Spiritual Rants: “Majoring in Prophecy” September 8 Daily Bible Readings in a year: Isaiah 1:1-2:22 2 Corinthians 10:1-18 Psalm 52:1-9 Proverbs 22:26-27

Old Testament:  Isaiah 1:1-2:22

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Isaiah 1:1-2:22   Majoring in Prophecy

A while back I had a really intelligent kid in youth group.  He was raised Jewish.  No one had shared the good news of Jesus Christ with him.  He brought his Hebrew Old Testament with him one day.  I showed him the appearances of Christ in the Old Testament.  Then I showed him Isaiah 53 which is all about Christ.  I asked him what he had learned about passages like that one when he was in Temple.  He told me that the prophetic portions of the Old Testament were not usually read or studied in Temple.  Of course, these are the places where Christ most explicitly appears in the Old Testament.  I wish I could say that he trusted Christ but he went away to college and I haven’t seen him since.

Isaiah has been known as the fifth gospel because his writings contain so much about Christ.  With Isaiah we begin the section of Scripture known as prophecy.  Though it contains law, history and poetry, the bulk of the prophetic writings are prophecy.  By prophecy we do not always mean fore-telling but prophecy can also allude to forth-telling.  The kings and the priests had often let Israel down so God used prophets to bring the people His word.

How could anyone know that a prophet was speaking the words of God?  The test for a prophet is found in Deut. 18:20-22.  In short, if a prophet prophesied something that didn’t happen, he was offed.  That would take care of most astrologers, wouldn’t it?  Although many of their predictions might be accurate, the only acceptable percentage of correct prophecies is 100 out of 100.  Newscasts would have an empty 5 minutes every night as weathermen would be fleeing the country.

This blog is for new Christians or people reading through the Bible for the first time so commentary will be limited to high points.  But we will point out that the distinction in your Bible between major and minor prophets is simply a distinction between the longer writings and the shorter ones.  No prophet was more important than another.  And none of them were less than 21 years of age.

If Isaiah seems like a mishmash of writing, it is to a certain extent.  However, look for these sections:

Chaps. 1-12:  Sins denounced

1-6:  Personal sins of Israel denounced

7-12  National sins denounced

Chaps. 13-23:  Gentile nations judged

Chaps. 24-27:  Songs of Hope describing the future kingdom

Chaps. 28-35:  The impending invasion by Assyria

Chaps. 36-39:  Deliverance from the Assyrians but Hezekiah’s wrongful allegiance with Babylon

Chap. 40-66:  “Songs of Consolation (or Repentance)”

Chap. 40-48:  God the Father

Chap. 49-57:   God the Son

Chap. 58-66:  God the Spirit in the new Kingdom

 

Note:  Chaps. 1-39 focus on Egypt and Assyria

Chaps. 40-66 focus on Babylon and Persia

 

Chapters 1   . . .  Isaiah is writing during the reigns of Kings  Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (v. 1).  The nation of Israel is rebuked for its rebellion against God.  God calls them into His courtroom but offers forgiveness.  Notice especially verse 18: “Come now, and let us reason together,”Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.”

Chapters 2:  Isaiah describes a future kingdom and a time of peace when the world will be ruled from Jerusalem (v. 3-4).  Before that will be a time a terrible judgment (cf. v. 10ff.).

New Testament:  2 Corinthians 10:1-18

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2 Corinthians 10:1-18   Mind Games

I had a seminary professor that said Christiandom was dumb Christians.  I think Paul would say if that was true then we’re losing spiritual warfare.  In verse 3-5, he says we don’t wage spiritual warfare in our bodies, the “flesh,” as much as in our minds.  He says the victory is gained through “destroying speculations” and things that are enemies against “the knowledge of God” (v. 5a).  Don’t believe me yet?  You think it’s about casting demons out of Linda Blair?  Look at the end of v. 5, “we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”

I have noticed that just in dieting that the more I know about food and what is good for me or bad for me, the better I do losing weight and getting healthier.  My blood sugar falls more into line, my weight drops, my cholesterol goes down.  The victory begins in my mind.

When I was in seminary I took an internship in psychology.  Part of the requirement was to attend group counseling sessions.  The head counselor made sure I understood something about women who might want to “hit” on pastors.  The counselor helped me to see what motivated ladies like that.  Once I understood that anyone that would do that didn’t like me “for me,” the temptation to take up any offers pretty much floated away.  Knowledge is that important.  That is why it is so important to know Scripture.  Rom. 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”  We grow through the “renewing” of our minds.  Our minds are renewed as we learn Scripture.  We grow as Christians as we grow in Bible knowledge.  Romans 8 describes life in the Spirit, our Christian walk.  Note particularly Rom. 8:5-8.

Paul says he doesn’t want to intimidate the Corinthians to prove his authority as an apostle but he will use his power if he has to (vv. 7-16).  He is ready to combat the false teachers who have come in and were throwing their weight around in Corinth (v. 12).  Paul doesn’t want to boast except in Christ (v. 17, quoting Jer. 9:24).  It didn’t matter if the false teachers could impress them.  What mattered is whether they were approved by the Lord (v. 18).

 


Psalm 52:1-9    Doeg The Bug   A Lament Psalm by David


Proverbs 22:26-27   Bad Bed And Beyond!

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In today’s lingo we would call these types of transactions co-signing (vv. 26-27).  Solomon is warning us about it.  Why?  Because if the person can’t afford something with a loan, that person probably won’t pay you back.  That’s why they are needing co-signers.  They are a bad risk.

It’s a bad bet that you’d get your bed back.  It’d be a cushy deal for the bank (v. 27).  If you are that poor, that you only have a bed, do you really want to be that uncomfortable for co-signers?

Don’t do it!

 

Choose Life: Scripture:  2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB   “Brainiacs”

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,”  2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB

 

Victory in the Christian life has been portrayed as many different things.  It could be viewed as achieving perfect holiness, being “baptized in the Spirit,” tithing to the church, being immersed in water, giving to the poor, living the “exchanged life,” observing holy days and receiving sacraments, or a host of other things.

The Bible, however, seems to view the core of the Christian life as learning the Word.  Jesus is the Word (John 1:1).  When you take in the Word, you are strengthening your relationship with Christ.

What are you doing today to “feed your head” as Alice might have said.  How are you “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”?

If you learn even one thing today about Jesus out of the Word, you will be “more than a conqueror” (Rom. 8:38) and you will “overcome the world” (cf. 1 John 5:4, faith = trusting the Word).

 

If you try to learn one thing, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application: 

Did you learn one thing reading the readings for today?  What was it?  How can you apply it in your life today to bring yourself closer to Jesus?

 

 

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:  Majoring In Prophecy

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