Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 119 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Isaiah 9 today and our focus is on turning the right direction to avoid disaster. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in . Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
If you’ve been listening for a while, you know the spiel, we read one chapter of the Bible every day – 5 days a week in the New Testament, twice a week in the Old Testament. Going through the Old Testament, we have to skip chapters, because there are more OT chapters than days in the year. Yesterday we were in Isaiah 7 and today in Isaiah 9, but we did skip over something important in Isaiah 8:
19 When they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the spiritists who chirp and mutter,” shouldn’t a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? 20 Go to God’s instruction and testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, there will be no dawn for them. 21 They will wander through the land, dejected and hungry. When they are famished, they will become enraged, and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. 22 They will look toward the earth and see only distress, darkness, and the gloom of affliction, and they will be driven into thick darkness.
I have noticed a resurgence of people paying attention to horoscopes, mediums and spiritualism adjacent practices, so this passage is as relevant in our time as it was in Isaiah’s time, hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus. The Bible strictly forbids followers of God from attempting to consult the dead – which is what a medium does. The Bible strictly forbids visiting spiritists, psychics, etc. I think this is partially because many of such practitioners are simply well-practiced frauds, but honestly, it would seem that some of these people, like the witch of Endor in 1 Samuel 28, have actual ability in the spiritual realm, and I believe the Bible teaches that those people are more dangerous than the frauds. The frauds will simply take your money and give you some fraudulent advice. The real ones – if there are any still left – may connect you with something much worse than a huckster. Through Isaiah, God calls His people in this passage to seek instruction and wisdom from God’s Words and testimony – the Bible. If we do not do this, then we will stumble about in darkness, dejected and hungry, which will lead to bitterness, depression, and even thicker darkness. The path of horoscopes and psychics and mediums, according to the Bible, leads to some very dark and despairing places. We must therefore turn away from such practices and go to God’s instruction and testimony – which is the first turn we will discuss today.
The second turn we will discuss is in our Isaiah 9 passage. Let’s read it.
Here’s the verse of the day:
The people did not turn to him who struck them;
they did not seek the Lord of Armies. Isaiah 9:13
A more somber verse of the day than most days, but this is an important one. Over and over, God has stretched out His hand of compassion to Israel, and over and over, Israel has rejected Him. (As we see in Isaiah 65:2)
I spread out my hands all day long
to a rebellious people
who walk in the path that is not good,
following their own thoughts.
Our verse of the day shows that even God’s discipline is designed to cause His people to turn back to Him, but in Israel’s case, they refused utterly to do so. Thus it is that God pronounces a sweeping judgment through the prophet Isaiah. In Isaiah 8, it is pronounced that the mighty Assyrians will invade, and basically sweep away almost all of the tribes of Israel – only remnant Judah will remain, and even they will be almost wiped out several decades later by the Babylonians. At that point, it will be almost like Israel never existed – a time of sorrows and exile for the Jewish people. BUT, as God shows through Isaiah in chapter 9, God is going to DO something about it. Isaiah 9 is one of the chief and most important prophecies of the coming Messiah – the deliverer of God’s people. Let’s listen to this prophecy in the New Living Translation:
The people who walk in darkness
will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness,
a light will shine.
3 You will enlarge the nation of Israel,
and its people will rejoice.
They will rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest
and like warriors dividing the plunder.
4 For you will break the yoke of their slavery
and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders.
You will break the oppressor’s rod,
just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian.
5 The boots of the warrior
and the uniforms bloodstained by war
will all be burned.
They will be fuel for the fire.
6 For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 His government and its peace
will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David
for all eternity.
The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
will make this happen!
Wonderful news – all accomplished by the ZEAL of God, or, the passionate commitment of the Lord, as the NLT says. I do note here the Lord’s timetable, which is nothing like our own. This promise of God in Isaiah 9 was written roughly 700 years before the coming of Jesus. In our minds, that is a LONG time, especially if you are an American, and your country has barely existed for a little over 200 years. God’s timetable is NOT our timetable, but His promises are sure and certain. I’m reminded of the promise and wisdom of 2nd Peter 3:
8 Dear friends, don’t overlook this one fact: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:8-9
It may seem like the Lord is slow in our eyes, and it may seem like the trial we are going through is taking much longer than we’d like it too – but the Lord is patient, and He is working His will. We have seen the prophesied great light – Jesus – and we have every reason to hope in His name and His return. Let’s rejoice in that, and learn from the failures of Israel and the mercies of God.
End of the Show: Bible memory verse for April James 4:6 “But he gives greater grace. Therefore he says: God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
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