Old Testament: Isaiah 3:1-5:30
Isaiah 3:1-5:30 Going Down The Tubes
J. Vernon McGee summarizes Gibbon’s five reasons for the decline of the Roman Empire in his book, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
1) “The undermining of the dignity and the sanctity of the home, which is the basis of human society.”
2) “Higher and higher taxes, and the spending of public money for free bread and circuses for the populace.”
3) A “mad craze for pleasure and sports becoming every year more exciting, more brutal, and more immoral.”
4) “The building of great armaments when the real enemy was within: the decay of individual responsibility.”
5) “The decay of religion, fading into mere form, losing touch with life, and losing power to guide the people.”
Is that more than just a little bit scary?
Chaps. 3: Israel was consulting soothsayers of various types including possibly astrologers. (Do Christians consult their astrological charts rather than the Word of God today?) God judged them by providing leaders who were too immature to rule (v. 2-5) and even women (v. 12)! Women were seductresses, dressing to take advantage of men. Their judgment would be scabs on their heads and not having enough men to marry due to the ravages of war (vv. 17ff., 4:1).
Chaps. 4: This is the shortest chapter in Isaiah and describes the seven year period preceding the literal 1,000 year kingdom ruled over by Christ. In verse 2, the “Branch” refers to Christ.
Chaps. 5: The Vine is Israel (vv. 1-12, cf. Jer. 12:10; Ps. 80:8-19; Matt. 21:33- 45). The Judgment on Israel would be the removal of the protective hedge around her (v. 5).
There are six woes in this chapter on various groups. Those who are
Woe 1) Covetousness (vv. 8-10, cf. “lust of the eyes,” cf. 1 John 2:15), greed, capitalism run amuck
Woe 2) Drunkenness (vv. 11-17). . . let’s not leave out drugs . . . hey, is marijuana legal here?
Woe 3) Blasphemous (vv. 18-19) giving themselves over to sin wholesale
Woe 4) Perversion of Moral Distinctions (v. 20)
Woe 5) Arrogance, pride (v. 21) the sin of Satan which precedes a fall (cf. Prov. 16:18)
Woe 6) Drugged up Government Officials (vv. 22-25) no justice in the land due to drunkenness or, today, drug use by authorities, there are stories of government officials using drugs as bad as cocaine . . . (cf. Prov. 31:4)
New Testament: 2 Corinthians 11:1-15
2 Corinthians 11:1-15 Get Off The Rug
Paul continued the defense of his ministry and his attack on the false prophets. Paul was passionate in his love for the Corinthians. He didn’t want them to be deceived by the bad doctrine being foisted upon them by evil. He was afraid they’d be led astray just as Eve had been (v. 3). They had been amenable to the bad teachings that had been infiltrating their church (v. 4).
Paul considered himself more than the equal of the interlopers (v. 5) and even if he wasn’t the greatest preacher, he knew he had more knowledge than the intruders (v. 6). Unlike the trespassers, he didn’t take a wage from them for his work and even gave them money from other churches (vv. 7-9). He really feels for them (vv. 10-11)!
He will continue to work at no pay just to pull the rug from under the false teachers (v. 12). They are false apostles, deceitful and frauds (v. 13). They are just like their boss who puts on the costume of an angel of light (v. 14). It makes sense that his henchmen on earth would also come across as righteous even though they are evil.
Psalm 53:1-6 No Fool-ing Around A Lament Psalm by David
Proverbs 22:28-29 Boundaries
An “ancient boundary” stone would mark the limit of your family’s inherited land. If someone was moving the marker, they were crooks. You shouldn’t let anyone rob the land that had been in your family (v. 28).
In a more modern understanding, we should not allow anyone to steal what is ours, materially or psychologically. Women are especially prone to giving too much away. Sometimes they give away their time, sometimes their bodies to creepy guys, and sometimes their talents. There is even a best-seller telling about this called Women Who Love Too Much.
By the way, this applies to men, too. There are some of some of those around, too.
Check out this good book, Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No, to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud. It is good for pastors. Someone actually gave it to me.
My cardiologist gave me some very sound advice. He told me to take a break every once in a while. If we are skilled in what we do, people will recognize it. We don’t need to overwork to kill ourselves for people to realize it (v. 29).
Choose Life: Scripture: 2 Corinthians 11:3 NASB “K-I-S-S”
” . . . I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3 NASB
When I was in cemetery, I mean, seminary, the word was going around that one had to basically have a Bible degree to understand what was in the Scriptures. A lot of us rejected this notion since it meant that even our very wives would not be able to understand what God had put down for us. Could it be that some Bible schools today are actually detrimental to the faith of their students and then in turn to the students’ congregations? (It’s a rhetorical question!)
Beware of anyone who comes with a “deeper teaching” that most people wouldn’t understand. It is good to have trained teachers and preachers but beware if they get away from the “simplicity” of Christ. Here is the general rule, if you were stranded with nothing but your Bible on a tropical island, would you still be able to understand the doctrine being presented to you? If you have to twist your brain into a knot to get the point, it’s probably not from God.
God had the Bible written in such a way that we could understand it. We will all be judged some day on the basis of what we did with His Word. We can’t make an appeal that our pastor or college professor taught us a bad creed.
The Bereans checked the Scriptures to see if even Paul was accurate in his teachings (Acts 17:11). Don’t let anyone steer you away from the truth by intimidating you by being being erudite (or other long words like that).
Read your Bible and maybe even memorize something today.
And Keep It Simple Stupid.
If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
Any system that imposes itself above Scripture is bad. In fact, it is a religion. False teachers thrive on doing that. They might sound so logical but logic can be used the wrong way to fool you. Used properly, it will lead you to the truth. The Holy Spirit will guide you into truth (cf. John 16:13; 1 John 2:20, 27). If you have doubts about someone’s teaching, you probably need to check it out.
Depression is a distinct sign that you are dealing with a false teaching and religion. If what you believe is depressing you, you need to drop back and check things out. Jesus’ true teaching brings joy.
The purpose of the Choose Life is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog: The Original Vine App