QT – Isaiah 66

Vs. 1, “This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?”  How vast and mighty is our Lord that the earth would simply be His footstool!  Isaiah is pointing towards the “resting place” as the rebuilding of God’s temple in Jerusalem.  The people were far away in their hearts towards Him, that is why God accuses their sacrifices as murders.  It was a matter of the heart and their hearts were hard.  God will one day restore Israel and bring peace to her land (vs. 7-13)  Any of you see President Obama’s controversial new stance with Israel?  As the chapter ends the book of Isaiah, many scholars believe Isaiah is giving us events that will transpire after the tribulation and during the 1000 year reign of Christ.

Regarding application…Fearing God.  Vs. 2, “Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord“This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.”  Question: How many of you are scared about tomorrow’s prophecy?  As Christians, we are not scared because it won’t happen (99.9999%).  However, there are many people who mock this (false) prophecy and have no fear of God.  I’m sure everyday until rapture, people will predict this day…and at some point, someone will happen to be right by chance.  As Christians, we just need to always have a healthy fear of God and do our best to use these types of situations to let people know that this will one day happen!  If we have a healthy biblical fear of God, then we can help this world turn back to Jesus with a fear instead of mocking and scoffing!

QT – Isaiah 65

Vs. 2, “All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations.”  God gives us more chances than we could possibly imagine.  God had first offered this salvation to the Israelites and many had turned away from the gift of God.  But regardless of their response, God always intended that the Gentiles too would receive His grace.  It’s hard to fathom why people would so outright reject the Lord.  Yet, we see it so often in our schools and workplaces.  We are also reminded that God will use the nations and even enemies to administer his Wrath as He did with the Babylonians.    But the end result is the best to come for God’s kindness and mercy is upon us in the last days (vs. 17-25).  In this ending, we see a picture of the 1000 year reign of Christ after tribulation!  We do not know the hour or the day, yet there is well known Pastor on the radio proclaiming a huge earthquake that will bring about the rapture and the end days.  His name is David Allen and he is proclaiming it will transpire this Saturday, May 21st.  I suppose there is always someone proclaiming rapture or the End Times that will happen to coincidently get it on the same date, but I find it a foolish thing to focus on such things.  Because we don’t know the hour, let us do our best to treat everyday with a sense of urgency and being an example of Christ!  Jesus would remind us that we would not know the hour only God would (Matthew 24:36).

Regarding application…Good in the Bad.  Vs. 8, “This is what the Lord says: “As when juice is still found in a cluster of grapes and men say, ‘Don’t destroy it, there is yet some good in it,’ so will I do in behalf of my servants; I will not destroy them all.”  There has always been a good remnant (remaining people) who have lived in this sin-filled world for God.  It is because of this cluster of good grapes that we have found much favor in the Lord.  Even today, there is a remnant of people which would be us who continue this life of faithfulness in a world that is spiraling down.  It is never easy to be a minority in a world that is the majority.  And for us, we are a spiritual minority that must endure the good fight!  God will carefully look for those who are good even in the midst of a bad cluster.  Question: What state does God find you today?

QT – Isaiah 64

Vs. 1, “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you!”  Isaiah is calling upon the name of the Lord, because the people need to see God!  It is a prayer for a demonstration of power and revival in the hearts of God’s people!  As was before and will be in the time of tribulation, nations will no longer seek after God (vs. 4).  We are reminded once again of the power of prayer and intercession for situations in our lives (vs. 8-12).

Regarding application…Being Molded.  Vs. 8, “Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”  A wonderful picture of God’s hand molding us to His perfect creation.  Question: Are you able to be molded by God?  Whether in my own life or the observance of others, it’s quite obvious when you take a moment to see if a person is being a jar of clay that ready for God to mold them.  Some sit at church with a frown on their face with doubt filled in their life.  They do not see God (vs. 4) nor seek after him (vs. 7).  It is sin that separates their hearts/our hearts from God.  That is why we must not even go a day without prayer and QT’s.  If we do…we walk the danger of turning our hearts away from God and others.  Let us be molded into beautiful jars of clay revealing the master’s craftsmanship and His glory!

QT – Isaiah 63

Vs. 4, “For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redemption has come.”  A vivid and even disturbing picture of the reality of those who rebel against the Lord.  In this scene, many scholars believe Isaiah is prophesying of the results of the War of Armageddon (Rev. 16:16, 19:13).  Edom in verse one represents those who are against Israel…and Edom came from Esau, Jacob’s older brother.  Even now, there are Palestinian uprisings that have escalated in the last couple of days towards Israel.  Brothers & sisters don’t ever forget that God is “Just”.  He has given these nations and people every opportunity to turn to Him, but they have hardened hearts and now are thirsty to kill God’s children.  It makes sense that Isaiah would turn back and recall the loving kindness of the Lord throughout the generations (vs. 7-19).  God would protect Isaiah’s people then and He will protect those in the near future.

Regarding application…Prayer for God’s People.  Isaiah sets the example for us as He would pray for His people and those who are yet to come.  Isaiah loved the Lord and he loved the people.  He prayed that the people’s hearts would be turned back to the Lord wholeheartedly.  What a wonderful reminder for each of us as we live this life.  Prayer is not just used to illicit our own selfish wants.  Prayer is used to help others and show our love to them!  Prayer is one of those mysteries that we cannot understand completely.  But, we know by faith it can move the hand of God!  Pray for your family, pray for the church, pray for Israel, pray for your country!

QT – Isaiah 62

Vs. 4, “No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the Lord will take delight in you, and your land will be married.”  God is not yet done with His purpose in Jerusalem.  We live in a time of unrest and violence in Jerusalem to this very day.  But God’s will is that there will be peace in Jerusalem once again.  And as we see here, there is significance in giving a new name.  When I married Hyojin, she took on my name…likewise, when Israel is restored to God, she too will receive a new name.  Hephzibah means “delight is in her” and Beulah means “married” from verse 4.  Question: When will this happen?  When Jesus comes the second time!

Regarding application…Jesus is Coming!  Vs. 11, “The Lord has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your Savior comes! See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.”  What a joy for Jerusalem and what a joy for all of us!  When there is peace in Jerusalem, there will be peace in the world.  We as Christians can do our part in praying for the restoration of Jerusalem as Isaiah prophesied about it (vs. 6-7).  I like how we are reminded that a banner was raised for the nations (vs. 10).  All nations are to hear and know who Jesus Christ is!  Yesterday, I reminded the youth group one of the reasons Jesus has not yet returned is because the Gospel still needs to be shared to all nations.  Let’s get ready for Jesus’ return by doing our part in sharing the Gospel!  Whether in your cities you live in now or missions trips you can go on in the future, you can help in preparing the return of the King!

QT – Isaiah 61

Vs. 1, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”  I love this verse, it reminds me of the old Vineyard praise song based on this chapter.  But more importantly, Jesus would quote Isaiah at the beginning of His ministry (Luke 4:16-21).  This passage comes from times when the Israelites used to celebrate the Year of Jubilee.  This was a time that happened only every fifty years.  During that one year of Jubilee, all debts were canceled and slaves were set free!  It was God’s way of ensuring that there was fairness in the land.  Jesus was/is this fulfillment of Jubilee where all of our sinful debts have been paid for once and for all.

Regarding application…Soil of our Hearts.  Vs. 11, “For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.”  It’s time to grow!  It’s time to ready our soil (hearts) and bring praise and glory to the Lord.  Notice how this promise of freedom and release comes to all nations!  As spring comes around, crops begin to grow and bear their fruit.  It’s time we bear fruit.  I’m so excited because our church will be going on a missions trip to Mexico!  There are brokenhearted people who need the love of Christ.  It’s humbling to think that we are given the same privilege that Jesus was given to share the Good News.  Let’s have our soil ready for the garden to grow!

QT – Isaiah 60

Vs. 1, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.”  The Alarm clock is going off!  Most scholars agree that Isaiah is prophesying about the second coming of Jesus during the 1000 year reign of Christ.  In the previous chapter, Isaiah set the table for us when he reminded us of the coming Messiah.  Now, we have the culmination of this and Jesus Christ in His glory upon the earth!  What an exciting time!  It was a dark time when Isaiah was writing this and it will be an even darker time before the dawn of Jesus’ return after the Tribulation.  It will be a time of restoration and God’s will completed.

Regarding application…The Glory of God.  Vs. 19, “The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.”  Seven times Isaiah refers to the glory of the Lord in this chapter.  When I think about the beauty of God’s creation we have now…it will be nothing compared to what Isaiah is looking forward to.  How I selfishly wish that this time would be now.  A time where there will be no more wars and violence, hurt and pain.  But, we live in a time where we must be part of those that usher in this prophecy.  We live in a time where we must reflect God’s glory through our lives.  Such a reminder does not discourage us, for we know that it will get better and there is hope.  So find hope my dearest brothers and sisters and fight the good fight!

QT – Isaiah 58

Vs. 3, “Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?”  Isaiah would expose the hypocritical ways of the people.  They were doing the action without the heart.  They had forgotten the whole meaning of why they were fasting in the first place.  It was to draw nearer to God and love His people.  But, they were boasting and proud of their religious acts.  God had given them one requirement; to fast on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29-31), but it was also allowed to fast when they saw the need.  Fasting should not be something we publicly tell others.  We do it in quiet submission and prayer.
Regarding application…Courage to Stand Up.  Vs. 1, “Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the house of Jacob their sins.”  Question: How many of you want to be liked?  I would surmise to say the answer would be “Yes” from everyone.  It is never a popular thing to call others out on their sin.  There is a time for everything…a time to encourage and love, but also a time to speak truth in love.  Brothers & sisters…of such times we find ourselves in.  Question: Who are we trying to please?  Popularity from friends or favor from God?  Don’t you fear God?  Stand up and call each other out with love and discernment.  Don’t just turn your eyes away and give excuses that it’s not your problem.  Perhaps in the secular world, that is the normal procedure.  But God has called us in the church to not conform to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:1).  If you see others in the church with actions without heart or even worse…find the courage to stand up!

QT – Isaiah 59

Vs. 2, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”  Sin is referred to over thirty times in this chapter!  People were attempting to be in the act of worship while they had unconfessed sin in their life.  Question: Sound familiar?  The charges that God brings forth to Israel can most definitely apply to us today.  We live in a dark shadow (vs. 9) when we are blind to our own sin.  It’s not easy reading, but one that I really want to challenge all of us to consider and reflect upon our own life.  Question: What charges could God bring to our own individual lives?  It’s time to stop hiding something that God already knows.  Let’s confess it unto the Lord so that when we pray God is not dishonored!  Even when God charges us with such sin, there is a light of hope (vs. 16-21) in the work of His salvation through Jesus!
Regarding application…God Hears Our Prayers.  Vs. 1, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.”  Question: How is your prayer life?  There are times when our prayers cannot be answered because of the sins in our life.  We must come with contrite (repentant) hearts so that the cries of our prayers are heard and answered according to His will.  A wonderful 19th Century preacher Charles Spurgeon would say, “Let me have your prayers and I can do anything.  Let me be without your prayers, and I can do nothing.”  Brothers and sisters…the power of Godly person’s prayer is  heard by God.  Let us pray for the minsitry He has called us to.  Let us pray for our churches, let us pray for our Pastor’s and church leaders, let us pray for our congregations, let us pray unity as Jesus did in John 17 for the church.  When we pray for things that is in God’s will with hearts trusting Him, we can move the mountains in faith!

QT – Isaiah 57

Vs. 4, “Whom are you mocking? At whom do you sneer and stick out your tongue? Are you not a brood of rebels, the offspring of liars?”  The rich and wicked seemingly get all the brakes in life.  Sins that used to be done in secret now increase boldly without shame in public (vs. 8).  All the idols that had been destroyed by Hezekiah and Josiah had now been put back up.  It got so bad that people were sacrificing their own children to a pagan God, Molech (vs. 9).  Yet, a profound thing happens!  God’s faithfulness is still extended to those who would accept it (vs. 7-19).  However, the wicked will still receive their due punishment in the end (vs. 20-21)

Regarding application…Contrite Heart.  Vs. 15, “For this is what the high and lofty One says—he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”  Question: What does contrite mean?  It basically means a sorrowful heart that seeks forgiveness.  Remember that Isaiah’s words apply also to the End Times that we live in now.  God desires to bring revival in our hearts for those who are contrite in spirit.  Question: How is the condition of your heart today?  Don’t let the enemy keep you from having a heart that turns away from Jesus.  I have found in my own life the times I felt really close to God were times when I repented and desired to be righteous.  Lay it down before the cross.