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“He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak” (Isaiah 59:17 ESV)

September 29, 2016

The prophet Isaiah spoke of the Lord as a heroic redeemer coming clothed for battle, not with iron and steel, but with righteousness, salvation, vengeance and zeal. The apostle Paul must have had this passage in view as the Spirit inspired him to expand upon it to describe the “armor of God” (Eph. 6:10-17). Isaiah’s prophecy spoke anthropomorphically, using the metaphor of ancient armor to describe the attributes of the Lord, who is Spirit. Yet, because of Christ, who has come to abide in those who believe, we have access to this real armor of God for the spiritual warfare waged against us. We put on Christ.

“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3 ESV)

September 27, 2016

Isaiah prophesied 700 years before the Messiah’s coming of the rejection and hatred that the He would endure. Isaiah described in incredible detail the circumstances surrounding Christ’s crucifixion and even His burial (“with a rich man” v.9), yet as his prophecy predicted, He was “rejected by men.” Christ Jesus took on our sin and our sorrow. He suffered great physical pain at our hands, but perhaps His greatest pain was that of our rejection and disdain. As the gospel of John declared, “He came to his own and they did not receive him. Yet, as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:11-12).

“Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:16 ESV)

September 26, 2016

When Israel accused the Lord of forsaking them, He replied saying that He could never forget them. He compared Himself to a mother, saying, “Can a woman forget her nursing child?” Then, He said that He had “engraved” them on His hands. The word “engraved” might be translated “inscribed” or “written,” but literally means to “cut in.” He was essentially saying, “How can I forget you when I have a remembrance of you cut into the palms of My hands?” Surely this was an encouraging word to the Israelites, but even more so to those who view it through the lens of the cross. For the scars of the nails still mark our Savior’s hands. As Jesus told Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands” (John 20:27). The One with the nail-scarred hands will never leave, nor forsake us.

“Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself” (Isaiah 44:24 ESV)

September 24, 2016

That God is still at work, even in our being “formed” in the womb, is a consistent biblical theme. From God’s point of view, there are no unwanted pregnancies, for He wants that which He has formed. Surely, He made the heavens and the earth, but He also leaned in to make us. And He leaned down to give us Jesus, born of the virgin, crucified, died, buried and raised to be our Redeemer, that we might be born again.

“I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols” (Isaiah 42:8 ESV)

September 23, 2016

God spoke through the prophet Isaiah reminding His chosen people of the glory due His name. He had revealed His covenantal name, Yahweh (יְהוָ֖ה or “Jehovah”), which means “I AM,” to them through Moses (Ex.3:14). English translations use all caps, “LORD,” to distinguish His name from the more generic use. He is “I AM,” the eternal, self-existent One. Not “I Was,” nor “I WILL BE,” but “I AM.” Without beginning or end, He stands outside of time. Not created, but Creator, He created all things including time itself, and He not only created all things, but sustains all things by His power. When we give our praise, our worship, to created things or manmade things, we deny the glory due the LORD. Let us give God the glory, the credit, due His name. All glory is due Him.

“And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isaiah 35:10 ESV)

September 20, 2016

Having already prophesied God’s judgment on Israel, Isaiah spoke of the day of their return from Babylonian captivity. Yet, this prophecy was not completely fulfilled at that time. Indeed, they did return and surely there was singing, but their joy was not “everlasting,” and their “sorrow and sighing” did not cease. The complete fulfillment surely points to Christ’s “ransom” of those who have believed, buying them out of sin’s captivity and setting them free to live as citizens of “Zion,” which in this case points metaphorically to heaven. For in that Day the ransomed of the Lord will experience “everlasting joy” without any mixture of sorrow.

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound” (Isaiah 61:1 NKJV)

September 30, 2015

Isaiah prophesied to Israel of a coming “anointed” one who would be the Messiah (“Messiah” is Hebrew for “Anointed One,” or “Christ” which is Greek for the same). Around 700 years later the first part of the prophecy was fulfilled. The Messiah, who was Jesus the Christ, had come. After Jesus was baptized and spent 40 days in the wilderness being tempted, he returned to His hometown of Nazareth where He attended the local synagogue as was His custom. As He stood up in the synagogue, He was handed the scroll of Isaiah to read. Turning to the verse above, He read it aloud and then declared, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). Most of the people of His hometown rejected Him, yet many in Israel believed. And to those who believed, He brought “good tidings, healing and liberty.” Jesus has fulfilled the first verse of Isaiah 61, soon He will return to fulfill the rest.

“Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy?” (Isaiah 55:2 NKJV)

September 28, 2015

The Lord questioned Israel as to why they labored so hard for things that did not “satisfy.” Why not come to the Lord and freely receive His bread “without money” and wine “without price?” But Israel had fallen into idolatry. They pursued the blessings of God, rather than God Himself. Yet, the more they labored and spent, the more empty they felt. In the midst of their sin, God promised them a Savior, a Messiah who would come in the line of David to offer Himself as Bread and Wine that would fully satisfy their souls. The Lord still asks us today why we labor so hard for that which “does not satisfy.” Why not come to Jesus and “let your soul delight itself in abundance?”

“But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV)

September 22, 2015

Are you weary and heavy laden? The Lord gave an answer through the prophet Isaiah saying, “Wait on the Lord.” There is a fatigue that afflicts both young and old. Days off and vacations seem to have no effect on this deep fatigue. Recreation and entertainment work for the moment, but when the distraction ends, the weariness returns. This is a spiritual problem and only spiritual help will do. Jesus said, “Come unto Me and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). We need the rest that only Christ can give.

“Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, And rely on horses, Who trust in chariots because they are many, And in horsemen because they are very strong,
But who do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
Nor seek the Lord!” (Isaiah 31:1 NKJV)

September 19, 2015

From Abraham’s time until that of Isaiah’s, the people of Israel had often looked to Egypt when they should have been looking to God. Trusting Egypt for help is a metaphor for trusting the world and human strength. Who are you trusting? Egypt or the Lord? Isaiah counsels us to look to the Lord!