ISAIAH 54:1-57:14 | EPHESIANS 6:1-24 | PSALM 70:1-5 | PROVERBS 24:8
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Isaiah’s prophecy for Zion, the ancient name for the children of Israel continues. In this chapter, he reveals the restored glory of Zion, and a renewal of the everlasting covenant that God has made with her. The Lord says by way of Isaiah:
10 Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
Furthermore, the Lord offers this magnificent promise:
17 no weapon forged against you will prevail,
and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD,
and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the LORD.
Here is an exhortation to Israel, nay, to everyone who seeks a redemption:
6 Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
But even though this is a God full of mercy and compassion, this is a God who is unfathomable. Isaiah says of this God:
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
And he continues in this vein:
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Who among us mere mortals might even venture to say anything like this?
And finally, after a long litany of accusations against the wicked, there are words of comfort for the contrite. The Lord says:
“But whoever takes refuge in me
will inherit the land
and possess my holy mountain.”
14 And it will be said:
“Build up, build up, prepare the road!
Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.”
Turning next to our reading of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, we find Paul continuing to give very practical advice on relationships.
Paul says to every person who has parents: 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
And to parents, fathers in particular, he says: 4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Next, Paul proceeds to give, perhaps the most valuable piece of advice in this entire letter: he encourages each person to put on the “armor of God”.
He says, 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
And what might this armor look like you ask?
Paul explains it like this: 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Paul then goes on to offer one last exhortation to complete this armor: prayer.
He says: 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
May it be that this would be our prayer as well — to fearlessly declare the good news of the gospel of Christ.
We now turn to our psalm for the day, and find yet another beautiful psalm that highlights David’s immeasurable faith and trust in the Lord. David says:
4 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
“The LORD is great!”
5 But as for me, I am poor and needy;
come quickly to me, O God.
You are my help and my deliverer;
LORD, do not delay.
Finally, a short statement from the book of Proverbs, authored by Solomon, the wise king of Israel, who says:
8 Whoever plots evil
will be known as a schemer.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.