QT – Isaiah 46

Vs. 3, “Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all you who remain of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, an have carried since your birth.”  God would exhort His people to listen, because the false God’s of Babylon (Bel & Nebo) could not even stop King Cyrus of Persia from invading.  But our God is not made of material, but is a God far mightier that that.  He will not be carried of like some statue, He will be the one carrying God’s people back to their Promised Land.  Nothing compares to the Lord Most High (vs. 5)…yet so many of us have tried to put God in a box.  Other religions carve out statues and idols to represent God (even God’s people have too).  What else is an idol?  Listen to the words of Martin Luther, “all such rely and depend upon their art, wisdom, strength, sanctity, riches, honor, power or anything else” are guilty of idol worship.

Regarding application…Salvation Is Near.  Vs. 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.”  For the Jews living in captivity in Babylon, God would encourage them that He will rescue them soon.  For the student who is so stressed out from homework and grades, God is encouraging you He will rescue you soon.  For the son/daughter who is so confused/disappointed by their relationship with their parents, God is encouraging you He has a solution.  When we put our dependence and trust upon the Lord, God can do the most amazing things. Nothing is impossible with God.  Take heart dearest brothers & sisters and look forward to Jesus coming nearer to us not only spiritually…but in His second coming!

QT – Isaiah 45

Vs. 1, “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.”  Wow, a hundred years before this pagan king would even be born…Isaiah would prophecy about him!  Question: Who was Cyrus?  He was King of Persia and conquerer of Babylon.  God would use Cyrus to allow them to go back to the Promised Land.  This just reminds us that God will use even worldly leaders to finish out His will.  God would also have a message for the Jews (vs. 8-19).  How can the chosen argue with God?  Yet, that’s what they were doing.  Pride is part of what brought them into captivity in the first place.  God’s people were rejecting Him…how sad that even in captivity, they didn’t understand why.  Where do the Gentiles fit in?  God’s plan is to use His people to bring salvation to the ends of the earth (vs. 20-25).  Israel’s blessings from God would bless all nations!  Our job is to get the Gospel out and share the love of Christ for His glory!

Regarding application…Controlled Disasters.  Vs. 7, “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.”  Right now, six of the southern states have been pummeled by Tornado’s.  It is estimated by CNN that over 300 people have died because of this disaster. Brothers & Sisters, we live in a time when we are reminded that God is bigger.  So many people have turned from righteousness to sin.  Even in a sin-filled world of disaster, God is reaching out to His creation.  In faith, we know that God is in control of even disasters.  I was listening to the news driving to church and there were many people who experienced a huge tornado and stated they had no fear of it until now.  They underestimated the power of it.  Likewise…I believe all of us (including believer’s) don’t really have a Godly fear of the Lord.  Let us humble ourselves before our God and Maker!

QT – Isaiah 44

Vs. 3, “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.”  Question: Does God love us?  In the beginning of this chapter, we are wonderfully reminded that He does!  He formed us and made us in our mother’s womb (vs. 2) and we are His workmanship.  God has fulfilled the pouring out of His Holy Spirit to us (vs. 3).  Unlike other things of this world, God is bigger and better than any idol that we form (vs. 9-20).   What is an idol?  It is what we make.  Anything can become an idol when we choose to put priority to it in our lives.  It can be television, iPhone’s/iPod’s/iPad’s, computer’s, social networking (facebook, twitter)…  I think we are far more ignorant than we would like to admit when it comes to idols in our life.   Isaiah ends this chapter with reminding us that God always deliver’s!  He delivered Israel out of Egypt, He delivered Israel out of Babylon, and He deliver’s us out of our own trials too.

Regarding application…Think McFly, Think  Vs. 19, “No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, “Half of it I used for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals, I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?”  Yes, I am showing my age with this “Back to the Future” reference :P  But the point that I’m making is the reminder of what Isaiah would say to us.  We need to stop and start thinking!  Question: Are these actions of mine honoring God? Do these things in my life take a bigger priority than God?  None of us like to admit we have done something wrong.  Often times the first thing I will do is start to think about the excuses of doing something wrong.  It’s because so and so did this to me, or everyone else is doing it, or it’s just a response to an action that was wrong in the first place.  There is a certain amount of absurdity when you think about the things we do and put as important in our life.  We should bow down to no one but our Lord Jesus in all we do.  Let’s stop making a block of wood (objects, relationships, etc) more important.

QT – Isaiah 43

Vs. 3, “For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…”  There’s no misunderstanding who the target audience is in this chapter.  Israel, the chosen nation.  Despite their sins and failures (vs. 25-28), God is still going to use them to bring glory to His creation.  God will crush Israel’s enemies (vs. 14-21) and remain faithful.  God is still not done with Israel even now in our present time.

Regarding application…He Knows My Name.  Vs. 43, “But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”  While this verse specifically talks about Israel, the application to ourselves is quite obvious.  Just like Israel, God knows us, loves us and will protect us.  I was adopted by Holt International.  Holt was began by Harry & Bertha Holt.  He used this passage from Isaiah as an inspiration from vs. 5-7.  We are created in His image and God does His part to draw us nearer to Him.  Now, our job is to do our best to respond to His open arms!  He calls you by name to come find protection and rest.  Question: Do you hear God calling your name?

QT – Isaiah 42

Vs. 1, “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations.”  God presents His servant, Jesus!  We know this was specifically talking about Jesus because Jesus himself would refer to this passage in Matthew 12:17-21.  We are reminded how Jesus fulfills Isaiah’s prophecies about Him (vs. 1-13).  But, we also read of a time when people will be spiritually blind (vs. 16).  Isaiah is talking about the Jews in Babylon returning from captivity as well people today who need to open up our hearts and eyes.

Regarding application…A New Song.  Vs. 10, “Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them.”  Everyday we wake up in the morning, God gives us a new reason to sing and live for Him!  I believe the point that Isaiah is trying to make is that there is always going to be a reason to praise the Lord (PTL).  I think God delivers us out of more situations than we’ll ever realize.  Take time today to reflect on new reasons to praise Him in your QT today.  Listen to the still small voice of God and pay close attention to His guidance (vs. 23).

QT – Isaiah 41

Vs. 9, “I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you.”  Isaiah was prophesying about events that would happen a century later when Cyrus King of Persia would conquer Babylon and would play a hand in freeing God’s people to go back to their land (vs. 2-4).  There is no nation that can conquer of the will of God.  God is indeed stronger.  As the remaining Jews in Babylon would make their journey back, they would have many questions and fears.  But God would calm them and remind them that He is in control!

Regarding application…Do Not Fear. Vs. 10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Seven times, God would remind His people to not fear.  Question: What fears do you have that lie ahead?  I’ll be honest…there are moments that I have doubt about if I can be successful as a full-time Youth Pastor/EM Pastor.  But then I’m reminded that as long as I am obedient to God, His Will…will be done.  I just want to take it day by day and do what I can to further His kingdom!  We all have fears about what lies ahead, but don’t let that stop you!  He loves you so very much!

QT – Isaiah 40

Vs. 5, “And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”  Isaiah was indeed a true prophet.  He would write this chapter a century before the exiles were in Babylon, yet his words would comfort them.  Not only that, this chapter would  be a prophetic chapter regarding our Messiah in Jesus!  What a fitting reminder as we celebrate Easter Sunday today!  God’s remaining people (remnant) in Babylon looked back, all they saw was their mistakes.  Though God disciplined His people, He does not forget us.  God would restore them just as Jesus would later restore us.  The nations like Assyria and Babylon were nothing compared to the Lord Almighty (vs. 15-17).  

Regarding application…God Renews Us.  Vs. 29-31, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  God already knows what’s in our heart and all the disappointments we have in ourselves and in this life.  God is bigger than any of these circumstances in our lives.  If we trust in ourselves, we will grow weary.  It’s only when let go and let God do His thing in our lives.  Question: Where is your hope?  Our hope is in the promise of His resurrection, Easter baby!!!  Had Jesus not conquered death and be resurrected, we would have no hope.  Thank the Lord that Isaiah could prophecy to such a time and Jesus would be that fulfillment.  Now that I’ve taken the step into full-time ministry, I sense God is going to do wondrous things!  Before I was weary and tired…now I have the hope that greater things are yet to come for us!  Praise the Lord, Hallelujah :)

QT – Isaiah 39

Vs. 2, “ Hezekiah received the envoys gladly and showed them what was in his storehouses—the silver, the gold, the spices, the fine oil, his entire armory and everything found among his treasures. There was nothing in his palace or in all his kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.”  Oh Hezekiah~~~What were you thinking?  How foolish a thing to show the Babylonians all the treasures of Judah!  The Babylonians came as a serpent to trick Judah into thinking that they were there to help them against the Assyrians.  But the information that was gained from Hezekiah’s tour of the Kingdom would be Judah’s downfall.  This is a painful reminder that in the midst of gr  eat triumphs, the enemy is always awaiting.  Hezekiah messed up big time.  Poor Isaiah must have been shaking his head in complete frustration at the foolishness of Hezekiah.  

Regarding application…Inappropriate Response.  Vs. 8, “The word of the Lord you have spoken is good,” Hezekiah replied. For he thought, “There will be peace and security in my lifetime.”  Upon hearing Isaiah’s prophecy of doom (vs. 7)…it’s as if Hezekiah’s is say, “Whew…at least it’s not going to happen to me!”  Unfortunately, it would happen to his descendant’s and all of the people of Judah.  Question: When someone confronts you with sin, how do you respond?  Last night on Good Friday, we talked about how the Pharisee’s hated Jesus because He confronted them with their sin.  No matter who we are, if we don’t keep our hearts right with God we too will respond with pride and selfishness.  But God is gracious, if only Hezekiah would have repented…The Babylonians may never had been successful in the invasion and captivity of God’s people.  The inappropriate sins of one person can be the struggles of so many.  How will you respond?  

QT – Isaiah 38

Vs. 1, “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.”  Wow~~~what a blow to the heart!  It is believed this particular event transpired before chapters 36 & 37.  Can you imagine, the Assyrian army at your doorsteps to invade and then your King/leader deathly ill?  Hezekiah upon hearing this turns to pray to the Lord Most High.  It was believed he did not have any heir to the throne.  This was important because Jesus was to come from the line of David.  God’s great mercy would come upon Hezekiah and would grant him another 15 years of life (vs. 5).  Not only that, God would do a miracle as a sign of proof (not because he had to, but it was used to encourage)…making the shadow of a sun dial go the opposite direction!  

Regarding application…Proper Response.  Vs. 20, “The Lord will save me, and we will sing with stringed instruments all the days of our lives in the temple of the Lord.”  Initially, Hezekiah like any of us upon finding out we would die naturally responded with prayer!  Question: What would you do if you knew for certain you would die?  All of the sudden, the concerns of our life that seem so big wouldn’t matter so much.  That was the response of Hezekiah and bear in mind, God did this more for the sake of His servant David.  Just as God saves us more for the sake of Jesus!  But, we must credit Hezekiah for his proper response to God.  The Lord is worthy of our praise no matter what circumstances are in our life!  As we remember Jesus’ own impending death on the cross…let us respond with praise and thanksgiving in our hearts at whatever church we go to tonight!  Just as God delivered Hezekiah, He delivered Jesus and He delivers us!

QT – Isaiah 37

Vs. 20, “Now, O Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O Lord, are God.”  Question: What did Hezekiah do when the enemy came to intimidate?  He came to lay his burden down to the Lord!  Instead of overreacting, Hezekiah humbled himself before the Lord.  What a timely reminder for me.  Hezekiah also seeks out Isaiah for an encouraging word, and Isaiah would prophecy of Sennacherib and the Assyrians demise.  An amazing thing happens…God fights for His people and the vast army of 185,000 men laid dead the next morning (vs. 36).  Crazy stuff, huh?  And later on, Sennacherib’s blasphemous behavior would be dealt with by the blood of his own.  He would be murdered by his own sons in the house of his pagan God who would not protect him.

Regarding application…Do Not Be Afraid.  Vs. 6, “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.”  Let’s be honest…there are times when we are scared.  Afraid of our future, afraid of our failures, afraid of our relationships, afraid of our abilities.  But that is where God reminds us that we have someone in our corner that is greater then the enemy.  Jesus would defeat death on the cross and give us victory!  Even when the odds seemed insurmountable, God can do the impossible.  Even in the Inland Empire (Corona, Riverside, Norco, Chino, etc.)…a literal desert of heat, a place where the highway of drugs passes through from LA to Vegas, a place where it can be so spiritually dry…God promises He will provide for us.  Don’t let the enemy discourage you this week, or in our endeavor to live a life that is holy for the Lord!