Old Testament: Isaiah 57:14-59:21
Isaiah 57:14-59:21 Fast Food
Chap. 57:14-21 God has a place for the humble who return to Him (cf. v. 15; James 4:6-7, 1 Pet. 5:5). There is no peace for the wicked but there is peace for the humble (cf. 1Pet. 5:7).
Chap. 58 Chapter 58 is about fasting, going without food in order to put complete focus on God. The Israelites were fasting for the wrong reasons. Some Christians engage in fasting today in order to try to manipulate God into doing what they want. It doesn’t work.
Chap. 59 The reason we need to be saved is because our sins have separated us from God. This is stated succinctly in verse 2. You can see why Isaiah is considered the prophet who most clearly states the gospel in the Old Testament.
We recently read Ephesians 6 (v. 10-17) on the “armor of God.” I said then that the armor consisted of ethical characteristics and that putting on the armor was like putting on Christ. A parallel can be seen in verse 17.
McGee comments on verse 20 that only a remnant of Israel will be saved at the time of the Millennium (cf. Rom. 9:6). God has made covenants with Israel that are eternal (cf. v. 21, “from now and forever”).
New Testament: Philippians 1:1-26
Philippians 1:1-26 Oh, Joy!
Philippians was one of the four “prison epistles” written by Paul while he was in prison in Rome (others are Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon). Paul is writing to thank the Philippians for their gifts (Phil. 4:16). Joy is a major theme (cf. 1:25; Phil. 4:4).
Philippi was a small town, the first town in Europe to have a church. Paul founded it on his second missionary journey (Acts 16). The problem of the legalists Judaizers again presents itself (chap. 3:1-3). There are also problems with “perfectionism” (3:12-14) and licentiousness (3:18-19).
Paul again begins by wishing “grace” to his readers (2). Grace is when we get what we don’t deserve, “something for nothing.” Paul describes himself and Timothy as “slaves” (HCSB) or “bond-servants” (NASB) to Christ (v. 1).
Paul thanks God for the Philippians (vv. 3-5). As a good minister, Paul loves the Philippians deeply (v. 8) and prays that their love would grow (vv. 9-11).
The great apostle does not seek the Philippians’ sympathy though he has suffered much for the gospel (vv. 12-14). Some are even more bold in their proclamation of the gospel after witnessing Paul’s sufferings (vv. 16-17). Some may preach Christ out of self-aggrandizement (v. 17a) and spite but Paul relishes the idea that the gospel is being preached by whatever means. He intends to have Christ exalted through his life or his death (vv. 19-20).The next verse is a classic, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (v. 21). That should be the motto of every Christian. What Paul means is that if he lived, he would hope to bear fruit for the Lord in furthering the good news of the gospel. If he died, he knew he would be better off in Heaven (vv. 22-23). If he stays on earth, he knows he’ll be able to help the Philippians (vv. 23-25) and especially if he’s able to have a joyful visit them again (vv. 25-26).
Psalm 71:1-24 Back From The Dead A Lament by David
Proverbs 24:9-10 Don’t Be A Slacker!
Verse 9 is similar to the previous verse. If you have less than stellar character, everyone will know it.
If you are trying to have a tip-top reputation, you aren’t trying hard enough (v. 10).
Or just rely more on the Holy Spirit. Because you are weak, then you will be stronger (cf. 2 Cor. 12:10).
Choose Life: Scripture: Philippians 1:21 NASB “Turn Up The Gain”
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21 NASB
How confident are you of your Christian faith? Are you so confident that you don’t have any worries at all about the afterlife? Paul didn’t.
There is a story told a kid in Sunday School. The teacher asked for a show of hands of who’d like to go to Heaven. The whole class raised their hands except for one young boy. The teacher asked the boy why he didn’t want to go to Heaven. He replied, “I do. I thought you were getting a load up right now!” Many of us may be afraid that God is “getting a load up right now.” Are you ready to go at any moment?
Paul knew that if he stayed here on earth, he could do great service for the Lord. He also knew that if anything happened to him, he’d be a lot better off.
What’s your state of affairs? Can you be satisfied like Paul with working down here for the Lord? Would you be just as happy or more happy if the Lord were to take you?
Commit yourself today to the Lord and doing His will, whether on earth or in Heaven.
If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
Is there anything you would rather do than go to Heaven? Maybe you’d like to wait till you get married? Buy a house? Finish a project? A trip to Europe? These things may be idols. I always comfort myself that once I get to Heaven I won’t miss anything down here that I thought was important. That helps to put things in perspective. Is there anything today you need to put in perspective?
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: Fast Food