8th August: Isaiah 36-42

Isaiah

36:1-37:20  –  Hezekiah is facing a very powerful enemy – ‘Sennacherib, king of Assyria’ (36:1). Hezekiah prays for deliverance – ‘O Lord our God, deliver us from his hand’. He prays for salvation – ‘O Lord our God, save us…’ (37:20). We face an even more powerful enemy – Satan, ‘the ruler of this world’, ‘the god of this world’. We must pray for deliverance. We must look to the Lord for salvation. We must pray with faith in Jesus Christ. Satan ‘has no power over’ Jesus. When Jesus was ‘lifted up from the earth’ (crucified), He won a mighty victory over Satan. Jesus died for us so that Satan, ‘the ruler of this world’ might be ‘cast out’. Satan’s power is broken when ‘the light of the Gospel of  the glory of Christ’ shines ‘in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ’ (John 14:30;12:31-33; 2 Corinthians 4:4-6).

37:21-38:8  –  Sennacherib has no power over God’s people. They are protected by a superior power, the power of God – ‘This is what the Lord says concerning the king of Assyria: “He will not enter this city or shoot an arrow here… By the way that he came he will return…”’. This is God’s answer to Hezekiah’s prayer for salvation – ‘I will defend this city to save it’ (33-35). What a great God we have! He is the God of our salvation. He will answer our prayer for salvation. God loves us: ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…’. Christ died for us: ‘God made Him who knew no sin (Christ) to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God’. Christ promises to receive all who come to Him for salvation: ‘I will never turn away anyone who comes to Me’ (John 3:16; 6:37; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

38:9-39:8  –  ‘The Lord will save me, and we will sing with stringed instruments all the days of our life in the House of the Lord’ (20). Some people say, ‘I can be a Christian without going to Church’. Here, we have something very different. Believing in the Lord leads to worshipping the Lord. It doesn’t make sense to say, ‘I believe in the Lord but  I’m not interested in worshipping Him’. We believe in Christ. We are saved by Him. We receive a new Spirit of worship: ‘God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Father, my Father!”’ (Galatians 4:4). Let’s have none of this ‘believing without worshipping’ – ‘Abba Father, let me be Yours and Your alone. May my will for ever be evermore Your own. Never let my heart grow cold, never let me go. Abba Father, let me be Yours and Yours alone’ (Mission Praise, 3).

40:1-31  –  ‘The Lord is the everlasting God… He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak… those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…’ (28-31). Far too often, we say, ‘I can’t’ when we really mean ‘I won’t’. ‘I can’t’ – This is an insult to the power of God. The Lord calls us to do something special for Him. We say, ‘I can’t’. What are we really saying? This is what we are saying – ‘Lord, I don’t believe Your promise – “Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength”’. Don’t say, ‘I can’t’. Don’t get so busy with other things that you fail to wait upon the Lord and renew your strength. When the Lord calls you to serve Him, say, ‘Yes, Lord, I will wait upon You. I will renew my strength. I will do Your will’.

41:1-29  –  ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you… I am the Lord your God who… says to you, Do not fear; I will help you… I Myself will help you, declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel’ (10-14). When we have something important to say, we repeat ourselves. We want to make sure that our message gets across. We say, ‘Do you get the point? Do you see what I mean?’. This is what God is doing here. Three times, He says, ‘I will help you’. He wants us to get the point. He wants to leave us in no doubt. He wants us to be sure of this: ‘I will help you’. He doesn’t want us to go around thinking, ‘I wonder if God will help me?’. He really does want to help us. He says it once. He says it twice. He says it three times: ‘I will help you’.

42:1-25  –  ‘Here is My Servant, whom I uphold, my Chosen One in whom I delight; I will put My Spirit on Him, and He will bring justice to the nations’ (1). These words turn our thoughts towards the Lord Jesus Christ. At His baptism, we hear the voice of the Father – ‘This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased’. At His baptism, we see ‘the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and resting on Him’.  Jesus is the fulfilment of God’s Word of prophecy: ‘All mankind shall see the Saviour sent from God’. After His resurrection, we hear Jesus Himself speaking. He says, ‘Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…’ (Matthew 12:15-21; 3:16-17; 28:18-20; Luke 3:6). Let us bring Christ to the nations. Let us serve the Lord in the power of the Spirit.

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