Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Mill stream in Quimperle, France

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Aug 4, Isa 31-35

Today's readings are Isa 31-35.

Isa 31-34 makes it clear that Judah's kings have failed it and will continue to do so until God replaces them with a new King who will reign in righteousness (Isa 32). This promise is made in light of the prophecy that Judah will fall due to their dependence on Egypt for protection. The prophecies are related to each other. Judah will eventually fall due to their ungodly actions. Their fall will cause them to repent. When they do, God will redeem them and bless them with a righteous king.

There’s a beautiful lesson for us as believers in this. God will use those difficult times in our lives to draw us closer to Him. These chapters have an undercurrent of learning to depend on God. He uses the good and the bad things that happen to us to teach us that dependence. When we learn to lean on Him alone. His blessings begin to flow.

Even as the fate of Judah is cast, it also becomes clear that God will preserve Jerusalem. Jerusalem will suffer but will be saved from total destruction as so many other cities have experienced. This is because Jerusalem is God's chosen dwelling among His people.

Notice, in Isa 32:9-14, complacency will have its own chastisement. Those who take God for granted, who wish to stay out of the fray and refuse to take a stand for the Lord will be disciplined. When God exalts Himself, those who actively pursue Him and His righteousness will be blessed (Isa 32:15-20).

Judah and Egypt fall, but God will judge the nations that oppress His people (Isa 33-34). Those nations will look upon the beauty of the new King and be dismayed (Isa 33:17-19).

So far, all of these prophecies are warnings of what will happen to Judah if they refuse to repent. The promise of a righteous King is given regardless of whether or not they turn back to God. Their repentance or lack of it will determine the level of suffering they will endure while waiting for the new King to arrive.

All these principals are demonstrated in how Isaiah speaks of Israel, the Northern Kingdom. As we have heard, Israel will be taken captive, scattered and decimated. To this day, The ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom have remained so. Yet, God promises that He will redeem them. They are never disqualified from being Israel. They may suffer, but they are never exempt from His promises.

Our walk can be very similar. We who are saved are never exempt from His promises. We never cease being His children. Our willingness to repent will determine our level of suffering while we wait to be in His presence forever. Our new King is coming. Indeed, He is already here, living in each of us who call upon Him as Lord and Savior. For now, we live in the faithfulness of that promise but in a shadow of its fullness. There will be a day when we walk in the fullness of His presence and glory. Until then, we are called to avoid complacency and actively pursue His truth and righteousness.

Isa 35 is transitional. It promises delivery and redemption for those carried away. God will reveal Himself to "those who walk in the way" (Is 35:8), and they will live in peace.

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