Isaiah 58–Fasting Like This Slows You Down

Chapter 58 reads like God is expressing a moment of complete exasperation. Picture the scene as the rabbi’s and the people are leaving synagogue;  everyone is saying Shalom and God Bless You and oh, yes, we are doing well.  Inside, their lives are shattered and empty because they are not getting the fulfillment from checking off the boxes in their Jewish religion.  God, the creator, the master of the universe is feeling completely at a loss.  

In His mind, it was never, is never, and will never be about checking the boxes.  In the Lord’s construct, it is always about the state of one’s heart.  God takes joy in our obedience–not, our sacrifice.  God does not care if you ever skip a meal–if you are loving Him and loving others. If you want to skip a meal, fine, but at least take it to someone that is hungry.  God says in short, if you want to be spiritual, I am grateful–but, do the right things and do them for the right reasons.  Feed the hungry, cloth the ones who need clothes. House the homeless, visit the sick and the lonely ones.

God is not taking attendance at church.  He is not putting stars by your name for religious endeavors.  God has always looked at our lives and our hearts and simply asked that we surrender both to His leadership.  If we will do that, the actions we do in His name will be real, heartfelt, and selfless–some would even say Christ like. That was the message from Isaiah on that Sabbath afternoon, and that is still the message thousands of years later.  “Please, My dear ones, trust and follow Me.  Don’t try to keep score–it is not a competition.  Simply lose yourselves in learning to be like Me and serving others–that is the fasting that will bless Me!!!

God Bless You


“Cry aloud, spare not;
Lift up your voice like a trumpet;
Tell My people their transgression,
And the house of Jacob their sins.
Yet they seek Me daily,
And delight to know My ways,
As a nation that did righteousness,
And did not forsake the ordinance of their God.
They ask of Me the ordinances of justice;
They take delight in approaching God.
‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen?
Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?’

“In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure,
And [b]exploit all your laborers.
Indeed you fast for strife and debate,
And to strike with the fist of wickedness.
You will not fast as you do this day,
To make your voice heard on high.
Is it a fast that I have chosen,
A day for a man to afflict his soul?
Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush,
And to spread out sackcloth and ashes?
Would you call this a fast,
And an acceptable day to the Lord?

Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the [c]heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are [d]cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.

“If you take away the yoke from your midst,
The [e]pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 If you extend your soul to the hungry
And satisfy the afflicted soul,
Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,
And your [f]darkness shall be as the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Isaiah 46–Serving a God You Do Not Have to Carry

Isaiah lays out the distinction between being the true God and being an idol.  In short, God says, “Do you want to worship a God that you make, or one that made you?”  He then draws the distinction of the choice.  The God’s that men make become a burden to their worshippers.  There is the cost of casting the idol.  That is not cheap.  Then there is the cost of moving and replacing the worn-out idols.  Then there is the space they take up…AND FOR WHAT??? They cannot hear you; they cannot answer you; they certainly cannot protect or restore you.


Conversely, God tells His people, “I have made you; I have carried you; I will sustain you from youth until you reach old age.  But you cannot place me on a shelf, nor can you control me.” An old axiom is that God created man in his own image, and men have been trying to return the favor ever since.  It is not our job to create, to control or even to figure out God.  He is the Creator, the Lord.  We are simply called to trust Him and follow Him.  If we will, He will carry us all the days of our lives.  It is however a choice we must make, both personally and daily.


From God’s perspective, men can choose to follow the God’s that they have created, or they can follow THE God that created them. Either choice has a trajectory and a cost. I am going to do as Joshua said in Joshua 24:15, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!!!”


God Bless You


Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low;
    their idols are borne by beasts of burden.[a]
The images that are carried about are burdensome,
    a burden for the weary.
They stoop and bow down together;
    unable to rescue the burden,
    they themselves go off into captivity.

“Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob,
    all the remnant of the people of Israel,
you whom I have upheld since your birth,
    and have carried since you were born.
Even to your old age and gray hairs
    I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
    I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

“With whom will you compare me or count me equal?
    To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?
Some pour out gold from their bags
    and weigh out silver on the scales;
they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god,
    and they bow down and worship it.
They lift it to their shoulders and carry it;
    they set it up in its place, and there it stands.
    From that spot it cannot move.
Even though someone cries out to it, it cannot answer;
    it cannot save them from their troubles.

“Remember this, keep it in mind,
    take it to heart, you rebels.
Remember the former things, those of long ago;
    I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is none like me.
10 I make known the end from the beginning,
    from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
    and I will do all that I please.’
11 From the east I summon a bird of prey;
    from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.
What I have said, that I will bring about;
    what I have planned, that I will do.
12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted,
    you who are now far from my righteousness.
13 I am bringing my righteousness near,
    it is not far away;
    and my salvation will not be delayed.
I will grant salvation to Zion,
    my splendor to Israel.

Isaiah 43 Part 1–The Gospel of Isaiah

Isaiah communicates one of the sweetest promises in the Bible to God’s chosen people.  First, the Lord makes clear who He is–I am the one who created you, who formed you; and, I am the one that has redeemed you.  In short, God is not a disinterested party!  As discussed throughout this book of Prophecy, History and promise–God desires most ardently to communicate to Israel and to those who have decided to be in relationship with Him.  The primary message is very simply I know you.I love you, and I will care for you.

The word pictures are so beautiful and specific.  I have summoned you by name and you are mine! Through flood and fire, you will be safe. I will bring you back literally from the corners of the earth. There is no price to high, no people more important than the ones I have chosen and have chosen Me.  God knew that what lay ahead for Israel and for the church would be difficult.  He wanted both to know that He would never leave or forsake them.

In our day, it is difficult to see that love from God.  All media, culture, and forces in the world would have us believe God is a crutch the weak use to cope.  But the loving Father that called out to Israel through Isaiah calls out to us in 2020–“I created and formed you! Do not fear, I have redeemed you. I have summoned you by name; you are Mine!”

In the most difficult of circumstance, we can cling to this truth that has stood for thousands of years.  God loves us and knows us like none other.  The world desires to use us and then cast us aside.  It only loves itself and makes no provision for the care of others.  That is why we must cling to the truth and gift of our faith.  Romans 10:9 says it best, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and if you believe God has raised Him from the dead–You will be saved.”  God wants us to trust Him and allow Him to have lordship of our lives.  He knows us and wants to lead us through this mess we call life!

God Bless You


But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
    Cush[a] and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
    nations in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
    I will bring your children from the east
    and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
    and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
    and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.”

Lead out those who have eyes but are blind,
    who have ears but are deaf.
All the nations gather together
    and the peoples assemble.
Which of their gods foretold this
    and proclaimed to us the former things?
Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right,
    so that others may hear and say, “It is true.”
10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,
    “and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
    and understand that I am he.
Before me, no god was formed,
    nor will there be one after me.

Isaiah 42 Part 1–The Character of God’s Chosen and of God

God made it clear to Isaiah that his chosen are people with character.  They do not whine or complain.  They are people of integrity that represent God well and represent themselves as separate and different.  They are selfless, content with God’s plan and leadership.  They will seek God with their heart.  They do not compromise or put their needs ahead of those of the Father.

As such, God takes them by the hand and leads them.  He protects, provides, and brings them to a place that they walk and act like the God that leads them.  Unlike the world, they are humble, honest and consider others needs as important as their own.  So as any good Father Adonai meet5s and exceeds the meeting of their needs.  He will never be outdone.  He answers prayers with such specificity and meets needs so completely that his power and authority is not an issue.

In our world, so many voices seek to undermine and minimize God’s hand in the world.  They would have one believe that either things happen by coincidence or at the expertise from their own hands. We must not be fooled by such a ridiculous lie.  One need only look up and see the stars to understand how insignificant our impact on the world.  We need to trust and follow God and allow him to complete his plan in our lives and in the lives of those we pass each day. Ours is not to try to figure it out God’s plan, but to simply allow Him to lead us along the path of this amazing journey.

God Bless You


Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
    my chosen, in whom my soul delights.
I have put my Spirit upon him.
    he will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
    or make it heard in the street.
a bruised reed he will not break,
    and a faintly burning wick he will not quench.
    he will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not grow faint or be discouraged[a]
    till he has established justice in the earth.
    and the coastlands wait for his law.

Thus says God, the Lord,
    who created the heavens and stretched them out?
    who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people on it?
    and spirit to those who walk in it:
“I am the Lord; I have called you[b] in righteousness.
    I will take you by the hand and keep you.
I will give you as a covenant for the people,
    a light for the nations,
    to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
    from the prison those who sit in darkness.
I am the Lord; that is my name.
    my glory I give to no other,
    nor my praise to carved idols.
Behold, the former things have come to pass,
    and new things I now declare.
before they spring forth
    I tell you of them.”

Isaiah 27–The Caretaker’s Love and Protection

If there was ever a prophecy that shared the heart of a Father, it is Isaiah’s prophecy in this chapter. God is going to punish those that punished His chosen. He would take the leviathan or serpent; and do to them what they did to His chosen.  The picture of leviathan comes from Baal mythology as the enemy that Baal defeated.  God was sending the message that not Baal–but the one true God was the defeater of the evil one–whether that is Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, or Satan himself–God would destroy all whom would damage the ones He loves.

The other part of the prophecy reminds us that while God does discipline those He loves; it is always the Lord’s intent to restore the chosen and nurture and protect them.  Isaiah’s imagery shows a passionate and loving caretaker.  The prophecy also speaks of the remnant’s return to peace and prosperity.  Isaiah draws a picture of a carefree child; peacefully resting in a safe and lovely place.  That is God’s plan and desire for a people that will humbly follow His lead.

In our time, we have seen the rise and fall of many empires.  We have seen nations trust God and as they did, they were blessed. Conversely, as they turned their backs on Him, chaos and destruction followed.  God wants to bless those that follow Him–whether a nation or a remnant, He loves His own.  We must be ready to trust and follow the Lord in all seasons and circumstance.  If we will, He will bless us and walk with us through great and difficult times.  As the old hymn says–trust and obey, there is no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. 

God Bless You


 In that day the Lord with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea.

In that day,
“A pleasant vineyard,[a] sing of it!
    I, the Lord, am its keeper;
    every moment I water it.
    Lest anyone punish it,
I keep it night and day;
    I have no wrath.
Would that I had thorns and briers to battle!
    I would march against them,
    I would burn them up together.
Or let them lay hold of my protection,
    let them make peace with me,
    let them make peace with me.”

In days to come[b] Jacob shall take root,
    Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots
    and fill the whole world with fruit.

Has he struck them as he struck those who struck them?
    Or have they been slain as their slayers were slain?
Measure by measure,[c] by exile you contended with them;
    he removed them with his fierce breath[d] in the day of the east wind.
Therefore by this the guilt of Jacob will be atoned for,
    and this will be the full fruit of the removal of his sin:[e]
when he makes all the stones of the altars
    like chalkstones crushed to pieces,
    no Asherim or incense altars will remain standing.
10 For the fortified city is solitary,
    a habitation deserted and forsaken, like the wilderness;
there the calf grazes;
    there it lies down and strips its branches.
11 When its boughs are dry, they are broken;
    women come and make a fire of them.
For this is a people without discernment;
    therefore he who made them will not have compassion on them;
    he who formed them will show them no favor.

12 In that day from the river Euphrates[f] to the Brook of Egypt the Lord will thresh out the grain, and you will be gleaned one by one, O people of Israel. 13 And in that day a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were lost in the land of Assyria and those who were driven out to the land of Egypt will come and worship the Lord on the holy mountain at Jerusalem.

Isaiah 14 Part 2–Pride, the Common Denominator

In this passage, Isaiah is describing the fall of the king of Babylon.  In his description, Isaiah parallels the fall to the fall of Satan. Ezekiel does a similar description in his prophecy about the king of Tyre (Ezekiel 28:12-17). The common theme is very simple, the pride and arrogance of these “great ones” are the very things that brings them down.  It is no secret that God establishes and destroys kingdoms, empires, and leaders.  In Daniel 2, John 19, Romans 13, I Timothy 2, and 1 Peter 2 God makes clear that He is the one that establishes governments.

In this passage, Isaiah reminds the king of Babylon that his pride and arrogance will be his demise–just as it was for the morning star–Satan.  There is a common axiom that states, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  That was why God always sought to lead Israel–He knew men would fall into pride and arrogance as they obtained power. Since Lucifer, God watched leaders let their personal arrogance seduce them into forgetting their place was established by God and once that occurred, chaos and destruction followed. 1/3 of the angels were cast out of heaven with the morning star.  The handwriting was on the wall for the king of Babylon.  Throughout time, leaders have risen and fallen simply by chasing the intoxicating feeling of power and control. It never lasts.  It is simply an illusion, a mirage sparkling in the distance that ends up being a desert.

Solomon, the wisest king, said it best in Proverbs 3, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding.  Acknowledge the Lord in all your ways–and He will make your path straight.”  God sets the path and trajectory–we can choose to follow it or refuse and strike out on our own.  The former brings life and peace, and the latter brings chaos and destruction. Please pray for our country and its leaders; pray that they will realize this truth.

God Bless You


The realm of the dead below is all astir
    to meet you at your coming;
it rouses the spirits of the departed to greet you—
    all those who were leaders in the world;
it makes them rise from their thrones—
    all those who were kings over the nations.
10 They will all respond,
    they will say to you,
“You also have become weak, as we are;
    you have become like us.”
11 All your pomp has been brought down to the grave,
    along with the noise of your harps;
maggots are spread out beneath you
    and worms cover you.

12 How you have fallen from heaven,
    morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
    you who once laid low the nations!
13 You said in your heart,
    “I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
    above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
    on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.[b]
14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
    I will make myself like the Most High.”
15 But you are brought down to the realm of the dead,
    to the depths of the pit.

2 Chronicles 32–Isaiah the Prayer Warrior

Oswald Chambers once said, “Prayer is not the preparation for the greater work ; it is the greater work. Prayer is not the preparation for a battle, Prayer is the battle.” One of the great stories of the Bible is this story when Isaiah and Hezekiah’s prayed and trusted God while Judah’s armies were outmanned and out armed by the Assyrian Army. The king of Assyria sent messengers all over the land boasting that he was going to invade Judah and destroy it as he had so many other kingdoms.  Assyria’s king scoffed at God and said in short, “I will run roughshod over your God as I have so many others.” Isaiah and Hezekiah prayed, and God sent an angel that cut off all the armies and commanders from the camp sending the Assyrian king home in shame and soon after to his death in disgrace.
 
Hezekiah did not have to raise a finger in the battle, he and Isaiah simply had to bow the knee and take the need to God in prayer.  As a prophet and historian, Isaiah saw the difference between following the lord and following selfish pride.  Isaiah knew that God wanted to bless His people, but he refused to ignore and honor their sinful ways.  As such, he counseled the king to trust in God and the king listened and trusted God–it worked.  Hezekiah had a great reign and became both prosperous and powerful as God’s king of Judah.
 
In our lives, we must never stop seeking God.  We cannot allow the circumstances of the day to rob us of our faith and trust in Him.  Like Isaiah and Hezekiah–we must be prayer warriors and allow God to complete the work He starts in our lives.  In short, we cannot forsake prayer.  We cannot cease studying His word, and we cannot take our eyes of God and focus on the world and its culture.  God remains the Alpha and the Omega, the Mighty God, and the everlasting Father.  He never tires in hearing from us and walking with us through this amazing journey.
 
God Bless You
 

And his servants said still more against the Lord God and against his servant Hezekiah. 17 And he wrote letters to cast contempt on the Lord, the God of Israel, and to speak against him, saying, “Like the gods of the nations of the lands who have not delivered their people from my hands, so the God of Hezekiah will not deliver his people from my hand.” 18 And they shouted it with a loud voice in the language of Judah to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall, to frighten and terrify them, in order that they might take the city. 19 And they spoke of the God of Jerusalem as they spoke of the gods of the peoples of the earth, which are the work of men’s hands.

The Lord Delivers Jerusalem

20 Then Hezekiah the king and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, prayed because of this and cried to heaven. 21 And the Lord sent an angel, who cut off all the mighty warriors and commanders and officers in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he came into the house of his god, some of his own sons struck him down there with the sword. 22 So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of all his enemies, and he provided for them on every side. 23 And many brought gifts to the Lord to Jerusalem and precious things to Hezekiah king of Judah, so that he was exalted in the sight of all nations from that time onward.

2 Chronicles 26/Isaiah 6–Isaiah the Historian

Isaiah was known as the most amazing prophet and evangelist in the Old Testament, but the bible also identified him as a historian.  At the end of the reign of Uzziah, a once mighty and holy king–Uzziah went into the Holy of Holies to burn incense.  The priests begged him not to do such an evil and prideful act, but he was adamant.  When he touched the incense, he was immediately struck with leprosy and lived out the rest of his days alone and outside the palace.  Meanwhile, his son began to reign. 
 
In this chapter, as a close to Uzziah’s story, it states that Isaiah was the historian to chronicle all the acts of Uzziah from 1st to last.  Then, as we begin the actual story of Isaiah’s call to be God’s prophet, it proclaims Isaiah’s vision to come just after the death of Uzziah.  God not only gave Isaiah the vision of what was to become of Israel and the coming Messiah, he also gave Isaiah the picture of what a godly king looked like and how easily such a king could go astray.  Finally, the Lord gave His prophet a historical view of Judah to prepare him for the messages he would bring about God’s people and the coming Messiah.
 
God prepares His folks for their missions.  Every journey, while different, has the quality of making us ready to face the trials and duties we are called to fulfill.  Isaiah had a big job; he was to give Israel the message of what was to come. He was uniquely qualified to do that.  As we look at our lives, we must also look at the gifts and experiences God has allowed us to face and make sure we leverage our unique preparation to be all that God has called us to be.  It is never easy, and always God honoring when we follow the path that God has laid out. We must be confident that as we trust and follow God, He will lead us in a way to use all He has given us to complete His plan.
 
God Bless You

Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, from first to last, Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz wrote. 23 And Uzziah slept with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the burial field that belonged to the kings, for they said, “He is a leper.” And Jotham his son reigned in his place.
Isaiah 6
 

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train[a] of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.
the whole earth is full of his glory!

2 Kings 19–Please Welcome Isaiah

The prophet Isaiah is first mentioned in the Bible as the Prophet during the reign of Hezekiah.  Hezekiah was a good king that sought the Lord.    In this story, foreign kings are plotting the invasion of Jerusalem.  Hezekiah calls upon Isaiah to pray for them and to seek God’s will regarding the battle.  Isaiah had been in the role of God’s prophet for 40 years by this time.  
 
Interestingly, Hezekiah was seeking God on behalf of the people not on his own behalf. Also, Hezekiah was angry that the foreign king blasphemed God–not that the Kingdom was at risk. So, he sent the note to Isaiah to pray for the people.  Isaiah did as he was asked; but he also quickly reassured the king that God, not the armies of Hezekiah, would defeat the foreign king.  
 
It had to have been difficult to be God’s man in a Godless kingdom.  Most of Isaiah’s service was just that. He began after the death of Uzziah–a great king that ended very poorly as a Leper and outcast. and served 4 kings, and dying at the hands of Manasseh, a very evil king.   Hezekiah was the lone king that sought the Lord and, as such, he had a great reign. Isaiah a prophet for 40 years was glad to serve him and glad to pray.
 
In our world, we are asked to serve God whether conditions are ideal, or they are not.  Our responsibility is to seek the Lord in whatever circumstance and follow His lead. In this journey, we need to stay focused upon who we are in Christ, and whose we are in the light of eternity. We need not be strong and then give up at the end–like Uzziah, nor do we need to ignore God and take control of our own destiny like the other kings.  We, like Isaiah and Hezekiah, need to seek God and allow him to battle for us.
 
God Bless You 

When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and went into the temple of the Lord. He sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary and the leading priests, all wearing sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. They told him, “This is what Hezekiah says: This day is a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the moment of birth and there is no strength to deliver them. It may be that the Lord your God will hear all the words of the field commander, whom his master, the king of Assyria, has sent to ridicule the living God, and that he will rebuke him for the words the Lord your God has heard. Therefore, pray for the remnant that still survives.”

When King Hezekiah’s officials came to Isaiah, Isaiah said to them, “Tell your master, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard—those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Listen! When he hears a certain report, I will make him want to return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.’”

Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.

17 “It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. 18 They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. 19 Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God.”

Isaiah Prophesies Sennacherib’s Fall

20 Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I have heard your prayer concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria. 21 This is the word that the Lord has spoken against him:


22 Who is it you have ridiculed and blasphemed?
Against whom have you raised your voice
and lifted your eyes in pride?
Against the Holy One of Israel!
23 By your messengers
you have ridiculed the Lord.

25 “‘Have you not heard?
Long ago I ordained it.
In days of old I planned it;
now I have brought it to pass,
that you have turned fortified cities
into piles of stone.
26 …

27 “‘But I know where you are
and when you come and go
and how you rage against me.
28 Because you rage against me
and because your insolence has reached my ears,
I will put my hook in your nose
and my bit in your mouth,
and I will make you return
by the way you came.’

29 “This will be the sign for you, Hezekiah:

“This year you will eat what grows by itself,
and the second year what springs from that.
But in the third year sow and reap,
plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
30 Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah
will take root below and bear fruit above.
31 For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant,
and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors.

“The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

32 “Therefore this is what the Lord says concerning the king of Assyria:

“‘He will not enter this city
or shoot an arrow here.
He will not come before it with shield
or build a siege ramp against it.
33 By the way that he came he will return;
he will not enter this city,
declares the Lord.
34 I will defend this city and save it,
for my sake and for the sake of David my servant.’”

35 That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! 36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there.

Joshua 24–As for Me and My House

How do you say good-bye when you feel the job is not done?  I am sure every leader feels the same way Joshua felt as he delivered his last speech to the people of Israel.  You can hear the pain and angst in his tone as he reaffirms God’s covenant to Israel and Israel’s Covenant to God. 

Joshua was old and wise.  He knew the personality of this people.  They had served flawlessly through the campaign to clear the promised Land.  Now, however, he knew they would grow comfortable in homes they did not build and gathering crops they did not sew.

So, Joshua delivers the iconic line that has reverberated throughout time and lives above the doorposts, on mantles, framed on walls all over the world–Joshua 24:15, “Choose this day whom you will serve…As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” In truth, since their capture of Israel, the people of Israel have struggled with that simple but penetrating concept.  They have always acknowledged the Lord, but they have opted to serve the cool and trendy gods of the land and of the times.  Joshua knew that would be a problem for Israel and frankly for us as well. 

As life gets more comfortable, it becomes less obvious that we depend upon the Lord for our very subsistence and lives. We begin to venture out on our own and try to do life separate from God, all the while acknowledging his presence and authority. While it is a preposterous undertaking, it is one people have taken on for millennia.

Joshua knew that and as he was turning over the leadership and joining Moses in death, he wanted to reiterate the cost of forsaking God. 

In our lives, we cannot lose sight of the cost of leaving our first love–Jesus, to pursue the gods of our age. We must follow Him closely and love Him deeply. Like the people of Israel, we must choose this day whom we will serve–As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!

God Bless You


Then Joshua assembled all the tribes of Israel at Shechem. He summoned the elders, leaders, judges and officials of Israel, and they presented themselves before God.

Joshua said to all the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Long ago your ancestors, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River and worshiped other gods. But I took your father Abraham from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him throughout Canaan and gave him many descendants. I gave him Isaac, and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. I assigned the hill country of Seir to Esau, but Jacob and his family went down to Egypt.

“‘Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I afflicted the Egyptians by what I did there, and I brought you out. When I brought your people out of Egypt, you came to the sea, and the Egyptians pursued them with chariots and horsemen[a] as far as the Red Sea.[b] But they cried to the Lord for help, and he put darkness between you and the Egyptians; he brought the sea over them and covered them. You saw with your own eyes what I did to the Egyptians. Then you lived in the wilderness for a long time.

“‘I brought you to the land of the Amorites who lived east of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I gave them into your hands. I destroyed them from before you, and you took possession of their land. When Balak son of Zippor, the king of Moab, prepared to fight against Israel, he sent for Balaam son of Beor to put a curse on you. 10 But I would not listen to Balaam, so he blessed you again and again, and I delivered you out of his hand.

11 “‘Then you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The citizens of Jericho fought against you, as did also the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, but I gave them into your hands. 12 I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you—also the two Amorite kings. You did not do it with your own sword and bow. 13 So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.’

14 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” 16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods! 17 It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our parents up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. 18 And the Lord drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites, who lived in the land. We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God.”

19 Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. 20 If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.”

21 But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the Lord.”

22 Then Joshua said, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the Lord.”

“Yes, we are witnesses,” they replied.

23 “Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.”

24 And the people said to Joshua, “We will serve the Lord our God and obey him.”

25 On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people, and there at Shechem he reaffirmed for them decrees and laws. 26 And Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the Lord.

27 “See!” he said to all the people. “This stone will be a witness against us. It has heard all the words the Lord has said to us. It will be a witness against you if you are untrue to your God.”

28 Then Joshua dismissed the people, each to their own inheritance.