Old Testament: Isaiah 39:1-41:16
Isaiah 39:1-41:16 Second Isaiah
To review, chapters 37-39 is an historical section of prose that bridges the section of judgment of chapters 1-36 and the rest of Isaiah, chapters 40-66.
Dig this. The book of Isaiah has 66 chapters the same as the entire Bible has 66 books. The first part of Isaiah has 39 chapters just as the Old Testament has 39 books. The Old Testament is about law and judgment the same as the first part of Isaiah is about judgment. The last part of Isaiah is 27 chapters and its theme is grace and the Messiah. The New Testament is about Jesus and the grace of the gospel.
Some have speculated that the tone of the second part of Isaiah is so different from the first part of Isaiah that two people must’ve written the book. Of course, this is a bit nonsensical. A person only has to study a little bit of C.S. Lewis’ writings to see that one person can write in many styles on many subjects.
A wag once speculated that the man sawn in two in Hebrews 11: 37 must’ve been Isaiah . . . yielding two Isaiahs.
Chapters 36-38 parallel 2 Kings 18- 19 and 2 Chron. 32:1-23. I wrote about it briefly here: Phoebe And Other Friends
Chap. 39: We finish the story of good king Hezekiah today but it ends badly. Some believe that Hezekiah would have been better off dying then to have been healed and live another fifteen years. His son was the worst king over Judah, Manasseh. Both he, though, and his dad repented at the ends of their lives (2 Chron. 32: 26; 33:11–20). Hezekiah certainly wasn’t wise to let the king of Babylon know what was in his warehouses. Of course, he didn’t know that Babylon would rise to being a world power and Assyria would decline. But God knew. He should’ve consulted God like he did in his affairs with Assyria (Isa. 37:14).
Chap. 40: Handel used the opening of this chapter in his magnificent “Messiah.” The Jews refer to this section as the Book of Consolation or Comfort. It is not read often these days by Jews. Peter quotes from verse 8 (1 Pet. 1: 24-25) but here the reference is to the withering of Assyria.
Verses 30-31, “Yet those who wait for the Lord, Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” Our society does not often want to wait for things these days. We want everything “instantly” and we want our food, “fast.” The Scripture indicates that part of trusting the Lord is waiting for things (cf. Ps. 27:14). We will be stronger and have more perseverance if we “wait” on the Lord. The church used to know this truth but not much is said about it anymore.
Chap. 41: Verse 10 may be the most practical verse in the Bible. You can use and reuse it without wearing it out.
New Testament: Ephesians 1:1-23
Ephesians 1:1-23 Chosen
The theme of Ephesians is the church. If people say that they don’t have to go to church, they most likely have not studied Ephesians.
Like most of Paul’s letters, this one is equal measures teaching (chaps. 1-3) and application of the teaching (chaps. 4-6).
When I was first saved, one of my friends would say Eph. 1:3 when I sneezed. It is actually much more profound than that. God has blessed us with everything we need spiritually.
In fact, He chose us to be holy before the world was created and to be His children (v. 4-5). He made us to glorify Him (v. 6) and that is why He saved us (v. 7).
He let us know what He wanted to do with us in this era of time (cf. v. 10a7, “administration” is the translation of oikonomia which is rendered “dispensation” in the KJV). This is the time period of the church. Paul has much to say about this in this book. This time period is about “summing up . . . all things in Christ” (v. 10b).
We have gained an inheritance of Heaven (v. 11) and have been sealed by the Holy Spirit (v. 13) meaning that we can not lose our salvation. The Holy Spirit will keep us. We can’t have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us (cf. Rom. 8:9, 11) and not get recalled to Heaven when our bodies break down!
The NASB of verse 14, “pledge,” can also be understood as a “downpayment.” We have the blessings of the Holy Spirit now but will all the blessings of the Holy Spirit and Heaven in the future.
Paul has heard of the love the Ephesians have for all other Christians and thanks God for them (vv. 15-16). He prays that God would enlighten them about His nature and His ways (v. 17). He wants the Ephesians to know their hope of the future (v. 18, cf. Jer. 19:11). God has great power which used to raise Christ from the dead and seated Him at next to Himself in honor (v. 19-20). Christ is now about all other authorities, now in the church age and beyond (v. 21). Yahweh has made all other powers subservient to Jesus (v. 22). Jesus uses the church to works His will throughout the world now (vv. 22-23).