A Message for Today

“Unless the Lord of hosts Had left to us a very small remnant, We would have become like Sodom, We would have been made like Gomorrah.” Isaiah 1:9 NKJV

Do you jump ahead to the reading before reading my little daily devotional/commentary? OR do you read my thoughts before you read the word? I have read todays passages a few time through and it is a tough read.  It is tough because I see the modern world in the text – and more so, year by year.  At one point there was a nation then two and so on, who had become like Sodom and Gomorrah – but now, which nation doesn’t have cities like that?

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is from the book of Isaiah chapters 1-4 (embedded below the image below for your convenience).

It is a tough reading. Imagine being Isaiah and having been given this message; and have to go preach it.  Imagine being the people called out like this – no soft gentle words of love and acceptance.  Tough love – done correctly – is effective.  But there are some major rules that must be followed and many times people DO NOT follow them.

First – it must be done in obedience to what the LORD says! For example verse one in chapter one begins by saying this was in a vision and verse two says it was the word “The Lord has spoken”.  So, it should be tough only because it came directly from Him!

Next – It must be spoken in love. Not a “Gotcha!” attitude or any joy that sins are being called out. We should remember our own brokenness when God Himself pointed out our sins and broke our pride.  It is embarrassing (even if it happens in private), so be extra sensitive if it happens to someone else and you are around. Pray for them if you see it happening. If you are being used to say it is wrong, then pray for them as well.

Third – We are commanded to give unconditional love, always and it is the greatest command. And tough love DOES NOT put conditions on LOVE.  When God dishes out tough love is always looks like this: 1. Warning, I am going to correct you and it will be harsh feeling – but I am doing it because I love you and like a father corrects His children. 2. Repent or I will discipline you. 3. Come On! I am getting frustrated and MAD. I love you, don’t make me punish you! 4. Ok here comes the punishment, unless you repent.
And that is God’s version of tough Love.  He sets up a cause and effect situation and lets the consequences handle the situation. But intervenes at true repentance.

I know a man who is transitioning to a woman – I love him/her (I am unsure which to say as God created a him, but sin has made a her).  Love the person because God does. The sinner who is deceived, in chains, and in bondage.  Love them tenderly with God’s love. The person IS in there and God convicts to repentance not me and not you. So love. I call and love them. I call and tell them that God loves them too. JUST LOVE.  Because if they had found love in this world, this desperate cry for help would not be. Love them unconditionally – not only if they turn back into a man or only if they repent the way you have it in your mind. NO. Love them and let God do what He is famous for and change them into what HE intended.

I know a man who is broken but believes in Christ with more conviction than most professing Christian’s I know. But he has not love. And the Bible says we will know them by their love. He has accused me of placing condition on love. But it is because he is broken and has not the love of God yet. He doesn’t LOVE God – he believes and clings to faith because he was told it was right and out of fear of the Lord and his greatness.  His fear is misplaced, as he continues to sin and grieve the Lord.  Can he help it – he has rejected the Love of God because he doesn’t recognize it as love.

These two are just a couple examples of people today – a time that is like the days of Noah, a time like Sodom and Gomorrah, and a perilous time.  I could be an example too – but I am just one repentance away from this chaos and confusion. (Meaning I am slightly removed because I have repented and saved from it by grace.) We are the times that Isaiah is prophesying about. You see prophets spoke of their own time, but vaguely so it would apply to many future times where God can recycle these messages and sermons and draw more men/women and confused sinners back to His loving arms!

I talk about repentance being a daily thing, because when the disciples asked Jesus how to pray he said to ask for forgiveness and to forgive. So daily, that should be in our prayers. Especially in perilous times such as these.

“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.
“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the 
Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:16-18 NKJV

Oh the grace of it – that love can draw us in despite a strong reproach and tenderly inside remind us there is a better way and love, unconditional, for us. That all God wants is a relationship with His people. With you and me.  If you are reading this – He has called you and has a plan and purpose. Talk to Him, repent and be made whole in His love.

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: James 4:7 
NKJV – “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
NAS – “Submit therefore to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
ESV – “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
NLT – “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
NIV – “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Isaiah 1-4 NKJV

Judah Called to Repentance

The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

The Wickedness of Judah

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth!
For the Lord has spoken:
“I have nourished and brought up children,
And they have rebelled against Me;
The ox knows its owner
And the donkey its master’s [a]crib;
But Israel does not know,
My people do not [b]consider.”

Alas, sinful nation,
A people [c]laden with iniquity,
[d]brood of evildoers,
Children who are corrupters!
They have forsaken the Lord,
They have provoked to anger
The Holy One of Israel,
They have turned away backward.

Why should you be stricken again?
You will revolt more and more.
The whole head is sick,
And the whole heart faints.
From the sole of the foot even to the head,
There is no soundness in it,
But wounds and bruises and putrefying sores;
They have not been closed or bound up,
Or soothed with ointment.

Your country is desolate,
Your cities are burned with fire;
Strangers devour your land in your presence;
And it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.
So the daughter of Zion is left as a [e]booth in a vineyard,
As a hut in a garden of cucumbers,
As a besieged city.
Unless the Lord of hosts
Had left to us a very small remnant,
We would have become like Sodom,
We would have been made like Gomorrah.

10 Hear the word of the Lord,
You rulers of Sodom;
Give ear to the law of our God,
You people of Gomorrah:
11 “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?”
Says the Lord.
“I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
And the fat of fed cattle.
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
Or of lambs or goats.

12 “When you come to appear before Me,
Who has required this from your hand,
To trample My courts?
13 Bring no more futile[f] sacrifices;
Incense is an abomination to Me.
The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies—
I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.
14 Your New Moons and your appointed feasts
My soul hates;
They are a trouble to Me,
I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you [g]spread out your hands,
I will hide My eyes from you;
Even though you make many prayers,
I will not hear.
Your hands are full of [h]blood.

16 “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.
Cease to do evil,
17 Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Rebuke [i]the oppressor;
[j]Defend the fatherless,
Plead for the widow.

18 “Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land;
20 But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword”;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

The Degenerate City

21 How the faithful city has become a [k]harlot!
It was full of justice;
Righteousness lodged in it,
But now murderers.
22 Your silver has become dross,
Your wine mixed with water.
23 Your princes are rebellious,
And companions of thieves;
Everyone loves bribes,
And follows after rewards.
They do not defend the fatherless,
Nor does the cause of the widow come before them.

24 Therefore the Lord says,
The Lord of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel,
“Ah, I will [l]rid Myself of My adversaries,
And [m]take vengeance on My enemies.
25 I will turn My hand against you,
And thoroughly[n] purge away your dross,
And take away all your alloy.
26 I will restore your judges as at the first,
And your counselors as at the beginning.
Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.”

27 Zion shall be redeemed with justice,
And her [o]penitents with righteousness.
28 The destruction of transgressors and of sinners shall be together,
And those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed.
29 For [p]they shall be ashamed of the [q]terebinth trees
Which you have desired;
And you shall be embarrassed because of the gardens
Which you have chosen.
30 For you shall be as a terebinth whose leaf fades,
And as a garden that has no water.
31 The strong shall be as tinder,
And the work of it as a spark;
Both will burn together,
And no one shall quench them.

The Future House of God

The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the Lord’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow to it.
Many people shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
And rebuke many people;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning [r]hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.

The Day of the Lord

O house of Jacob, come and let us walk
In the light of the Lord.

For You have forsaken Your people, the house of Jacob,
Because they are filled with eastern ways;
They are soothsayers like the Philistines,
And they [s]are pleased with the children of foreigners.
Their land is also full of silver and gold,
And there is no end to their treasures;
Their land is also full of horses,
And there is no end to their chariots.
Their land is also full of idols;
They worship the work of their own hands,
That which their own fingers have made.
People bow down,
And each man humbles himself;
Therefore do not forgive them.

10 Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust,
From the terror of the Lord
And the glory of His majesty.
11 The [t]lofty looks of man shall be humbled,
The haughtiness of men shall be bowed down,
And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.

12 For the day of the Lord of hosts
Shall come upon everything proud and lofty,
Upon everything lifted up—
And it shall be brought low—
13 Upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up,
And upon all the oaks of Bashan;
14 Upon all the high mountains,
And upon all the hills that are lifted up;
15 Upon every high tower,
And upon every fortified wall;
16 Upon all the ships of Tarshish,
And upon all the beautiful sloops.
17 The [u]loftiness of man shall be bowed down,
And the haughtiness of men shall be brought low;
The Lord alone will be exalted in that day,
18 But the idols [v]He shall utterly abolish.

19 They shall go into the holes of the rocks,
And into the caves of the [w]earth,
From the terror of the Lord
And the glory of His majesty,
When He arises to shake the earth mightily.

20 In that day a man will cast away his idols of silver
And his idols of gold,
Which they made, each for himself to worship,
To the moles and bats,
21 To go into the clefts of the rocks,
And into the crags of the rugged rocks,
From the terror of the Lord
And the glory of His majesty,
When He arises to shake the earth mightily.

22 Sever[x] yourselves from such a man,
Whose breath is in his nostrils;
For [y]of what account is he?

Judgment on Judah and Jerusalem

For behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts,
Takes away from Jerusalem and from Judah
The[z] stock and the store,
The whole supply of bread and the whole supply of water;
The mighty man and the man of war,
The judge and the prophet,
And the diviner and the elder;
The captain of fifty and the [aa]honorable man,
The counselor and the skillful artisan,
And the expert enchanter.

“I will give children[ab] to be their princes,
And [ac]babes shall rule over them.
The people will be oppressed,
Every one by another and every one by his neighbor;
The child will be insolent toward the [ad]elder,
And the [ae]base toward the honorable.”

When a man takes hold of his brother
In the house of his father, saying,
“You have clothing;
You be our ruler,
And let these ruins be under your [af]power,”
In that day he will protest, saying,
“I cannot cure your ills,
For in my house is neither food nor clothing;
Do not make me a ruler of the people.”

For Jerusalem stumbled,
And Judah is fallen,
Because their tongue and their doings
Are against the Lord,
To provoke the eyes of His glory.
The look on their countenance witnesses against them,
And they declare their sin as Sodom;
They do not hide it.
Woe to their soul!
For they have brought evil upon themselves.

10 “Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them,
For they shall eat the fruit of their doings.
11 Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him,
For the reward of his hands shall be [ag]given him.
12 As for My people, children are their oppressors,
And women rule over them.
O My people! Those who lead you [ah]cause you to err,
And destroy the way of your paths.”

Oppression and Luxury Condemned

13 The Lord stands up to [ai]plead,
And stands to judge the people.
14 The Lord will enter into judgment
With the elders of His people
And His princes:
“For you have [aj]eaten up the vineyard;
The plunder of the poor is in your houses.
15 What do you mean by crushing My people
And grinding the faces of the poor?”
Says the Lord God of hosts.

16 Moreover the Lord says:

“Because the daughters of Zion are haughty,
And walk with [ak]outstretched necks
And [al]wanton eyes,
Walking and [am]mincing as they go,
Making a jingling with their feet,
17 Therefore the Lord will strike with a scab
The crown of the head of the daughters of Zion,
And the Lord will uncover their secret parts.”

18 In that day the Lord will take away the finery:
The jingling anklets, the [an]scarves, and the crescents;
19 The pendants, the bracelets, and the veils;
20 The headdresses, the leg ornaments, and the headbands;
The perfume boxes, the charms,
21     and the rings;
The nose jewels,
22     the festal apparel, and the mantles;
The outer garments, the purses,
23     and the mirrors;
The fine linen, the turbans, and the robes.

24 And so it shall be:

Instead of a sweet smell there will be a stench;
Instead of a sash, a rope;
Instead of well-set hair, baldness;
Instead of a rich robe, a girding of sackcloth;
And [ao]branding instead of beauty.
25 Your men shall fall by the sword,
And your [ap]mighty in the war.

26 Her gates shall lament and mourn,
And she being desolate shall sit on the ground.

Jerusalem’s Glorious Future

And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying,
“We will eat our own food and wear our own apparel;
Only let us be called by your name,
To take away our reproach.”

The Renewal of Zion

In that day the Branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious;
And the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing
For those of Israel who have escaped.

And it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy—everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem. When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the [aq]blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning, then the Lord will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a [ar]covering. And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 1:3 manger or feed trough
  2. Isaiah 1:3 understand
  3. Isaiah 1:4 Lit. heavy, weighed down
  4. Isaiah 1:4 offspring, seed
  5. Isaiah 1:8 shelter
  6. Isaiah 1:13 worthless
  7. Isaiah 1:15 Pray
  8. Isaiah 1:15 bloodshed
  9. Isaiah 1:17 Some ancient vss. the oppressed
  10. Isaiah 1:17 Vindicate
  11. Isaiah 1:21 Unfaithful
  12. Isaiah 1:24 be relieved of
  13. Isaiah 1:24 avenge Myself
  14. Isaiah 1:25 refine with lye
  15. Isaiah 1:27 Lit. returners
  16. Isaiah 1:29 So with MT, LXX, Vg.; some Heb. mss., Tg. you
  17. Isaiah 1:29 Sites of pagan worship
  18. Isaiah 2:4 knives
  19. Isaiah 2:6 Or clap, shake hands to make bargains with the children
  20. Isaiah 2:11 proud
  21. Isaiah 2:17 pride
  22. Isaiah 2:18 Or shall utterly vanish
  23. Isaiah 2:19 Lit. dust
  24. Isaiah 2:22 Lit. Cease yourselves from the man
  25. Isaiah 2:22 Lit. in what is he to be esteemed
  26. Isaiah 3:1 Every support
  27. Isaiah 3:3 Eminent looking men
  28. Isaiah 3:4 boys
  29. Isaiah 3:4 Or capricious ones
  30. Isaiah 3:5 aged
  31. Isaiah 3:5 despised, lightly esteemed
  32. Isaiah 3:6 Lit. hand
  33. Isaiah 3:11 done to him
  34. Isaiah 3:12 lead you astray
  35. Isaiah 3:13 contend, plead His case
  36. Isaiah 3:14 burned
  37. Isaiah 3:16 Head held high
  38. Isaiah 3:16 seductive, ogling
  39. Isaiah 3:16 tripping or skipping
  40. Isaiah 3:18 headbands
  41. Isaiah 3:24 burning scar
  42. Isaiah 3:25 Lit. strength
  43. Isaiah 4:4 bloodshed
  44. Isaiah 4:5 canopy

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