From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 7/24:

Today the Lord makes clear who He is – “I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God.” He calls out those who make false gods to worship and says it is foolish to worship something you make with your own hands – “Those who make an image, all of them are useless… Who would form a god or mold an image that profits him nothing?”

The people are spiritually blind, therefore, “They do not know nor understand; For He has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand… A deceived heart has turned him aside; and he cannot deliver his soul.” One commentator said that the people first loved darkness and chose blindness, so the Lord gave them what they wanted. He said it was similar to the way the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh. When God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, the Lord was allowing Pharaoh to do what he wanted to do. The same is true for those who are choosing to worship idols made by their own hands.

However, Isaiah gives the people a word of hope – “Remember these, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are My servant; I have formed you, you are My servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me! I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you… Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure, saying to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be built,’ And to the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’”

Soon, Jeremiah will foretell of Judah’s seventy year captivity in Babylon (Jeremiah 29:10). After seventy years, Cyrus, king of Persia, will make a decree releasing the Jews to return and rebuild Jerusalem and the temple (2 Chronicles 36:22-23). Isaiah’s prophecy of the deliverance was written more than two hundred years before Cyrus fulfills the prophecy. 

So we see that God is sovereign over all, including pagan kings. The Lord says, “To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held— to subdue nations before him.” And this is not a hard task for the Lord because, as He says – “I have made the earth, and created man on it. I – My hands – stretched out the heavens, and all their host I have commanded.”

The Lord tells the people to “Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath.”

Isaiah foretells the fall of Babylon to Persia. The Lord is going to humble Babylon for taking pleasure in punishing His people – “I was angry with My people; I have profaned My inheritance, and given them into your hand. You showed them no mercy… Therefore hear this now, you who are given to pleasure… For you have trusted in your wickedness; You have said, ‘No one sees me’; Your wisdom and your knowledge have warped you; and you have said in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one else besides me.’ Therefore evil shall come upon you.” The Lord always sees, and He always serves justice to the unrepentant wicked. 

We end the reading with God exposing the stubbornness of His people. However, although the people persist in their stubbornness, the Lord will restore them by His mercy and grace, and for His name’s sake – “For My name’s sake I will defer My anger, and for My praise I will restrain it from you, so that I do not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it; For how should My name be profaned? And I will not give My glory to another.”

Nothing can stop the plans and purposes of the Lord. He is sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die so that anyone who puts their faith and trust in Him will have their soul delivered. Later Paul will say, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”(Romans 10:17). When we hear the word of God, we can either respond by trusting in Jesus and His sacrifice as payment for our sins or we can choose to ignore the Lord and be left to ourselves. Paul will tell us that if we choose to ignore the Lord, He will turn us over to ourselves and our hardened hearts, just as He did with Pharaoh and the ones choosing to worship idols made by their hand – “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done” (Romans 2:28).

As C.S. Lewis said, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says in the end, ‘Thy will be done’.” Keep reading. (Isaiah 44:6-48:11)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 7/23:

Today Isaiah switches gears from announcing judgment to speaking words of comfort and restoration. He prophesies of the coming Messiah and of John the Baptist who will prepare the people for His arrival. Later in the story, Matthew, Mark, and Luke will all quote Isaiah when describing John the Baptist as “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord.’”

Isaiah compares our lives to grass which is frail and dies but says the word of God is everlasting – “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” Josh McDowell writes about the endurance of the Bible in “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” – “Written on material that perishes, having to be copied and recopied for hundreds of years before the invention of the printing press, did not diminish its style, correctness, nor existence. The Bible, compared with other ancient writings, has more manuscript evidence than any ten pieces of classical literature combined.” The Bible is our source of truth from the Lord, and He will ensure that His word stands the test of time. No man or organization can destroy God’s word or what He has declared. 

Isaiah shares a declaration from the Lord – “Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.” When Jesus arrives, He will declare Himself to be this Good Shepherd – “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Jesus will first come as the Lamb to be slaughtered for us, but one day He will return as the King of kings and Lord of lords to rule with a strong hand.

Isaiah speaks of God’s greatness, the God of creation for whom there is no equal. Isaiah says that the Lord will renew the strength of the ones who wait on Him. Although Israel has been overthrown by the Assyrians and Judah is about to be carried off by the Babylonians, the Lord will not forget them – “But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the descendants of Abraham My friend. You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest regions, and said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away: Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Behold, all those who were incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; they shall be as nothing, and those who strive with you shall perish. You shall seek them and not find them— Those who contended with you. Those who war against you shall be as nothing, as a nonexistent thing. For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’”

Those who trust in the Lord do not have to fear because we have been redeemed by Jesus and we have a God upholding us by His might. God speaks of the coming Savior today who will bring forth justice for truth – “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth. He will not fail nor be discouraged, till He has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands shall wait for His law.”

Isaiah says Israel has been God’s blind, deaf, and disobedient servant, but by grace the Lord is going to do “a new thing”. He is sending His faithful Servant, His Son, to redeem His people – “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins… I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring.”

When Jesus arrives on the scene, He will say to his disciples that He came to serve, not to be served – “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28). 

God does not need us to serve Him. We need Him to serve us. Jesus served us by giving His own life to pay the cost for our sins so that we may be redeemed. And He continues to serve us today by working on behalf of those who wait on Him (Isaiah 64:4) and by working all things for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

More from Isaiah tomorrow, so keep reading. (Isaiah 40:1-44:5)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 7/22:

In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.’” So Hezekiah cries out to the Lord, and the Lord says He will heal him, add fifteen years to his life, and deliver him and the city from the Assyrians for the Lord’s sake and the sake of His servant David.

The Lord’s favor is upon Hezekiah. “But Hezekiah did not repay according to the favor shown him, for his heart was lifted up; therefore wrath was looming over him and over Judah and Jerusalem.” So when the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon come to Judah to visit Hezekiah, possibly as a means to align with them against Assyria, God withdraws from Hezekiah, “in order to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart.” 

Hezekiah eagerly shows the envoy from Babylon “all the house of his treasures—the silver and gold, the spices and precious ointment, and all his armory—all that was found among his treasures. There was nothing in his house or in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them.”

Since Hezekiah is full of worldly pride, Isaiah rebukes Hezekiah – “Hear the word of the Lord: ‘Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and what your fathers have accumulated until this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left,’ says the Lord. ‘And they shall take away some of your sons who will descend from you, whom you will beget; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’”

And Hezekiah’s response to this terrible news – “The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good! For he said, ’Will there not be peace and truth at least in my days?’” 

Hezekiah is so blinded by his success, wealth, and arrogance that he doesn’t see his own foolishness. The Lord graciously gave Hezekiah fifteen extra years of life, and what did Hezekiah do with those extra years? He lived pridefully and self serving, negatively impacting future generations with his arrogant and foolish acts. Hezekiah could have used the time he spent with the Babylonian envoy to elevate the Lord and not himself. He could have testified of God’s great majesty and His holy protection and blessings upon His people. Hezekiah could have used his life to draw those pagan men to the Lord. Instead, he took that opportunity to glorify himself and not the Lord.

The day is coming when the Babylonians will return and take away all that Hezekiah flaunted before their eyes. And the Babylonians won’t just take away the material wealth, they will also take away the sons of the kings of Judah. This will occur more than a hundred years later, and this is when we will meet Daniel and his friends – “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God… Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace… Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah” (Daniel 1:1-6).

The decisions that we make with the life the Lord gives us make a difference in this world. We may never know the far reaching impact of our lives, but we should live each of our days honoring God, elevating His name, and pointing others to Him as Lord and Savior. Keep reading. (2 Kings 20:1-11, Isaiah 38:1-8, 2 Chronicles 32:24-31, Isaiah 38:9-22, 2 Kings 20:12-19, Isaiah 39:1-8)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 7/21:

When Hezekiah, king of Judah, hears the message against Judah and the Lord from Sennacherib, king of Assyria, which was delivered by the Rabshakeh, Hezekiah “tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord.” Then he sent his servants to inquire of Isaiah. Isaiah responds, “Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. Surely I will send a spirit upon him, and he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.” 

“Then the Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah, for he heard that he had departed from Lachish.” However, Sennacherib still intimidates Judah by sending a threatening letter to Hezekiah. When Hezekiah receives the letter, he goes to the house of the Lord and prays – “‘O Lord God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. Truly, Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands, and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands—wood and stone. Therefore they destroyed them. Now therefore, O Lord our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord God, You alone.”

Isaiah gives a word from the Lord regarding the arrogant Sennacherib, king of Assyria, and his messenger, the Rabshakeh, who believe that all of their military success has been because of their own works and might. The Lord points out their ignorance and says all that they have accomplished was orchestrated by Him for His purposes – “From ancient times that I formed it? Now I have brought it to pass, that you should be for crushing fortified cities into heaps of ruins… But I know your dwelling place, your going out and your coming in, and your rage against Me. Because your rage against Me and your tumult have come up to My ears, therefore I will put My hook in your nose and My bridle in your lips, and I will turn you back by the way which you came.”

The Lord declares that He will defend Judah for His sake and to keep His promises made to King David – “‘He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor build a siege mound against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return; and he shall not come into this city,’ says the Lord. ‘For I will defend this city, to save it for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.’”

And since God always delivers on His word –  “And it came to pass on a certain night that the angel of the Lord went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses—all dead. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went away, returned home, and remained at Nineveh. Now it came to pass, as he was worshiping in the temple of Nisroch his god, that his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. Then Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place.” 

“Thus the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all others, and guided them on every side. And many brought gifts to the Lord at Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah king of Judah, so that he was exalted in the sight of all nations thereafter.”

But unfortunately all the success goes to Hezekiah’s head. Tomorrow a haughty Hezekiah acts foolishly by flaunting his wealth in front of some men from Babylon. Keep reading to see the negative impact that pride of leadership can have on a nation. (2 Kings 19:1-19, Isaiah 37:1-20, 2 Chronicles 32:9-19, 2 Kings 19:20-37, Isaiah 37:21-38, 2 Chronicles 32: 20-23)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 7/20:

Micah reminds Israel of God’s goodness and their failure. He says all the Lord required of them was to be just, love mercy, and walk humbly with the Lord. Instead, the people walk in wickedness and follow the practices of the evil kings of Israel, Omri and Ahab. Therefore, judgment is upon them. 

Micah says there’s not one faithful man among them – “The faithful man has perished from the earth, and there is no one upright among men. They all lie in wait for blood; every man hunts his brother with a net.” However, knowing the Assyrians are about to invade, Micah does not put his hope in man but in the Lord – “Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation, My God will hear me.”

Micah ends with a prayer asking the Lord to shepherd His people like He did when He brought them out of Egypt so the nations would fear Him and His people would return to Him. Micah knows that God’s mercy is great and that He is working His plan to send a Savior to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves; to cleanse us from our sins and give us a heart that loves the Lord and desires obedience to His word. One day Jesus will come and fulfill these words from Micah – “Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will give truth to Jacob and mercy to Abraham, which You have sworn to our fathers from days of old.” Jesus Christ will pay the debt for our sins by His sacrifice on the cross, tossing them into the depths of the sea – “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

As the Lord said, the Assyrians are now invading Judah. Hezekiah, king of Judah, tells the people not to fear the Assyrians –  “‘Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.’ And the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.”

Sennacherib, king of Assyria, sends the Rabshakeh (a title meaning “chief of the princes”) to tell Judah not to listen to King Hezekiah, and not to trust the Lord to deliver them from the Assyrians. The Rabshakeh says, “But do not listen to Hezekiah, lest he persuade you, saying, ‘The Lord will deliver us.’ Has any of the gods of the nations at all delivered its land from the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim and Hena and Ivah? Indeed, have they delivered Samaria from my hand? Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their countries from my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?’ But the people held their peace and answered him not a word; for the king’s commandment was, ‘Do not answer him.’ Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn, and told him the words of the Rabshakeh.”

Will Hezekiah fear the Assyrians and cave under their words, or trust the Lord and stand firm on His Word? Keep reading to find out. (Micah 6:1-7:20, 2 Chronicles 32:1-8, 2 Kings 18:13-18, Isaiah 36:1-3, 2 Kings 18:19-37, Isaiah 36:4-22)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 7/19:

Today Isaiah announces God’s ultimate judgment against the nations – “For the indignation of the Lord is against all nations, and His fury against all their armies: He has utterly destroyed them, He has given them over to the slaughter… For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance. The year of recompense for the cause of Zion.” The Lord has set a future date when He will serve justice against all the evil in the world. Jesus will later say, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be” (Matthew 24:21). During the great tribulation, there will be unparalleled disaster upon the land and the people, which is described in detail at the end of the story in the Book of Revelation.

Isaiah declares that his prophecy is true and will absolutely happen – “Search from the book of the Lord, and read: Not one of these shall fail.” That is why Jesus will later say, “For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:35-36).

Isaiah says, “A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness… But the redeemed shall walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” Jesus will later declare that He is the Highway of Holiness – “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Charles Spurgeon describes the Highway to Holiness as the all time greatest accomplishment – “Engineering has done much to tunnel mountains, and bridge abysses; but the greatest triumph of engineering is that which made a way from sin to holiness, from death to life, from condemnation to perfection. Who could make a road over the mountains of our iniquities but Almighty God? None but the Lord of love would have wished it; none but the God of wisdom could have devised it; none but the God of power could have carried it out.” 

Today we also hear from Micah who declares judgment against Judah’s wicked wealthy oppressors and false prophets. He also calls out the leaders for perverting justice – “Now hear this, you heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel, who abhor justice and pervert all equity, who build up Zion with bloodshed and Jerusalem with iniquity: her heads judge for a bribe, her priests teach for pay, and her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the Lord, and say, ‘Is not the Lord among us? No harm can come upon us.’ Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed like a field, Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins, and the mountain of the temple like the bare hills of the forest.” The leaders falsely believe that no harm will come to them or their city because of their proximity to the temple of the Lord. However, they are wrong. 

Micah tells Judah that Babylon will invade Jerusalem and take them off into captivity, but the Lord would eventually deliver them – “And to Babylon you shall go. There you shall be delivered; There the Lord will redeem you from the hand of your enemies.” So Israel will be judged and humbled by other nations, but out of this lowly nation, the Lord will bring forth the Savior, the Ruler Jesus Christ – “‘But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.’ Therefore He shall give them up, until the time that she who is in labor has given birth; then the remnant of His brethren shall return to the children of Israel. And He shall stand and feed His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God; and they shall abide, for now He shall be great to the ends of the earth; and this One shall be peace.”

Paul will later say that Jesus is our peace because through Him we are reconciled to the Father – “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father” (Ephesians 2:14-18).

Jesus Christ is coming later in the story. He will humbly be born in a barn in Bethlehem just as the Lord planned all along. Jesus will willingly fulfill the work of our salvation, creating a Highway to Holiness; because we have a Lord of love who through His wisdom and by His power is making a way to redeem His people. Keep reading. (Isaiah 34:1-35:10, Micah 2:1-5:15)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 7/18:

“‘Woe to the rebellious children,’ says the Lord, ‘Who take counsel, but not of Me, and who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin; who walk to go down to Egypt, and have not asked My advice, to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt!’”

Isaiah condemns Judah for seeking help from Egypt, whose help is vain and empty, instead of seeking help from the Lord. The people do not want to hear the truth from the word of God. They only want to hear what aligns with their own personal feelings and beliefs. Therefore, judgment is upon them – “That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children who will not hear the law of the Lord; who say to the seers, ‘Do not see,’ and to the prophets, ‘Do not prophesy to us right things; speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits. Get out of the way, turn aside from the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.’ Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel: ‘Because you despise this word, and trust in oppression and perversity, and rely on them, therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach ready to fall, a bulge in a high wall, whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant.’”

The Lord tells His people, “‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.’ But you would not.” However, because the Lord is gracious, He will wait for them to cry out to Him – “Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him. For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you.”

The Lord explains that hope is found in Him, not man. But since Judah relied upon Egypt for protection from Assyria instead of the Lord, He will shatter both Judah and Egypt – “Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses are flesh, and not spirit. When the Lord stretches out His hand, both he who helps will fall, and he who is helped will fall down; they all will perish together.” However, there is always hope for the one who turns to the Lord. Therefore, the Lord calls His people to return to Him – “Return to Him against whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted. For in that day every man shall throw away his idols of silver and his idols of gold—sin, which your own hands have made for yourselves. Then Assyria shall fall by a sword not of man, and a sword not of mankind shall devour him. But he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall become forced labor.” And this is exactly what the Lord will do. He is going to defeat the Assyrians in His divine way, which we will read about soon in the story (2 Kings 19:35).

Isaiah speaks of a king who will reign in righteousness. Commentaries believe Isaiah is referring to the faithful King Hezekiah who is sitting on the throne in Judah. He is a picture of the coming King, King Jesus- “Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule with justice. A man will be as a hiding place from the wind, and a cover from the tempest, as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. The eyes of those who see will not be dim, and the ears of those who hear will listen. Also the heart of the rash will understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers will be ready to speak plainly.”

The Lord mentions a time when the Holy Spirit will be poured upon His people, making fruitful what was once dead – “Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is counted as a forest. Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” After Jesus completes the work of salvation and ascends to heaven at the right hand of His Father, He will pour the Holy Spirit upon His people. Our righteousness is found in Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our lives are fruitful to the Kingdom of God by the power of the Holy Spirit, and by that power, we can have peace beyond understanding. 

We end the reading with a word of hope for Jerusalem. In the midst of the threat of the invasion by Assyria, the Lord says He will save Jerusalem- “Look upon Zion, the city of our appointed feasts; your eyes will see Jerusalem, a quiet home, a tabernacle that will not be taken down; not one of its stakes will ever be removed, nor will any of its cords be broken. But there the majestic Lord will be for us a place of broad rivers and streams, in which no galley with oars will sail, nor majestic ships pass by (For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King; He will save us); your tackle is loosed, they could not strengthen their mast, they could not spread the sail. Then the prey of great plunder is divided; the lame take the prey. And the inhabitant will not say, ‘I am sick’; the people who dwell in it will be forgiven their iniquity.”

The greatest gift the Lord gives is not merely being saved from external enemies; it is the forgiveness of iniquity and the gift of eternal salvation through His Son Jesus Christ. Tomorrow we will hear more from the prophets Isaiah and Micah, so keep reading. (Isaiah 30:1-33:24)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 7/17:

Many commentators call Isaiah 24-27 the “Little Apocalypse” because these chapters are similar to those in the Book of Revelation. In Isaiah 24, Isaiah proclaims the world’s destruction “Because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, and those who dwell in it are desolate. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned and few men are left.” After the Lord sends His judgment, Isaiah says the Lord will reign – “For the Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before His elders, gloriously.” John will later receive a similar vision from the Lord in the Book of Revelation, where he sees Jesus Christ standing on Mount Zion before the final judgment (Revelation 14:1).

In Isaiah 25, Isaiah says the Lord’s people will rejoice over their salvation for “He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; the rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; for the Lord has spoken. And it will be said in that day: ‘Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for Him; we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” During John’s vision of the final judgment recorded in the Book of Revelation, John will see the day that the Lord will wipe all tears from the faces of His people and there will be no more pain and no more sorrow (Revelation 21:1-4).

When announcing Israel’s coming salvation in Isaiah 27, Isaiah says the Lord will punish Leviathan. Leviathan is mentioned several times in the Bible as a great, powerful sea monster. David said in Psalm 104:25-26 that God formed the sea for the sea creature Leviathan to play in. Here commentators say that Isaiah is likely using Leviathan as a symbol for the wicked rulers of the earth that will be destroyed. Isaiah then explains that the judgment will be used as a means to bring His people to repentance and draw them to Him – “And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord will thresh, from the channel of the River to the Brook of Egypt; and you will be gathered one by one, O you children of Israel. So it shall be in that day; the great trumpet will be blown; they will come, who are about to perish in the land of Assyria, and they who are outcast in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem.”

In Isaiah 29, Isaiah says that Jerusalem will be destroyed due to their spiritual blindness. He rebukes the people because they assume they are exempt from judgment since they live in the city with the temple of the Lord. They falsely believe that their security comes from the temple building and their phony acts of worship, but the Lord isn’t fooled. The Lord says “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me.” The Lord is not impressed with someone going through the motions of worship without a heart surrendered to Him. We may be able to fool others with our external acts of worship, but no one can fool the Lord who sees the heart. 

Isaiah says that the Lord will serve justice to the wicked and He will save the humble who trust in Him – “In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness. The humble also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. For the terrible one is brought to nothing, the scornful one is consumed, and all who watch for iniquity are cut off— Who make a man an offender by a word, and lay a snare for him who reproves in the gate, and turn aside the just by empty words. Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: ‘Jacob shall not now be ashamed, nor shall his face now grow pale; but when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst, they will hallow My name, and hallow the Holy One of Jacob, and fear the God of Israel. These also who erred in spirit will come to understanding, and those who complained will learn doctrine.’”

Spiritual blindness occurs as a result of pride, and it leads people to reject the living God as Lord and Creator. The Lord is the one to heal us from our spiritual blindness by taking our proud hearts and giving us a heart of humility which can accept Him as our Savior. Paul will later say, when we turn to the Lord, He will remove our spiritual blindness and transform us into the image of Christ – “Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:16-18). 

Once the veil has been lifted and you are spiritually alive, you no longer have the same worldview. Those in Christ no longer focus on the temporal things of the world but on those of eternal value. Christians understand their purpose on earth and the command from Jesus to go and make disciples of the nations by sharing the Good News of Christ with others. We share this hope with the world knowing that judgment is coming and believing that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17); trusting that the Lord is the One to lift the veil of spiritual blindness – “Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:1-6).

Therefore, go out in this dark world as the light, sharing the knowledge of the glory of God with others, resting in the fact that our good God is sovereign over all — and keep reading. (Isaiah 24:1-27:13, Isaiah 29:1-24)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 7/16:

Today Isaiah pronounces judgment from the Lord against several nations:

Ethiopia – Isaiah says the Ethiopians are “people terrible from the beginning and onward”, but the Lord will humble them and they will one day worship Him.

Egypt – To the nation that enslaved the Israelites, Isaiah says that the Lord will do the same to them – “And the Egyptians I will give into the hand of a cruel master, and a fierce king will rule over them.” The Lord will also dry up the Nile River, which will wreck their economy. However, God promises to save Egypt when they cry out to Him – “for they will cry to the Lord because of the oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Mighty One, and He will deliver them. Then the Lord will be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day, and will make sacrifice and offering; yes, they will make a vow to the Lord and perform it. And the Lord will strike Egypt, He will strike and heal it; they will return to the Lord, and He will be entreated by them and heal them.”

As a sign of the coming destruction upon Ethiopia and Egypt, the Lord has Isaiah walk around barefoot and stripped down like a prisoner for three years to illustrate the shame they will experience. However, the Lord says that there will be a day when Egypt, Assyria, and Israel will all be blessed by the Lord – “In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria—a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, ‘Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.’” 

In the Patriarch Era, the Lord promised Abraham that all nations will be blessed through his descendants (Genesis 12:3, 18:18, and 22:18). We see that God is still working His plan to fulfill His promise, which will come through His Son Jesus Christ. When Jesus arrives on the scene, He will have the same heartbeat as His Father for all the nations to be blessed. That is why He will say to His disciples, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:18). After the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ to heaven, we will read a story about an Ethiopian eunuch who is reading the words of Isaiah when Philip, a disciple of Jesus, comes and explains the reading to him – “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus” (Acts 8:35). Then the Ethiopian receives Jesus as his Savior and is baptized in the name of Christ, becoming an heir to the Kingdom of God.

Babylon, Edom and Arabia – Isaiah says that Elam and Media, the ancient names for the people of Persia, will take down Babylon and within a year Edom and Arabia will fall. Isaiah describes the terror that will fall upon Babylon when they are conquered by the Persian Empire. The same terror will fall upon those who do not trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior when He returns in glory and power, destroying all that is evil (Revelation 18).

Jerusalem – Isaiah warns Jerusalem, who falsely believes it is immune from the wrath of God, that judgment is coming. Isaiah is speaking of the day when the Lord will remove His protection from Judah and allow Babylon to overthrow Jerusalem because the people trusted in themselves instead of the Lord – “But you did not look to its Maker, nor did you have respect for Him who fashioned it long ago.” Therefore the Lord says to Jerusalem, “Surely for this iniquity there will be no atonement for you, even to your death.” 

The only sin that will not be atoned for is the sin of resisting the Holy Spirit by not repenting and accepting the Lord as your Savior, as Jesus Christ will later explain: 

  • “Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation” (Mark 3:28-29).
  • “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matthew 12:31-32).

Billy Graham answered the question of “what is the unpardonable sin” on billygraham.org – “The point for us is that if we have received Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we have not blasphemed the Holy Spirit; we have accepted His witness. One study Bible explains it as follows: ‘To commit this sin one must consciously, persistently, deliberately, and maliciously reject the testimony of the Spirit to the deity and saving power of the Lord Jesus.’ If a person keeps doing that until death, there is no hope of forgiveness and eternal life in heaven.

“Once again, the unpardonable sin is not some particularly grievous sin committed by a Christian before or after accepting Christ, nor is it thinking or saying something terrible about the Holy Spirit. Rather, it is deliberately resisting the Holy Spirit’s witness and invitation to turn to Jesus until death ends all opportunity.”

Shebna – The Lord says to Shebna, the prideful treasurer of Judah during the reign of King Hezekiah, that he will be judged for using his position for personal gain. The Lord is going to remove everything from him and give it to Eliakim.

Tyre – Isaiah says that this strong, wealthy city will be forgotten for a period of time but will ultimately be restored to the Lord.

The Lord is gracious and merciful. He desires for us to repent of our sins and accept Him as our Savior so that we may be restored to Him and receive salvation. Jesus Himself will later say that He will not turn anyone away who comes to Him – “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:37-40).

Tomorrow Isaiah declares judgment against the entire world, but there is hope. Keep reading. (Isaiah 18:1-23:18)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 7/15:

Today the psalmist of Psalm 136 gives thanks to the Lord for creation, the exodus of His people from Egypt, and His protection of the Israelites in the wilderness. Each time the psalmist thanks the Lord he says, “For His mercy endures forever.”

Oxford Languages defines mercy as “forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.” Because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience to the Lord back in the garden which resulted in the fall, we are all born with a sin nature deserving of death. Paul later explains how we are deserving of death because of the failure of one man, Adam, but the Lord redeems us with the gift of salvation through the works of another Man, His Son Jesus – “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:18-21). This is mercy that endures forever! We deserve death, but instead eternal life is available by grace through faith for anyone who trusts in the atoning sacrifice of the Lord’s own Son. 

The remaining psalms that we read today all begin by saying “Praise the Lord!” Each psalmist lists reasons why the Lord is worthy of our praise:

  • “Who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; Who keeps truth forever, Who executes justice for the oppressed, Who gives food to the hungry. The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; the Lord raises those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow; but the way of the wicked He turns upside down” (Psalm 146:6-9).
  • “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite. The Lord lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked down to the ground” (Psalm 147:3-6).
  • “For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation” (Psalm 149:4).

We should praise the Lord for He beautifies the humble with salvation through His Son Jesus Christ, by His mercy that endures forever! Therefore, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6).

That concludes the psalms. Tomorrow Isaiah is back to warning the nations, so keep reading. (Psalm 136, Psalm 146-150)