Today's Bible Commentary

  ISAIAH Daily Bible Readings
  Commentary, Cross Reference Bible, and Bible Dictionary  

What is a prophet?     Major & Minor Prophets Timeline
Books on Isaiah from

Eccl/Song | Mark | ISAIAH | Luke | Jeremiah

DateScripturesDaily devotional commentary
Sep 6-12: Mark
Sep 13:Isaiah 1-5 * Repentance - By Choice or Force?, N Sween
Sep 14:Isaiah 6-9 * Weaving Good News and Bad News, N Sween
Sep 15:Isaiah 10-13 * When the Lord Intervenes, N Sween
Sep 16:Isaiah 14-18 * Israel, Babylon, Assyria, Moab, Damascus, Cush, N Sween
Sep 17:Isaiah 19-23* Egypt, Edom, Arabia, Babylon, Jerusalem, Tyre, N Sween
Sep 18:Isaiah 24-28:13 * What To Learn BEFORE Your World Falls Apart, N Sween
Sep 19:Isaiah 28:14-30:33 * Do You Recognize Salvation When You See It?, N Sween
Sep 20:Isaiah 31-35 * Can You See What's Coming?, N Sween
Sep 21:Isaiah 36-38 * History Between Sennacherib and Hezekiah, N Sween
Sep 22:Isaiah 39-42:12 * The Lord's Plans For Intervention, N Sween
Sep 23:Isaiah 42:13-45:14 * How Unique, The God of Israel, D Sween
Sep 24:Isaiah 45:15-49:18 * The Lord Announces Something New, N Sween
Sep 25:Isaiah 49:19-53:12 * Restoration After Babylon and Through Messiah, N Sween
Sep 26:Isaiah 54-58 * The Lord Reveals More, D Sween
Sep 27:Isaiah 59-63:10* Looking into Confession and Redemption, D Sween
Sep 28:Isaiah 63:11-66:24 * Ruins, Rebellion, Repentance, Redemption, N Sween
Sep 29-Oct 10: Luke

Repentance - By Choice or Force?
Sep 13 reading
Isaiah 1-5
More on Isaiah
Dictionary and Books
* A Call To Repentance, Chuck Smith
* also see 2Kings - 2Chron - minor prophets
"Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. 'Come now, let us reason together,' says the LORD. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow ... If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.' For the mouth of the LORD has spoken." (1:16b-20)
During the time of Isaiah the prophet, the morality of the Lord's people in Judah - including its chief city Jerusalem - was in serious decline. Isaiah's job was to relay the Lord's message to warn and turn his people from rebellion to willing obedience. The Lord's plan was NOT to offer a blanket means of forgiveness ("I have more than enough of burnt offerings" 1:11) or just punishment, but he wanted justice to begin in his people's behavior. With free will, the Lord's people had the choice to follow his ways or to resist him. But their choice was not without consequence, and the patience of the Lord was coming to an end.

Isaiah explains that when the Lord speaks of a harlot city, he means a city that once stood up for justice and righteousness but eventually became diluted with murderers, rebels, thieves, bribe takers, and no one standing up for the poor. Since this is not the Lord's way, and since the people of Judah were the Lord's people, the time had almost come that he would intervene with these wayward children of his. When the discipline of a parent doesn't work, punishment becomes necessary. But before punishing his people, the Lord revealed some of his plans for his temple in the distant future of Jerusalem. Though soon to be destroyed, Jerusalem will ultimately survive. It will become the international center of justice, settling disputes for many peoples to the point that there will be no more wars.

Contrast this, the Lord said through Isaiah, with contemporary Judah accepting superstitions from the East, divination, partnering with non-believing pagans, and relying upon wealth, transportation, and idols. When the Lord intervenes, the choice to humble yourself will be gone. Mankind will be humbled in terrifying ways, and no one in their right mind will trust either in man or idols. But first, the Lord's plan was to punish Judah within a few years, removing both supply and support from them. "They have brought disaster upon themselves," he said. The righteous will enjoy the fruit of their deeds, but Judah will have unworthy leaders - sometimes youth, sometimes women. False guides will be exposed by the Lord's judgment. Observe, for example, judgment on self-centered women who focus on their outward appearance and sexual attractiveness, but have no concern for the poor or for the spiritual condition of people around them. The principle of opposites, looking like contradictions, will be their reward ("instead of well-dressed hair, baldness"). Too late, they will value men as husbands.

In time, the land around Jerusalem will be "Israel" (4:2) and the spirit of judgment and the spirit of fire will be hardship for some and protection for others. The Lord uses a vineyard parable to teach his point of view to his people, and proclaims 6 woes requiring judgment. But soon "My people will go into exile for lack of understanding." (5:13a) The Lord's judgments will deal with people who use deceit to sin or who say "we'll believe it when we see it". To restore justice, the Lord will strike his people. Earthquakes will be followed with many dead bodies in the streets. Then he will call some from distant nations, and they will come with a supernatural speed and situation, roaring within oppressive darkness. Will his people believe it when they see it? Or when, centuries later, they see it again?

Weaving Good News and Bad News
Sep 14 reading
Isaiah 6-9
More on Isaiah
Dictionary and Books
* Isaiah Commentaries, Guzik
* Messiah in Isaiah,
"The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread, and he will be a sanctuary; but for both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall." (8:12-14a)
The year king Uzziah died, Isaiah saw a vision of the Lord glorified and seated on his throne in the temple. Realizing that he was seeing holiness caused Isaiah to fear the vast difference between the Lord, with who surrounded him, and Isaiah, with his contemporaries. One of the seraphs in the Lord's presence came and touched Isaiah's lips with a burning coal from the altar. This is one example of how guilt is taken away and sin is atoned - by fire.

Isaiah volunteered for what sounded like "Mission Impossible". He was to deliver messages to the king and people of Judah although their time to hear and see messages from the Lord was temporarily over. Isaiah asked what other saints also ask: "How long, O Lord?" The people would have hard hearts until after the destruction of both Israel and Judah. The Lord told Isaiah that Damascus and Israel would fall because they relied only on human leadership, rejecting the Lord's. Isaiah took his oldest son "A Remnant Will Return" to deliver the message to the king of Judah. Damascus and Israel would not invade Judah but would soon be destroyed themselves. Sure enough, the assurance the Lord intended for Judah's king Ahaz fell on deaf ears. He refused the Lord's offer of a confirming sign. So the Lord gave his own signs and information for the near and distant future. A virgin would have a son to be called Immanuel ("God with us") and while he was still very young, Assyria would also invade Judah. Soon, only cattle and sheep would walk through Judah, overgrown with briers and thorns.

After delivering this message, Isaiah and the prophetess conceived a son and named him "Quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil". The battle is coming soon, Immanuel. Judah's strategy will be worthless.

The Lord gave Isaiah instructions on living among the hard-hearted people of Judah. Don't fear their conspiracy theories. What makes them afraid is not for you to fear. Instead, you are to fear only the Lord. Stay focused on Him. For example, the Lord gives a parable sign about the stone that will cause men to stumble, broken and snared, while the Lord's disciples trust and wait for him instead. Avoid mediums and spiritists - why ask the dead for information on the living? Look for your answers in the law and testimony instead. Distress begins the downward spiral for some into darkness, but a great light will dawn, and rejoicing will follow. The Lord gives signs and predictions of the Messiah, to come as a child who grows up to reign on David's throne. But in the meantime, the arrogant Israel will fall with its leaders and lying prophets. Things will get progressively worse, unimaginably worse, and the Lord's anger will continue against Israel who thought they could always rebuild or replace. The fire of wickedness that consumes its carriers is not like the atoning fire that removed guilt and sin from Isaiah's lips.

When the Lord Intervenes
Sep 15 reading
Isaiah 10-13
More on Isaiah
Dictionary and Books
* Why Do the Nations Rage?, from a
Short Series on Isaiah by R Stedman
"and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth." (11:3-4a)
After years of patience and discipline, the Lord would finally deal with people supporting injustice and with countries intent upon destroying - rather than punishing - other countries. The Day of the Lord comes as a day of reckening, releasing His anger and wrath in judgment on the countries of the world. Who will you turn to for help then? Isaiah was to deliver the message that this judgment would come on Jerusalem, as well as on Assyria and Babylon. The Lord had given Assyria the duty to loot and plunder Israel and Judah, NOT to destroy them. But the Assyrian leader was willful, proud, haughty, and boastful - not humble about being used by the Lord. When Assyria defeats Zion, where the Lord God lives, the people of Judah are told not to be afraid of the burden and pain of slavery. The Assyrian plan of attack won't work the way they expect because the Lord's plans will prevail.

Isaiah uses many parables to explain messages from the Lord. One is fire [4:4 - 5:24 - 6:6 - 10:17 - 13:8,13 - 30:27] which sometimes refines, sometimes destroys, sometimes heats, sometimes gives light. The tree and Branch [4:2 - 6:13 - 10:33 - 11:1] also have various meanings. The trees of Lebanon will fall. A shoot will grow out of the stump of Jesse. Later, the Branch will grow from the shoot's roots. This Branch will be a unique person, described in 11:1-5, who will come a second time with a different mission plan (11:11). Describing a future time of peace, the Lord shows Isaiah animals living together [11:6-9] - no longer carnivorous. As a banner, the Branch will reclaim the exiles of Israel and the scattered people of Judah. They will have power over nations that had been their enemies. Watch for the Euphrates River to become 7 streams that men can walk across. God's people will sing praises to Him specifically about His salvation of them, and will explain worldwide the Lord's point of view of what has happened.

Judgment will also be against Babylon. From the "day of reckening" (10:3), Isaiah learns more about the "day of the Lord" (ch 13), with the banner, the warning, the noise, the weapons, the destruction, the terror, the fire, and the desolation, with changes in the sky and in the number of people (13:12). While the Lord's anger burns, the earth is not safe. It was God who overthrew and emptied the city of Babylon, and He decreed that Arab's wouldn't live there ever again. (13:19-22).

Israel, Babylon, Assyria, Moab, Damascus, Cush
Sep 16 reading
Isaiah 14-18
More on Isaiah
Dictionary and Books
* Political Prophet,
* Brief History of Assyrians, BetBasoo
"You will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: 'How the oppressor has come to an end! How his fury has ended! The Lord has broken the rod of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers, which in anger struck down peoples with unceasing blows, and in fury subdued nations with relentless agression.'" (14:4-6)
When the Lord again has compassion on Israel and resettles them onto their own land, "aliens will join them and unite with the house of Jacob. Nations will take them and bring them to their own place. And the house of Israel will possess the nations as menservants and maidservants in the Lord's land. They will make captives of their captors and rule over their oppressors." (14:1b-2) The Lord God makes promises according to His plan. Although Israel is under oppression and threat from other countries, then - as today - oppression is part of God's plan to sort out His people who trust Him from those who oppose His plan.

When their cruel bondage ends, the Lord's people will taunt the king of their enemy, Babylon (literally and later figuratively), about his fury in battle before he joins the dead, surrounded by maggots and worms. "Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble?" (14:16b) Associated with Babylon (currently Iraq in the literal sense), as a parable this passage is also associated with Satan (see Luke 10:18) and eventually the end time antichrist (Rev 18). This king is the rejected branch, whose destruction will at least be as horrible as the destruction he caused in the world. His sons - those who followed his ways - will similarly be destroyed. (14:17-21)

The burden that the Assyrians put on Israel will also be removed. "This is the plan determined for the whole world; this is the hand stretched out over all nations. For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him?" (14:26-27a) Zion will stand because that's the Lord's plan. Remember how the Philistine people rejoiced when the king of Judah died? But despite any and all appearances to the contrary, the Lord has established Zion.

When Moab is distroyed and nothing green is left, its people will mourn greatly. The wealth they stored up won't save them. The few fugitives who escape from Moab and come to Israel are to be sheltered there, but within three years Moab will be in ruin, despised.

Damascus will become a heap of ruins, and because Israel (the northern kingdom, aka Ephraim) allied themselves with Damascus, that glory of Jacob will fade. A few branches will survive, and they will look to the Lord their Maker, not to the altars or idols built by human hands. People responding in a roaring rage won't change the Lord's plans.

The Lord would show his power to Cush (Ethiopia), the land of whirring wings (locusts), with its tall, smooth-skinned people. What they see and hear of battles in the Middle East will later cause them to bring gifts to the Lord Almighty in his temple in Zion.

Egypt, Edom, Arabia, Babylon, Jerusalem, Tyre
Sep 17 reading
Isaiah 19-23
More on Isaiah
Dictionary and Books
* Assyria will conquer Egypt,
"In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the Lord at its border. It will be a sign and witness to the Lord Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the Lord because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and deliverer, and he will rescue them. So the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the Lord." (19:19-21a)
Isaiah's message concerning Egypt included predictions of internal strife, counteraction by the Lord resulting in poor leadership, and a devastating drought that will effect all the jobs relying on the Nile - from fishing to making cloth. The Lord Almighty has plans for Egypt, and will do what it takes to bring Egyptians to loyal belief in Him. [Note: Before the Moslems conquered Egypt, 80% of the Egyptians were Christian believers in the Lord.] Egyptians will be the Lord's people, Assyrians will be the Lord's handiwork, and Israel will be the Lord's inheritance. (19:25) Again, the Lord combined news of the despair to come with future hope for these countries.

In the year that the supreme military commander of Sargon of Assyria captured Ashdod (about 711 BC), the Lord told Isaiah to walk around in public, stripped and barefoot. He did this for 3 years as a sign of what was soon to be the dress of Egyptians and Cushites, and as a warning to any country thinking of allying with either country for military help against Assyria. This was the Lord's demonstration not to trust in countries for help, but to trust only in the Lord Himself.

The Lord leaves no doubt that spiritual warfare accompanies physical warfare. Isaiah received a message for the Desert by the Sea. The Lord knows of invasions, betrayals, and conquests before anyone on lookout sees and hears the report, "Babylon has fallen, has fallen! All the images of its gods lie shattered on the ground!" (21:9b) Messages follow about Dumah (Edom), Esau's descendants living south of the Dead Sea, and Arabia, located between Edom and Babylon. Edom's watchman sees morning coming followed by night, etc. The Lord tells Isaiah that the Dedanite caravans in Arabia will see people of Ishmael's second son, Kedar, fleeing for their lives. The strength of Kedar will be shattered.

Isaiah next records the oracle about the Valley of Vision near Jerusalem. The Lord leaves no doubt that physical warfare made without consulting and following the Lord's leadership will fail. For all the defenses fortified in Judah, "you did not look to the One who made it, or have regard for the One who planned it long ago." (22:11b) Earlier, the Lord had told them their part in preparing for this future defeat was to mourn, but instead they sinned by rejoicing, saying "Let us eat and drink...for tomorrow we die!" (22:13b) The Lord contrasted Shebna, a high official who looked after his own interests, with his replacement, Eliakim, who would be a father to Judah. The Lord describes him as a peg.

Concerning Tyre, a commercial center, when it falls, it will be because "the Lord Almighty planned it, to bring low the pride of all glory and to humble all who are renowned on the earth." (23:9) After a 70 year span, Tyre "will return to her hire as a prostitute" trading with all kingdoms worldwide. But her profits now will go to those who live before the Lord.

What To Learn BEFORE Your World Falls Apart
Sep 18 reading
Isaiah 24-28:13
More on Isaiah
Dictionary and Books
* One Liners In Isaiah 12-40, Abide In Christ
FACT: What total equality looks like.   Isaiah 24:2     FACT: "Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us. O Lord, our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone do we honor." (26:12-13)
When the Lord finally destroys the earth, everyone will be equally liable - being driven from their homelands and scattered. "The earth will be completely laid waste and totally plundered. The Lord has spoken this word." (24:3) Why? Because the earth has been defiled by its people by breaking the Lord's everlasting covenant, disobeying the laws and violating the statutes. The resulting curse burns up the earth's inhabitants, leaving very few people. Will you join those who sing glory to the God of Israel at this time? There is a current song, "Open the Floodgates of Heaven" taken from Isaiah 24:18, describing what will happen when the Lord shakes and destroys the earth. Light will not come from the sun or moon, but from the Lord Almighty reigning on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem before its elders. (Also see Daniel 10:11)

Don't be surprised by this destruction. Join those who exalt and praise the Lord for his faithfulness in doing marvelous things that He planned and warned of long ago. Learn now to take refuge and shelter in the Lord. The Lord has warned against pride and arrogance from self reliance. Don't be surprised when the Lord's warnings turn to His cutting off those who prefer their own ways. Strong people and ruthless nations will revere the Lord Almighty of Jerusalem who has been a refuge for the poor and needy. The Lord Almighty will prepare a feast and will destroy the shroud of death forever. His people were disgraced on the earth, but now are saved into his kingdom. Cleverly made fortifications of the enemies of the Lord Almighty and his people will not prevail.

The righteous nations who enter the city of salvation will praise the Lord Almighty by singing histories of His ways. They sing of the perfect peace of those whose mind is steadfast because he trusts the Lord. They sing of lives spent waiting for the Lord. They sing of judgments the Lord sent to the earth to let people learn righteousness. They sing of the grace that was shown to the wicked who kept on doing evil, refusing to learn righteousness. Too late, the wicked will see the Lord's zeal, before the fire consumes them. All we have accomplished, actually the Lord has done for us. Sure, we had pain through apparently bad things happening to good people. But salvation didn't come through us any more than our power created the babies we have in childbirth. When the dead live again and their bodies rise, they will shout for joy! So now, "Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by." (26:20) The wrath of God will be unlike anything before on earth. [Even the fury and destruction of hurricane Ivan in Jamacia and the USA, September 2004, is only a shadow of this future destrucion.]

The Lord sees Israel as a fruitful vineyard that he delights in watering and tending. He makes an offer to briers and thorns to make peace with Him instead of fighting against his vineyard. "In days to come, Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit." (27:6) The Lord treats Israel differently from how he deals with other countries. True He contends with her by warfare and exile, but His purpose is to atone for Israel's guilt - not to destroy her. Israel will be brought back to Jerusalem from exile, one by one.

The northern kingdom called Israel was a flower wreath that faded, but the Lord Almighty has a glorious crown for the remnant of his people. He will be a spirit of justice and a spirit of strength for his people. Some will ask, "Who is it he is trying to teach?" (28:9) Their mockery of the law will cause them to fall backward because the Lord brought them to a resting place and they wouldn't listen. So the Lord makes it harder for them to hear, saying, "Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues God will speak to this people." (28:11) Eventually they will be injured, snared, and captured by what they scoffed at.

Do You Recognize Salvation When You See It?
Sep 19 reading
Isaiah 28:14-30:33
More on Isaiah
Dictionary and Books
* John Wesley notes, Chapter 28
* The Hearing of the Heart, D. Legge
FACTS: "The understanding of this message will bring sheer terror!" (28:19b) "The Lord says, 'These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.'" (29:13)
The Lord continues using Isaiah to reveal information about what's to come with truths veiled in parables - as though "with foreign lips and strange tongues" - so the normally wise and intelligent men of Judah will need a translator to understand them. The ruling leaders of Jerusalem had become scoffers of the Lord by making a so-called "covenant with death" to avoid the coming scourge. Thus they continued looking for help from places the Lord wasn't sending them, from idols to other countries. The Lord used the parable of laying a precious cornerstone in Zion for a sure foundation of a building measured with justice and righteousness. Attempting to protect themselves, the people of Jerusalem will be in over their heads when they are found and beaten down. The Lord's work with this Cornerstone will be strange, alien, and unique as the leaders of Jerusalem mock on. (The cornerstone is explained further in Psalms 118:22, Acts 4:8-12 and Ephesians 2:20)

What would someday terrify Israel is described by a farmer parable. How does a farmer prepare for planting? At the appropriate time, he plows until the ground is broken up. When the surface is broken, level, and soft, he sows and scatters and plants specific seeds. The resulting plants are beaten in the harvest, and the grain is ground to later bake bread. Do you get it?

Jerusalem will continue the cycle of festivals, but in and of themselves the residents will not protect the city from being besieged and humbled by the Lord. "Suddenly, in an instant, the Lord Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire." (29:5b-6) Will it be a world war that attempts to defeat Jerusalem, or will it be an attitude of the world against God's people at Mount Zion? Hordes will fight against Jerusalem but the attack will not go as expected. Both the event and the vision of it were sealed up for later explanation, like a dream seen while in deep sleep. Why keep secrets from His people? The Lord's complaint was that His people "come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men." (29:13b)

Whereas the Lord hides truth from the people of Jacob (i.e., Israel), their attempts to hide things from Him continue to fail. They think no one sees their secret plans and hidden sins. They are told to watch for the time when the deaf hear, the blind see, and the humble and needy rejoice in the Lord. The LORD calls this the time when Lebanon is turned into a fertile field like a forest. Then the LORD who redeemed Abraham lists 5 things that will change for the house of Israel. (29:22-24)

The enemies of the Lord will attempt to fight Him with their own plans in alliance with Egypt, but this "help" will be useless. These are the people who only want to hear pleasant things, and don't want to be confronted with the Holy One of Israel. So reject the Lord's plan. Choose the sin of oppression and deceit, but watch your "stronghold" crumble.

Salvation is in repentance and rest, and strength comes in quietness and trust. The Lord longs to be gracious to the sons of Jacob. Wait for the Lord! But no, you want to try to outrun your pursuers? Where will you run? Blessed are all who wait for the Lord. Yes, you will have adversity and affliction, but what teachers and guides you will have! You'll throw away any idols. The rain He sends will increase your harvest. Yes, many things have to be prepared first, but the time will come when the LORD makes everything about the Way clear. You don't have to be sidetracked by the great slaughter as you see the signs of the Name of the Lord coming. Streams of water will flow on every high mountain. The light will increase and the Lord will bind up and heal. This time, the Name of the Lord will come in power and anger against His enemies. You will sing and rejoice, participating with the Lord in battle. A fire is burning...

Can You See What's Coming?
Sep 20 reading
Isaiah 31-35
More on Isaiah
Dictionary and Books
* Consecration: The Highway
of Holiness
, Legge
PRAYER: "O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress." (33:2)
When the Lord comes from far away to fight for Israel, rather than seeking His help, some Jewish citizens will want to ally with Egypt for more physical strength. Is this a parable? Egypt's strength is only physical and won't succeed. Plus, it will be obvious somehow that the Lord Almighty will be the One to shield and deliver Jerusalem. Assyria will unexpectedly fall, defeated supernaturally. Eureka! More will finally "get it" under the righteous king. Fools spreading error about the Lord will be exposed. People thought they were noble leaders, but neither their plans nor deeds were really noble.

Isaiah had a message for the women of Jerusalem who were complacent and felt secure. There is something they can do. Start mourning now, before you see what goes wrong with the coming harvest. Things are not as they seem! "Mourn for all the houses of merriment and for this city of revelry." (32:13b) "The fortress will be abandoned...till the Spirit is poured upon us from on high..." (32:14-15) Destruction will come, but you will be blessed - sowing seed and feeding your livestock.

Count on it. Destroyers will be destroyed, and traitors will be betrayed. In the midst of all this, the Lord is the sure foundation for your times. Come to Him for salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. "The fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure." (33:6) Keep watching what the Lord is doing in Jerusalem. What will His consuming fire be? Isaiah 33:15-16 describes the narrow way required for the righteous of the Lord to make it through times of terror and foreign rulers. A huge change occurs. The Lord is judge, lawgiver, king, savior. "No one living in Zion will say, 'I am ill'; and the sins of those who dwell there will be forgiven.'" (33:24)

Internationally, the Lord is angry with all nations and at some point, he will totally destroy them. The sky will change. Esau's land of Edom will fall with the smell of burning sulfur and blazing pitch. No longer a kingdom, the inhabitants of Edom will be jackals and owls, living in thorns and nettles. And then what was desert will bloom. What was feeble will become strong. What was blind will see. What was mute will shout for joy. What was burning sand will gush with bubbling springs. And in this huge change, the faithful will find and walk along the Way of Holiness without wicked fools or any ferocious beast. "... only the redeemed will walk there and the ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing, and everlasting joy will crown their Head. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away." (35:9b-10)

History Between Sennacherib and Hezekiah
Sep 21 reading
Isaiah 36-38
More on Isaiah
Dictionary and Books
* Notes on Isaiah 28-39, by D Linden
* Sennacherib, Ancient History Source Book
REVELATION: "I will walk humbly all my years because of this anguish of my soul. Lord, by such things men live; and my spirit finds life in them too." "Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back." (38:15b-16a,17)
King Hezekiah had ruled Judah 13 years when King Sennacherib of Assyria attacked and captured all the fortified cities of Judah. Sennacherib sent word to Hezekiah's representatives speaking in Hebrew so on-lookers on the wall of Jerusalem could hear all his accusations. The Assyrians figured Judah would seek help either from Egypt or from the Lord their God. They scoffed at both options. The Assyrian king would give Judah 2,000 horses, for whatever good that would do. On top of such insults, the Assyrian field commander claimed that "the Lord himself told me to march against this country and destroy it." (36:10b) Hezekiah had already told the Jews on the city wall not to talk back to the Assyrians. So they heard his threats in silence. Did their expressions change when they heard the commander claim that Assyria was stronger than any other land's gods, including the Lord God of Israel?

After tearing their clothes at the blaspheme, the men returned to King Hezekiah who also tore his clothes and went to the temple. He sent these men to Isaiah with a report on the Assyrian message, requesting prayer. Isaiah sent back the message from the Lord for Hezekiah not to be afraid of what had been said in Sennacherib's name. The Lord would put a spirit in that king to believe a report and return to Assyria. This did not happen immediately. First he heard that the Cushite king of Egypt was approaching to fight, Sennacherib sent messengers with a letter to finish this business with Hezekiah. Don't be deceived by the god you depend on, he said. Surrender!

Hezekiah went to the temple with the letter to pray what he knew to be true about the Lord Almighty and what was true about the destruction the Assyrians had succeeded in doing to many people and many lands, down to destroying their idols. "Now, O Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O Lord, are God." (37:20) In this crucial time, Isaiah sent a message to his king, answering Hezekiah's prayer in the temple with what should be said to Sennacherib. Zion mocks you, Assyria. Do you have any idea who the God is, who you insulted? He is the one who planned the successes of Assyria and brought them to happen. "But I know where you stay, and when you come and go, and how you rage against Me." You will soon return the way you came. Hezekiah will know this is true as three years go by and the remnant of Judah sows and reaps in their own land. The Lord promised to defend Jerusalem. Sennacherib would not enter it.

Sennacherib had no idea that it was the angel of the Lord who killed 185,000 men in the Assyrian camp during one night, but he broke camp and went back to stay in Nineveh. Two of his sons later murdered him as he worshipped in front of his (powerless) god Nisroch. Esarhaddon followed him as king.

Later, Isaiah came to tell Hezekiah that he would not recover from a boil. Hezekiah prayed and Isaiah returned with the Lord's promise to extend Hezekiah's life 15 years. The proof sign was to make the sun's shadow go back 10 steps. Hezekiah saw the benefit of his anguish, and realized he would be humble because of this healing the rest of his life. Isaiah prescribed the medicine poultice for the king's healing.

The Lord's Plans For Intervention
Sep 22 reading
Isaiah 39-42:12
More on Isaiah
Dictionary and Books
* Messiah in Isaiah 12-41 and 42,
PROMISE: "I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols. See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you." (42:8-9)
Merodach-Baladan (son of Baladan), the king of Babylon, sent letters and a gift after Hezekiah recovered from his illness. Hezekiah appreciated this so much, he showed the Babyonian envoys all his wealth. When Isaiah later came to Hezekiah, he asked all about the foreign, gentile visitors. Hezekiah had not consulted the Lord or Isaiah, his prophet, in preparation for receiving the Babylonian group. Isaiah told the king that everything these men had been shown, plus even some of his unborn descendants, would be exiled in Babylon. Hezekiah realized this wouldn't happen during his own life time and called it good. [The Babylon captivity was about 150 years after Isaiah lived.]

Chapter 40 returns to the Lord's prophecies, and gives us the chance to taste and experience the mind and thoughts of God. (40:13) One approach to understanding the Lord's messages is to realize that He sees the past, present, and future all together. (see 41:4) For example, decades before the Babylon exile, the Lord says that Jerusalem's hard service has been completed, her sin paid for, and from the Lord's hand she has received double for all her sins. The Lord's plan for this to come about includes preparing the way for the Lord (40:3-5), realizing the transitory nature of people and the permanence of God's word (40:6-8), and knowing that the Sovereign Lord will come to Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, with the mighty power of a ruler AND the gentle strength of a shepherd. Do you doubt that this double image is possible? Know for a fact that no one instructs or counsels the Lord, and that there is no comparison between the ways of the Lord and handmade idols. The Lord's plan didn't begin when the earth was created. The Lord's intervention includes bringing great rulers to nothing. Do you think there is any one greater than He is? He knows the name of each of the starry hosts. What makes you think your way is hidden from Him? He never gets tired, but every human does. He invites you to renew your strength by hoping in Him. (40:31)

Donald Stamps identifies the one from the east (who the Lord says He would call in righteousness to His service) as Cyrus, king of Persia, who would free the Jews from their exile in Babylonia. Cyrus would not be born for at least 150 years. The Lord will oversee Israel's return to Jerusalem from the ends of the earth. There will be more to the exile than punishment. Israel is the Lord's chosen servant, and will not be rejected, little as it is. Those who would hear this are told not to be afraid - there is threshing work to be done by the small on the large. Rejoice in the Lord and glory in His Holy One of Israel. Being poor and needy isn't a sign of rejection from the Lord, but an opportunity for the Lord to do things all people can see and realize that the Lord Almighty responded to them and met their needs. Not one of the idols can do with the Lord does, so gets no credit. Anyone choosing to follow and trust any but the Lord Almighty follows a worthless idol and becomes detestable himself. Who else reveals the one coming from the northeast? Who else tells Zion secret strategy news?

The Lord describes more about His Chosen One, the servant Messiah, who will have the Lord's Spirit on him. The Lord gives these messages for the faithful to hear and believe, and for Messiah to understand centuries later. "I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness." (42:6b-7) Do you get this? If so, sing and shout to the Lord a new song, giving him glory and proclaiming His praise worldwide! (42:10-12)

The highway in the wilderness: Isaiah 11:16, 19:23, 33:8, 35:8, 40:3, 49:11, 62:10
"...the path of the upright is a highway." Proverbs 15:19

How Unique, The God of Israel
Sep 23 reading
Isaiah 42:13-45:14
More on Isaiah
Dictionary and Books
* God's Mercy,
J. D. Hoke
PROMISE: "But now, this is what the Lord says - He who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.'" (42:8-9)
Verse 10 starts a song of praise to the Lord which continues through verse 17. Different people are told to sing praise ….. those who go down to the sea, those living on islands, desert towns, settlements and the people of Sela. But those who trust in idols, who say to images, "You are our gods," will be turned back in utter shame. Israel is called both blind and deaf. They see many things but pay no attention. Their ears are open, but they do not hear anything. They cannot save themselves.

God becomes Israel’s savior. "For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior." God further states, "You are my witnesses, and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. But you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your offenses. I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more."

God states over and over again that he is God. All who make idols are nothing; they shape a god and cast an idol, which can profit him nothing. God shows how preposterous it is that man takes wood, uses part of it to warm himself, part of it to cook his food, and then uses the rest to form a god that he than will bow down and worship a block of wood. (Makes me think of that old saying "what a block head.")

God takes Cyrus’ right hand and opens doors before him. Even though you do not acknowledge me "I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness: I will make all his ways straight. He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free, but not for a price or reward, says the Lord Almighty."

The Lord Announces Something New
Sep 24 reading
Isaiah 45:15-49:18
More on Isaiah
Dictionary and Books
* Why It's Jewish to Believe
in the Messiah
, Rabinowitz
FACT: "I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob's descendants, 'Seek me in vain.' I, the Lord, speak the truth; I declare what is right." (45:19)
This difference between the God and Savior of Israel and the gods of other countries is awesome. He makes covenant promises and prepares Israel for the future with prophecies that are, and come, true. The Lord of Israel is unique. Isaiah's prophecies show that the Lord of Israel wants to be known, valued, and worshipped. Before Him, every knee will bow and every tongue confess him. Those who raged against him will come to him in shame. "But in the Lord all the descendants of Israel will be found righteous and will exult." (45:25)

Learn and study the differences between the Lord God of Israel and other resources humans worship. These idols have to be made, carried around, and they can't answer questions or save humans from their troubles. But the Lord God upholds and sustains his people from conception through old age. He rescues his people. He is God - there is no other. Back in ancient times, He began letting his people know what and who would come later, and even how the earth will end. The Lord says His purpose will stand, and He will do all that He pleases. He summons non-Jews to do specific deeds according to His plans. (46:10-11) He brings His righteousness near, and grants the splender of salvation to Zion.

Babylon will assume that nothing and no one will ever equal it in strength because of the power of its long time committment to wickedness, sorceries, magic spells, and astrology. They won't know the Lord's reason for sending Judah into exile in Babylon, but they will show Judah no mercy. Babylon will believe that no one is of any importance besides itself. But there are things Babylon won't consider and when it's time, their distruction will be quick. None of their resources will save them.

For all the ways Israel and Judah invoked their God, the problem was that they didn't seek God in truth and righteousness. The Lord made it a practice to give Israel advanced information on what would come because they were so stubborn. With the written record as proof that the Lord had foretold events, Israel couldn't say they had figured it out themselves with idols. Now the Lord decreed that there were things coming, newly created, not heard of before today. Israel, the rebel, liked being different. The Lord was holding back His wrath for the sake of his Name and his praise. Israel would be refined and tested in the furnace of affliction for the Lord's own sake. The Lord is determined not to share credit for His plans. Declaring His uniqueness, He tells of His plans to destroy Babylon by the ally He has chosen. If only Israel had paid attention. After Babylon, Israel would see the Lord's redemption.

What's new? The Lord had chosen someone unique before his birth who would be intimate with the Lord, would serve the Lord to bring Jacob back to Him, and would be made a light for the Gentiles to bring the Lord's salvation to the ends of the earth. This person to be born will actually be the Lord. (49:5) Despite this calling, He would be despised and abhorred by Israel. But the Lord promised to make Him a covenant for the people Israel. The Lord does not forget His people Israel.

Restoration After Babylon and Through Messiah
Sep 25 reading
Isaiah 49:19-53:12
More on Isaiah
Dictionary and Books
* The Messianic Era plus
PROMISE: "The law will go out from me; my justice will become a light to the nations. My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm." (51:4b-5)
Israel will be restored after the years of exile in Babylonia. Gentiles will help God's people return to the Promised Land, and other things that seem logically impossible will happen to prove that the Lord is unique, including Redeemer. Of all the many powerful things the Lord can do over physical things, why did Israel wander off from following Him? Of all the instruction the Lord has heard and learned from the Sovereign Lord, why is he to be beaten, mocked, and in need of vindication?

If you want to find righteousness from the Lord, look to the rock and its quarry - learn more about your Biblical parents, Abraham and Sarah. There is always an urgency to this search. At some point, "the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But (God's) salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail." (51:6b) Do you know what is right? Do you have the Lord's law in your heart? Then hear Him and don't fear the reproach of men or let their insults terrify you. Evil stands for a season, but righteousness from the Lord is what will stand forever. The redeemed will be ransomed by the Lord. Take another look at what makes you afraid. The physical power of the Lord extends to restoring Zion, His people, after they experience his wrath. Those who afflicted Zion will be afflicted.

Then Jerusalem's appearance will change. Out of blaspheming the Lord's name, His people will know His name. Remember that it was predicted here first. What a time of good news, peace, salvation, acknowledgement of the Lord, and joy when the Lord comes - and later returns - to Zion. The Lord will lead you out, and the God of Israel will be the rear guard. The Lord's servant will have unique and strange effects on many.

Do you believe this message about the Messiah? Have you seen the strenght of His work? "He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." (53:2b-5) The Lord continues describing the Lord in past tense for a future event, and explains why it was the Lord's will to cause His righteous servant to suffer, and make His life a guilt offering for the Lord's people.

Talk about something new!

The Lord Reveals More
Sep 26 reading
Isaiah 54-58
More on Isaiah
Dictionary and Books
* Messianic promises,
* Genuine devotion, Tortuous Path
EXPLANATION: "The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death." (57:1-2)
In Chapter 54 the future glory of Zion is the subject. Throughout the Old Testament God constantly warned Israel to obey his law. Here we see an illustration of how much God always wanted to bless the country and its people. Sometime in the future God would bless them with all these good things. "'Though the mountains be shaken and the hill be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,' says the Lord who has compassion on you."

In chapter 55 are three of the most memorable verses in the bible.

(1) Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.

(2) For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

(3) "so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return empty."

Followed in chapter 56 with (4) "For my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations."

The final two chapters cover God’s accusation against the wicked and his offer of comfort for the contrite. False worship of idols, sacrifice of their own children, burning with lust, liars. God questioned their motivation. "Is it not because I have long been silent that you do not fear me?" But then He switches to comfort for the contrite. "I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite."

Considering the Plan: Confession and Redemption
Sep 27 reading
Isaiah 59-63:10
More on Isaiah
Dictionary and Books
* End of Israel,
Crash Course in Jewish History
* Repentance Blog
PROMISE: "For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you (Israel) will perish; it will be utterly ruined." (60:12)
"Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear." Your inequities have separated you from your God. This constant willingness of Israel to separate themselves from God once again, runs throughout the Old Testament. God’s constant willingness to forgive and bless Zion speaks of his great love. Chapter 60 talks about the glory of Zion in which promises are made for the future.

"The spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor." He will proclaim freedom for the captives, release the prisoners, a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair, instead of their shame, his people will receive a double portion. Promise after promise of blessing.

"The Lord has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: 'Say to the daughter of Zion, see - your Savior comes! See - his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. They will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the Lord; and you will be called Sought After, the city no longer deserted.'"

Ruins, Rebellion, Repentance, Redemption
Sep 28 reading
Isaiah 63:11-66:24
More on Isaiah
Dictionary and Books
* A Refreshing Prayer,
David Legge
FACT: "Hear the word of the Lord, you who tremble at his word: 'Your brothers who hate you and exclude you because of my name have said, "Let the Lord be glorified, that we may see your joy!" Yet they will be put to shame.'" (66:5)
Consider the plans of the Lord, and how these prayers in scripture apply to later situations as well as to those during Isaiah's lifetime. Consider how the Lord later explained and revealed clearer meanings of these scriptures to His people.

After the house of Israel rebels against the Lord and grieves his Holy Spirit, He turns against his people in response. (see 63:7-10) But the Jews will remember the days of Moses. His people will remember specific times when the Lord with the Holy Spirit was with them, and they will ask where the Lord is now. Seeing the sanctuary (and later, the Messiah) trampled down by enemies of His people, Isaiah's prayer turns and joins current prayer for the Lord's return. (see 63:16-19) "Why, O Lord, do you make us wander from your ways and harden our hearts so we do not revere you? Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes that are your inheritance." (63:17) As the Lord's people remember the great things the Lord did during Moses' lifetime, they will watch for awesome and unexpected things to be done by the Messiah. The Lord acts on behalf of those who wait for him, who gladly do right, who remember His ways. (64:4-5) But all have sinned, and Israel's righteous acts are like filth, so how can anyone be saved? Israel stopped calling on the Lord's name. The Lord, though hidden, is still Israel's father, and He leaves instructions how to repent and how to plead with Him first to return and then to let them return to the promised land.

The Lord has called out and revealed Himself to those who weren't even looking for Him, after suffering the obstinance of Israel. There will be a continuing remnant of Israel who seek the Lord, but the ones who choose to forsake Him for other directions won't survive. The chosen people and the Lord's servants will clash, with the servants receiving blessings and another name from the Lord. [Is this name change what Paul of Tarsus later studies in Romans 9:26 quoting info from Hosea 1:10?] The God of Truth promises that past troubles will be forgotten. How? He has planned more new things (48:6-7) including new heavens and a new earth, when the God of Truth will create Jerusalem to be a delight, and its people a joy. "As the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people." The Lord will be so near that "before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear." (65:24) Death will be defeated.

"This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word." (66:2) Animal and grain sacrifices will be such an offense that for any who continue offering them, the Lord "will choose harsh treatment for them and will bring upon them what they dread." (66:3-4) Those whose evil is not answering when the Lord calls and not listening when He speaks will not know the new things He has revealed here, through Isaiah. The Lord's servants will be hated and excluded by their Jewish brothers who otherwise praise the Lord. But the Lord will put his enemies in the temple and in Jerusalem to shame. "Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn over her." (66:10) Peace will come to Jerusalem and when you see that, you'll rejoice and be comforted over her. The Lord's servants will see what He is doing and His glory, but those who oppose Him will see His fury in judgment of all mankind. The opposition leader will eat abominable pig and rat flesh. The Lord will set a sign and send some of the survivors to all the nations and distant islands who haven't seen the Lord's glory or heard of his fame. They will proclaim the Lord's glory all over the world, then bring all the gentile brothers to Jerusalem as an offering to the Lord. The Lord will pick some of these gentiles to be priests and Levites.

The new heavens and the new earth that the Lord makes will endure, and so will the Messiah's name and descendants. All mankind will come and bow down before the Lord, then go out and see all the dead bodies of the rebellion, unquenched and loathsome.

Tomorrow's scripture for September 29 Luke 1:1-2:24

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