Category: Word for the Week

Obadiah 17

WEEK 27: Obadiah 17 But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions

 

Obadiah. His name means “servant of the Lord,” but we know nothing of him except what we can gather from his prophecy.

The setting of his prophecy was probably written after the fall of Jerusalem under Nebuchadnezzar, 587 B. C. and before the destruction of Edom, five years later, which would make the date about 585 B. C. This would make Obadiah a contemporary of Jeremiah.

The occasion of the prophecy is the cruelty of the Edomites in rejoicing over the fall of Judah. The Edomites were the descendants of Esau – Jacob’s twin brother. The Edomites were seen as the type of unchangeable hostility of the flesh, compared to that which was born of the spirit

Galatians 4:22-23 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons; the one by a bondmaid; the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 

“But upon Mount Zion shall be deliverance” – Here is a promise of the return from the Babylonian captivity. They shall come to Zion, and there they shall find safety; and it is remarkable that after their return they were greatly befriended by the Persian kings and by Alexander the Great and his successors; so that, whilst they ravaged the neighbouring nations, the Jews were untouched. They were spared a grievous onslaught and attack.

“And there shall be holiness” – They shall return to God, separate themselves from their idols, and become a better people than they were when God permitted them to be carried into captivity.

“The house of Jacob shall possess” – They were restored to their former possessions. However, this may refer also to their future restoration under the Gospel, when they shall be truly converted, and become holiness to the Lord; for salvation and holiness shall be the characteristics of Zion.

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Amos 3:3

WEEK 26: Amos 3:3 Can two walk together except they be agreed?

 

Amos – His name means “Burden”, or “burden bearer” and he is called the prophet of righteousness. His home was at Tokea, a small town of Judea about twelve miles south of Jerusalem, where he acted as herdsman and as dresser of sycamore trees. He was very humble, not being of the prophetic line, nor educated in the schools of the prophets for the prophetic office. His prophecy was by inspiration of God, and lasted a very short time. Some scholars believe he prophesied just a few days. He prophesied during the reigns of Jeroboam the second in Israel, and Uzziah in Judah. He prophesied about 750 B.C. This was a time of much affluence in their land. He was of the tribe of Judah. He condemned the luxurious living of the wealthy. Amos’ message of coming punishment was not very well accepted.

God called him to go out from Judah, his native country, as a prophet to Israel, the Northern Kingdom. In obedience to this call he went to Bethel, where the sanctuary was, and delivered his bold prophecy. His bold preaching against Israel while at Bethel aroused Amaziah the leading idolatrous priest, who complained of him to the king. He was expelled from the kingdom, after he had denounced Amaziah who had perhaps accused him of preaching as a trade (Amos7:10-14).

This passage is talking about our relationship with God. Enoch walked with God and was not, for God took him (Genesis 5:24). Abraham was called a friend of God (James 2:23). King David was also a much loved friend of God. The LORD spoke to Moses like no other (Numbers 12:7-8).

While you loved and served Me, I dwelt in you and walked among you. Now you are become alienated from Me, your nature and Mine are totally opposite. I am holy, you are unholy. We are no longer agreed, and can no longer walk together. I can no longer hold communion with you. I must cast you out. The similes in this and the three following verses are all chosen to express the same thing, that no calamities or judgments can fall upon any people but by the express will of God, on account of their iniquities; and that whatever His prophets have foretold, they have done it by direct revelation from their Maker; and that God has the highest and most just reason(s) for inflicting the threatened calamities.

Here the prophet threatens the people that God would begin His visitations and their punishments in His forsaking them. As long as they were walking in disobedience with the LORD, they surely could not think that they should have God’s presence with them or that He should walk among them and bless them, while they walk so contrary to Him. They could not in reason hope that there should be any friendly commerce where so little agreement and friendship was; a retaliation they must expect from the LORD. He will forsake them who have forsaken Him.

We are to strive to have an unending, unbreakable undeniable relationship with God our Father.

James 4:4 Know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

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Joel 3:14

WEEK 25: Joel 3:14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.

 

The book of Joel is penned by the prophet Joel. He was a prophet in Judah. The name “Joel” means “Jehovah is God”. Joel was trying to call the people to repent of their sins, and be brought back into good standing with God. The one message that really stands out in the book of Joel is “the Day of the Lord”. Joel is unique in the fact of the promise of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all flesh.

“The valley of decision”: This location is the same as the valley of Jehoshaphat where the sentence of judgment will be carried out (Joel 3:2, 12). The scene is not one where the multitudes are in the midst of making a decision in favour of the Lord and repenting of their sin. Rather, the decision is made by God, a decision to judge the multitudes for their treatment of Judah and Jerusalem!

The command has gone forth; it is obeyed; and the prophet stands aghast at the vast multitudes assembling in the valley of decision, the place of judgment.  These words were spoken in a time of deep depression. Joel says the sadness and gloom were mainly due to the indecision of the people, who did not know whether to trust foreign alliances or Jehovah. So they would have to be led into a valley of judgment, from which they would not emerge until they had come to a decision. In our day much of the prevailing darkness is due to indecision. We feel that things are wrong, but we are not exactly sure what is required to set them right. The tumult of the nations in the valley of decision is not accidental, nor of their own volition; it’s because they have been summoned there by the Lord, “for the day of the Lord is near”.

Every man is in the valley of decision now; and his battle of Armageddon is a thing of the heart and mind and soul, and not a matter of nations and battlefields, for the Day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision; that is, the great and terrible Day of the Lord, to take vengeance on all the antichristian powers, both eastern and western, is nigh at hand, which will be done in this valley.

This judgment will be meted out against them in the Day of the Lord that takes place in the Great Tribulation.

These multitudes are the heathen armies of many nations that are judged in the valley, and found guilty as charged. God, Himself, destroys them. This is speaking of that Day of the Lord.

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Hosea 6:1-3

WEEK 24: Hosea 6:1-3 1 Come, and let us return unto the LORD; for He hath torn, and He will heal us, He hath smitten, and He will bind us up. 2 After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight. 3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD, His going forth is prepared as the morning, and He shall come unto us as the rain; as the latter and former rain unto the earth.

 

His name, Hosea, means “Deliverance.” He is called the “Prophet of Divine Love.” He was a native and citizen of Israel and followed Amos whom he may have lived in Bethel. He was a contemporary with Isaiah and bore faithful testimony to corrupt Israel in the North while Isaiah prophesied at Jerusalem and was to Israel what Jeremiah became to Judah. He was prepared for his work through the lessons which he learned from the sins of his unfaithful wife. (1) Through the suffering which he endured because of her sins, he understood how God was grieved at the wickedness of Israel and how her sins were not only against God’s law but an insult to divine love. (2) In love and at great cost he restored his wayward wife and in that act saw a hope of the restoration and forgiveness of Israel. His ministry extended over more than sixty years and was perhaps the longest of any on record. It continued 786-726 B. C., covering the last few years of the reign of Jeroboam II.

Conditions of Israel. Outwardly there was prosperity. Syria and Moab had been conquered; commerce had greatly increased; the borders of the land had been extended and the temple offerings were ample. Inwardly there was decay. Gross immoralities were being introduced; worship was being polluted and the masses of the people crushed, while the Assyrian Empire was advancing and ready to crush Israel, whom, because of her sins, God had abandoned to her fate.

They countenanced oppression, murder, lying, stealing, swearing, etc. They had forgotten the law and their covenant to keep it and had substituted the worship of Baal for that of Jehovah, thereby becoming idolaters. They no longer looked to God in their distress but turned to Egypt and Assyria for help, and thereby put security and prosperity on a basis of human strength and wisdom instead of resting them upon a hope of divine favour.

This is a call to the sinful people in Hosea’s time (Hosea 4:1, 6). The prophet vicariously leads his people in a prayer of repentance and a plea for restoration that can ultimately take place only in the day when Israel as a nation will be converted (Jeremiah 31:31-34), and God will set up His kingdom over His people and reign for a thousand years. This new generation would be certain of God’s mercy to the repentant and the return of His favour to those who sincerely acknowledge Him (Hosea14:4; Isaiah 1:18; Acts 10:43). Coming with the beginning of Christ’s millennial reign (Zechariah. 12:10-13; Isaiah. 43:1-6), Hosea records Israel’s future words of repentance.

This is speaking as if their captivity has already taken place. It is the same God that tore them, who will forgive them and cause them to begin again. God chastises His people as a loving parent. He is also full of grace and love for the very same people. God is our Judge, but He is also our Redeemer.

“After two days will He revive us”, quicken us, give us life, and in the third day He will raise us up .The Resurrection of Christ, and our resurrection in Him and in His Resurrection, could not be more plainly foretold. The prophet expressly mentions “two days,” after which life should be given, and a “third day”, in which the resurrection should take place. What else can this be than the two days in which the Body of Christ lay in the tomb, and the third day, on which He rose again, as “the Resurrection and the life” (John 11:25)?

The Apostle Paul, in speaking of our resurrection in Christ, uses these self-same words of the prophet; “God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us – hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up and made us to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-6)

“He shall come unto us as the rain:” God will no longer deal with Israel like a “moth” and “rottenness” (Hosea 5:12). Instead, He will deal with them like life-giving and refreshing rain. The former and the latter rain are speaking of a time when the Spirit of God falls on the people of the earth like rain.

This is a call to the study of God and His Word. The way to know the LORD is to diligently study His Word.

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Daniel 10:13

WEEK 23: Daniel 10:13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.

 

Daniel means “God is my Judge”.  Probable written between their captivity 605 B. C., and the death of Daniel, 533 B. C.

He was probably born in Jerusalem and was one of the noble young captives first carried into captivity by King Nebuchadnezzar. He was educated by order of the king and soon rose to great favour and was chosen to stand before the king in one of the highest government positions under the Chaldean, Median and Persian dynasties. He lived through the whole period of the captivity and probably died in Babylon.

The purpose of the book seems to be: (1) To magnify Jehovah, who delivers His servants. Who is God of all nations and who will punish idolatry, who is pure, and righteous. (2) To encourage his countrymen to resist the forces that threatens the foundation of their faith. This was done by the example of Daniel and his companions whom Jehovah saved. (3) To give a prophecy or vision of all times from the day of Daniel to the Messianic period. (4) To outline the religious philosophy of history which would issue in a great world state, which the Messianic King would rule by principles of justice and right, and which would subdue all kingdoms and have everlasting dominion. The main idea is the ultimate triumph of the kingdom of God.

Someone/entity had delayed the arrival of God’s answer to Daniel’s prayer. He was the “prince of Persia”, evidently a fallen angel who, under Satan’s authority, who had a special responsibility for Persia. Persia is modern day Iran.  Clearly, “prince”  here refers to an angel; since Michael was also called a prince. The prince of Persia must have been an evil angel since he opposed Gods purpose. Angelic hostility in the unseen world had resulted in the 21 day delay of this good angel’s arrival with God’s message (Daniel 10:2).

The powers of evil apparently have the capacity to bring about hindrances and delays, even of the delivery of the answers to believers whose requests God is minded to answer. Scripture reminds us that we are to put on the whole armour of God, that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil (Ephesians 6:10-18). The kingdom of darkness has different realms and levels of wickedness in the spiritual realm. There are territorial demonic entities that constantly war against God’s children. The angel Gabriel, who was representing God to Daniel, was not powerful enough to break through the satanic forces to Daniel. There is a great spiritual warfare going on. The forces of God are fighting against the forces of the devil constantly.  

The 3 week delay was due to an evil angel opposing Gabriel in heavenly warfare. This angel was specially anointed with Persian power in an effort to thwart the work of God. This tells us that Satan engages in heavenly warfare to influence generations and nations against God and His people. Evidently the good angel who spoke to Daniel had performed some duty in Persia that involved the kings or rulers of that land. However, having received a commission from God to visit Daniel, he was not able to break away to deliver it because of the influence of the bad angel who exercised strong influence over Persia. Michael visited the good angel and helped him break away from this wicked angels power so he could visit Daniel.

Angels are ministering spirits to help the saints.

Hebrews 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

Perhaps, Michael (an archangel), had more authority and broke through for him. Today the authority to fight these evil forces lies in the name of Jesus. At the name of Jesus – every knee bows (Philippians 2:10-11).

Michael is a chief angel of heaven (10:21; 12:1; Jude 9, Rev. 12:7). Michael remained to assure that the Jews would be free to return to their land. Some angels have more authority and power than others do (Ephesians 1:21). Although the entire subject of the unseen struggle between the holy angels and the fallen angels is not clearly revealed in the Scriptures, from the rare glimpses which are afforded us, as in this instance, it is plain that behind the political and social conditions of the world there is angelic influence – good on the part of the holy angels, evil on the part of the angels under satanic control. These demonic powers gained a very strong influence over certain nations and the government of these nations. They became the controlling power. They used whatever resources they could muster to hamper God’s work and to thwart His purposes.

Dear Reader – I would like you to be encouraged. It may seem that when you pray, your prayers are hitting a brick wall. Bouncing off. Not being heard. Your tears; cries; petitions; supplications have not been hearkened unto. He hears and sees all. Hang on in there, for He will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). Keep on keeping on!!!

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Ezekiel 22:30

WEEK 22: Ezekiel 22:30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge and stand in the gap before Me for the land; that I should not destroy it: but I found none.

 

His name means “God will strengthen”. He was a priest and was carried into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar. B. C. 597. He had a home on the river Chebar where the Elders of Judah were accustomed to meet. His wife died in the ninth year of his captivity. He was a man of very powerful intellect and apparently from the better classes of those carried into captivity. He is not so timid or sensitive as Jeremiah but he abhors sin and its consequences. He was grieved by the wickedness of his people and the suffering which they endured.

Nature of the Prophecy. The nature of the prophecy or the methods by which he exercised or manifests his prophetic gift differs from that of the other prophets. Allegories, parables, similitudes and visions abound, some of them symbolic of the future and others of existing facts and conditions were common place in this Book of Ezekiel. The prophet remains on the banks of Chebar and in spirit is transported to Jerusalem and the temple. Much of the book is in character similar to Revelation and while the general subjects are very plain, much of the meaning of the symbols is obscure. There are, however, powerful addresses and eloquent predictions of Divine judgments on the nations. It was probably due to the services of Ezekiel that Israel’s religion was preserved during the exile.

The main aspects of his teaching. (1) Denunciation of Judah’s sins and the downfall of Jerusalem – Chapters 1-24. (2) Judgments upon foreign nations – Chapters 25-32. (3) The glorious restoration of Israel- Chapters 33-48.

There was universal apostasy in the land. There is not left in the city even one man who can plead for it as Abraham for the Sodom and Gomorrah. God could not find 10 righteous there, so He destroyed them.  Or as Moses for the people in the wilderness. We see that in Israel, there was not even one who was righteous enough to intercede before God for them. There was no one holy enough to stand in the gap for them. The only possible result of this is that God will destroy the land.

The LORD saw that there was a grievous breach made in the moral state and feeling of the people, and He sought for a man that would stand in the gap, a man who would faithfully exhort, reprove and counsel with all long-suffering and doctrine. But none was to be found!

The LORD sought a man – anyone, among princes, prophets, priests, or people, to repair the breach, and stand – to intercede between a sinful people, and their offended God, and entreat Him for mercy, that the land might not be destroyed – alas all were corrupted – they obstinately continued to sin and provoke the LORD to anger.

Ezekiel and Jeremiah were faithful, but apart from them God sought a man capable of advocacy for Israel when its sin had gone so far. But no one could lead the people to repentance and draw the nation back from the brink of the judgment that came in 586 B.C.

Perhaps, this is why years later God sent Jesus to the earth to be our substitute. The depravity of man is an on-going thing. We all deserve to die for our sins. Praise God! Jesus paid our penalty of death for us.

Only God’s Messiah, God Himself, will have the character and the credentials sufficient to do what no man can do, intercede for Israel, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

He was rejected by them in His earthly ministry, so the effects of this judgment continue today, until they turn to Him in faith (Zech. 12:10 – 13:1).

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Lamentations 3:22-23

WEEK 21: Lamentations 3:22-23 22 It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; great is His faithfulness.

 

Jeremiah is the author of Lamentations. The name means “mournful” or “plaintive poems”. It was formerly a part of Jeremiah and represents the sorrows of Jeremiah when the calamities which he had predicted befell his people, who had often despised and rejected him for his messages. He chose to live with them in their suffering and out of his weeping pointed them to a star of hope.

Oh but for the Blood of Jesus. We are but miserable sinners – even on our best-est day (I know there is no such word!) – despite our desire not to sin – we still do. For “in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5). Furthermore, all our righteousness is like filthy rags – (Isaiah 64:6) we are all unclean and full of sin in His presence – but for the Blood of the Lamb. For He made Him who knew know sin to become sin for us that we might be made the righteousness in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21). But for the Blood!

These verses embody the central thesis of the book. When God dealt with His sinful people He exhibited His compassions. The word translated “mercies” conveys God’s love for His covenant people

“Mercies” –  This Hebrew word, used about 250 times in the Old Testament, refers to God’s gracious love. It is a comprehensive term that encompasses love, grace, mercy, goodness, forgiveness, truth, compassion and faithfulness.

Jeremiah is reflecting back – this reflection has reminded him of the loving care of the LORD. He realizes the only reason he is not dead, is because of the mercies of God. God never stops loving. He just wants us to love Him in return.

These compassions of God are renewed day by day, to declare the great faithfulness of God in fulfilling His many promises of mercy to His people.

The word “faithfulness” comes from a root meaning “be permanent, secure, and reliable”. From this comes the associated idea of genuine faith.  The word here is often translated “faith” but literally means “firmness” or “faithfulness”. Thus, it is used of the faithfulness of God Himself, and of the need for the believer likewise to be faithful in his life and in his service to God.

Lord – we thank you for Your mercies and faithfulness and steadfast love that never ceases – for they are new every morning – GREAT is Your faithfulness.

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Jeremiah 1:5

WEEK 20: Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

 

“Jeremiah” his name means “Exalted of Jehovah”. (1) Jeremiah is ranked second among the great Old Testament writers. (2) His ministry began in 626 B. C – the thirteenth year of Josiah (Jeremiah 1:2), and lasted about forty years. He probably died in Babylon during the early years of the captivity. (3) He was of a sensitive nature, mild, timid, and inclined to melancholy. He was devoutly religious and naturally shrank from giving pain to others. (4) He was uncommonly bold and courageous in declaring the message of God. It was a very unpopular message, and subjected him to hatred and even to suffering wrong. He was unsparing in the denunciations and rebukes administered to his nation, not even sparing the prince. (5) He is called “the weeping prophet”. He was distressed both by the disobedience and apostasy of Israel and by the evil which he foresaw.

Condition of the Nations. (1) Israel, the northern kingdom, had been carried into captivity and Judah stood alone against her enemies. (2) Judah had fallen into a bad state, but Josiah, who reigned when Jeremiah began his ministry, attempted to bring about reforms and restore the old order. After his death, however, wickedness grew more and more until, in the later part of the life of Jeremiah, Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and Judah was led away in captivity. (3) The world powers of the time of Jeremiah’s birth were Assyria and Egypt. They were contending for supremacy. He foresaw how Babylon would fall and how a kingdom greater than all would rise wherein there would be righteousness and peace.

Jeremiah was foreknown by God and set apart as His messenger to the nations long before his birth. The whole process was carefully watched over by God, so that Jeremiah’s existence as a person, as well as his call, had become a reality while he was still in the womb. This is the Word of the LORD. The LORD called Jeremiah to prophesy, even before he was born. His sole purpose in life was to prophesy to Judah in particular, but also to the nations. . This is very similar to the call of John the Baptist, Samson, and Samuel.  They had no private life at all. Theirs was a public ministry. Their lives were for the purpose of God to be fulfilled.

The LORD not only called him to prophesy before he was born, but set him aside for the purpose of God, the LORD sanctified him before he was born. Remember in the Book of Luke, that John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Ghost in his mother’s womb. This is a very special call. The LORD did not want Jeremiah weighted down with worldly things. He separated him for a purpose. Jeremiah did not choose to be a prophet. God poured out His Spirit on Jeremiah and ordained him for this purpose.

Notice that Jeremiah was to prophesy to the nations (plural), not just to Judah. This was a worldwide ministry that the LORD had called Jeremiah into. Jeremiah was the LORD’s chosen instrument (Romans 8:29).

Jeremiah was “sanctified” – separated. The primary meaning is to set apart from a common to a special use. His birth and purpose in life was not to be as an ordinary every day man. He was sanctified ceremonially and morally. This does not mean that Jeremiah was cleansed from original sin, or regenerated him by his Spirit; but the LORD separated him to his special prophetic office, His ministry was not merely for the Hebrews, but also the nations hostile to them. He needed the anointing of the LORD to fulfil his ministry.

The LORD has given each and every one of us talents – some 5 talents; some 2 talents and others 1 talent (Matthew 25:15) to use for His glory. We are to nurture and grow and water those talents. The man who received 1 talent buried that talent. The Lord was not pleased with him (Matthew 25:25-28).

What are you doing with the talent(s) the LORD has bestowed upon you?

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Isaiah 6:8

WEEK 19: Isaiah 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the LORD, saying, Whom shall I send and who will go for Us? Then said I, Here am I, send me.

 

Starting with the Book of Isaiah we will now go through the Prophetic Books.  All take their name from the Prophets whose messages they bear. They are written largely in the poetic style and are divided into two divisions.

(1) The Major Prophets including – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel and Daniel.

(2) The Minor Prophets including – Jonah, Amos and Hosea – they were the prophets of Israel.

(3) Obadiah, Joel, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah – they were prophets of Judah.  

(4) The exilic prophets – Ezekiel and Daniel.

(5) The Post-exilic prophets – prophets who prophesied after the captivity. All are of Judah and are Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.

What is known about Isaiah? Several things are known of him. (1) He was called to his work the last year of the reign of Uzziah. (2) He lived at Jerusalem during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. (3) He is the most renowned of all the Old Testament prophets, his visions not being restricted to his own country and times. He spoke for all nations and for all times (4) He is quoted more in the New Testament than any of the other prophets and, because of the relation of his teaching to New Testament times and teachings, his prophesies have been called the Bridge between the old and new covenants. (5) He married and had two sons.

His first vision recorded in Isaiah chapter six impressed upon him some truths that shaped his whole career. He saw: (1) The holiness and majesty of God; (2) The corruption of those about him; (3) The certainty of awful judgment upon the wicked; (4) The blessing of those whose lives are approved of God; and (5) The salvation of a remnant that was to be the seed of a new Israel. With these truths burning in his soul he pressed the battle of righteousness into every sphere of life. He tried to make not only religious worship, but commerce and politics so pure that it could all become a service acceptable to God. He therefore became a religious teacher, preacher, social reformer, statesman and seer.

Conditions of Israel (The Northern Kingdom). Isaiah began to prophecy when it was outwardly rich and prosperous under the rule of Jeroboam. Inwardly it was very corrupt. It soon went to pieces, however (621 B. C.), being conquered and carried into captivity by the Assyrians.

Conditions of Judah (The Southern Kingdom). During the reigns of Ahaz, Jotham and Uzziah, oppression, wickedness and idolatry existed everywhere. Ahaz made an alliance with Assyria, which finally brought destruction to Israel, but Hezekiah listened to Isaiah and made reforms, and God destroyed the Assyrian army before Jerusalem was destroyed.

In chapter 6 Isaiah recounts his original call to the prophetic ministry, dating it from the year that king Uzziah died (740 B.C.), with the death of godly Uzziah. Judah’s golden age was fast slipping away. No human leader appeared on the scene to reverse the decadence that had begun during Uzziah’s final years of isolation due to leprosy. At this crucial hour, the prophet’s attention was turned to God.

Isaiah’s call –   Isaiah states that he heard the voice of the LORD asking whom He should send and who will go for us? The plural pronouns are used here (as in Genesis 1:26), to refer to the triune God (God the Father; God the Son; and God The Holy Spirit). The prophet himself is now a changed man. Having his burden of guilt and worry removed, he spontaneously volunteers “here am I; send me”. His consecration by God prepared him to answer God’s call to service.

This is the most beautiful call to minister and the answer to that call. Not only was Isaiah aware of the presence of the LORD in the smoke and in the fire, but now he hears the voice of God. The answer Isaiah gave showed his willingness, and even eagerness, to serve God.

Isaiah’s history is a picture of what many a true Christian labourer may expect. Isaiah was sent to preach very unpleasant truths, but like a true hero he was very bold in preaching it. If you are called of God either to preach or teach, or whatever it is, remember the things you have to preach or teach will not always be palatable to your hearers.

Are you ready to take up your cross and run the race that has been set before you and answer that call?

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Song of Solomon 2:1

WEEK 18: Song of Solomon 2:1 I am the rose of Sharon: and the lily of the valleys

 

The subject is faithful love seen in a woman who though subjected to the temptations of an oriental man, remains faithful to her old lover. She is a country girl from the north. She attracts the attention of the king who brings her to Jerusalem and offers her every enticement possible to become the wife of the king. However, upon her defiant refusal she is allowed to return home to her lover – country shepherd lad.

Who does the Song of Solomon speak to?

(1) To the Jews of that time it was a call to purity of life – for a return to those relations which God had ordained between man and woman. It was a protest against polygamy which had become almost universal.

(2) To the Christian it sets forth in allegory. Christ and His church as Bridegroom and Bride and the fullness of love which unites the believer and his Saviour.

(3) To the entire world there is shown the purity and constancy of a woman’s love and devotion to her ideals.

The Rose of Sharon – of all the flowers that God has made, the rose, take it all in all, is the loveliest and the sweetest. It has three things in perfection – (i) shape (ii) colour, and (iii) fragrance. Indeed, we may call it the queen of flowers. Now, it is in its sweetness especially that the rose reminds me of the Lord Jesus Christ. His character was marked not only by manliness, but also with what one may call sweetness, for He had all the firmness of a man and all the tenderness of a woman.

The rose is the most common as well as the most beautiful of all the flowers. You find it wherever you go, – in all countries and in all places. In fact, it is the universal flower. It belongs to everybody, and in this respect it resembles Christ, for Christ is the common property of all – of the peasant as well as of the prince; of poor as well as of rich; of the child as well as of the fully grown man. He belongs to all nations too – to the dwellers in north and south and east and west.

The Saviour calls Himself in the text “The Lily of the Valleys”, and we have now to consider what this second title is intended to teach us. Supposing that “the Lily of the Valleys” is the flower which we know by that name – you all remember how graceful it is, with pretty little white bells ranged in a row on a tapering stalk, and how it appears to hide itself modestly under the shade of its broad green leaves. Now, why is it thus chosen? Partly because the lily is of a beautiful white colour, and represents purity.

How pure was Jesus? Never at any time did He think, or say, or do anything that was wrong. As a child, as a boy, as a man, He was absolutely free from fault. However, the lily of the valley – because it has a drooping head, and hides behind the shade of its broad green leaves, instead of thrusting itself forward, it may be taken as an emblem of lowliness or humility. This serves to remind us of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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