Key Verse: Isaiah 48:10 “Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.”
1. Suffering Refines Man’s Character
V10 “Behold, I have refined thee, …”
Man’s character is of utmost importance to God. God has made man in His image. However, as a result of man’s disobedience, man comes short of the image of God. The only way for man to be restored to God’s image is to believe in God again, and then God shall refine man’s character into His image that of godliness and holiness.
2. Suffering Reflects God’s Choice
V10 “Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.”
Count it a privilege if you suffer for God as it is a confirmation that He has chosen you! If God is to refine man as the way man refines silver, then no man will come forth as pure silver as man is too impure. However, it is by God’s infinite grace, mercy and love, that when the people call upon God that He shall hear them and refine their impurities for His glory.
Zechariah 13:9 “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.”
3. Sufferings Reflects God’s Glory
V11 “For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? And I will not give my glory unto another.”
God’s glory is manifested when Christians suffer for God. History testifies that as a result of heavy and intense persecution, Christianity has actually flourished even in Communist countries. Indeed, it is through suffering that we are able to discern the real Christians from the false ones. During good times, it is easy to believe in God because there is no suffering and persecution. However, it is only during bad times, when suffering and persecution come, that we shall see the true blue Christians who still believe and confess that Jesus is the Lord.
Prayer of the Week
God, Help me to Endure Sufferings as they Refine my Character and Reflect God’s Choice and God’s Glory.
Key Verse: Isaiah 46:4 “And even to your old age I am He; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.”
Thank God for His promise that He shall carry, bear and deliver you from young to old age as you call upon His mighty name.
1. God Shall Carry You
V4 “And even to your old age I am He; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you:…”
I know of a godly woman who has a retarded son. As I was talking to her, she told me that she has been taking care of him for more than 20 years. She has been feeding him, cleaning him and carrying him around. However she is worried that no one will take care of him when she dies and goes to be with the Lord. I assured her that God shall take care of her son as God promises in the book of Isaiah that He shall take care of His children from young to old age. As God takes care of the birds and the animals, surely God shall take care of man who is made in the image of God.
Psalms 37:25 “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”
2. God Shall Bear You
V4 “And even to your old age I am He; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry,…”
Though each one of you is unique, you are made in the image and likeness of God with a heart that can learn to love, share and care, as you believe and call upon God to save you. This is why man and woman are different from birds and animals which eat, fight, mate and live by instinct. You can call upon God and cast all your care and trouble upon Him for He loves and cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.
3. God Shall Deliver You
V4 “And even to your old age I am He; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.”
Indeed, God not only carry and bear your trouble but He shall also deliver you in the day of trouble!
Psalms 50:15 “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me.”
Prayer of the Week
God, thank You for carrying, bearing and delivering me in the day of trouble.
Key Verse: Isaiah 47:10 “For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me.”
Why do majority of the people including Christians, not call upon God, as in Jeremiah 33:3 “Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not”?
The world is getting more wicked as we see many including teenagers committing wickedness in the form of violence, corruption, deceit, cursing, immorality, etc. Like the Nike advertisement of “Just do it”; many youth have experimented wickedness and sinned against God. Even Christians have secretly committed wickedness and lived double lives, thinking that no one sees their wickedness. They fail to realize that God sees every of their actions and deeds, and God even knows what is in their thoughts and hearts!
Jeremiah 17:10 “I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins (thoughts), even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.’
V10 “For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee;…”
As wisdom and knowledge increases due to affluence and advance in education and technology, many become proud and do not believe in God. Unless they can see God and touch God, they refuse to believe God and the truth of His Word, the Bible.
2 Timothy 3:7 “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
V10 “For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me.”
Instead of worshipping God, man worship himself. In his wickedness and wisdom, man chooses to worship self. The result of worshipping self is selfishness and this sin is manifested in every aspect of life as the common saying, “Every man for himself.” No one really cares for others. It is sad and tragic when even loved ones, husband and wife, fight against each other for selfish reasons, at the expense of their children and family!
Prayer of the Week
God, Help me to Call upon You, and Worship You, and You Alone.
Key Verse: Isaiah 45:22 “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”
Are you stressed and discouraged by the doom and gloom of what’s happening in this world? Call and look to God as He shall be our answer and hope in life!
Isaiah 45:23 “I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.”
1. God is my Promise
Isaiah 45:23 “I have sworn by myself,…”
Have you ever experience the time when someone you trust most, break his words and promises, and disappoint and hurt you deeply? Many times, man’s words and promises are just words and promises, as man seldom keeps them. However, praise be to God, He keeps His Word and promises and never fails nor disappoints us!
2. God is my Righteousness
V23 “I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return,…”
In this time and age, where evil and wickedness prevail, it is very difficult to find righteousness, even among Christian circles. Man has been indulging in sins, evil and unrighteousness, as we witness the rising crimes, deceits, immorality, etc., committed in recent years. However, praise be to God, His righteousness prevails in the realm of unrighteousness.
3. God is my Lord
V23 “I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.”
Man may not believe God but in other gods and religions that they think can offer them hope, peace and salvation. However, one day, man shall realize that there is the God of heaven, who is the only true and living God! One day, everyone, be they rich or poor, famous or unknown, city or tribal people of the ends of the earth, shall bow their knees and confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord! Let us call and look to God and believe in Him and be saved from the fiery pits of hell to the pearly portals of heaven!
Isaiah 45:22 “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”
Prayer of the Week
God, I believe that You are God and there is none else!
Key Verse: V6 “Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.”
1. God is your King
V6 “Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel,…”
The King is the most powerful person in a country. In Thailand, whoever disobey the king or speak ill of the King shall be punished by the state. The Thai has utmost respect and reverence to their King.
The prophet Isaiah reminded the nation of Israel, their God was the King of all kings whom they must respect and worship. However, Israel refused to obey God, their King, and instead they worshipped idols, and incurred the wrath of God. Hence, Isaiah pronounced judgment on them.
2. God is your Redeemer
V6 “Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts;..”
During the time of the Old Testament, the happiest moment for a slave was when he was redeemed by someone and freed from the rule of his master. Prophet Isaiah again reminded the people that God was their Redeemer and He freed them from the bondage of the Egyptians. This was the happiest moment of the nation of Israel as they were freed from slavery. However, the nation of Israel soon forgotten their Redeemer, and Isaiah had to warn them again of the impending judgment of God upon them.
3. God is your Everything
V6 “Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.”
Isaiah taught the nation of Israel that God was not just their King, their Redeemer but their everything! God was their first as He gave them life, and God was also their last as He was with them in death.
My friends and beloved, do you know the God of Israel? Believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died for your sins, and you shall have everlasting life. Call upon God and repent of your sins, and He shall show you great and mighty things He can do in your life for His glory and honor.
Jeremiah 33:3 “Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”
Prayer of the Week
God, I believe that You are my King, my Redeemer and my Everything.
Key Verse: V2 “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burnt; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”
1. God is with you through the waters
V2 “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee;…”
God was with Noah, his family and the animals as they drifted in the ark in the waters in Genesis 7. All the rest of the people and the animals outside the ark were drowned and destroyed in the waters. The ark was a symbol of God’s presence and protection over Noah, his family and the animals with them. The prophet Isaiah reminded the nation of Israel that as God was with Noah, his family and the animals through the waters, God shall also be with them during the hard times.
2. God is with you through the rivers
V2 “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee:…”
God was with Joshua and the nation of Israel as they crossed the river Jordan in Joshua 3. The river was at high tide and yet when they stepped onto the river, it went up like a heap, and Joshua and the nation of Israel crossed it dry! The prophet Isaiah again reminded the nation of Israel that their ancestors ever crossed the rivers dry and it did not overflow and drown them. This is another reminder that God is with you during the hard times. Don’t give up, trust God! God is with you!
3. God is with you through the fire
V2 “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”
God was with the three Hebrew men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who refused to worship the golden image that the King of Babylonian had set up in Daniel 3. As a result, the King commanded his men that these three Hebrew men be thrown into the furnace of fire and be burnt to death. While in the fire, the Babylonians saw that there was a fourth man walking beside the three Hebrew men, and all of them came out alive and without any burnt mark! The fourth man was none other than the Lord Jesus Christ!
There was this dream that a man had. During the good times, he saw two set of footprints on the sand, his and God. However, during the hard times, he saw only one set of footprint. The man was puzzled and asked God, “God, where were you during the hard times as I saw only one set of footprint?” And God replied, “The one set of footprint was mine and I was carrying you through the hard times!”
Prayer of the Week
God, please help me to know that I am not alone as you are with me all the time.
Key Verse: V16 “And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.”
“Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.”
The hymn writer of “Amazing Grace,” John Newton, knew what it was like, for him to be forgiven of his sins. He was a wicked slave trader who treated human beings like commodities for his own gains. He could not care how these poor and suffering slaves felt when they were sold like commodities until one day God saved him and he saw himself as a wretch who desperately needed the Lord Jesus to be his personal Savior.
1. The blind shall see
V16 “And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them,…”
The prophet Isaiah preached to the people that the blind could see. He was not talking about physical blindness but spiritual blindness. The people could see their material blessings but they could not see that the giver of these material blessings was God. The people enjoyed their health but they could not see that the giver of health was God. The people enjoyed their family and loved ones, but they could not see that the giver of their family and loved ones was God.
2. The blind shall know
V16 “And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight.”
Have you ever wonder why people keep on sinning against God? The people sin against God because their hearts are crooked and wicked. They have no idea how to be straight until God opens their eyes, and for the first time, they see that they are crooked and they need God to straighten their lives.
3. The blind shall praise
V16 “And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.”
As the spiritually blind regain their sight, they praise God for His power and presence.
Prayer of the Week
God, please help me to see that the crooked can be straightened when God is in it.
Key Verse: V10 “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
Isaiah 41:10 is one of the most precious promises of God assuring His people, the nation of Israel in the Old Testament, that He was with them all the time including bad times. What a privilege and honor to know that God is also with His people, the Christians in the New Testament, all the time including bad times.
1. Fear Not
V10 “Fear thou not; for I am with thee:…..”
Are you fearful of losing your health, loved ones, job, career, etc? The prophet Isaiah and the people at that time were no different from us in this 21st century. They were fearful of the impending attack of their enemies; the Babylonians, the Assyrians, etc. They feared for their lives and the lives of their loved ones, spouses, children, parents, friends, neighbours, etc. Thank God that He was with the nation of Israel, and He is also with His Christians in this 21st century. God shall never forsake us and He shall be with us in life and even in death, as we shall see Him in Heaven one day!
2. Worry Not
V10 “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee;…”
Do you worry about tomorrow and the future? We worry daily as though God cannot provide our needs and take care of our health and family. Hence, God assures us in His Word that He is our God and He shall strengthen and help us. What a privilege and honor to know that God is on our side and how can we worry! When we are weak, God shall strength us. When we are in difficulty, God shall help us. Trust God, He knows best!
3. Sin Not
V10 “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
Is your heart right with God? One of the main things, if not the only thing, is that our hearts must be right with God. God is righteous and we, His people, must also be righteous. We fear and worry because we doubt God’s presence, power, protection and providence.
Food for Thought
Stress free is when we fear not, worry not and sin not.
Key Verse: V31 “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Of all the activities in life, waiting is one of the toughest if not the toughest of all. We will rather choose to do anything or everything than to just wait upon something or somebody. This was the reason why God commanded His prophet, Isaiah, and His people, the nation of Israel, to wait upon Him, in good times and bad times. Waiting was the hardest thing for Isaiah and Israel, yet this was what God commanded them to do!
1. Be Waiting
V31 “But they that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles …”
Have you seen an eagle in full flight? The eagle renews its strength by waiting upon the air current to get them high into the air. In fact, the eagle soars magnificently and majestically in the midst of an impending great storm. This is a great application to our Christian life. As we face life storms, let us wait upon the Lord and trust Him to bring us above our life storms.
2. Be Running
V31 “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary;…”
Have we been running with our own strength? Many including Christians have been running on our own strength. As a result, we get wearied, tired, and alas, we burnt-out! As in the rat-race in society, we run in circles to climb the corporate ladder. The higher we climb, the more pressure and stress we face. The race seems unending and we get tired and wearied. Indeed, there is no end to the rat-race unless we run our life with the strength of God.
3. Be Walking
V31 “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Have we been walking with our own strength? Some of us may not be running, but we are walking and struggling in life. No matter how much we walk and struggle in life, we shall be tired, weary and faint, if we walk in our own strength.
Food for Thought
Waiting is a spiritual exercise only for the godly.
Key Verse: V8 “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."
Hezekiah, King of Judah, had hundred of friends yet he chose Merodach-baladan as one of his closest friend and showed him all his treasured possessions!
Who was Merodach-baladan? Merodach-baladan was the King of Babylon, a heathen nation that denied the true and living God. In fact, Merodach means rebel and baladan means anti-God and Merodach-baladan means rebellion against God. What a name!
1. Be Careful
V1 “At that time Merodach-baladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah: for he had heard that he had been sick, and was recovered.”
V2 “And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shew them the house of his precious things,…”
Hezekiah was so touched by Merodach-baladan’s concern of his health, that he accepted him as his best and trusted friend, though Merodach-baladan was from Babylon, the evil nation who hated God. Hezekiah must have been flattered by Merodach-baladan’s sweet get-well letters and a present which must be an expensive one.
Proverbs 26:28 “A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.”
2. Be Humble
V4 “…And Hezekiah answered, All that is mine house have they seen: there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them.”
How proud can a person be? King Hezekiah showed off all his treasures to Merodach-baladan, who was about to launch his attack upon Hezekiah and his kingdom, Judah. Hezekiah in his pride failed to see that behind the flattering letters and attractive present of Merodach-baladan was a wicked heart waiting to destroy him and his kingdom!
3. Be Selfless
V8 “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.”
How selfish can one gets? King Hezekiah was more concerned of himself than his children, grandchildren and descendents. Instead of repenting his sins of pride and expressing remorse and sadness, he was glad that the judgment of God would not be in his reign!
Key Verse: V2 “Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the Lord,”
Hezekiah almost died in sickness and he prayed to God, and God gave him 15 more years! Some people believe that God has already a plan for our life, whether be it our lifespan, life partner, family, career, etc, and we need not pray but just take everything by faith from God. However, from the example of Hezekiah and many other examples in the Bible, we realize that prayer is an integral part of a Christian life. Indeed, prayer is a real test of how much faith and trust we have in our Almighty God.
1. Life extended
V3 “And said, Remember now, O Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.”
Once Hezekiah received the news from prophet Isaiah that he was to prepare himself to die, Hezekiah did not panic or questioned God, but he immediately prayed. The reason why God answered Hezekiah was that he was a spiritual, mature and humble king. When we face crises and even death, let us not panic or question God, but let us immediately pray to God and search our hearts that we be spiritual, mature and humble, and God shall answer our prayers according to His perfect will.
V5 “Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days 15 years.”
2. Sins forgiven
V17 “Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.”
The best answer to Hezekiah’s prayer was that his sins were forgiven! The best comfort and assurance for all Christians is to know that our sins are forgiven and that we are the children of God and are righteous before God because of Christ.
3. City delivered
V6 “And I will deliver thee and this city out of thy hand of the king of Assyria: and I will defend this city.”
Not only Hezekiah’s life was extended and his sins forgiven, his city was delivered from the most aggressive and mighty Assyrian army at that time.
Food for Thought
Work as though everything depends on you and pray as though everything depends on God.
Key Verse: V15 “And Hezekiah prayed unto the Lord, saying,”
Do you panic and worry when crises come into your life?
V11 “Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands by destroying them utterly; and shalt thou be delivered?”
Assyria was a powerful nation as they had destroyed all the lands that they invaded. Now they were planning to attack Judah and in every one’s mind, Judah shall surely be defeated by this great and powerful nation. Could Judah overcome the great army of Assyria? In terms of numbers, chariots, weapons, etc, there was no way that Judah could withstand the invasion of Assyria. What could the king of Judah, Hezekiah do?
1. Seek God
V15-16 “And Hezekiah prayed unto the Lord, saying, O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth.”
Hezekiah sought God and prayed to the God of heaven and earth. Hezekiah knew that the God who made heaven and earth was in control of everything in his life and his kingdom. Nothing escapes the eyes of God. God knows who are our enemies and the chief of all our enemies is none other than the devil. Hence, Hezekiah, first priority was to pray to God.
2. Seek Godly Men
V21 “Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent unto Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Whereas thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria:”
Besides praying, Hezekiah sought godly man, Isaiah, as to how he could handle the crisis of the Assyrian invasion. You need to seek wise counsel and advice from godly men, who walk close to God, and they will be able to give you some advice as well as pray for you.
3. Submit to God
V36 “Then the angel of the Lord went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians 185,000: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.”
Hezekiah submitted to God in his crisis and God destroyed the Assyrians!
Key Verse: V6 “Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.”
Have you been in the desert? I have just been in the desert in California and it was hot and dry and you wish that are showers of blessings from the sky. As we continued travelling in the desert for a long time, we began to see green shrubs, bushes, trees besides streams of water. Though the prophet Isaiah prophesied this passage in view of the future millennium where Christ shall reign as King of the earth, it is timely for us to know that God is the Stream of Water in our current desert of gloom and doom.
1. When there are Streams there is Hope.
V6 “Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.”
The Lord Jesus is the Hope of the Stream of Water in the desert of the current doom and gloom.
John 4:14 “But whosoever drinketh of the Water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the Water that I shall give him shall be in him a Well of Water springing up into everlasting life.”
2. When there are Streams there is Holiness.
V8 “And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.”
The Lord Jesus is the Holiness of the Stream of Water in the desert of the current evil and wickedness in this world. We see evil and wickedness prevailing everywhere and holiness is now a rare commodity and character of any individual including Christians.
2 Timothy 3:1-2 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,”
3. When there are Streams there is Happiness.
V10 “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.’
The Lord Jesus is the Happiness of the Stream of Water in the desert of sadness and sorrow in this world. No one except Jesus can give you true happiness and everlasting joy.
Food for Thought
Come to the Stream of Water and you shall never thirst again!
Key Verse: V7 “But if thou say to me, We trust in the Lord our God: is it not he, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and said to Judah and to Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar?”
Hezekiah was a godly King. In spite of the great kingdom of Assyria threatening to invade and destroy Judah, Hezekiah stood firm and trusted the Lord, his God.
1. The world shall fail
V6 “Lo, Thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him.”
Egypt is the world system of finance, trade, commerce and military might. Many in this world trust the world for their careers, jobs and even future, however the world system shall fail them. No matter, how solid Wall Street and the financial system of the world are, they shall collapse one day. No matter, how solid the trade and commerce of the world are, they shall collapse one day. No matter, how solid the military powers of the world are, they shall collapse one day.
2. Man shall fail
V10 “And am I now come up without the Lord against this land to destroy it? The Lord said unto me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.”
The man, Rabshakeh, lied when he said, The Lord said unto me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.” No one teaches a child how to lie, but it is in our human nature to lie, because we are born with a deceitful and wicked heart.
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
3. God never fails
V21 “But they held their peace, and answered him not a word: for the king’s commandment was, saying, Answer him not."
Hezekiah, the godly king, knew that Rabshakeh would provoke his representatives, and hence his advice to them was to be silent and not argue with the enemies. Indeed, silence is golden and let us remember to trust God and be still and silent when we are provoked by our enemies.
Key Verse: V2 “For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and His fury upon all their armies: He hath utterly destroyed them, He hath delivered them to the slaughter.”
1. God’s patience has limit.
V2 “For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations,….”
It was not just one nation but all nations were evil and wicked and God’s indignation shall be upon them. As we heard of the merciless terrorist attack on Mumbai, the heart of India, killing at least a hundred people; the mass demonstration and riots in Bangkok, Thailand, and the many unrest taking place in the world, we can’t help but wonder where is God? However, the prophet Isaiah prophesied that one day God shall judge the wickedness and evil committed by all the nations. Though God is a patient God, His patience has limit and one day, His indignation shall be upon all the nations in the Battle of Armageddon, the final World War!
Revelation 16:14-16 “….to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty……And He gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.”
2. God’s mercy has limit.
V2 “For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and His fury upon all their armies: …”
Even though God is a merciful God but the evil and wickedness that the people committed were so repulsive and severe that God’s fury or great anger was upon all the armies of the world. Immorality, divorce, violence, crimes, alcoholism, drug taking, etc., are increasing at an alarming rate and these sins have become part and parcel of the lives of many people in the world.
3. God’s love has limit.
V2 “For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and His fury upon all their armies: He hath utterly destroyed them, He hath delivered them to the slaughter.”
Even though God is love, yet God’s love has limit when the people refuse to believe in Him and do what is right before God. As a result, God shall judge the nations of the world. It is terrible to be judged of God. Unless, we believe and trust in God and do what is right before Him, we shall be completely destroyed and cast into hell on Judgment Day.
Revelation 20:11-15 “And I saw a great white throne,….And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Food For Thought
No one except Jesus can save you during Judgment Day.
Key Verse: V15 “He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;”
1. Speak in righteousness
V15 “He that walketh righteously and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes,…”
Are our words blessings or stumbling blocks to others?
Proverbs 15:4 “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.”
Our tongues can be used of God to win a soul for Him and at the same time, they can also be used of the devil to destroy a soul.
2. Hear in righteousness
V15 “He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, …”
Gossips, slanders, rumors and badmouthing will stop when there are no hearers. Some media even resort to gossips and rumors to make the media more attractive and appealing to their target audiences. In recent time, a Korean actress committed suicide when she was so depressed after hearing gossips about her in the media.
John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me:”
Let us hear God’s voice by reading and meditating God’s Word and by the teaching and preaching of the Word of God in the church of God.
3. See in righteousness
V15 “He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;”
Are our eyes seeing the things that we should see?
Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”
When our hearts are pure, we shall see what God sees!
Key Verse: V1 “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.”
Are you feeling sad and confused in this world of wickedness and unrighteousness?
Are you feeling insecure and aimless in this ever changing world?
Are you feeling tired and weary in this stressful society?
1. God is your Righteous King
V1 “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.”
The ungodly prospers and the righteous suffers and things are getting from bad to worse. Yet in spite of the doom and gloom, God is still in control as He is the righteous King and He is searching for man to follow Him and His righteousness.
Psalms 73:12 “Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.”
Psalms 73:17 “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.”
2. God is your Hiding Place
V2 “And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest;…”
God is our hiding place and shelter in time of strong winds and great storms if we are to believe in Him. God never fails to protect and guide us in our greatest need and trouble.
Psalms 32:7 “Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.”
3. God is your Great Rock
V2 “And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.”
What a promise and an assurance from God that He is our rivers of water and a great rock in a time of thirst, weariness and tiredness! In this world where the only constant is change, God is our great rock that never changes. Let us take comfort to know that things may change, circumstances may change, people may change, our loved ones may change, but God never changes!
Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”
Key Verse: V1 “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord!”
Many are seeking success in the wisdom and wealth of this world. We seek to do well in our studies and careers so that we can be recognized for the wisdom and wealth that we have acquired in the world. It was no different for the nation of Israel in the days of the prophet Isaiah.
1. Wisdom shall fail
V1 “Woe to them that go down Egypt for help;…”
Egypt represents the wisdom of the world. Man has been seeking help, counsel and advice from the wisdom of men in their pursuit of knowledge and power. Now there is nothing wrong with the pursuit of academic excellence and the wisdom of men, but the wisdom of the world can never give you the perfect solution to life’s great challenges.
2. Wealth shall fail
V1 “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong;..”
Horses, chariots and horsemen represent the wealth of the world. Man has been seeking the wealth of the world as many believe that the ultimate purpose of life is to be rich and famous. We work day and night to accumulate wealth and this worldly lifestyle has become our way of life. Now there is nothing wrong with the pursuit of wealth but the wealth of the world can never give us true satisfaction, happiness and joy.
3. Word never fails
V1 “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord!”
God pronounced woe or trouble to the nation of Israel as they failed to look to Him for help. Instead of seeking God, many have sought wisdom and wealth, thinking that both can help them solve their crises in life. Sadly, many end their lives when wisdom and wealth were taken from them because their lives were solely centered on them.
Christians, let us remember that the wisdom and wealth of the world shall fail us and only God and His Word shall never fail us!
Psalms 20:7 “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.”
Food For Thought
Seek God first and you shall smile the last mile of your way!
Key Verse: V13 “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men:”
V13 “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour Me, but have removed their heart far from Me,…”
Do our words truly come from our hearts?
Talking is cheap, it costs nothing but to mean what we say costs us a lifetime of humbling and learning. The days of prophet Isaiah were no different from today. The people were religiously going to the temple of God, offering their sacrifices, worshipping and praising God with their mouths and lips, yet their hearts were far from God. Their words were not from their hearts but they were just going through the motion or routine of praising God!
V13 “….and their fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men:”
Do our worship truly comes from our hearts?
The people of Israel were worshipping God to demonstrate to others how pious, holy and religious they were. Even though their hearts were far away from God yet they pretended to worship God weeks after weeks, months after months, years after years! There was no fear of God in them but they were worshipping God for their own reputation and ego. This is why God chastises Israel and gives them no peace and joy in their hearts until they repent of their hypocrisy.
John 4:23 “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.”
V14 “Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.”
Do our wisdom truly comes from our hearts?
The hearts of the nation of Israel were far from God and whatever they plan or do were from their worldly wisdom and not of God’s wisdom. It is very easy to conform with the worldly wisdom and live like the world. It is very easy to say like the world, “let’s divorce and part our ways as we are no longer in love.”
One of the hardest tests of a Christian is to live for God, obey His Word and be different from the world. Yet when we truly obey God, He shall do a marvelous work in our lives.
Food For Thought
The Heart of the matter is the matter of the Heart.
Key Verse: V15 “For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.”
Are you tired, weary and worn? Have you been working hard and getting little results and appreciation? Isaiah, the prophet of God, warned the people that they worked hard but for all the wrong reasons. They had looked to Egypt for wisdom and strength instead of looking to God. The Egypt in today’s context is the wisdom of the world. Have you been listening to what the wisdom of the world, the wise sayings of great men, instead of listening to the wisdom of God’s Word?
1. Submit to God
V15 “For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest shall ye be saved;….”
God warned His people that if they desire strength from God, they must submit to Him.
The word returning means repenting. God is the Holy One of Israel and He demands holiness in His people. Nothing we do will amount much if we do not repent of our sins and submit to God.
2. Silence before God
V15 “For this saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness….”
God warned His people that if they desire strength from God, they must be silent before Him. In this busy and noisy world, it is time that God’s people take the necessary rest and be quiet before God so that we can hear His still small voice of the Word of God.
1 Kings 19:12 “And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”
3. Surrender to God
V15 “For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.”
God warned His people that if they desire strength from God, they must surrender to His will. Once we surrender to God’s will, our self confidence shall be replaced by our confidence in God. It is when we empty ourselves then are we strong in God.
2 Corinthians 12:10 “Therefore I take pleasure infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
Key Verse: V13 “For the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.”
There is no short cut in our Christian growth just as there is no short cut in our physical growth. In this day and age where everything is instant; instant coffee, instant noodles, instant gratification, etc., many desire to have instant Christian growth. As a result, many fail in the eyes of God as we disobey God and use the devil’s motto of, “The end justifies the means.”
1. Obey Every Law
V13 “But the Word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; …”
We cannot choose the laws of God we desire to obey and those we refuse to obey. Many no longer obey the Word of God and have allowed immorality, homosexuality, corruption, deceit, etc., to creep into their lives. They have put away “Thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not commit adultery, etc.” and choose to live as they like. God warned His people of this attitude of lawlessness, as He gave the illustration of wine, as the people drank it slowly but surely, and they became addicted and intoxicated and fell into sins.
2. Obey Every Line
V13 “But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; ...”
Besides obeying the precept, we must also believe every line of the Word of God. Every line including God’s promises is true. It is a great blessing to know that God is not just a commander of do’s and don’ts but He is also our best Friend who gives us His best.
3. Obey God
V13 “But the Word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.”
Let us obey God otherwise we shall receive the judgment of God. Do not think that God is slow in His judgment as the day will come when God shall judge His churches through the fire and only those who obey Him shall come forth as gold!
1 Corinthians 3:13 “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.”
Food For Thought
God is interested in both the end and the means and the end does not justify the means.
Key Verse: V3 “I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.”
1. God Keeps You
V2 “In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine.”
V3 “I the Lord do keep it;…..I will keep it night and day.”
Although the prophet Isaiah prophesied the future Millennium where the vineyard which is the nation of Israel shall have red wine or perfect peace, it is also applicable for Christians today to claim upon these promises if we fully trust in God and live for Him today.
In this troubled time, where everything seems to be in a mess, God’s promise to His children that He shall keep us safe and sound night and day are truly a comfort and assurance to our souls and hearts.
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
2. God Waters You
V3 “I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment:…”
When a gardener waters his plants, he is growing and giving them life. When God waters His people, He is growing and giving us life. The water that God gives us every moment is none other than the Word of God.
Ephesians 5:25-26 “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word.”
God loves us and He gives us His Word, the Bible, to read, study, meditate and apply it every moment of our lives so that we may be sanctified and cleansed from all our sins.
3. God Bless You
V3 “I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.”
God is good and He shall never allow anyone not even the devil to harm or hurt us.
How can we ever repay God’s love and goodness when He has done so much for us and bless us with His abundant blessings!
Food For Thought
God’s promises are as sure as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West.
Key Verse: V4 “Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:”
Although the prophet Isaiah wrote this wonderful passage that we can have perfect peace and everlasting strength during the time of Millennium, we can actually experience these promises right now if we fully trust in God and live for Him today.
1. Trust God any time
V3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.”
V9 “With my soul have I desired Thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.”
In this troubled time, we can never trust money and investment, as both will fail us. In this wicked time, we can never trust man, not even our best friends or loved ones as they may fail us. But thanks be to God we can trust Him any time as He shall never fail us. God shall give us perfect peace in the early hours and in the late nights and all the time because He is our everlasting strength and peace.
2. Trust God anywhere
V15 “Thou hast increased the nation, O Lord, thou hast increased the nation: thou art glorified: thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earth.”
Where ever we are, even as far as to the ends of the earth, God is with us as He is omnipresent, everywhere! Trust God anywhere, in the darkest place, in the most remote area, in the most feared nation as He shall never forsake us.
3. Trust God forever
V4 “Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:”
God is with us forever whether in life or in death. We can fully trust God even in death because the Lord JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.
V19 “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.”
Let us sing praises to God and trust Him as we shall live forever!
Key Verse: V8 “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.”
This passage describes the Millennium, the 1,000 years, the period after the Great Tribulation, where there shall be peace on earth as the Devil is bound for 1,000 years.
Revelation 20:2 “And he (the angel) laid hold in the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him 1,000 years,”
1. Death No More
V8 “He (the Lord) will swallow up death in victory; …”
Do you fear death? Fear no more as Christians sleep when we die. We shall wake up and we shall see God.
2. Tears No More
V8 “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces;…”
Have you been crying? It is sad when we lose our loved ones and we cry each time we think of our loved ones who passed away. We cry when things do not go our way and when we lose our health, wealth, friends and loved ones. Cry no more as there shall be no tears in the Millennium! Our wonderful and loving Saviour Jesus Christ shall wipe away our tears.
3. Shame No More
V8 “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.”
Have you been ashamed before? Have people accused you until you feel so ashamed and helpless? Shame no more as God shall take away the rebuke or shame from you. Thank God that He is the only righteous Judge and He shall vindicate you from being wrongly accused. Even when you are wrong, God shall forgive as you repent and forsake your sins.
Food For Thought
God never fails to remove Death, Tears and Shame from you if you Trust Him.
Key Verse: V18 “And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake.’
Though this passage is describing the Great Tribulation, the period after all the Christians are called up into heaven by the Lord Jesus Christ, it is happening at the present time in a smaller scale.
V18 “And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear ...”
The noise of fear is everywhere today. Hear the cries of more than 50,000 Chinese babies and children as they are struggling in the hospitals or clinics after consuming tainted milk which is poisonous. Hear the cries of Wall Street and the financial centers of the world after the collapse of the once powerful financial institutions. Hear the cries of people everywhere as we fear for the worst is coming where our stocks and shares, property prices, and even our jobs are at stake as recession is looming ahead.
V18 “And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; …”
The pit is death. The recent terrorist attack at Islamabad, Pakistan, where a truck loaded with explosives crashed into the Marriot hotel killing many people. Death is everywhere as we see people fighting one another and the world is heading towards a very dangerous time.
V18 “And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake.”
The snare is deception. The world is full of deceit as corruption and cheating are on the rise. There is no way people will stop deceiving one another unless greed and evil are removed. Yet in spite of the 3 dangers there is hope for the people in this world. We need Jesus Christ to be our Way in place of Fear, Life in place of Pit and Truth in place of Snare.
John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Food For Thought
You should tell others of the Way, the Truth and the Life if you know Jesus.
Key Verse: V9 “The Lord of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honourable of the earth.”
Tyre was a great commercial, entertainment and political city of the ancient world. The people in Tyre were busy making money and enjoying life and they had forgotten that all that they had was from God. Hence, the Lord humbled Tyre by allowing the Chaldeans to defeat them and put them under captivity for 70 years. (V15 “…Tyre shall be forgotten 70 years, …”)
V1 “The burden of Tyre. Howl, ye ships of Tarshish; for it is laid waste, so that there is no house, no entering in: from the land of Chittim it is revealed to them.”
Three sins that God hates most are greed, pleasures and pride. The people of Tyre might be mighty and strong but their greed had taken over their love for God. Does this not remind us of the recent collapse of the titans of Wall Streets, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch and other great financial institutions? The root problem of this financial fiasco was due to the greed of mankind as people bought what they could not afford and went on credit that ultimately caused this financial disaster.
V7 “Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity (origin) is of ancient days? Her own feet shall carry her afar off to sojourn.”
Tyre was known as the city of pleasures involving sexual immorality and drunkenness. It was a sinful city and God had to judge them in their sins. Does this not remind us of the many cities which are aiming to be the great entertainment centers of the world?
V9 “The Lord of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, …”
If there is one sin that God hates most, it must be prIde, with “I” in the center of the word, “prIde.” Success has gone into the heads and hearts of many people and they have become proud and have forsaken God who created them. Does this not remind us of the origin of the devil or Lucifer, the most beautiful archangel ever created by God, who fell into sin because of pride when he wanted to be like God! Ezekiel described Lucifer as the prince of Tyrus or Tyre.
Ezekiel 28:2 “Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord God; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, …”
Key Verse: V1 “The burden of the valley of vision, What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops?”
The “valley of vision” is a paradox as we should be standing on the mountain and not the valley to get our vision. The reason why it was a valley of vision was because the spirituality of the people of God or the nation of Israel in the city of Jerusalem was at the lowest point. Yet God encouraged them to look up from the valley and see the vision that God had for them.
1. Look to the Maker
V11 “Ye made also a ditch between the two walls for the water of the old pool: but ye have not looked unto the Maker thereof, neither had respect unto Him that fashioned it long ago.”
The nation of Israel prepared fortress, walls and ditches for their protection against enemies’ impending attacks but they failed to look to their Maker and Creator. We can prepare our studies, plan our career, serve God in many areas but if we fail to look to the Maker for His direction and instructions, we shall fail in everything we do.
2. Look to God of hosts
V12 “And in that day did the Lord God of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth:”
The God of hosts desired His people not to just weep and mourn but to truly repent of their sins. It is one thing to be sorry and sorrowful of our sins but it is another thing to repent and turn away from our sins. The nation of Israel had continued in sins and the God of hosts had warned them many times of the consequences of their sins. There is a limit to God’s longsuffering and patience and let us not test God’s limit!
3. Look to the Lord
V24 “In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off: for the Lord hath spoken it.”
When we look to the world and man, we are like hanging our life and everything we have on the nail that one day shall be removed and taken out. We shall be disappointed as we shall be condemned to hell for our sins. The only sure way in life is to hang our life and everything we have on the nail of our Maker, our God of hosts, our Lord, who shall never be removed and we shall never be disappointed!
Food For Thought
Who you look will determine where you go. Look to God and you shall know the way to heaven.
Key Verse: V6 “For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.”
What is a watchman? A watchman is a guard who usually stands at a high tower to alert the people of impending dangers.
What about the watchman of God? The watchman of God has the utmost responsibilities of warning the people of the impending danger of the fiery pits of hell and telling them of the Gospel of Christ that whosoever believe in Christ shall not perish into hell but shall have abundant life with Christ forever and ever.
V4 “My heart panted, fearfulness affrighted me: the night of my pleasure hath he turned into fear unto me.”
Prophet Isaiah was heavy hearted as he saw the terrible wickedness and evil of the people in the land. He feared that the judgment of God was coming soon as there was no sign of the people turning away from their sins and to the true and living God. The watchman of God must have compassion for souls. He loves people and will tell them of the Gospel of Christ.
V6 “For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.”
The prophet must say what he saw. He must be true to God and the people and be courageous to warn the people of the impending dangers. The watchman of God must also be courageous even when he faces fierce opposition of the people after telling them the Gospel. He must trust God for everything.
V8 “And he cried, A lion: My lord, I stand continually upon the watchtower in the daytime, and I am set in my ward whole nights:”
The watchman must be 24 hours and 7 days watching for impending dangers. There may be shift duties for the several watchmen but still the watchman on duty must be committed to his duty and not fall asleep in the night. The watchman of God must also be committed. No matter how tired or weary, he must be committed and ready to tell others of the Gospel of Christ.
Food For Thought
The watchman of God is compassionate, courageous and committed to watching for souls.
Key Verse: V3 “And the Lord said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia;”
The prophet Isaiah was commanded by the Lord to walk without wearing his upper garments and barefooted as a sign to demonstrate to the people that judgment was near and the people must repent of their sins.
V3 “And the Lord said, Like as my servant Isaiah ...”
Are you a servant of the Lord? Isaiah was called the servant of God because he was obedient to God, his master. There was no question asked when God commanded Isaiah to walk without his upper garments and barefooted. Isaiah practiced what he preached as God commanded him. He obeyed God in spite of the opposition he faced as he preached to the people to repent of their sins.
Galatians 1:10 “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”
V3 “… Isaiah hath walked naked and barefooted three years ...”
It was not easy for Isaiah to walk half naked and barefooted for 3 years. With the weather conditions and the tough terrain in mostly desert areas, it must be hard on his body and feet. Isaiah could have injured his feet and could have caught a chill but nevertheless, he obeyed God and walk semi naked and barefooted. Sufferings are necessary for Christians as they strengthen us for the ministry of God. Without sufferings, there is no glory.
Romans 8:17 “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.”
V4 “So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.”
Isaiah pronounced judgment upon the Egyptians and the Ethiopians who had persecuted the people of God and had refused to believe in God of Israel. When Christians refuse to trust and obey God, we shall end in sufferings and shame, just like the Egyptians and the Ethiopians.
Key Verse: V1 “The burden of Egypt. Behold, the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at His presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.”
Egypt has a longer history than any nation in the world. In fact, it was in Egypt that the nation of Israel, God’s chosen nation, was born. Yet Egypt had never treated the nation of Israel with respect and love. As a result, God judged Egypt.
1. God Pronounced Egypt against Egypt
V2 “And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbor; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.”
Do you know that the only three times that China was attacked and defeated by her enemies were when their own people opened the gates of the famous Great Wall of China that was built to protect them from their enemies? It was not the strength and power of their enemies that destroyed the Great Wall but it was the traitors who opened the gates of the Great Wall that destroyed China!
It was the same with the fall great nation of Egypt who forced the nation of Israel into slavery. It was not Israel that destroyed Egypt but it was their own civil war that destroyed them. My friends, are we loving one another in our home, church, school or workplace? When we fight against one another, we are actually fighting against God!
2. God Pronounced Devastation and Destruction
V5-6 “And the waters shall fail from the sea, and the river shall be wasted and dried up. And they shall turn the rivers far away; and the brooks of defence shall be emptied and dried up: the reeds and flags shall wither.”
When Egypt treated God’s people with disrespect, God dried up their rivers and destroyed everything that they had. God protects His people and He never forsakes them.
3. God Pronounced Fear and Fright
V16 “In that day shall Egypt be like unto women: and it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the Lord of hosts, which he shaketh over it.”
In those days, the women were fearful of the enemies because unlike the men they were not trained to fight the enemies. Each time when they heard the enemies were attacking them, they feared. Egypt was like the women, fearful and frightened because she was helpless before the Almighty God. When we live in sins we are always in fear and fright because we know that God’s judgment shall be upon us.
Let us not fight against God but submit to Him in everything.
Key Verse: V4 “For so the Lord said unto me, I will take my rest, and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest."
Have you ever wonder where is God when tragedy happens? Let us remind ourselves that God knows everything including the bad things and let us give glory in everything.
1. God Pronounced Judgment
V1 “Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia:”
V2 “That sendeth ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of bulrushes upon the waters, saying, Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled, to a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden down, whose land the rivers have spoiled!”
God pronounced judgment upon Ethiopia who persecuted Israel, the nation scattered and peeled, or the nation of God. God is watching the church. God is watching the church when she is suffering from persecution. God is watching the church when false doctrines enter into the church. God is watching the church when there is division and strife. Many times, God allows crises and tragedies to happen to His people and his church for His purpose of purification, sanctification or reasons best known to Him. Whatever happens, let us as a church continue to trust God for He knows best for one day He shall judge us!
2. God Pronounced Rest
V4 “For so the Lord said unto me, I will take my rest, and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”
Let us remember to take our rest and consider and reflect on God’s blessings on our lives! Many times, in the hustle and bustle of our busy life, we fail to appreciate God’s goodness and grace for all that He has done in our lives. Let us take moments of rest in the mornings, afternoons and evenings and reflect upon the goodness of God. When we rest, we are not just resting our physical bodies, but we are also renewing our minds and spirits and recharging and strengthening our faith in God.
3. God Pronounced Glory
V7 “In that time shall the present be brought unto the Lord of hosts of a people scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible from the their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden under foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the mount of Zion.”
At the end of God’s judgment and rest, is that God’s name be glorified. Whatever that God has for His people and the church is that they will ultimately give glory to His name.
Key Verse: V7 “At that day shall a man look to his maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel.”
1. Don’t Look at Success
V8 “And he shall not look to the altars, the work of his hands, neither shall respect that which his fingers have made, either the groves, or the images.”
The people of Damascus and Ephraim had looked at their own idols and successes in all their battles and thought that they were invincible until they were almost wiped out by the Assyrians. When Christians look at our success as a result of our own wisdom and hard work and have forgotten that God is behind our success, it is the time when God shall judge us.
2. Don’t Look at Wealth
V10 “Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength, therefore shalt thou plant pleasant plants, and shalt set it with strange slips:”
V11 “In the day shalt thou make thy plant to grow, and in the morning shalt thou make thy seed to flourish: but the harvest shall be a heap in the day of grief and of desperate sorrow.”
The people of Damascus and Ephraim had looked at their great harvest because of their great effort and had forgotten that God was behind their harvest and wealth until God destroy their harvest! When Christians look at our wealth and possessions and thought that it was because of our business acumen and well-planned strategies and fail to realize that God was behind all our wealth and possessions, it is the time when God shall judge us.
3. Don’t Look at Power
V12 “Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters!”
The people of Damascus and Ephraim had looked at their power and might and considered themselves as the mightiest until they met an even stronger opponent, the nation of Assyria which defeated them. When Christians look at our power and might and think nothing of God, it is the time when God shall judge us.
V7 “At that day shall a man look to his maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel.”
Let us look to God, our maker and creator, and know that without God, we are nothing!
Key Verse: V1 “Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land from Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion.”
Moab refused to send a lamb for the atonement of their sins. The sacrifice of the lamb symbolized the coming Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall take away the sin of the world by His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead.
John 1:29 “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
1. God’s Protection
V2 “For it shall be, that, as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, so the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon.”
When Moab rejected the sacrifice of the lamb, he was like the bird that was cast out from the protection of his mother’s love and care. When we refuse to believe and accept the Lamb, the Lord Jesus, we are out of God’s love and care, and waiting for His judgment on our sins.
2. God’s Punishment
V6-7 “We have heard of the pride of Moab; he is proud: even of his haughtiness, and his pride, and his wrath: but his lies shall not be so. Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab, every one shall howl: for the foundations of Kir-hareseth shall ye mourn; surely they are stricken.”
God’s punishment was upon proud Moab who stubbornly refused to acknowledge the sacrifice of the lamb or the coming of the Messiah, the Savior of the world. As a result, they lost the joy and blessings of God and mourned under His judgment and punishment.
3. God’s Patience
V14 “But now the Lord hath spoken, saying, Within three years, as the years of an hireling, and the glory of Moab shall be contemned, with all that great multitude; and the remnant shall be very small and feeble.”
God did not immediately punish the nation of Moab but waited patiently for 3 years for them to repent of their sins and offer the sacrifice of the lamb at the altar of God. However, they stubbornly and proudly refused to repent and believe the Lamb of God.
2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Key verse: V24 “The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:”
As we celebrate our church 38th Anniversary, let us thank God for all that He has done for us! Indeed, we have come thus far because of God’s everlasting love!
1. God loves His people
V1 “For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob.”
God loves Jacob or Israel so much that even strangers or the Gentiles chose to join them so that they could also receive His blessings. When God established our church, we become a light in the dark world and soon many came to know God as we spread His love far and wide. Thank God that even when we fail Him, He continues to love us and bless us for His honor and glory.
2. God defeats the devil
V12 “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!”
Lucifer was an archangel of God but because of his sin of pride, he wanted to be God! God cast him out of heaven and since then he has been destroying the work of God on earth. However, his time is limited, as he shall be soon cast into hell forever and ever. Let us continue to fight the devil in God’s wisdom and strength and remember that God has already won the battle when Christ rose from the dead and defeat death and the devil.
Revelation 20:10 “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
3. God controls everything
V24 “... I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:”
God is in control of everything, our failures as well as our successes. Let us submit to God and obey Him because He already has a perfect plan for our life. Even when we choose to disobey God and lead our own life, He patiently waits for us to return to Him. My late dad used to say, “Son, don’t forget where you come from, be thankful and grateful to your parents!” Indeed, his words are engraved in my heart and I am thankful and grateful to God for all that He has done in my life, especially for saving my parents’ souls.
Food For Thought
Don’t ever forget that God is behind all our success.
Key Verse: V1 “The burden of Moab. Because in the night Ar of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence; because in the night Kir of Maob is laid waste, and brought to silence.”
Who is Maob? Moab was the descendant of Lot who had sinned against God by committing incest with his older daughter.
Genesis 19:36-37 “Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father. And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day.”
1. You cannot hide your sins from God
Numbers 32:22-23 “And the land be subdued before the Lord: then afterward ye shall return, and be guiltless before the Lord, and before Israel; and this land shall be your possession before the Lord. But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out.”
Lot sinned against God because he failed to stop his daughters from making him drunk and thus committing incest. As a result, Lot and his daughters were guilty before God. They tried to run away from God but deep in their hearts they knew they could not hide from their Almighty God.
2. You cannot run from the consequences of your sins
Isaiah 15:1 “… Moab is laid waste, … Moab is laid waste …”
Although God forgives our sins if we confess and forsake them, we must bear the consequences of sins. No doubt God is love and once we sin against Him, God forgives and forgets our sins. However, we fail to realize that not only we but our children may reap the consequences of our sins such as if we commit sexual immorality and diseases such as AIDS be passed onto our children. The generation of Moab was such an example of God’s chastisement of the people of God. The burdens of their sins weighed heavily upon them as they refuse to repent their sins and reconcile with God.
3. You cannot generalize that all sufferings are the consequences of your sins.
John 9:1-3 “And as Jesus passed by, He saw a man which was blind from his birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”
Not all sins that our children suffer are the results of our past sins. In this incidence, it is through the healing of the blind man that God’s glory spread abroad to all the people.
Food For Thought
You can run from God but you cannot hide from Him.
Key verse: V12 “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.”
How long will the wicked prosper? Have you wonder why God has yet to punish the wicked and they seem to be getting away from their wickedness? My friends, be patient as God’s judgment is very soon.
1. I will punish
V11 “And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.”
After the rapture where Christians are caught up with Christ in heaven, it shall be the start of the Great Tribulation. What is this Great Tribulation? It is the period when God shall judge and punish the wicked while the Christians are already in heaven with Christ. This is the reason why the church and the Christians today are commanded to preach the Gospel of Christ before the rapture begins!
2. I will make
V12 “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.”
When we believe in Christ and receive Him as our personal Savior, we are more precious than fine gold and the precious gold of Ophir because we are God’s children.
3. I will stir
V17 “Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it.”
Medes are the mighty people who defeated the great Babylonians. Throughout history, no nation is declared the greatest as God shall raise another nation to defeat it! There was a time when Great Britain was thought to be the greatest, but today, it is no longer the greatest country in the world. No country or people can be the greatest except God’s people. Let us remember that we are the precious ones as we shall inherit heaven and be with God for all eternity!
Food For Thought
Since we are the precious ones, are we sharing the Gospel of Christ with others before it is too late?
Key verse: V2a “Behold, God is my salvation: I will trust, and not be afraid: ...”
Have you ever wonder what you will be doing in the Millennium and in Heaven? Is it an exciting place or it is a boring place? This short but revealing passage speaks of the Millennium and Heaven, the home of God.
1. Heaven is Praise
V1 “And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise thee: ...”
V4 “... Praise the Lord, call upon His name, declare His doings among the people, …”
When we are in heaven, we will realize that heaven is entirely different from our perception while we are living on earth. When we realize that we are on the portals of heaven, saved from the fiery pits of hell, nothing can express our thankfulness and gratitude except we praise God forever and ever.
2. Heaven is Music
V2 “…for the Lord JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; ...”
V5 “Sing unto the Lord; for He hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.”
Music is one of the powerful tools to influence man’s emotion. Music is a universal language that transcends all languages, cultures, nations, tribes, etc. God has created music for man’s enjoyment and leisure. Indeed, heaven is a place of music where the perfect music shall be the background of our stay in heaven.
3. Heaven is Joy
V3 “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”
There shall be no sorrow, pain, suffering, death but it shall be joy throughout heaven! Everyone shall be joyful praising, singing and exalting with God.
4. Heaven is God
V6 “Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.”
The most wonderful description of heaven is God is there! We can have praises and music and everything that man desires but without God in heaven, it is the most miserable place! It is like a relationship when a man loves a woman, it is not the place, the setting, the food, the music, the ambience, etc. but the fact that he wants to be with the woman he loves dearly!
Key Verse: Isaiah 11:7 “And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.”
Are you discouraged by wars, conflicts, crimes, violence, corruption, wickedness and evil deeds of the world? My friends, one day, there shall be a period called the Millennium, when Jesus Christ shall reign on earth and 3 main events shall unfold before our eyes:
1. God’s Judgment on Sins
V4 “But with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breadth of His lips shall He slay the wicked.”
Today, God is longsuffering and He has yet to judge man’s wickedness and evil. But not for long, as one day, during the millennium, Jesus Christ shall reign on the new earth. Christ shall destroy the wicked and the proud, including Satan, who shall be bound for a thousand year.
Revelation 20:2 “And He laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,”
2. God’s Animals in Harmony
V6 “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.”
How can the lion eat the straw like the ox? God who creates the lions can surely make them eat straws!
During the millennium, there shall be no bloodshed as the wolf shall not devour the lamb, neither the leopard eats the young goat or the bear attacks the cow. The animal kingdom and mankind shall live in harmony with one another.
3. God’s People in Unity
V12 “And He shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcast of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”
What is this ensign? The ensign is none other than Jesus Christ. During the Millennium, Jesus Christ shall gather all His people from all parts of the world, including the people of Israel who believes in Christ, into new Jerusalem to worship Him. This new Jerusalem shall be different from the present Jerusalem as it shall be a holy city.
Revelation 21:2 “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
Key Verse: Isaiah 10:15 “Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? Or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? ...”
What is criticism?
Criticism is defined as unfavorable judgment or expression of disapproval. Someone says, “The goal of criticism is to help someone to be the best they can if they are humble enough to receive them. Many have failed to receive criticisms that count from their spouses, bosses, pastors, leaders, parents, friends, etc., and have caused them their jobs, careers, family, relationships, ministry and even their lives!
1. The Source of Criticisms
Who criticized you? Is the person who criticizes you loves you and have the best interest for you? When you receive criticisms from God through His Bible, preaching, godly Christian parents or friends, count them with joy as you know that God desires you to be a mature Christian. The people in Isaiah time were so proud that they refused to receive criticisms from God and His prophets, and repent of their evil ways, and instead thought that they had made it on their own!
2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
2. The Approach to Criticisms
There are 2 extremes in approaching criticism. One is to take them seriously and get discouraged and depressed over what others disapproved of your behavior and actions. The other is to take them lightly and ignore them completely. Both are wrong as the best way is to ascertain whether the criticism is factual, objective and useful and will help you in your career, marriage, family, relationship or ministry.
Proverbs 27:5 “Open rebuke is better than secret love.”
3. The Attitude to Criticisms
Listen to criticisms with an open and loving heart and thank the critics. Do not be defensive, and even worst be offensive, and get angry and lose your cool. Humble yourself and know that God has allowed criticisms to test our faith and trust in Him. God shall judge your critics who are bent to destroy and slander you!
James 1:19-20, 4:10-11 “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up. Speak not evil one of another, brethren ...”
Food for Thought
The worst critic is your best teacher and it will either bring out the best or worst in you.
Key Verse: Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
What an impressive and beautiful description of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Many people have yet to experience the wonders of Christ but once they have experienced it, they shall remember Him forever. Count the many wonderful works that God has done in your life: your salvation, health, family, career, ministry, friends, etc.
Psalms 107:8 “Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!”
We may have many counselors in our lives but Jesus Christ should be our final and most reliable counselor in every decision that we make. No small decision is ever too small for Christ as even the biggest decision in our lives He can help us to decide.
1 Corinthians 1:30 “But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:”
3. The mighty God
Christ is the mighty or powerful God in both heaven and earth and there is no other might or power beside Him.
Matthew 28:18 “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”
4. The everlasting Father
Thank God that Jesus Christ is our everlasting Father who is with us throughout the ages to come. Unlike our earthly father who is with us for a season, Jesus Christ is our everlasting Father who will help us in everything for all eternity.
Romans 8:15 “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
5. The Prince of Peace
In this world of war, conflicts and chaos, He is the Prince of Peace within our hearts and one day, He shall rule in His kingdom and we shall reign with Him in perfect peace.
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Food for Thought
How can you be fearful of the future when you have such a great God!
Key Verse: Isaiah 8:3 “And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the Lord to me, Call his name Mahershalalhashbaz.”
God gave Isaiah a son to be named as Mahershalalhashbaz which means “hasten booty, speedy prey” or “God is against those who are against His people.” Indeed, Isaiah was greatly encouraged to see that Ahaz, King of Judah, did not have to fight against Syria and Israel as both were defeated by Assyria. It was not through the brilliant strategies of Ahaz but it was God who sent the Assyrians to defeat his enemies.
1. God shall fight for you
Isaiah 8:4 “For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.”
Both the riches and treasures of Damascus and Samaria, the capital cities of Syria and Israel respectively, were taken away by the Assyrians. It was a sad day for them as they realized that God was with Judah and He had allowed the Assyrians to defeat them.
Romans 8:31 “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
What a promise that God is for you! Imagine in any difficult situation or problem, you have God as your teammate!
2. You cannot fight against God
Isaiah 8:10 “Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us.”
Do you realize that you are fighting against God when you try to take things into your own hands instead of praying and trusting God for His solutions?
Acts 5:39 “But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.”
3. Seek God
Isaiah 8:19 “And when they shall say into you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? For the living to the dead.”
Have you come across people including Christians reading the horoscope or seeking fortune tellers concerning their future? There is no one except the true and living God who knows your future and everything about you!
Food for Thought
If you can trust God for eternity, can you not trust Him for the next meal.
Key Verse: Isaiah 7:4 “And say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah.”
Are you fearful of life challenges or crises? Many of us seemingly go through crises as though we can handle them but deep in our hearts and minds, we are fearful of them. We are like ducks swimming in the pond, looking compose and calm, but underneath the water, their webbed feet are struggling against the currents as they move forward.
Ahaz, the king of Judah, was fearful of the impending crisis as his southern kingdom, entered into a civil war with the northern kingdom, Israel, who had alliance with Syria. But God encouraged Ahaz that He was with him as he went through the battle.
1. Take Heed
Be Careful of what we are doing whether be it our career, ministry, family and personal life. Do not let the devil takes potshots at you due to your carelessness. This is the reason why God commands his leaders to be blameless as they are examples to the Christians, the saints of God.
“A bishop then must be blameless, ...” 1 Timothy 3:2.
“… let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.” I Timothy 3:10.
2. Be Quiet
Have you analyzed yourself when you are faced with fierce challenges or provocation? How do you react or response?
“For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.” Isaiah 30:15.
Indeed, when you response with quietness and confidence in the midst of challenging situations, you shall have the strength of the Lord.
3. Fear Not
Do you panic and fear when face with crises? Do you flee and run away from crises or do you face them head on with the power and presence of God?
“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” Joshua 1:9.
Thank God who is with you in time of crises and life challenges. God shall never forsake or leave you alone as He is our rock and refuge!
Food for Thought
Crises are opportunities for you to know that God is with you!
Key Verse: Isaiah 6:3 “And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory.”
1. Holiness Higher Than Life
V1 “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple.”
King Uzziah was one of the holiest kings among the kings and the people throughout the Old Testament. God had used him greatly as he led the people in living holy lives in trusting and obeying God. After his death, God showed Isaiah that behind the earthly throne of King Uzziah was His heavenly throne, the King of all kings and the holy of holies.
Today, God is not looking for the longest living person, the healthiest, the smartest, the most intelligent, the most gifted, the most talented, the wealthiest, the most famous, the most handsome or the prettiest, but He is looking for a holy man or woman of God! All of us including great kings and leaders will die one day but what do we leave behind this earth?
2. Holiness Higher Than Talents
V5 “Then said I, Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”
The world values talents more than holiness as we often hear people talking about excellent performances, great speeches, fantastic music, exciting movies and impressive dramas but seldom do we hear people commenting on the holiness of God and the people.
However, God values our holiness more than our talents. This is the reason why seemingly excellent and famous people are perishing and going to hell because God requires holiness in His people in heaven. Unless the people confesses their sins, repents their wicked ways, believe in God and seek His holiness, God shall reject them.
The prophet Isaiah knew that he was unholy as he confessed his sins and let God cleansed him before making himself available to God.
3. Holiness Higher than Possessions
V11 “Then said I, Lord, How long? And He answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate.”
The world values possessions and material wealth but these things are transient and temporal. God shall judge the wickedness and evil of the world when the people’s possessions are completely wiped out either by recession or calamities or both. This is the time when the people will truly reflect upon the existence of God and life purpose and existence on earth and some will believe in God and trust in Him.
Food for Thought
You can lose your possessions, talents and life but do not lose your holiness in God.
Key verse: Isaiah 5:20 “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
When you see the following 6 sins prevailing in today’s society, you know that Christ’s return is near:
V8 “Woe unto them that join house to house, that they lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!”
Are we seeing businessmen, traders, retailers exploiting their customers by increasing the prices of their products without regard to affordability?
V11 “Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!”
Are we seeing more people becoming alcoholics? Are there more pubs and drinking places and more people suffering from liver cancer due to drunkenness?
V18 “Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, ...”
Are we seeing people proud of their evil ways? They blatantly cheat and lied and are proud of their sins and have no shame or conscience whatsoever?
V20 “Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil; ...”
Are we seeing people justifying their sins? It is no longer a sin to cheat and lie as long as you are not caught. It is no longer a sin to cohabit and not get married. It is no longer a sin to be a lesbian or a gay.
V21 “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, ...”
Are we seeing people caring only for themselves and have no concern of others even their own family members?
V23 “Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!”
Are we seeing the wicked getting away from their crimes and the just are falsely accused?
Food for Thought
We are living in the last days and let us be ready for Christ’s return.
Key verse: V2 “In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely (honouring) for them that are escaped (survivors) of Israel.”
This passage is the shortest chapter but it summarizes the book of Isaiah on prophecies or the events to come, namely, the Great Tribulation and the Millennial Kingdom.
1. The Great Tribulation
V1 “And in that day 7 women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach (shame).”
This verse speaks of the Great Tribulation, the period immediately after the rapture or Christ’s return when Christians shall be gathered into heaven with Christ. Those who are left behind are the unbelievers and many are women because most men have died in wars before the rapture. It will be a sad day for them as women outnumber the men and many women are willing to support themselves just to get married to take away their shame.
2. The Millennium Kingdom
V2-4 “In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, ... When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, ...”
The Millennium Kingdom will come after the Great Tribulation and it shall be established in the new holy city of Jerusalem in Israel. During this period, the Devil is bound a thousand years and hence, there is peace on earth.
Revelation 20:2 “And he (the angel) laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,”
Presently, Israel is in turmoil and in constant danger of attacks by her neighbors. However, in the Millennium Kingdom, without the Devil’s wicked and evil influence, the world shall have peace and Israel shall be a glorious and holy city of God.
3. Glory Of Christ
V5-6 “And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, ... all the glory shall be a defence ... And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow ...”
The glory of Christ shall not only be upon His tabernacle but also upon every house in the Millennium Kingdom and we shall reign together with Christ. What a glorious Kingdom it shall be!
2 Timothy 2:12 “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him (Christ): ...”
Revelation 5:10 “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”
Key verse: V13 “The Lord standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people.”
1. Food in Short Supply
V1 “For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay (supply) and the staff (support), the whole stay of bread, …”
In recent times, the world is facing shortages of rice, water and basic essentials and this is what was prophesied by prophet Isaiah thousands of years ago. Indeed, food and water are from God and let us not waste any of them but consume them for the glory of God.
2. Leaders in Short Supply
V2-3 “The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient (elder), the captain of fifty, and the honourable man, …”
There has been much publicity of leaders of today who lack integrity and moral standards. Many universities are now offering courses on integrity and character building in their curriculum to address this vital issue. Truly, godly leaders are few and far between.
3. Respect in Short Supply
V5 “… the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient (elder), and the base (despised) against the honourable.”
People have no respect for the elderly. They have no time for their elderly parents; not even a simple meal with them. Some even put their elderly parents in old folk homes. The lack of respect extends to them not offering their seats to the elderly on buses, MRTs, etc.
4. Peace in Short Supply
V15 “What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord God of hosts.”
Crimes, violence, robbery, thefts, sexual assaults, family violence, etc., are everywhere and on the rise. People are really living in fear and anxiety and praying for peace to prevail in society and even in their homes.
5. Spirituality in Short Supply
V18 “In that day the Lord will take away the bravery (finery) of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls (scarves), ...”
People are crowding shopping centers buying all kinds of beautiful merchandise they can afford. They are self indulgence and self centered and have no concern for the spiritual things of God.
Food for Thought
Keep a full supply of God when everything is in short supply.
Key verse: V11 “The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.”
Take a moment and truly and seriously reflect upon who or what you worship.
1. Man worships Materialism
V7 “Their land is also full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots:”
In this 21st century and in the year 2008, the silver and gold are our big bank accounts; the treasures are our properties, bungalows, condominiums, stocks and shares; the horses are our Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Mercedes, BMWs, Hondas, Toyotas; the chariots are the highly advanced and sophisticated military weapons. Now there is nothing wrong in our desires for materialism of wealth and possessions but when materialism takes the place of God, it becomes our idol or god.
2. Man worships Religion
V8 “Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made:”
Man has created their own religions and man-made gods. They have worshipped them thinking that these idols or gods will help them in their quest and search for the meaning and purpose in life. However, the sad truth is that they are sincerely wrong in seeking religions apart from the true and living God. The God whom we worship is the Creator of this universe and all things including man, and only He alone is worthy of our worship and praise.
3. Man worships Self
V11 “The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.”
In this day and age, look around the world, the community, the offices and workplace, the institutions and schools, the churches and homes, and you shall find increasingly, man is worshipping ourselves by the way we spend our time, talents and treasures.
No longer do we seriously investing our time, talents and treasures in God and His church, but instead we are giving most our time, talents and treasures in the pursuit of our career, education, health, sports, family, etc.
Again there is nothing wrong in our desires for improving and upgrading ourselves but when self-love takes the place of God, we become our own idols or gods.
Food for Thought
What do you think daily? What you think and do will reflect who and what you believe and worship.
As we start on the book of Isaiah, let us understand the role of a prophet. A prophet is a representative of God who speaks of God’s divine Word.
Deuteronomy 18:20 “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.”
The prophet has an awesome responsibility of speaking the Word of God and if he does not, he shall be punished even by death in the hands of an angry God. The equivalent of a prophet in the New Testament is that of a pastor. He must also be careful of what he preaches because God’s punishment shall be upon him if he does not preach the Word.
Titus 1:7-9 “For a bishop ... Holding fast the faithful Word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”
As pastors, let us pray that God gives us the wisdom and truth to preach the Word. As Christians, let us pray for our pastors that they preach the Word in truth and wisdom.
1. He Pronounces Judgment
Isaiah 1:2-3 “... they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.”
The prophet Isaiah pronounced the rebellion, wickedness and hypocrisy of the people of God. It is not easy for the pastors to pronounce God’s judgment upon the people but they have to even if they are the most unpopular leaders in the world.
2. He Invites Repentance
Isaiah 1:16-19 “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before Mine eyes; ... Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:”
The prophet invited the people on God’s behalf to get right with God. There is no sin too wicked and evil that God cannot forgive. God forgives all sins if only we repent.
3. He Gives Hope
Isaiah 1:26 “And I will restore thy judges as at the first, ... thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city.”
The prophet showed the people that there is hope and righteousness in God in this hopeless and wicked world if only they trust and obey Him.
Food for Thought
A holy preacher who is skillful in the Word is the best weapon of God.