Old Testament: Isaiah 8:1-9:21
Isaiah 8:1-9:21 Jesus’ Song
Chap. 8: Trivia question: what is the longest name in the Bible? Answer: Maher-shalal-hash-baz in verse 3. The NASB in verse 1 writes out the meaning of the name. The NIV in verse 1 just translates his name. The meaning is, “Swift is the booty, speedy is the prey.” Chapters 7-12 are a warning to the evil king of Judah, Ahaz. Most of the southern kingdom rulers are good kings but Ahaz is the exception. The name of Isaiah’s second son, Maher-shalal-hash-baz, is a message that God is going to deal with Syria and Ephraim. The name of Isaiah’s first son was Shear-jashub, a message that “a remnant shall return” to Jerusalem (cf. Isa. 7:3).
Verses 19-22 is a warning against spiritism. A rejection of God oftentimes lands one in the world of the occult. This can be astrology but we have seen a renewed focus on vampires and witch lore.
Chap. 9: You might think verse 6 is about Jesus’ birth, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” It is often sung as part of Handel’s Messiah which I call in my own mind, Jesus’ Song.
But look at it more closely and observe the context, for example, verse 7, “There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore.” You can see it is really about His Second Coming.
Jesus was “born” for the nation of Israel and as a “son” was given to them. He will rule their government and be called “Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Eternal Father,” and “Prince of Peace.”
Who do you go to for counsel? Hopefully, it’s the “Wonderful Counselor.”
Obviously, He is “Mighty God.” Jesus is eternal and in that sense is the Source or Father or all (cf. John 1:1).
There will be no peace till He rules on His throne in the Millennial Kingdom (literally, a “thousand years,” used six times in Rev. 20:2, 4-7).
God is warning Israel to return to him in the end of this chapter. No matter what, there will be a future for Israel and a remnant will always cling to Him.
New Testament: 2 Corinthians 12:1-10
2 Corinthians 12:1-10 A Thorny Situation
Paul continues to make his case to the Corinthians that he should be trusted over the teachers of false doctrine that have infiltrated their meetings. Paul tells of his extraordinary privilege of being caught up to Heaven. He doesn’t know how it happened but he knows it was fourteen years before the time of his writing. He knows he was in “third heaven,” the highest Heaven (v. 2). The sky above being the first Heaven; space, the Second Heaven; and the dwelling place of God is the Third Heaven. He doesn’t know if he was in his body or not (vv. 2-3).
Paul had a “thorn in the flesh” (v. 7). It was no doubt some sort of bodily ailment, perhaps his poor eyesight (cf. Gal. 6:11). We don’t know. It’s better that we don’t know so we can all relate to Paul no matter our complaint. The sickness was a special gift from God that kept him from becoming arrogant about all the exceptional experiences he had had (v. 7).
His affliction enabled him to trust God rather than himself (v. 9a). He realized that when he was weak in himself, he was stronger in faith in Christ (v. 9b).
That was why Paul didn’t let external suffering bother him. He realized that when he was weak, he was strong (v. 10c) despite “weaknesses,” “insults,” “distresses,” “persecutions,” or “difficulties.” What a great attitude to have! And it’s only available to believers.
Psalm 55:1-23 Free As A Bird A Lament Psalm by David
Proverbs 23:4-5 You Can’t Take It With You
Our Declaration of Independence guarantees us “pursuit of happiness” but that means something more like the contentment that the Apostle Paul talked about in Phil. 4:11. It is not about how “You only go around once in this life, so you have to grab for all the gusto you can get.” That motto is from a beer ad.
Solomon advises instead that we shouldn’t wear ourselves out accumulating lucre (v. 4).
A friend of mine used to be a concert promoter. He had the honor of accompanying a gigantic rock star to stake out a venue before a show. The star looked over the arena and then queried why some of the seats hadn’t been sold. The answer was that they were blocked by pillars. He instructed my friend to sell them and mark them with a stamp “obstructed view.” He was probably worth billions at the time. How much money can you need in a lifetime?
Solomon says that if you accumulate money that eventually it will rapidly evaporate (v. 5). You might think that that rock star was going to be worth a lot his entire life time. A lot of his money will be filtered away. But how long is a lifetime? The longer you live, the more you will realize that a life span will seem short. And at the end of it, you can’t take it with you. Have you ever heard of that? It’s true.
Choose Life: Scripture: Isaiah 9:6c NASB “Need A Wonderful Counselor?”
” . . . And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor . . .” Isaiah 9:6c NASB
You might be familiar with Handel’s Messiah. One of the greatest portions of that great work is the refrain, “And His name shall be called . . . Wonderful Counselor . . . the Mighty God . . . the Everlasting Father . . . the Prince of Peace . . . .” It’s one of the most glorious portions of music ever written.
Have you ever meditated on the meaning of those appellations? Jesus is a Wonderful Counselor. There are a few good Christian counselors out there. But very few. Most do not believe their Bibles. You can be sure that secular counselors do not believe the Bible. There is a small amount of wisdom that can be derived from a Christian counselor and even less from a secular counselor. Seriously, what did Freud know about Christ or God’s ways?
Why seek guidance from the ungodly? A Christian psychologist once confessed that psychology does not have much to offer Christians. He would know. He wrote a book about it.
However, we have the best Counselor in the universe, waiting and willing to help us. In fact, His title is Wonderful Counselor.
Do you need counseling today? Go to Jesus today for your advice.
If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
Who do you go to first thing when you need consolation or advice? Do you call a friend? A wife or husband? Your best friend? There might not be anything wrong with that. A little girl one time was told to go to God for help. She said she wanted “someone with skin on them.” God has often given us good friends that can help.
Ultimately, though, there is no One who knows us or our circumstances better than Jesus. It’s OK to go to our friends when we think we’re in a crisis but why not first go to the One Who loves us the most and the best?
Check out the hymn What A Friend We Have In 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: Jesus’ Song