ISAIAH 51:1-53:12 | EPHESIANS 5:1-33 | PSALM 69:19-36 | PROVERBS 24:7
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Isaiah continues as the Lord’s mouthpiece in these writings that are prophetic in nature, for the most part. This chapter opens up with the Lord saying this to the children of Israel—referring to Abraham, the Lord says:
When I called him he was only one man,
and I blessed him and made him many.
3 The LORD will surely comfort Zion
and will look with compassion on all her ruins;
he will make her deserts like Eden,
her wastelands like the garden of the LORD.
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the sound of singing.
In a most poetic way, the Lord is saying of his people:
“You were sold for nothing,
and without money you will be redeemed.”
And in some of the most memorable verses from the book of Isaiah, we have these verses that announce the great coming of the Messiah:
7 How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”
8 Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices;
together they shout for joy.
When the LORD returns to Zion,
they will see it with their own eyes.
9 Burst into songs of joy together,
you ruins of Jerusalem,
for the LORD has comforted his people,
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The LORD will lay bare his holy arm
in the sight of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth will see
the salvation of our God.
In Chapter 53, we find a culmination of the great event of the advent and treatment of the Messiah, and the purpose that it served. Referring to the man known as Jesus Christ, who was none other than God incarnate, Isaiah says this of Jesus’ crucifixion and death:
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
But this was no ordinary death, neither was it for naught. There was a great purpose to it, and this is what Isaiah tells us:
10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
Turning now to our reading of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, we find Paul yet again reminding his readers about the important aspect of this new faith that they have adopted.
He says: 1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
And then he goes another step to spell out what he exactly recommends.
He says: 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
Paul is all about being practical with the advice he dispenses. He is not speaking in esoteric terms, rather, he is as down-to-earth as can be. Here are some additional words of advice that he has for the Ephesians, and it goes without saying that these are timeless words for all of us to live by even today.
Paul says:15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And if this wasn’t practical enough for you, Paul has more advice—on personal relationships, especially those pertaining to between a husband and wife.
Paul says: …husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Turning now to our psalm for the day, we find David offering praises to the Lord, and he rightfully argues that such offerings of praise and thanksgiving are more precious to God than any other offering. Remember, this was during the pre-Messianic era where there was no other way to approach God besides making animal offerings, but even in that day, David already possesses the wisdom of what might truly be pleasing to God. He says:
30 I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.
31 This will please the LORD more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hooves.
Finally, one verse from the book of Proverbs which is another “saying” authored by Solomon, wise king of Israel who says:
7 Wisdom is too high for fools; in the assembly at the gate they must not open their mouths.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.