Morning Reading: Thu, 25 Jan – Isaiah 21-26 ~ “This is our God!”

Morning Reading

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Opening – (Northumbria Community)

One thing I have asked of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.

Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory.

Full Reading: Isaiah 21-26 (NLT)

Message: “Babylon is fallen!”

Isaiah 21 (NLT) – This message came to me concerning Babylon—the desert by the sea: Disaster is roaring down on you from the desert, like a whirlwind sweeping in from the Negev.

I see a terrifying vision: I see the betrayer betraying, the destroyer destroying. Go ahead, you Elamites and Medes, attack and lay siege. I will make an end to all the groaning Babylon caused. My stomach aches and burns with pain. Sharp pangs of anguish are upon me, like those of a woman in labor. I grow faint when I hear what God is planning; I am too afraid to look. My mind reels and my heart races. I longed for evening to come, but now I am terrified of the dark. Look! They are preparing a great feast. They are spreading rugs for people to sit on. Everyone is eating and drinking. But quick! Grab your shields and prepare for battle. You are being attacked!

Meanwhile, the Lord said to me, “Put a watchman on the city wall. Let him shout out what he sees. He should look for chariots drawn by pairs of horses, and for riders on donkeys and camels. Let the watchman be fully alert.”

Then the watchman called out, “Day after day I have stood on the watchtower, my lord. Night after night I have remained at my post. Now at last—look! Here comes a man in a chariot with a pair of horses!”

Then the watchman said, “Babylon is fallen, fallen! All the idols of Babylon lie broken on the ground!”

O my people, threshed and winnowed, I have told you everything the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has said, everything the God of Israel has told me.

Message: Edom must wait

This message came to me concerning Edom: Someone from Edom keeps calling to me, “Watchman, how much longer until morning? When will the night be over?”

The watchman replies, “Morning is coming, but night will soon return. If you wish to ask again, then come back and ask.”

Message: Arabia must hide

This message came to me concerning Arabia: O caravans from Dedan, hide in the deserts of Arabia. O people of Tema, bring water to these thirsty people, food to these weary refugees. They have fled from the sword, from the drawn sword, from the bent bow and the terrors of battle.

The Lord said to me, “Within a year, counting each day, all the glory of Kedar will come to an end. Only a few of its courageous archers will survive. I, the Lord, the God of Israel, have spoken!”

Message: Jerusalem destroyed for sins

Isaiah 22 (NLT) – This message came to me concerning Jerusalem—the Valley of Vision:

What is happening? Why is everyone running to the rooftops? The whole city is in a terrible uproar. What do I see in this reveling city? Bodies are lying everywhere, killed not in battle but by famine and disease. All your leaders have fled. They surrendered without resistance. The people tried to slip away, but they were captured, too. That’s why I said, “Leave me alone to weep; do not try to comfort me. Let me cry for my people as I watch them being destroyed.”

+ A crushing defeat – Oh, what a day of crushing defeat! What a day of confusion and terror brought by the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, upon the Valley of Vision! The walls of Jerusalem have been broken, and cries of death echo from the mountainsides.

Elamites are the archers, with their chariots and charioteers. The men of Kir hold up the shields. Chariots fill your beautiful valleys, and charioteers storm your gates. Judah’s defenses have been stripped away.

You run to the armory for your weapons. You inspect the breaks in the walls of Jerusalem. You store up water in the lower pool. You survey the houses and tear some down for stone to strengthen the walls. Between the city walls, you build a reservoir for water from the old pool. But you never ask for help from the One who did all this. You never considered the One who planned this long ago.

+ No repentance or remorse – At that time the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, called you to weep and mourn. He told you to shave your heads in sorrow for your sins and to wear clothes of burlap to show your remorse. But instead, you dance and play; you slaughter cattle and kill sheep. You feast on meat and drink wine. You say, “Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!”

The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has revealed this to me: “Till the day you die, you will never be forgiven for this sin.” That is the judgment of the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

Message: Shebna will die in disgrace

This is what the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, said to me: “Confront Shebna, the palace administrator, and give him this message:

“Who do you think you are, and what are you doing here, building a beautiful tomb for yourself—a monument high up in the rock? For the Lord is about to hurl you away, mighty man. He is going to grab you, crumple you into a ball, and toss you away into a distant, barren land. There you will die, and your glorious chariots will be broken and useless. You are a disgrace to your master!

“Yes, I will drive you out of office,” says the Lord. “I will pull you down from your high position. And then I will call my servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah to replace you. I will dress him in your royal robes and will give him your title and your authority. And he will be a father to the people of Jerusalem and Judah. I will give him the key to the house of David—the highest position in the royal court. When he opens doors, no one will be able to close them; when he closes doors, no one will be able to open them. He will bring honor to his family name, for I will drive him firmly in place like a nail in the wall. They will give him great responsibility, and he will bring honor to even the lowliest members of his family.”

But the Lord of Heaven’s Armies also says: “The time will come when I will pull out the nail that seemed so firm. It will come out and fall to the ground. Everything it supports will fall with it. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

Message: Tyre put to shame

Isaiah 23 (NLT) – This message came to me concerning Tyre:

Wail, you trading ships of Tarshish, for the harbor and houses of Tyre are gone! The rumors you heard in Cyprus are all true. Mourn in silence, you people of the coast and you merchants of Sidon. Your traders crossed the sea, sailing over deep waters. They brought you grain from Egypt and harvests from along the Nile. You were the marketplace of the world. But now you are put to shame, city of Sidon, for Tyre, the fortress of the sea, says, “Now I am childless; I have no sons or daughters.”

+ Great sorrow – When Egypt hears the news about Tyre, there will be great sorrow. Send word now to Tarshish! Wail, you people who live in distant lands! Is this silent ruin all that is left of your once joyous city? What a long history was yours! Think of all the colonists you sent to distant places.

Who has brought this disaster on Tyre, that great creator of kingdoms? Her traders were all princes, her merchants were nobles. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has done it to destroy your pride and bring low all earth’s nobility.

+ No rest – Come, people of Tarshish, sweep over the land like the flooding Nile, for Tyre is defenseless. The Lord held out his hand over the sea and shook the kingdoms of the earth. He has spoken out against Phoenicia, ordering that her fortresses be destroyed. He says, “Never again will you rejoice, O daughter of Sidon, for you have been crushed. Even if you flee to Cyprus, you will find no rest.”

Look at the land of Babylonia—the people of that land are gone! The Assyrians have handed Babylon over to the wild animals of the desert. They have built siege ramps against its walls, torn down its palaces, and turned it to a heap of rubble.

+ Destroyed and forgotten – Wail, you ships of Tarshish, for your harbor is destroyed! For seventy years, the length of a king’s life, Tyre will be forgotten. But then the city will come back to life as in the song about the prostitute: Take a harp and walk the streets,
you forgotten harlot. Make sweet melody and sing your songs so you will be remembered again.

Yes, after seventy years the Lord will revive Tyre. But she will be no different than she was before. She will again be a prostitute to all kingdoms around the world. But in the end her profits will be given to the Lord. Her wealth will not be hoarded but will provide good food and fine clothing for the Lord’s priests.

Message: Earth cursed for the sins of its people.

Isaiah 24 (NLT) – Look! The Lord is about to destroy the earth and make it a vast wasteland. He devastates the surface of the earth and scatters the people. Priests and laypeople, servants and masters, maids and mistresses, buyers and sellers, lenders and borrowers, bankers and debtors—none will be spared. The earth will be completely emptied and looted. The Lord has spoken!

+ Paying the price of sin – The earth mourns and dries up, and the land wastes away and withers. Even the greatest people on earth waste away. The earth suffers for the sins of its people, for they have twisted God’s instructions, violated his laws, and broken his everlasting covenant. Therefore, a curse consumes the earth. Its people must pay the price for their sin.

They are destroyed by fire, and only a few are left alive. The grapevines waste away, and there is no new wine. All the merrymakers sigh and mourn. The cheerful sound of tambourines is stilled; the happy cries of celebration are heard no more. The melodious chords of the harp are silent. Gone are the joys of wine and song; alcoholic drink turns bitter in the mouth.

The city writhes in chaos; every home is locked to keep out intruders. Mobs gather in the streets, crying out for wine. Joy has turned to gloom. Gladness has been banished from the land. The city is left in ruins, its gates battered down. Throughout the earth the story is the same—only a remnant is left, like the stray olives left on the tree or the few grapes left on the vine after harvest.

+ The remnant rejoice – But all who are left shout and sing for joy. Those in the west praise the Lord’s majesty. In eastern lands, give glory to the Lord. In the lands beyond the sea, praise the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. We hear songs of praise from the ends of the earth, songs that give glory to the Righteous One!

But my heart is heavy with grief. Weep for me, for I wither away. Deceit still prevails, and treachery is everywhere. Terror and traps and snares will be your lot, you people of the earth. Those who flee in terror will fall into a trap, and those who escape the trap will be caught in a snare.

+ The earth staggers – Destruction falls like rain from the heavens; the foundations of the earth shake. The earth has broken up. It has utterly collapsed; it is violently shaken. The earth staggers like a drunk. It trembles like a tent in a storm. It falls and will not rise again, for the guilt of its rebellion is very heavy.

In that day the Lord will punish the gods in the heavens and the proud rulers of the nations on earth. They will be rounded up and put in prison. They will be shut up in prison and will finally be punished. Then the glory of the moon will wane, and the brightness of the sun will fade, for the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will rule on Mount Zion. He will rule in great glory in Jerusalem, in the sight of all the leaders of his people.

Praise God: for Judgment and Salvation

Isaiah 25 (NLT) – O Lord, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them.

You turn mighty cities into heaps of ruins. Cities with strong walls are turned to rubble. Beautiful palaces in distant lands disappear and will never be rebuilt. Therefore, strong nations will declare your glory; ruthless nations will fear you.

+ God is a tower of refuge – But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O Lord, a tower of refuge to the needy in distress. You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat. For the oppressive acts of ruthless people are like a storm beating against a wall, or like the relentless heat of the desert. But you silence the roar of foreign nations. As the shade of a cloud cools relentless heat, so the boastful songs of ruthless people are stilled.

+ God will spread a banquet – In Jerusalem, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat. There he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against his land and people. The Lord has spoken!

+ This is our God! – In that day the people will proclaim, “This is our God! We trusted in him, and he saved us! This is the Lord, in whom we trusted. Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!”

For the Lord’s hand of blessing will rest on Jerusalem. But Moab will be crushed. It will be like straw trampled down and left to rot. God will push down Moab’s people as a swimmer pushes down water with his hands. He will end their pride and all their evil works. The high walls of Moab will be demolished. They will be brought down to the ground, down into the dust.

Sing to the Lord: for Righteous Deliverance

Isaiah 26 (NLT) – In that day, everyone in the land of Judah will sing this song:

Our city is strong! We are surrounded by the walls of God’s salvation. Open the gates to all who are righteous; allow the faithful to enter. You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

+ God is our Rock – Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock. He humbles the proud and brings down the arrogant city. He brings it down to the dust. The poor and oppressed trample it underfoot, and the needy walk all over it.

But for those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough. You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them.

+ We trust and obey – Lord, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws; our heart’s desire is to glorify your name. In the night I search for you; in the morning I earnestly seek you. For only when you come to judge the earth will people learn what is right. Your kindness to the wicked does not make them do good. Although others do right, the wicked keep doing wrong and take no notice of the Lord’s majesty. O Lord, they pay no attention to your upraised fist. Show them your eagerness to defend your people. Then they will be ashamed. Let your fire consume your enemies.

+ God is our Peace – Lord, you will grant us peace; all we have accomplished is really from you. O Lord our God, others have ruled us, but you alone are the one we worship. Those we served before are dead and gone. Their departed spirits will never return! You attacked them and destroyed them, and they are long forgotten. O Lord, you have made our nation great; yes, you have made us great. You have extended our borders, and we give you the glory!

+ We search for you – Lord, in distress we searched for you. We prayed beneath the burden of your discipline. Just as a pregnant woman writhes and cries out in pain as she gives birth, so were we in your presence, Lord. We, too, writhe in agony, but nothing comes of our suffering. We have not given salvation to the earth, nor brought life into the world.

+ God is our hope – But those who die in the Lord will live; their bodies will rise again! Those who sleep in the earth will rise up and sing for joy! For your life-giving light will fall like dew on your people in the place of the dead!

Israel: the Lord is coming.

+ We wait for you – Go home, my people, and lock your doors! Hide yourselves for a little while until the Lord’s anger has passed.

Look! The Lord is coming from heaven to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will no longer hide those who have been killed. They will be brought out for all to see.

“This Is Our God” – Hillsong United


Blessing – (Northumbrian Community)

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Categories: Life in Christ

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