “the land would be forsaken of both of her kings” (Isaiah 7:16).
  3. Isaiah 7:14 has both an immediate fulfillment in Isaiah’s day, and ultimately is fulfilled in Christ. This seems to be the correct interpretation, but one must be able to answer several questions in this view as well. Is the son born in Isaiah’s day “born of a virgin”? Bible commentators like Warren Weirsbe and others contend that the woman spoken of in Isaiah’s day was then (at the time of the prophecy) a virgin but would conceive and bring forth a son. Others concede that the Hebrew word for virgin could also mean “young woman” or “maiden”. Many arguments have been made through the years about this word. Unfortunately, people have taken this argument to try to make the point that Jesus was not born of a virgin, but of a “young woman” and therefore his birth was not supernatural, and he is not God. He would then be born with a sin nature, and we are still in our sins. Matthew, Luke and many other New Testament writers leave no room for the idea that the conception of Christ is anything less than miraculous. Mary became pregnant supernaturally, and Christ is the Messiah, the perfect, sinless Son of God. What is amazing and proof of this third position is that every part of this prophecy was fulfilled! The land was forsaken of both her kings before the timeframe of this son being old enough to discern right from wrong, and a virgin did conceive, and brought forth a son who was literally “God with us”, Jesus Christ.

Don’t miss the point of the big idea of this text. God can be trusted. What He says will come to pass. Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. When we understand why He came and trust in Him to pay for our sins, we are saved. When we doubt who He is, and reject Him as Savior, the consequences are stark. We will spend an eternity separated from God, paying for our sins. When God makes a promise, not only can He be trusted, but He must be trusted. The consequences of doubting God are grave!

Are you doubting God, or trusting Him today?

God Expects- Isaiah- Week 3- Day 3

Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying, Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD. And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?

Isaiah 7:10-13

The word “Moreover” indicates that God doesn’t just challenge Ahaz to believe Him. God challenged Ahaz to trust him in verse 9, and now He wants to help him to learn to trust.
Think about what God is offering. More than just the challenge to believe, He offers to give Ahaz a sign to help Him believe. And if that isn’t enough, God offers to let Ahaz choose what the sign would be! Notice the scale of the kind of sign He is willing to give. He says “ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.” It’s almost like God is saying, “The sky is the limit! Let me prove to you that I can be trusted.”

As amazing as that proposition was, what is more amazing is that Ahaz does not take God’s offer. He gives a pious reason why He won’t ask God for a sign. “But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.” At first glance that answer may sound spiritual, but think about it. If God is the one who came up with the idea and proposed it to you, you would not be tempting the Lord to participate in the proposition. This showed Ahaz’s lack of belief, and how unchanged his attitude was. We know all of this from verse 13. His attitude not only wearied the whole of Judah (called here the “house of David”), but now his attitude and response was wearying God. Ahaz was acting like the apathetic, snobby teenager who stubbornly will not respond in trust to God.

The truth was that Ahaz had already made an alliance with the King of Assyria to protect him against Syria and Ephraim. In an attempt to please the Assyrian king, Ahaz gave him tribute, built an altar, and modified parts of the temple. Ahaz was trusting in the king that he could see more than trusting in the God that he could not see, even when God Himself was speaking to him and offering him a sign. You can read all about Ahaz’s trust in the Assyrian king and sin against God in 2 Kings 16:5-19.

God expected Ahaz to respond in faith. He did everything He could do by intervening and revealing Himself supernaturally to Ahaz. He even offered to let him choose how he would be moved to trust, and yet Ahaz demonstrated a significant lack of faith.

You and I do not want to find ourselves in the position of being wearisome to God in our attitude and actions. God is patient, merciful, and kind. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. But what does please God is faith. Read what the Bible says in Hebrews 11:6.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Hebrews 11:6

God expects us to be people of faith. We must not just believe Him to save us from our sin. We also must trust Him with the details of our lives. We demonstrate our trust by obedience, by seeking His will through His word, by abiding with Him in prayer, and by prioritizing Him in our lives.

In what way are you demonstrating faith in God today?