August 1, 2016 Bible Study — There Is None Like God

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Isaiah 43-47.

    Today’s passage spends quite a bit of time telling us how foolish it is to worship idols. I have some friends who worship idols in the sense this passage is talking about. Some of them worship the Norse gods and some worship the older Germanic gods which the Norse gods were derived from. Those whom I have heard speak about it know that these gods are not real in the way we think of God as real, but then they do not think that God is real either. As best I understand what they believe, they believe that their gods are social constructs which have power commensurate with how much they believe in them and to a degree commensurate with how many people believe in them. My feeling is that their belief is an attempt to gain control over the world around them. After all, their gods only have power in as much as they give them that power, so their gods are dependent upon them, and their fellow believers. Isaiah tells us that it is foolish to worship a god (or gods) which has no power that we did not give it. If we have the power to do the things which we call upon the gods to do, why do we need the gods? However, God has power which did not come from me, or anyone else. God has demonstrated His power to those willing to see.

July 31, 2016 Bible Study –They That Wait Upon The Lord

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Isaiah 39-42.

    Today’s passage is quite powerful. Our God is coming with great power. His path will be straight and level. All obstacles will be cleared out of His way. Mountains will be leveled and valleys will be filled in. There is nothing and no one we can compare to God. The entire earth is less than a grain of sand to God. Everyone grows tired, even young men in the prime of their life. But God gives strength to the powerless and energy to the weary. Those who put their trust in God and wait for His time will always have the strength and energy to do God’s will. I have always loved the image this passage provides. There is a great song based on the King James version which contains a line which says, “Teach me Lord to wait down on my knees.” I am striving to spend more of my time in prayer, waiting for the Lord to tell me what to do. However, later in this passage Isaiah reminds us that waiting is not enough. Once God has told us what He wants us to do, He expects us to act:

You see and recognize what is right
but refuse to act on it.
You hear with your ears,
but you don’t really listen.

I pray that when God speaks I will listen and that when I recognize what is right, I act upon it.

July 30, 2016 Bible Study — Nothing Can Overcome the Will of God

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Isaiah 36-38.

    I never tire of reading the story of Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah. As king of Assyria, Sennacherib was the leader of the mightiest army on earth and the heir of men who had conquered every where they turned. He and his predecessors had defeated many nations, all of whom worshiped gods other than those of Assyria. None of those gods had been able to save those nations. Therefore Sennacherib assumed that the god of Israel would be no different. I suspect that Sennacherib did not believe in any gods. He was convinced that nothing could stop him from doing whatever he wanted to do. Hezekiah knew that there certainly was nothing he could do to stop Sennacherib.


    However, Hezekiah did know that Sennacherib was wrong in thinking that nothing could stop him. God’s response to Hezekiah’s plea and Sennacherib’s arrogant posturing was absolute. God declared that not only would Sennacherib fail to conquer Jerusalem, he would fail to even lay siege against it. Sennacherib’s armies would not come with range to fire an arrow at Jerusalem. Sennacherib thought that it would take a mighty army to stop him, and he knew that no such army existed. But God did not need an army, at least not the type of army Sennacherib envisioned. Sennacherib had broken off his attacks against Judah and gone to engage another army which threatened him. Somewhere along the way, disease struck his camp and Sennacherib had to retreat to his homeland and regroup. The lesson here for us is that no matter how hopeless things seem, God is still in charge. Our enemies may seem so powerful that there is no way they will fail, that we must surrender to them. However, as long as we follow God’s will and trust in Him, He will not let us down.

July 29, 2016 Bible Study — Who Can Survive God’s Coming Judgment?

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Isaiah 32-35.

    The prophet warns those who are complacent and do not care about the actions of the wicked. It is wrong to be complacent about the evil we see around us. God wants us to beat our breasts in sorrow, to call out the actions of the wicked who deprive the hungry of food. In the face of wickedness, let us plan to do what is generous and stand firm in our generosity. A time of hardship and suffering is coming (or perhaps is already started). It will end when God pours out His Spirit over the land. In the meantime, let us humble ourselves in prayer and stand firm in generosity to those whose suffering is greater than our own. God’s judgment is coming like a devouring fire, such that no one can stand against it. Except that the prophet tells us that there will be those who can thrive on the day of God’s judgment. Those who are honest and fair have nothing to fear when God brings His judgment against the evildoers of this world.


    The prophet goes on to tell us about the day when God will turn certain lands over to wild animals. Over the last several months I have noticed that there are multiple places in the Bible where it speaks of God making a place for wild animals to live. As I have read these passages I have come to believe that our stewardship of this earth extends to doing what is in our power to care for our natural surroundings. Here the prophet tells us that not one of “these” animals will be missing. While he gives a list of animals, I do not believe that he intended his list to be comprehensive. God will hold mankind to account for the animals which have gone extinct due to our actions. Some of those animals went extinct because they had served their purpose and God intended for them to be gone from the earth. However, many others are now extinct because of mankind’s greed and lack of foresight. I want to be clear, I am not calling for government action. I am calling for each and every one of us to behave responsibly and think about the consequences of our actions.

July 28, 2016 Bible Study — How Hard Is It To Understand the Bible?

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Isaiah 29-31.

    The prophet tells us that people will insist that the instructions God has given us in the Bible are too hard to understand. Those with an extensive biblical education will claim that the writer’s true meaning is a mystery. Those without a biblical education will claim they cannot understand the writer’s meaning because they lack that education. These are people who claim to belong to God, but rather than read the Bible to see what God has to say, they make up rules which please themselves. We see such people in the Church today. There are those who read the Bible and say that it does not mean what it clearly states. There are those who do not read the Bible because it is “too hard to understand,” when what they really mean is that it tells them to act differently than the way they wish.


    Despite all of the voices who tell us that it is too hard to understand what God really wants from us, that we need them to interpret His will for us, the prophet tells us that God Himself will speak to us and tell us the path to follow. If we go to Him and ask for His help, He will show us love and compassion. We will hear His voice speaking in our ears telling us which way to go, and not just in generalities. If we willingly listen, God will tell us each and every turn we should make. Even in adversity and suffering God will be there teaching us how to follow His law.

July 27, 2016 Bible Study — A Fortress of Lies, Or Build On the Cornerstone Which God Has Laid Down?

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Isaiah 26-28.

    The beginning of today’s passage is one of hope for those who trust and obey God. He will trample the proud and arrogant, but will smooth out the path in front of the righteous. The wicked will keep doing wrong even when all others do what is right. They pay no attention to God’s threats of destruction, but He will defend His people. God’s people are those who seek Him and accept His discipline. They will be granted peace.


    What Isaiah wrote in chapter 28 reminds me of the leaders of today. First comes the complaint of being treated like children. They claim to be grownups ready for grownup truths. All the while wallowing in the results of sins of the most basic sort. I see so many today who echo the leaders of this passage. They believe that they have made a bargain with death and that their fortress of lies and deception will protect them from the coming destruction. God responds by telling them that He will start over again from the basics. He lays out the foundation and tells them to build upon the Cornerstone He has given us if they want to build something which will last. Lies and deception are like sand. Anything built on them will be washed away in the coming storms. However, if we build on the Foundation which God has given us, measuring out with justice and aligning with righteousness, what we have built will stand the test of time.


    Then at the end of the passage Isaiah reminds us that God knows what He is doing. Yes, He is going to bring judgment and discipline upon us, but He knows what we can bear. Just as a farmer very carefully calibrates the tools and force he uses to thresh grain, so too will God carefully calibrate the discipline He uses to turn us back to Him. He will not send against us more than we can bear.

July 26, 2016 Bible Study — Eat, Drink, and Be Merry?

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Isaiah 22-25.

    I am having trouble putting into words what the beginning of this passage means to me. The prophet is warning those whose first response in times of trouble is to prepare their defenses and gather their resources. They prepare to take their stand, believing that if only they make the proper preparations they can deal with whatever comes their way. They do not turn to God and call on Him for aid. Rather than mourn for the sins which brought them to this place and express remorse, they say “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” Every time I hear that phrase used I wonder if the person using it realizes that it originates from this passage telling us that is the wrong response? Isaiah even follows that up with a specific example of someone who was more caught up in their “legacy” than in doing the job from which that legacy would come. The message here is that if we spend our time building our legacy rather than doing the job which God has given us, God will throw us down and give someone else the opportunity.


    I am not sure what the message is here from the prophecy against Tyre, but I will tell you what I read from it. Earlier the prophet had spoken of the fall of military powers. Here he tells us that economic power will not stand against God’s judgment either. Neither strength nor wealth will protect us when God brings judgment against our sins. Those who oppress the poor, either with their military might or their economic power, will face God’s judgment. There is more to this than just God’ vengeance against those who do not obey His laws. There is a message which the environmentalists will love. One result of disobeying God’s command is that the entire earth suffers. However those who survive God’s judgment will praise Him. These things do not happen by accident and God has planned them long in advance. If we trust in God He will save us.

July 25, 2016 Bible Study — God’s Judgment Will Come To All, Not Just the Powerful

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Isaiah 17-21.

    I am not sure what to write about this passage. The problem I have today is one I run into from time to time as I read through the Bible. I read a passage and it seems to have much the same message as the one I wrote about the passage from the day before. However, as I think about it I do have something to add to what I wrote yesterday. Something which could be read from yesterday’s passage, but which stands out stronger today. When God brings His judgment against the wicked nations of this world that judgment will not just pour out against the superpowers of the world. This judgment will come because people refuse to turn to God.


    God has given plenty to the people of this world and they have turned from Him. God will allow the natural results of such action to happen and when people are once more desperate they will call out to God and beg Him to save them. When they do so, God will be faithful and answer their prayers. We forget that there was a time when the people of Egypt called upon Israel’s God. They will do so once again. As will the people of many other nations.

July 24, 2016 Bible Study — What Happens to Those Who Set Themselves Up In Place of God

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Isaiah 13-16.

    The passage starts with a prophecy about the future, at the time of writing, fall of Babylon, but it goes on from there to speak of the fall of lesser powers as well. The passage is a warning to those who revel in doing evil and arrogantly lord it over others. Isaiah prophecies against Babylon’s king, warning that he will be overthrown because of his arrogance and pride. It is a warning against those leaders who think that they can set themselves up in place of God. There is a warning here who believe that earthly power can and will last. Babylon was the mightiest nation on earth. Its king could do as he willed and no one could gainsay him. Nevertheless, God brought down Babylon when His purpose for it was finished. Babylon’s king thought that he answered to no one and was above all others. Because of his arrogance and pride, God brought him low. In the same way today many believe they can set themselves up in place of God. When we look at the world and see those who tell churches not to preach what God has commanded, we can know that God will bring them down in the same way He overthrew Babylon’s king.


    I want to point out the significance of the prophecies against the other nations. Those nations rooted for the downfall of Babylon. What they failed to recognize was that Babylon’s suffering would be their suffering as well. There are many in the world today who root for the U.S. to be overthrown as a world power. They fail to see that such an overthrow will lead to great suffering in other nations as well. I want to stress that I am not sure that the U.S. stands in the place of Babylon in this passage, but if it does not that is because there is no “Babylon” in the world today. I fear that the U.S. does stand in the place of Babylon, certainly her rulers are setting themselves up as above God.

July 23, 2016 Bible Study — The Once and Future King

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Isaiah 9-12.

    This passage contains some prophecies which have been, rightly in my mind, applied to Jesus. But there is more here than we usually take out of it. Yes, the government will (does) rest on Jesus’ shoulders and all of the names given apply to Him. He does rule with justice and fairness and His peace will never end. Under Jesus’ rule the predator will peacefully co-exist with the prey. Jesus brings peace to the earth. All of this is true both for the future and for now.


    But, with all of those positive thins, there is still a lot of judgment in this passage as well. I think we often overlook how God’s judgment is sandwiched in the middle of these prophecies of peace and prosperity. The prophet warns us about both political leaders and religious leaders will teach us to act against God’s will, to seek our own selfish desires ahead of what God desires for us. They are wicked hypocrites, but it is not just the leaders who are hypocrites. The people are full of hypocrisy. They claim to be concerned for those less fortunate, but all they are really looking for is what is in it for them. They speak foolishness and proclaim themselves wise. God is going to bring His judgment against them.