Preach the Word
Today’s Passage – Isaiah 58 – 62 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)
(Second Milers also read – John 17 – 18; Psalms 56 – 60; Proverbs 12)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 92:1 – 4
Read the “0812 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” (Isaiah 58:1)
“I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence,” (Isaiah 62:6)
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (2 Timothy 4:2)
All of my previous posts from this reading passage have had to do with Isaiah 62:6. This morning, I would like to consider a similar verse: Isaiah 58:1. I believe this verse, though originally given to Isaiah, is directly applicable to preachers today. I believe that there are three ingredients for sound Bible preaching found in this verse, and, unfortunately, these are also sadly lacking in our preaching today.
1 Notice the Passion of Preaching – “Cry Aloud …lift up my voice like a trumpet”
Preaching should be passionate. Perhaps not ever message, or every part of a message will be done with a loud voice, but Bible preaching should be very often be done with a loud, passionate voice. The volume of the preachers voice should reveal his passion regarding the truth of God and it should also demonstrate his compassion for the needs of the people. Many Christians shy away from passionate preaching, preferring devotional teaching. However, the preaching of the word should be packed with Bible truth, and delivered in a manner that reveals the seriousness of God.
2 Notice the Perfection of Preaching – “spare not”
Not only should the preacher not hold back any volume and passion when he preaches, he should also not hold back any truth. All too often today preachers are afraid to preach all the counsel of God because they are too concerned with offending and possibly losing church members. We must remember that our duty is to please the Lord, and to deliver His message, uncut, and uncensored.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;” (2 Timothy 4:3)
3 Notice the Pointedness of Preaching – “…shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.”
Preachers must not be afraid to point out the sins of the people, even the ones that are very unpopular to preach against. In the culture that we are living in it is getting increasingly difficult to not be offensive. The world is rapidly moving away from God, which should cause the preacher to be more passionate, and more pointed. The world, however, and even many Christians, will be offended.
4 Notice the Persistence of Preaching – “… shall never hold their peace day nor night:”, “… in season, out of season.”
Preachers need to preach all of the time: when it is popular and when it is not. This is especially true of the gospel.
Posted in Thoughts from Isaiah by Phil Erickson with 5 comments.
Look Beyond The Cross
Today’s Passage – Isaiah 53 – 57 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)
(Second Milers also read – John 15 – 16; Psalms 51 – 55; Proverbs 11)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 89:1
Read the “0811 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” – (Isaiah 53:6)
“Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.” – (Isaiah 53:10)
This passage in Isaiah has always amazed me for a number of reasons. First, I am always in awe of the accuracy of the Word of God. Here the prophet Isaiah is writing several hundred years prior to the birth of Christ, and yet paints such an accurate picture of the events surrounding Christ’s death. No wonder the Jewish people have removed this passage from their Scripture. It proves perfectly that Jesus is their Messiah.
Secondly, I have often thought about the phrase from verse 10: “it pleased the Lord to bruise him”; and then in verse 11: “he shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied:” I can’t completely wrap my head around these verses. How could the horrible, agonizing death of His Son please and satisfy God? On a human level, I look at these verses and think to myself that there is no possible way that anything could be worth putting my son through the agony that Christ faced on the cross. But God saw something that made it all worthwhile. He saw you and me; and He saw a way that your sins and mine could be atoned for. He saw a way for fellowship to be restored between us and Him. To be sure, God was not pleased with the Cross in itself. I am sure it was the hardest thing for Him to endure; but beyond the Cross was salvation for you and I; and that pleased and satisfied God greatly. Thank you Father for being willing to watch your Son die for me. Thank you Jesus for being a willing participant in my redemption.
On a practical level, I want to offer one additional thought about the cross that you may be bearing right now in your life. You may be going through a difficult time in your life that is anything but pleasing or satisfying. By faith, look beyond the cross to what God is going to ultimately accomplish through your trial. God may be using you to help bring about the eternal redemption of somebody else, which makes all of the temporary suffering worth it. He may be refining you a little through the process; or He may be just glorifying Himself somehow. I know that He has a wonderful plan, and the cross that you are bearing today is part of it, and will be used by Him to “work all thing together for good.” You may not be able to see it now, but someday God will reveal something beautiful; something very pleasing and satisfying. All because you carried the cross that God placed in your life.
I just thought of another verse:
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – (Hebrews 12:2)
Jesus looked beyond the cross too.
Posted in Thoughts from Isaiah by Phil Erickson with 4 comments.
Today’s Passage – Isaiah 48 – 52 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)
(Second Milers also read – John 13 – 14; Psalms 46 – 50; Proverbs 10)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 61:1 – 3
Read the “0810 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass;” – (Isaiah 48:4)
“Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” – (Isaiah 48:10)
There is a man in our church who often tells me stories about his childhood, and his relationship with his dad growing up. His dad was a great man who had the uncommon ability to demonstrate love and tenderness, but could also be very strong, and was not afraid to correct his children when necessary. When this man was a teenager, he and his dad would sometimes butt heads. His dad would say to him, “Son, you have a pretty hard head, but that’s OK because I am going to soften it up for you.” I think this is exactly the idea found in our text today. God was telling Israel that they were “bull headed”, but He knew how to take care of that problem.
Stubborn, stiff-necked, bull headed: these are all words that are synonymous to the words that God used to describe Israel in Isaiah 48:4. They are also words that could be used to describe most of us. We are a stubborn lot by nature. We are very slow to learn, yet quick to declare that we are right. We are not very teachable, because we think that we know everything that there is to know. God oftentimes is forced to soften us up through the vehicle of affliction. Isn’t it amazing that we tend to learn much better while enduring a trial than we do when we are on the mountaintop. If fact, many people come to Christ at times in their life when they are going through a tough time. God often has to break us before He can teach us. If you find yourself going through an unusually difficult season in your life, it may just be that God is working “in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure”. (Phillippians 2:13) He may be trying to get you to see something that you could not see otherwise. God loves you, but whom He loves, He corrects; and correction is good; it helps us yield to a God who knows much better about what is good for us.
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” – (James 1:2-4)
“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” – (Hosea 10:12)
Posted in Thoughts from Isaiah by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
Forgiving and Forgetting
Today’s Passage – Isaiah 41 – 43 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)
(Second Milers also read – John 9 – 10; Psalms 36 – 40; Proverbs 8)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 51
Read the “0808 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Read a previous post from this passage – “Tired of God?“
“I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” – (Isaiah 43:25)
“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.” – (Isaiah 1:18)
“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” – (Psalm 103:12)
The verses listed above are very encouraging to me. Each of these Scriptures speak of God’s forgiveness primarily to the people of Israel; but in a broader context, they apply to all who have “called upon the name of the Lord”. It is certainly a wonderful truth that God forgives our sin. Of course, forgiveness is only possible through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The wrath that we deserved was poured out upon Him. However, God goes beyond just forgiving us: He forgets our sins as well. To forgive is one thing, but to forget is another level entirely. The phrase “blotteth out” has the idea that the record of our sin has been completely expunged (removed).
Now let’s try to apply this wonderful attribute of God to our own relationships. We are supposed to be like God, aren’t we? If we are saved we are being conformed to the image of Christ, and we have God on the inside of us transforming us to be like Him. If all that be true, then we should be able to forget like God forgets. We say that we forgive someone who has wronged us, but we often replay mentally (or re-tell verbally) the act that was committed against us. In other words, the act has not been blotted out completely in our minds. We store the thing that was forgiven in a special compartment where we can retrieve it again in case we need it. We often pull it back out when a new violation is committed. We are keeping score in our minds. God does not do this. He removes the record altogether. Real forgiveness will lead us to blot out the act altogether; not that their will be no consciousness of the act; but it will not be allowed to be dredged back up again for some future judgment against the offender.
I have one more thought. God not only forgives sin, and erases the record; but He also refuses to record any future violations. It is like getting a completely free pass from the penalty of your sins. Don’t believe me?
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” – (Romans 4:5-8)
Oh that we could be more like Him: forgiving, forgetting, and even determining that we will not hold against someone any future acts committed against us. We like to be the receiver of such treatment, but oh how we struggle to treat others in this manner.
God, help us to be more like you. Help us to love people like you do. Help us to truly accept the forgiveness that you offer us, and then help us to return the favor to someone else.
Perhaps as you are reading this, God has put someone in your mind that you are harboring unforgiveness toward. Why not determine to take that person out of your heart’s prison by giving them the forgiveness that God has given you.
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” – (Ephesians 4:32)
Posted in Thoughts from Isaiah by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
Forsaking Future Generations
Today’s Passage – Isaiah 37 – 40 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)
(Second Milers also read – John 7 – 8; Psalms 31 – 35; Proverbs 7)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 48:1 & 2
Read the “0807 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD of hosts: Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD. And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon. Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, Good is the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken. He said moreover, For there shall be peace and truth in my days.” (Isaiah 39:5-8)
I think that the last verse of Isaiah 39 is one of the saddest verses in the Bible. King Hezekiah, who was one of the best kings that Israel ever had, makes a statement here that is extremely selfish. He is told by Isaiah that because he had opened up his kingdom and welcomed the Babylonian messengers that someday Babylon would come back and take away all that Hezekiah’s family owned, and would also take his family members into captivity. We know that this prophecy was literally fulfilled in 586 BC when Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came down and destroyed Jerusalem, and had carried nearly the entire population back with them into Babylon.
Notice, however, what Hezekiah said when he got the news: “Good is the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken. He said moreover, For there shall be peace and truth in my days.” Hezekiah was OK with the news that his children would be destroyed, as long as no destruction came while he was still alive. Very selfish indeed!
Hezekiah is not alone, however, in his selfishness. I find that many of us today are guilty of forsaking our future generations by some of the decisions that we make.
I’ll give you an illustration. Let’s say that John Smith is a lost man, living in sin, and beginning to reap the negative consequences of his worldly lifestyle. One day, he is confronted with his sinful condition, and is warned, not only of the eternal consequences that he will face, but also the problems that his children will have because of the course that he has charted. John is convicted of his sin, and realizes that he wants something better for his family. He trusts Christ as Saviour, along with his wife, and immediately begins to make some changes in his life. He brings his family to church every time the doors are opened; he removes many of the weights and also the sinful things from his home, and serves God with a passion. His family immediately begins to reap the benefits of his decisions. God is now blessing the family. He is meeting their needs, and is even giving them some of their heart’s desires. His kids grow up, and marry godly spouses. Everything is good. However, the next generation does not know, or perhaps doesn’t remember too well, what life was like before dad got saved. They are all saved also, but they don’t seem to fear the world and the devil like dad did, and they are not quite as zealous for the Lord as the first generation. They begin to allow some of the things that dad stood against back into their homes. They are not as consistent as mom and dad were about church attendance, either; and they do not feel like they should have to serve as much as their family did when they were growing up. Gradually and slowly they begin to pull away from what dad fought for. However, for the most part, life is still good: they are prospering financially, and they seem to have well adjusted families. Their children (generation 3), however, are even less interested in the things of God than generation 2 was. They hardly go to church at all now, and their children (generation 4) will not even be exposed to the gospel so that they could be saved like their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. Life isn’t so good for them. They make a lot of bad decisions, and the consequences of sin have completely ravaged their lives.
You will notice in the above example that a complete circle has been made. You will notice that in every generation there were decisions made that affected either positively or negatively the next generation. Great Granddad made some decisions that prospered his children, but unfortunately his children decided to do some things (or not do some things) that adversely affected the third generation. That is exactly what Hezekiah did. He made a decision that benefited himself temporarily, but destroyed future generations.
Parents, please be careful. The decisions that you make today will either positively or negatively affect your children and grandchildren. Don’t forsake the future generations.
Posted in Thoughts from Isaiah by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do
Today’s Passage – Isaiah 33 – 36 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)
(Second Milers also read – John 5 – 6; Psalms 26 – 30; Proverbs 26)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 47:1
Read the “0806 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Read a previous post from today’s passage – “Streams in the Desert”
“Then came Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, that was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, the son of Asaph, the recorder, to Hezekiah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of Rabshakeh.” (Isaiah 36:22)
Chapter 36 of the Book of Isaiah is the beginning of an historical portion of the Book, which will end in chapter 39. You will notice that the style of writing changes completely for just these 4 chapters, and you will find the story that is told in this portion of Scripture is also found in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. In chapter 36 we read the beginning of the story, and we learn about a huge problem that has come upon King Hezekiah and the City of Jerusalem. In this chapter we discover that an extremely powerful army from Assyria has surrounded the city and is threatening to utterly destroy it unless the people surrender everything. How would you like to be in King Hezekiah’s shoes at this particular time in history? He is facing an impossible situation, and he really has very few options. He cannot fight them because the Assyrian army is infinitely more powerful than Jerusalem’s defenses. It seems from the context that Hezekiah may have considered getting help from Egypt, but even the Egyptians were no match for Assyria. Jerusalem was completely powerless to do anything on their own; they were utterly helpless. What should Hezekiah do? What would you do if you were King Hezekiah?
Well, we will find out tomorrow what Hezekiah does, but let’s consider just for a moment what we should do when we are faced with impossible problems in life. God has a way of getting our complete attention through tragic situations. Sometimes God allows the rug to be pulled out from underneath our feet so that we will have to look up to Him to see what happened. Much of life we seem to be able to figure out on our own, but every once in a while God will allow something to take place that will drive us to our knees in total dependence upon Him for a solution. As Christians, we are supposed to be trusting God every day for everything, but unfortunately our flesh likes to think that it can “do life” on its own, all by itself. God is very patient and gracious with us, but eventually, when we stray too far from Him in our independence and stubbornness, He will do something to get our complete attention. It is a shame that we cannot learn to pay a little more attention to Him before the impossible problems surround us and painful tragedies come our way.
Why don’t we take a moment right now and ask God to forgive us for our lack of attention to Him, and our failure to depend upon Him. Let’s commit to trusting Him today to guide and direct the decisions that we make, and let’s be sure to thank Him for His abundant provision and divine protection. And, by all means, if you are facing the trial of your life today and you don’t have a clue about what you should do, then do what Hezekiah did: go to God. It may be that God will deliver you from your problem just as He delivered Jerusalem from the Assyrian army. But, even if He doesn’t take the problem completely away, He can minimize it, and He also promises to give abundant grace that will help you as you go through it.
Posted in Thoughts from Isaiah by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Don’t Tell Us What We Want To Hear – Tell Us The Truth!
Today’s Passage – Isaiah 29 – 32 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)
(Second Milers also read – John 3 – 4; Psalms 21 – 25; Proverbs 5)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:6
Read the “0805 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.” (Isaiah 30:9-11)
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:2-4)
There is a striking resemblance between the people of Isaiah’s day, and the people of the last days that were spoken of by Paul to Timothy. They do not want to hear the truth, but rather are content to listen to anything, whether true or not, that pleases their ears. They want the preachers of God to tell them what they want to hear. They want to feel good about themselves, and they do not want to change anything about the way they are living. Now I must be honest, there are times when the preaching of the Word of God rubs me the wrong way, but I know when that happens it is because there is something wrong with me, not something wrong with God’s Word.
These passages should send an admonition to both the preachers of God’s word, and also to the people of God:
First to the Preachers – Don’t ever get to the place where you start desiring to please the people with your preaching, rather than be faithful to the truth of God’s Word. You do not have to go out of your way to be offensive, but you do have to have enough courage to preach unpopular truths. There are a lot of things in the Bible that are unpopular in this culture. It is not in vogue to preach against fornication, and homosexuality; and it is not politically correct to teach that Jesus is the only way to salvation; but these truths, along with all the other counsel of God, need to be proclaimed boldly. Remember, it is not the world that you must seek to please, but the Lord.
Next to the People of God – Demand that the people that minister the Word of God to you are faithful to the truth. Encourage the preachers to be completely honest with you, and courageous enough to tell you things that you may not want to hear. Do not tolerate watered down, politically correct speeches. Demand the truth.
“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” (Ephesians 4:14-15)
Posted in Thoughts from Isaiah by Phil Erickson with 6 comments.
A House Divided
Today’s Passage – Isaiah 19 – 23 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)
(Second Milers also read – Luke 23 – 24; Psalms 11 – 15; Proverbs 3)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 25
Read the “0803 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.” (Isaiah 19:2)
“And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” (Mark 3;25)
As we read through this portion of the Book of Isaiah, we see that God is pronouncing judgment on all of the nations that have been enemies to God and His people, Israel. In chapter 19, we see that God is dealing specifically with the Egyptians. The Egyptians had been an enemy to the people of God throughout much of their history. Perhaps, they were not as bad as some; yet, still God states here that some judgment is coming.
My thought for this morning surrounds verse 2 of chapter 19. Part of the judgment that was going to come to Egypt was a battle from within its own borders; a fight among its own inhabitants; a civil war. Our nation faced this same type of conflict 150 years ago. It was perhaps the ugliest battle America would ever face: neighbor against neighbor; brother against brother. We found that it was impossible for the nation to move forward until its inner struggle was settled.
I have noticed that we oftentimes face a similar type of judgment in our families and in our churches: a division on the inside; a battle, not with an invading army, but with an injured brother. When a church moves away from fighting the external battle against the world and the devil, it then begins to fight amongst itself. It seems that by nature we are fighters, and to some degree we ought to be. We ought to fight against the sin and the darkness of this world, we ought to hate the devil, and we ought to be striving together in order to bring the gospel to the people around us. Oftentimes we forget who the real enemy is and we take up arms against each other. Satan is very wise and understands that if he can get us to destroy each other, he won’t have to destroy us himself.
We see that this problem is also prevalent inside the home. Parents are not always in one accord, but are often at odds with one another. They fight about finances, about child-rearing, and about a lot of other things. All of this division is rooted in pride, with each individual insisting on getting his and her own way. Shame on us.
The cure for this problem is simply to recognize the battle is not within, but without. When we get busy fighting for the Lord, we will not have time nor desire to fight each other.
Posted in Thoughts from Isaiah by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Do You Need an “I” Exam?
Today’s Passage – Isaiah 14 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)
(Second Milers also read – Luke 21 – 22; Psalms 6 – 10; Proverbs 2)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 19
Read the “0802 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I willascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” – (Isaiah 14:12-14)
Five times in this passage, we see Lucifer (Satan) using the phrase “I will”. Did you ever notice how much we use the word “I”. We, like Satan, are full of ourselves. Satan fell because of his pride, and most of us have the same problem. We would never admit it, but we are really the “god” of our own lives. We worship ourselves, and though we won’t admit it, we are really not much different than Satan when it comes to pride. It is natural to exalt ourselves, and it is very diffficult to be humble; but humility is required for us to surrender to Christ. In order to be saved, we need to humble ourselves, and in order to live the spirit-filled life, we must continually abase ourselves and lift up Christ. Easier said than done.
Lately, we have been bombarded with news of great men who have fallen into sin. It both grieves me, and scares me because I know that it could be me. I am sure, however, that pride is a root factor in all of these moral failures that we are hearing about. I think if we were to be able to examine each individual case carefully in retrospect, we would be able to recognize a pattern of pride. A Biblical example of someone falling due to pride is what happened to King Saul. He was at one time “little in his own eyes”, but God elevated him in the eyes of men. He enjoyed the praise and respect of men, and began to believe all of the nice things that people were saying about him, and all of the attention that he was getting. Somewhere along the line, he probably started to think that he somehow deserved the credit that he was getting. He gradually began to steal a little of the glory that rightly belonged only to God. He then started to operate independently of God, doing his own thing instead of obeying what God commanded. He also became threatened and insecure when anybody else received any praise. Eventually, he fell.
David fell also. He became too important to fight with the rest of his army, so he stayed home. He saw a woman that belonged to another man, but because he was the king, he felt that he was entitled to take her. He then tried to cover up his sin with the murder of her husband, and he was sure that he would get away with it. After all, he was a big and powerful man. Who would dare question King David? He though that he could do whatever he wanted. He wasn’t under any authority, not even God. What a shame.
Unfortunately, we see this all too often in the ministry, as well. As God begins to allow us to see some success in our ministries, we must remember that it is He that worked through us. We have no right to think that we are deserving of praise. To God be all the glory. Watch out for pride. Stay “little” in your own eyes, and don’t allow people to exalt you. Deflect all praise to the Lord for He alone is worthy.
“O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.” – (Psalm 34:3)
“For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” – (Luke 14:11)
“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” – (Proverbs 16:18)
Posted in Thoughts from Isaiah by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Who Turned Out the Light?
Today’s Passage – Isaiah 9 – 13 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)
(Second Milers Read – Luke 19 – 20; Psalms 1 – 5; Proverbs 1)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Joshua 1:8
Read the “0801 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” (Isaiah 9:2)
The verse of Scripture referenced above deals with the birth of Christ. When Christ was born in the earth, he poked a huge hole in the darkness of a world that had been without light for a long time. Christ is light, and light equals righteousness and holiness; and it is also synonymous with spiritual understanding. The Bible says of God:
“Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:” (Psalm 104:2)
“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Light is not something that God has or something that God can produce; it is what He is. Peter, James, and John saw a glimpse of this light on the Mount of Transfiguration. John saw it again when he was on the Isle of Patmos and given the Revelation. Paul saw this light on the road to Damascus when the Lord gloriously saved him. All of these examples were actual physical manifestations of the light of God. However, when He came, He revealed to the world more than just Physical light: he delivered to the world a spiritual brightness that many had seen and received; and many more continue to receive to this day.
My thought for the day is: if Christ came and delivered this light to us 2000 years ago, and many millions have received this light from Him via the Holy Spirit; then why is this world still very dark. Jesus told us to shine the light to the dark world around us:
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
You would think with all of the millions of lights out there that should be shining, the world would be pretty bright; yet it continues to dwell in darkness. Why? Because God’s people are not allowing the light of Christ to radiate and reflect through them to the world around them. They are covering their candles with a bushel instead of elevating it on a candlestick. Three thoughts regarding the failure of the Christian to shine the light of Christ:
1 We fail to shine the light when we fail to separate from the darkness. Instead of increasing our light, we often participate in things that are very dark: things that are inconsistent with light. Light repels darkness; they cannot dwell together. So in order for the Christian to dwell in darkness, He has to douse His light. He has to quench the Spirit of God that dwells within Him.
“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19)
By the way, unfortunately, the verse above oftentimes applies to the Christian as well as to the world.
2 We fail to shine the light when we fail to saturate ourselves in the light of the Word of God.
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130)
3 We fail to shine the light when we shield the light from reaching those around us. This has more to do with fear than anything else. We have the light, and we desire to shine it; but we are so intimidated by the world around us that we conceal it. It is time that we decide to take a stand, and decide once and for all whose side we are on. We belong to God. We owe this world nothing but the light of Christ. Get out of the way, and let His light shine through you.
“That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;” (Philippians 2:15)
Posted in Thoughts from Isaiah by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.