Isaiah 45–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 18-21–Isaiah, The World’s Prophet

Isaiah saw from God’s perspective the fate of the world in which he lived.  Not only was he an evangelical prophet that brought hope to Israel for the future; he was also the messenger to the known world.  God was not myopic. He loved His people Israel, but He also watched and knew the fates and paths of Israel’s foes and allies.

In this set of prophecies, God uses Isaiah to set out the world’s history for the next several years.  The rise and fall of Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, and the Middle East; all foretold and born out. History does not happen in a vacuum, and God made it clear that Israel’s trials and tribulations were not the only ones that lie ahead.

In our world, we become focused upon our circumstance and our future.  That is only natural.  But, as it was in the days of Isaiah, nothing that happens in our time will do so in a vacuum. The prayers and revival of the church can and will impact the world.  If evil thrives in America, because good people simply do nothing–that will ripple out across the globe. Conversely, if we as God’s chosen, truly return and pray and seek His face, then we could change the course by God’s mercy–which too could change the world.  

It starts with us, and it starts with repentance and prayer.  Join in the greater work of seeking God and humbly following His lead.  It may be our opportunity to truly change the world.

God Bless You


A Prophecy Against Cush

18 Woe to the land of whirring wings[a]
    along the rivers of Cush,[b]
which sends envoys by sea
    in papyrus boats over the water.

Go, swift messengers,
to a people tall and smooth-skinned,
    to a people feared far and wide,
an aggressive nation of strange speech,
    whose land is divided by rivers.

A Prophecy Against Egypt

19 A prophecy against Egypt:

See, the Lord rides on a swift cloud
    and is coming to Egypt.
The idols of Egypt tremble before him,
    and the hearts of the Egyptians melt with fear.

“I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian—
    brother will fight against brother,
    neighbor against neighbor,
    city against city,
    kingdom against kingdom.
The Egyptians will lose heart,
    and I will bring their plans to nothing;
they will consult the idols and the spirits of the dead,
    the mediums and the spiritists.
I will hand the Egyptians over
    to the power of a cruel master,
and a fierce king will rule over them,”
    declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.

A Prophecy Against Babylon

21 A prophecy against the Desert by the Sea:

Like whirlwinds sweeping through the southland,
    an invader comes from the desert,
    from a land of terror.

A dire vision has been shown to me:
    The traitor betrays, the looter takes loot.
Elam, attack! Media, lay siege!
    I will bring to an end all the groaning she caused.

At this my body is racked with pain,
    pangs seize me, like those of a woman in labor;
I am staggered by what I hear,
    I am bewildered by what I see.

A Prophecy Against Edom

11 A prophecy against Dumah[b]:

Someone calls to me from Seir,
    “Watchman, what is left of the night?
    Watchman, what is left of the night?”
12 The watchman replies,
    “Morning is coming, but also the night.
If you would ask, then ask;
    and come back yet again.”

A Prophecy Against Arabia

13 A prophecy against Arabia:

You caravans of Dedanites,
    who camp in the thickets of Arabia,
14     bring water for the thirsty;
you who live in Tema,
    bring food for the fugitives.
15 They flee from the sword,
    from the drawn sword,
from the bent bow
    and from the heat of battle.

16 This is what the Lord says to me: “Within one year, as a servant bound by contract would count it, all the splendor of Kedar will come to an end. 17 The survivors of the archers, the warriors of Kedar, will be few.” The Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken.

Isaiah 3 Part 2–So You Don’t Like What You Have?

 Isaiah’s next prophecy deals with that very problem. God says to the women, “So, you spend all day craning your necks to see what is the newest, the hottest, the best in fashion, in decor and in stuff. I’m sorry, that all I have provided is not sufficient for you.  I tell you what, since you do not like what I have provided, I will take it back. Your fashion will be what you can scrape up on your own, your beauty will fade with the effort to survive. There will be no fine jewelry, hair, or accessories–you will be left broken, brokenhearted, and alone.”

Paul made clear the importance of being content. In Philippians 4:11-13, Paul says he has learned to be content in all circumstances.  Whether well fed or hungry; living in plenty or in want; he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him. Learning to be content is critical in the growth in our relationship with God. Isaiah was simply warning the people to turn it around. In short, spend all that energy that they were expending on jealosy and covetousness on selflessness and graciousness.  Concern yourself with the care and nurture of others, and allow God to worry about your provision and protection! 

 We all face the temptation to want what is new, sparkly, and cool. Yet, when we look around, we are living in oppulence compared to most.  We, like Paul, must learn to be content in our own lives.  We need to be grateful for what we have, and not ungrateful for what we think we lack.  It is all God’s stuff.  He provides and He can also take it back. If that  is what lies ahead, make no mistake, it will be tough, but, if one will focus on the right heart and attitude, they can endure to the end! Like Paul said, “Whether well fed or hungry; living in plenty or in want–I can do ALL things through Christ who stengthens me.

God Bless You

_______________________________________________

The Lord has taken his place to contend;
    he stands to judge peoples.
14 The Lord will enter into judgment
    with the elders and princes of his people:
“It is you who have devoured[f] the vineyard,
    the spoil of the poor is in your houses.
15 What do you mean by crushing my people,
    by grinding the face of the poor?”
declares the Lord God of hosts.

16 The Lord said:
Because the daughters of Zion are haughty
    and walk with outstretched necks,
    glancing wantonly with their eyes,
mincing along as they go,
    tinkling with their feet,
17 therefore the Lord will strike with a scab
    the heads of the daughters of Zion,
    and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts.

18 In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; 19 the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves; 20 the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; 21 the signet rings and nose rings; 22 the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; 23 the mirrors, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils.

24 Instead of perfume there will be rottenness;
    and instead of a belt, a rope;
and instead of well-set hair, baldness;
    and instead of a rich robe, a skirt of sackcloth;
    and branding instead of beauty.
25 Your men shall fall by the sword
    and your mighty men in battle.
26 And her gates shall lament and mourn;
    empty, she shall sit on the ground.

Isaiah 2 Part 1–Two Israels

There is a theory among physicists, or at least among science fiction writers about quantum physics and quantum mechanics.  In short, what would it be like if we could travel along different plains of time and space…Don’t worry, I am not going all “Sci Fi” on you! But as one reads the prophecy of Isaiah one sees two Israels.  the first Israel is what God envisioned for Israel–a nation of priests.  Israel would be a dominant nation–but, not to tyrannically reign over the rest of the world,  instead to be the servant leaders and teachers of the nation’s bringing the truth of God’s greatness and grace.  Bringing peace into the world.


The second picture exposes the chaos of living as the world then and now lives.  Isaiah speaks of the spiritualism, the lack of national identity.  Materialism and power are king, and people are worshiping the things they have made and the things they have earned–sound familiar.  It is not a prophecy of 2020, all though it could very well be any day across the globe. Sadly, the scenario keeps playing out without reprieve.

Still, in the midst, there have been periodic revivals and reawakening. When that has happened on a national level, God has blessed the revived nation; and the nations have become leaders in spreading the Gospel around the globe.

In recent history revival hit in England, In America, and In South Korea. In each case the nation has prospered greatly and influenced the lives of so many.  Sadly, in each case prosperity also led to comfort and a desire for independence from God.  That independence looked a great deal like the cycle in Isaiah’s description. 

God’s model of submission and Humility works both individually and nationally.  It has played out thousands of times in the lives of individuals and countries great and small.  We need to submit and follow the lord.  As we do, we pray for our communities, our states, and our nation to do the same.  Isaiah knew, and we now know that revival starts with the right heart and life bathed in prayer. Otherwise, we will fade into obscurity as have so many before and so many to come.

God Bless You

It shall come to pass in the latter days
    that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
    and shall be lifted up above the hills;
and all the nations shall flow to it,
    and many peoples shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
    to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
    and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,[a]
    and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
    and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
    and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
    neither shall they learn war anymore.

O house of Jacob,
    come, let us walk
    in the light of the Lord.

The Day of the Lord

For you have rejected your people,
    the house of Jacob,
because they are full of things from the east
    and of fortune-tellers like the Philistines,
    and they strike hands with the children of foreigners.
Their land is filled with silver and gold,
    and there is no end to their treasures;
their land is filled with horses,
    and there is no end to their chariots.
Their land is filled with idols;
    they bow down to the work of their hands,
    to what their own fingers have made.
So man is humbled,
    and each one is brought low—
    do not forgive them!
10 Enter into the rock
    and hide in the dust
from before the terror of the Lord,
    and from the splendor of his majesty.

Isaiah 1 Part 2–Sorry, Not Sorry

God had had it! He was very clearly using Isaiah to tell the people of Judah that he did not need any more bull or lambs’ blood.  He needed His chosen people to truly be sorry for their sinful lives and begin to turn their attitudes and heart back to Him.  From God’s view, the children of Israel would present each sacrifice with a, “Sorry–Not Sorry!”  God was clear–“Not a fan of animal blood, I am a fan of repentant people.”
 
The problem Isaiah was trying to express was simply that sacrifices were not a get out of jail free card.  Sacrifices were acts to atone for the guilt we have from our sin.  Sorry–not sorry does not express the true attitude of a repentant heart that a father looks for from an errant child.  So, in effect, God used Isaiah to tell the people–save your beef.  Save your lamb.  Have a cookout! I want to see different hearts and attitudes.  I want us to be able to talk about sin and its devastation using our heads and our hearts–not excuses.
 
Nothing has changed. We receive Christ and that begins a relationship and journey that leads us to become eternal minded and God focused. Praying the prayer, is no more a get out of jail free card than were the rams and bulls of old.  All the Lord has ever really wanted was a repentant heart and desire to follow Him. Without that, no amount of church attendance or “Sorry-Not Sorry” prayers will change our hearts.  As with Judah, God wants us to seek him.  He longs to be in relationship.  
 
He especially longs to be in a genuine relationship with his kids. In short, God says keep it real.
 
God Bless You

“What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of well-fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs, or of goats.

12 “When you come to appear before me,
who has required of you
this trampling of my courts?
13 Bring no more vain offerings;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—
I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you spread out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.
16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
17     learn to do good;
seek justice,
correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause.

18 “Come now, let us reason[c] together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
20 but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Isaiah 1 Part 1–Isaiah the Prophet

When my mom would get really mad at me for some behavior, I displayed; she would make a statement that was crushing, “This is not how we raised you!” As she compared my life to the standards and actions, she thought important–I not only failed to measure up, but, my actions did not even vaguely resemble the behaviors of what I was taught. Isaiah opens his book of prophecy with a Father’s message to Judah.  The message was that simple, “You look nothing like the chosen people that I freed and gave the land.  What is worse, you look more like Sodom and Gomorrah.”
 
Not a great way to start a discussion.  As Isaiah proclaimed from God–“Dumb oxen know their masters. Donkey’s know where they live and to whom they belong!  Sadly, you do not even pretend to know you are a chosen people; you are sinful through and through.  This is not an error in judgement or a behavioral mistake–You have simply walked away from your heritage. 
 
The result, you are laid to waste, your lands are laid to waste and your nation is laid to waste. What a waste!
 
For us, look at our nation. It sadly looks nothing like what was intended by our founding fathers. From an outside view, you cannot even recognize the heart of the nation. We have become like every other society that fell into disarray. We have minimized God, family and selflessness and replaced it with materialism, selfishness, distrust, and dissention. We look nothing like the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” 
 
Like Judah, we are laid to waste, and our land is laid to waste.  We need to repent, humble ourselves and turn from our wicked ways. There needs to be a priority on getting unity back into our country, after all, we are the “United States of America.” 
 
It starts in our individual lives and slowly works its way out.  As we become others focused, the behavior spreads.  Then, before you know it, people care for each other, and those issues that divide can finally be addressed with reason. 
 
Only then, will we as a nation begin to look like the people we were raised to be.
 
God Bless You

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.

The Wickedness of Judah

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;
for the Lord has spoken:
“Children[a] have I reared and brought up,
but they have rebelled against me.
The ox knows its owner,
and the donkey its master’s crib,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand.”

Ah, sinful nation,
a people laden with iniquity,
offspring of evildoers,
children who deal corruptly!
They have forsaken the Lord,
they have despised the Holy One of Israel,
they are utterly estranged.

Why will you still be struck down?
Why will you continue to rebel?
The whole head is sick,
and the whole heart faint.
From the sole of the foot even to the head,
there is no soundness in it,
but bruises and sores
and raw wounds;
they are not pressed out or bound up
or softened with oil.

Your country lies desolate;
your cities are burned with fire;
in your very presence
foreigners devour your land;
it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners.
And the daughter of Zion is left
like a booth in a vineyard,
like a lodge in a cucumber field,
like a besieged city.

If the Lord of hosts
had not left us a few survivors,
we should have been like Sodom,
and become like Gomorrah.

10 Hear the word of the Lord,
you rulers of Sodom!
Give ear to the teaching[b] of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!

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 20–Isaiah Delivers Good News

As the one Israelite king that was following God and doing what He was called to do, Isaiah was given the unfortunate task of telling the Hezekiah, “Put your affairs in order, you was not going to get well.” The King did what most of us would do–he cried and told God that it is not fair.  He reminded God that as king, he had done everything the way and to the degree God had led him to.
 
Then a miracle happened. As Isaiah was leaving the palace, God stopped Isaiah and told him to return and tell the king he would be healed, and that God would give him 15 more years.  As a prophet, telling the king he would be fine had to be a fun message to deliver.  Most of Isaiah’s messages were bad news–so to tell the king life restoring news had to be a great deal of fun.
 
Interestingly, the king told Isaiah to prove it. He was of course relieved, but two messages in such a short time seemed odd.  So, Isaiah had God move the shadow on the stairs backward 10 steps–just as the sun was pushing shadows forward–that ought to do it.  It was a happy story in an otherwise difficult time in Israel’s History.
 
In our lives, there are not a lot of fun messages. The world is spinning out of control. People are miserable. governments are a mess, and families are falling apart. People can go to bars but not to church. It would be a great time for the Lord to bring some good news.  The things that made Isaiah’s message become good news were that Hezekiah followed the Lord closely, and he cried out to the Lord earnestly.  We should be doing the same thing as it relates to our nation, our families, and our own lives.  Help me, Lord to follow you closely and to seek you earnestly–as it relates to my life, my family, and our nation.
 
God Bless You

In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”

Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord. I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.’”

Then Isaiah said, “Prepare a poultice of figs.” They did so and applied it to the boil, and he recovered.

Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, “What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of the Lord on the third day from now?”

Isaiah answered, “This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?”

10 “It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,” said Hezekiah. “Rather, have it go back ten steps.”

11 Then the prophet Isaiah called on the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.

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.