Luke 24–The Resurrection

It should have come as no surprise…Jesus rose from the dead just as He had promised. Oh, who are we kidding.  It was an amazing miracle that was almost impossible to believe, unless you had been there.  The women went to the tomb to prep the body for the long term stay in the grave; only to be met by angels reporting Jesus was no longer there. Then Peter ran to the tomb to find the graveclothes lying in a pile like yesterday’s laundry.  It had to be a mixture of terror and elation.  This Messiah had been killed.  they took the body down and placed it in the tomb merely days before.  Now, on this Sunday morning, when the week was to begin, Jesus was up and out.  In Luke’s account, we do not get the privilege of knowing guards had been stationed.  We do not read of the women seeing Jesus in the garden. (See Matthew 28).

Jesus’ resurrection was important and well documented. The faith of those that followed Jesus had been shaken to the core, but their love for Him and faith in His teachings led them back to seeing His completing His mission. As the writer of Hebrews reminds us, faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the confidence in things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 ESV). That faith, while challenged, never left Jesus’ followers.  In fact, it would transform them from cowering refugees to world-changing evangelists and teachers. While they hid from punishment before, now they would face martyrdom and persecution until they were called Home.

We need to cling to the same faith that led his followers to the resurrection. Jesus would and did complete the mission.  That was truly not in question.  The entire history of the Bible confirmed that God accomplishes His plan in His time.  We must embrace the writer of Hebrews definition of faith, “confidence in things hoped for and assurance of things not seen”. When we do, we will better face the broken world and our personal trials and struggles.  Hebrews 11:6 says it best, “Without faith it is impossible to please God!” We cannot complete enough tasks, nor can we behave well enough to be redeemed by our own actions. 

We, like the disciples, must rely on the truth of His word to see His hand in our lives.  As we trust Him, Jesus will transform us into His image and prepare us for an eternity with our Lord.

God Bless You


On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.

When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

Luke 12 Part 2–Wealth and Fools

God Has never worried Himself with riches.  He blesses some with much wealth, and others He provides just enough each day.  As Israel traveled through the desert for 40 years, He gave them enough manna for the day, and no more.  As a result, when they entered Israel, they easily trusted God as He had provided what they needed for a generation.  In this passage, Luke tells of the parable of the rich fool.  He had so much wealth that he had no place to store it.  Rather than help those in need or give some back to God, he decided he would simply hoard it by tearing down his barns and build bigger ones.  God shook His head…You fool, don’t you know your life will be demanded of you tonight?!!?

We need to depend upon God for our provision.  When we become secure in our own wealth, abilities, or knowledge–it causes us to discount our daily dependence upon the Lord.  As we grow independent of God, we lose sight of who we are and Whose we are.  When that happens, sin takes over and we spiral out of control.  History is full of people that started walking closely with God, but then allowed their personal success to become a wedge between them and God.  Paul wrote, “I have learned to be content in all circumstances–whether well fed or hungry; living in plenty or in want, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Phil 4:12-13

God uses wealth as a tool to advance His plan.  When God blesses one with wealth, He simply asks that it be used wisely and hold on to loosely.  As with Israel, In the end hoarded riches are foolish. There are no U-Hauls in Heaven.  Great stewardship and generosity are hallmarks of those God blesses.  It is man’s ability to recognize God’s provision, no matter how much or how little he possess, that is the true blessing.  Help me, Lord, to be content with Your daily provision.

God Bless You


Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

Luke 12 Part 1–Perspective and Persecution

It was a difficult day for the Lord.  The crowds were great, the pharisees had committed to getting rid of Jesus and so at every turn Jesus had to confront the pressure of the crowds and attacks of the pharisees.  Still during the chaos and craziness, Jesus stops to give perspective on what lay ahead.  First, Jesus warned His followers to be real and transparent.  He reminded them that the religious leaders looked great on the outside, but their hypocrisy is what pervaded their lives.  They lived as if it was all hidden, but God sees it all and will reveal it.

Next, Jesus gave them a stark perspective–they need not worry about those that would threaten death or injury, that is all they have.  The one to fear is the one that controls what comes after death.  In short, trust God that controls your eternity, not men that control this short present time.  Remember, Jesus said, God cares for grass and sparrows, how much more will He care for His chosen.  So, when you are persecuted, Jesus warned, do not be fearful–God’s spirit will encourage and direct you.  Jesus knew the time had come when the dynamic had changed from Rockstar to savior.  His mission was now to prepare the Disciples to change the world.  He was transparent, He wanted them to know that things were going to be difficult.  As such, they needed to be ready to face what was coming.

The same holds true today.  As a Church, we have enjoyed peaceful worship and unfettered access to God’s Word, His leadership, His community, and His protection.  The time is coming, however, where that will no longer be the case.  In this time, we see constant pushes to restrict worship and the free practice of our faith.  Jesus is reminding us, as He did His guys, we need not worry about persecution, all they can do is kill our bodies. 

We need to focus upon eternity, and on our walk with God–not on those who would deny us our right to worship freely.  It is no small thing to realize that the world hates people of faith.  As the world walks away from God, we must expect His withdrawing His hand of protection, and we must be ready to defend our faith with all we have and are.  In that, however, we can trust God to provide what we need at any given moment.  Look at the sparrows and the flowers–right?!!

God Bless You


Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be[a] on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

“I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God. 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

11 “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

Luke 11 Part 1–Praying Made Perfect

Prayer is not the preparation for the greater work, prayer is the greater work.  Jesus was praying and His disciples were confused.  So, they asked for direction.  Seems fair, He was, after all, the great Rabbi.  So, Jesus broke it down for them.

First, He made it personal.  Father, not “Oh Great and Mighty One that inhabits the Heavenlies!”  Jesus wanted His chosen to understand that their relationship with God was personal. 

Next Jesus helped the guys to see that God was not a cosmic piggy bank.  He started by showing God respect and speaking words of adoration and reverence.  He acknowledged God’s kingdom and will–were supreme. 

Next Jesus acknowledged that it was God that meets one’s physical and spiritual needs.  Give us our daily bread and forgive us our trespass, AS WE FORGIVE THOSE that have wronged us.

Finally, Jesus closes with asking for direction–in the Matthew version, He also closes with a renewed acknowledgement that God was large and IN-Charge!

The magic really happens after the prayer, though.  Jesus imparts some of the most critical wisdom after the prayer.  In short, He helps His disciples to understand Who God really is.  What decent person when asked for something won’t respond just to get you off their back!–BE Tenacious.  What dad when you ask for something you need; would give you something harmful?  Jesus wanted these men to know that God is a Father filled with a desire to make them their best; but, also, to love and care for them unconditionally.

These men were going to change the world, but they had to trust God and see their relationship with Him as personal, not national. So, do we! Jesus’ model prayer was designed to show them and us our relationship and power–if we follow God.  I learned many years ago about the ACTS prayer model.  Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.  First, we acknowledge God’s greatness and supremacy.  Next, we must acknowledge we miss the mark and need God’s forgiveness. Then, we need to look at what God has done and simply thank Him for that.  Finally, with the right heart, we need to tenaciously ask God for what we need–big and small, as we would any loving father.  We need to be confident that God loves us and wants the best for us.

Prayer is so much more about our attitude than our words.  It is talking to God as a Father, and not as an aloof cosmic being.  His entire reason for creating us and sacrificing the Lord, was to be in personal relationship and fellowship with us. Let’s make 2021 the year we embrace that and follow Him closely, humbly, and believing He has this life under control!

God Bless You


 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

He said to them, “When you pray, say:

“‘Father,[a]
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.[b]
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
    for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.[c]
And lead us not into temptation.[d]’”

Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity[e] he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[f] a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Luke 10 Part 1–Sending out the Teams

Jesus’s ministry was growing.  He sent out 36 teams to prepare for his visits.  He taught then the importance of walking by faith.  Take no food and make no arrangements in advance.  The disciples were to experience ministry on the front line.  Jesus knew they would be rejected by some.  Jesus wanted to teach His folks that rejection of them was more accurately rejection of the Lord.  They need not give it a second thought.  So as Jesus sent them out, He armed them with peace and courage. 

Now, these thousands of years later, He is still sending us out.  He is still arming us with peace and courage.  Jesus is still reminding us that when our message is rejected it is at Jesus and not us that rejection is aimed.  He also still wants His chosen to remember He is with us always.  He is faithful to supply all our needs.  We are His workmanship, and we need to follow Him closely.  If we will; this journey will have purpose and make sense.  Otherwise, we will wander aimlessly to an empty conclusion.

God Bless You


After this the Lord appointed seventy-two[a] others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

“When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

Isaiah 62–A Prophet’s Prayer

It is difficult to be gifted with the gift of prophecy.  Prophecy has two parts: foretelling the future and forthtelling the truth.  In part, many admire and are amazed at the accuracy of Isaiah’s prophecies about Jesus and about Israel.  Remember, at the time of these prophecies, Jerusalem, was prosperous and proud.  They were very sacrosanct and holy–they were just ignoring God.  They were checking boxes like mad, but had no heart for their Creator, Savior, and Provider.

Israel, like most still loved themselves more than God.  They did not mind making God a part of their lives as long as He did not interfere.  That is why much of Isaiah’s prophecy is simply calling them out for their sins of commission and omission. Here in chapter 62, We are blessed to see this prophet’s love for God and God’s chosen.  He personally prayed for their restoration.  for the return of their name and dignity.  The normally blunt and harsh prophet is now bearing his broken heart for these people, God’s Chosen.

We are also His chosen.  Isaiah wants us to also enjoy the blessing and restoration that is due God’s people.  When we trust the Lord as our savior, He will bring us into His family and, like Israel, will gather us and care for us.  This world is not our home.  We are being prepared for an eternal life in God’s presence.  Here there will be no fear, no darkness, no tears, and no regrets.  We will be new creations in the Heavenlies, in God’s loving family.  Like the Israel described in this passage, we will be restored and renewed in the image of our Lord.  What an amazing promise and gift.

God Bless You


Because I love Zion,
    I will not keep still.
Because my heart yearns for Jerusalem,
    I cannot remain silent.
I will not stop praying for her
    until her righteousness shines like the dawn,
    and her salvation blazes like a burning torch.
The nations will see your righteousness.
    World leaders will be blinded by your glory.
And you will be given a new name
    by the Lord’s own mouth.
The Lord will hold you in his hand for all to see—
    a splendid crown in the hand of God.
Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City”[a]
    or “The Desolate Land.”[b]
Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight”[c]
    and “The Bride of God,”[d]
for the Lord delights in you
    and will claim you as his bride.
Your children will commit themselves to you, O Jerusalem,
    just as a young man commits himself to his bride.
Then God will rejoice over you
    as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride.

O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls;
    they will pray day and night, continually.
    Take no rest, all you who pray to the Lord.
Give the Lord no rest until he completes his work,
    until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth.
The Lord has sworn to Jerusalem by his own strength:
    “I will never again hand you over to your enemies.
Never again will foreign warriors come
    and take away your grain and new wine.
You raised the grain, and you will eat it,
    praising the Lord.
Within the courtyards of the Temple,
    you yourselves will drink the wine you have pressed.”

10 Go out through the gates!
    Prepare the highway for my people to return!
Smooth out the road; pull out the boulders;
    raise a flag for all the nations to see.
11 The Lord has sent this message to every land:
    “Tell the people of Israel,[e]
‘Look, your Savior is coming.
    See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.’”
12 They will be called “The Holy People”
    and “The People Redeemed by the Lord.”
And Jerusalem will be known as “The Desirable Place”
    and “The City No Longer Forsaken.”

Isaiah 53–He May Have Endured my Pain, But Don’t Call Me Shirley

This is the most beautiful and specific prophecy about the coming Messiah.  It has been the verse for some of the most beautiful music.  It describes in such detail the sacrifice made by our Lord.  We often forget the level of pain and degradation that the Lord Jesus suffered on our behalf.  In Philippians 2, we are told to have the same attitude as Christ. Who being God, already did not need to attain immortality or authority over all. Yet out of Love for us, He emptied Himself of His Godhood and became a man.  Being in human form He humbled Himself and became obedient to Death–a death on the cross.

Isaiah’s description of the Lord’s sacrifice goes to the very heart of that.  He was GOD! he created the universe. So, to live humbly as a carpenter and then an itinerant Rabbi was quite a step down.  Then to spread the message of the Father’s Love and desire for relationship with us; only to be at odds with the leadership of HIS chosen people…not easy to take. Finally, to heal, raise the dead, feed the masses, and cast out the enemy; knowing all the time these people would demand His execution, uugh. 

It was the most beautiful way for God to demonstrate His love for us.  For Isaiah, well he had the first preview of what would become the greatest event in history.  He saw the thing that would, in fact divide time.  He forecast this life hundreds of years before as if he was watching it in HD.  That is why we should trust God.  He created us and a plan to save us despite our wicked nature. What a prophet and what an evangelist. Thank You Lord, for the prophetic markers to remind us of our Lord’s love and sacrifice for us!

God Bless You


Who has believed our message
    and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
    and like a root out of dry ground.
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 mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
    for the transgression of my people he was punished.[b]
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
    and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
    nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
    and though the Lord makes[c] his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
    and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
    he will see the light of life[d] and be satisfied[e];
by his knowledge[f] my righteous servant will justify many,
    and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,[g]
    and he will divide the spoils with the strong,[h]
because he poured out his life unto death,
    and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
    and made intercession for the transgressors.

Isaiah 46–God’s Installation of Leaders

Isaiah prophecies the coming and taking of the Babylonian empire by Cyress, the King of the Medes and Persians. Interestingly, this is well prior to the Israel exile to Babylon.  The important take away is the reminder that God has a plan and that He is the one executing the plan.  Israel’s fate was sealed. They had abandoned the Lord and were destined to be exiled. In that pain, God had already planned for their release and return to Jerusalem.  

Cyress was no preist or prophet from God, He did neither honor God nor worship Him.  Still, God knew He would be the king that released the exiled Jews to return and rebuild Jerusalem.  God has said all along that he installed and removed leaders.  We simply must trust that God’s plan is being completed.  We can neither outthink nor outguess God. Solomon said it best in Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not lean on your own understanding. Acknowledge God in all your ways, and , He will make your paths straight.”

America is in a singularly difficult period in its history.  So much division and so much distrust.  The Church is being called upon to pray ceaselessly for God to work His plan and heal our Land.  We cannot be timid, nor can we expect anyone else to intercede for this nation and its people.  Join in prayer for the revival of this nation and for peace in our land.  We cannot give up on meeting together and seeking God with all our hearts.  If we will, we can echo the words of Jonathan, Saul’s son, in I Samuel 14:6, when he told his armor bearer, “Let’s go to battle, perhaps the Lord will work for us.”

God Bless You


“This is what the Lord says to his anointed,
    to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of
to subdue nations before him
    and to strip kings of their armor,
to open doors before him
    so that gates will not be shut:
I will go before you
    and will level the mountains[a];
I will break down gates of bronze
    and cut through bars of iron.
I will give you hidden treasures,
    riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the Lord,
    the God of Israel, who summons you by name.
For the sake of Jacob my servant,
    of Israel my chosen,
I summon you by name
    and bestow on you a title of honor,
    though you do not acknowledge me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other;
    apart from me there is no God.
I will strengthen you,
    though you have not acknowledged me,
so that from the rising of the sun
    to the place of its setting
people may know there is none besides me.
    I am the Lord, and there is no other.
I form the light and create darkness,
    I bring prosperity and create disaster;
    I, the Lord, do all these things.

“You heavens above, rain down my righteousness;
    let the clouds shower it down.
Let the earth open wide,
    let salvation spring up,
let righteousness flourish with it;
    I, the Lord, have created it.

“Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker,
    those who are nothing but potsherds
    among the potsherds on the ground.
Does the clay say to the potter,
    ‘What are you making?’
Does your work say,
    ‘The potter has no hands’?
10 Woe to the one who says to a father,
    ‘What have you begotten?’
or to a mother,
    ‘What have you brought to birth?’

11 “This is what the Lord says—
    the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker:
Concerning things to come,
    do you question me about my children,
    or give me orders about the work of my hands?
12 It is I who made the earth
    and created mankind on it.
My own hands stretched out the heavens;
    I marshaled their starry hosts.
13 I will raise up Cyrus[b] 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.”

Isaiah 45–The Lordship Of Almighty God

Isaiah brings forth a clear and bold statement from the Lord. It is not complex; it is not controversial; it is simply the truth.  I am the Lord God. In context for the world, Lord is the key word.  So many nations worship so many things. Yet , during that, God remains the Lord of all.  He raises and levels kings, kingdoms, and empires. As the creator of all that is, God could and has simply wiped it all out. 

God has been amazingly patient in his handling of men and specifically His own.  Israel’s and Christians’ pride and sin have resulted in so many lost blessings.  He has had to allow sin to take its toll. The result has been loss of freedom, of prosperity, and loss of life. None has ever thrilled the Father. In retrospect, however, God has done everything possible to reach out and restore salvation to His chosen.

Satan, in many forms has always looked to undermine God’s plan.  Each life and period of history where people have abandoned God, it not only breaks the Lord’s heart, but it also fuels sin and despair among those for whom He sacrificed all to redeem.  God will not be mocked.  He does not ignore our choices and sin.  Instead, He trusts His son Jesus to separate the sheep from goats. Accepting into fellowship sheep and not goats.

All we like sheep have gone astray–but God demonstrates His love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8.  It is our responsibility to trust Him and follow Him closely.  We do that by seeking the Lord out in word and in prayer.  To be effective, we must accept Jesus as LORD and Savior.  That will change everything; it gives us eternal life with God and restores the relationship the enemy so ardently desires to quash.

Do not be afraid of the Lordship of God–Like any father, our Lord, Adonai always wants an abundant life for us here and for eternity.  We simply have to look at what He has done and trust that God can repeat it in our lives.

God Bless You


“This is what the Lord says to his anointed,
    to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of
to subdue nations before him
    and to strip kings of their armor,
to open doors before him
    so that gates will not be shut:
I will go before you
    and will level the mountains[a];
I will break down gates of bronze
    and cut through bars of iron.
I will give you hidden treasures,
    riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the Lord,
    the God of Israel, who summons you by name.
For the sake of Jacob my servant,
    of Israel my chosen,
I summon you by name
    and bestow on you a title of honor,
    though you do not acknowledge me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other;
    apart from me there is no God.
I will strengthen you,
    though you have not acknowledged me,
so that from the rising of the sun
    to the place of its setting
people may know there is none besides me.
    I am the Lord, and there is no other.
I form the light and create darkness,
    I bring prosperity and create disaster;
    I, the Lord, do all these things.

“You heavens above, rain down my righteousness;
    let the clouds shower it down.
Let the earth open wide,
    let salvation spring up,
let righteousness flourish with it;
    I, the Lord, have created it.

“Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker,
    those who are nothing but potsherds
    among the potsherds on the ground.
Does the clay say to the potter,
    ‘What are you making?’
Does your work say,
    ‘The potter has no hands’?
10 Woe to the one who says to a father,
    ‘What have you begotten?’
or to a mother,
    ‘What have you brought to birth?’

11 “This is what the Lord says—
    the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker:
Concerning things to come,
    do you question me about my children,
    or give me orders about the work of my hands?
12 It is I who made the earth
    and created mankind on it.
My own hands stretched out the heavens;
    I marshaled their starry hosts.
13 I will raise up Cyrus[b] 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.”

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.