Here Jesus laid bare the rationalization by which the Pharisees deceived themselves and other men regarding their covetousness. He also warned that t... Read more
Here Jesus laid bare the rationalization by which the Pharisees deceived themselves and other men regarding their covetousness. He also warned that the work He had come to do did not end the Law's demands for righteousness. In its fulfillment, the gospel of the kingdom would complete the way of faith for men to come into a right relationship with God, but it would not change God's requirement for holiness; rather, it would empower men through Jesus' atoning death and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to fulfill the moral law out of love. Those who persisted in setting the acquisition of material things above obedience to and love of God would find that neither the Law nor the gospel would vindicate them. Compare Matthew 5:17-19 and associated notes. Read less
Jesus builds on two principles here: first, that the habits built up in small decisions invariably affect more important decisions; and second, that t... Read more
Jesus builds on two principles here: first, that the habits built up in small decisions invariably affect more important decisions; and second, that the management of temporal wealth is a small thing compared to one's eternal destiny. Thus, the choice placed before every professing believer as to material things is whether God or wealth will take priority. One need not be rich to make the wrong choice or poor to make the right one; it is the principles by which one makes decisions regarding the use of what one has that reveal priorities, regardless of the amounts involved. See also Matthew 6:14 and associated notes. Read less
While the parables of the seeking shepherd, the searching woman, and the prodigal son were directed to the Pharisees and their adherents, the parable ... Read more
While the parables of the seeking shepherd, the searching woman, and the prodigal son were directed to the Pharisees and their adherents, the parable of the unrighteous manager was directed to Jesus' disciples and may or may not have been part of the same discourse. Here Jesus' focus was on the use of available resources. His purpose was not to condone dishonesty but to point out the importance of making prudent use of the wealth and resources we have while we have them. Just as those who are focused on material things are wise to make use of them to secure their futures in the present world, so those who are believers should make thoughtful use of what they have available with eternity and eternal relationships in mind. Read less
Though Hezekiah and his people were afraid on hearing the words of Sennacherib's envoy, recognizing that they had no power to remedy their situation, ... Read more
Though Hezekiah and his people were afraid on hearing the words of Sennacherib's envoy, recognizing that they had no power to remedy their situation, they did the right thing in turning to God. Isaiah reassured Hezekiah's delegation that God Himself would defend Jerusalem and cause Sennacherib to turn away from it, adding the prophecy that Sennacherib would die a violent death in his own country. Read less
A woman bearing a child in labor is in great pain, great distress. She does not think she will be able to bear the intensity of her suffering any lon... Read more
A woman bearing a child in labor is in great pain, great distress. She does not think she will be able to bear the intensity of her suffering any longer. But after the birth of the baby, all pain is forgotten, and she experiences nothing but joy!
In the same way, our life's journey on earth is full of pain and suffering, at times so intense that we don't think we will be able to endure. But our joy does come after our "labor" is over, when we are finally with the Lord! All the trials and tribulations are forgotten, and Jesus wipes away our tears!!!
(Inspired by Corrine's CR Testimony, given on 8-19-2014)
Thank you, Lord Jesus!! Read less
Isaiah prophesies against the wickedness of Judah in these verses and challenges them to put this wickedness behind them. Notice the reference to Deut... Read more
Isaiah prophesies against the wickedness of Judah in these verses and challenges them to put this wickedness behind them. Notice the reference to Deuteronomy 30:19 in verse 2 when Isaiah says, "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth:" Deuteronomy 30:19 ) says, "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:" Isaiah seems to be saying that the day about which Moses prophesied back in Deuteronomy 30 is just around the corner. Isaiah makes a sobering comparison between the wickedness of Judah and that of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19, in verses 9-10. He does make a differentiation; a remnant of Judah will be left. However, verses 11-15 make it clear that there was no shortage of the appearance of worship, yet God despised this fake reverence toward God. He says in verse 16, "Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;" God doesn't want religious looking people; he wants truly God-fearing committed people. No wonder prophets weren't popular back then. Isaiah is pleading with Judah in this passage to turn back to God or fall in verses 19-20. Zion (verse 8) is a reference to Jerusalem.
Isaiah doesn't cut the "faithful city" (Jerusalem) itself any slack. Notice the language of verse 21, "How is the faithful city become an harlot!" God frequently described Israel's worship of other gods as spiritual harlotry. In these verses, he describes their wickedness and their fall. Then, however, Isaiah begins to describe their restoration as the center of all the world's worship. While the time frame for these events were hidden to his original readers, we now know that the prophesied final fall took place in 586 B.C. (II Kings 24-25,. We further now know that there was no restoration as Isaiah prophesied up to the present time. This restoration will not be realized until the yet-future time we know as the millennium, which follows the seven years of tribulation
We'll see in Isaiah's writings a description of nearly everything prophetic including the first advent of Christ the Messiah, as well as his second return which is yet future to us. Read less
We find our most helpful information about Isaiah right here in Isaiah 1:1, "The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and ... Read more
We find our most helpful information about Isaiah right here in Isaiah 1:1, "The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah." So, here's what we know: Isaiah was God's prophet to the Southern Kingdom during the fall of the Northern Kingdom to the Assyrians and down through the reign of Hezekiah of the Southern Kingdom. You will recall that the Northern Kingdom never had a king that was right before God, and the Southern Kingdom sometimes did and sometimes did not. The Southern Kingdom (based in Jerusalem) survived until after Isaiah was dead. The Northern Kingdom fell to the Assyrians in 721/722 B.C. during the reign of King Hoshea of Israel (II Kings 17, see notes), and Jerusalem of the Southern Kingdom ultimately fell to the Babylonians (who had already conquered the Assyrians) in 586 B.C. (II Kings 24-25, see notes).
Isaiah prophesied from about 740 B.C (the year King Uzziah died). until at least 701 B.C., the year of the siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib; it is likely that Isaiah's prophetic ministry stretched to as late as 680 B.C. or so. He warned Judah (Southern Kingdom) that they were facing impending downfall. Isaiah was an advisor to Hezekiah during his reign, and Hezekiah was responsive to his advice. Note: Except for Jerusalem itself, the Southern Kingdom was conquered by the Assyrians under Sennacherib, although their hold weakened in the years leading up to Assyria's demise at the hands of the Babylonians Read less
Luke 8:18 "Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will... Read more
Luke 8:18 "Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away." (ESV)
Jesus often draws this contrast between those who, though unlearned in spiritual things, are catching on to what he is saying about the kingdom of heaven and those who should understand and think themselves learned but fail to really see.
To the latter he warns that they will go on from darkness to darkness as far as their spiritual understanding is concerned. To the former he promises deeper understanding. But isn't that true in every endeavor. The professor who thinks he knows it all can rarely be taught anything. He only becomes more arrogant. It is the person, professor or student, who will listen and apply himself to learn who will learn. There is hope for him.
Lord, keep me a learner with an open mind and heart to hear you - and to hear others. Let me not be satisfied with stereotypes and cliches that will only leave me more in the dark than before. I want to know you better. Don;t let me become satisfied with what I think I know. Read less