My Two-Minute Summary of Today's Bible Reading

July

"The primary purpose of reading the Bible is not to know the Bible, but to know God." -James Merritt

"The Little Read Bible with the Black Cover" by Charles Van Deursen, www.InTuneWithYou.com
  

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July 1

We read how King Hezekiah (Judah-S) initiated a major clean up and rededication of the Lord's Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple had been repeatedly ransacked and pillaged by the former kings of Judah and various invaders. In addition after his father King Ahaz closed the Temple (6/25 reading) it fell into disrepair and became filled with pagan idols and defiled objects. It took eight days just to clear a way to the Temple's entrance.

King Hezekiah sent runners throughout Judah and the former territories of Israel to invite the people to come worship in Jerusalem. Most of the people just laughed at them, but some of them did humble themselves and returned with them. God enabled them to purge all signs of idolatry and to make sacrifices. Since the priests had not kept themselves prepared, the people offered the sacrifices themselves. The priests were shamed into action. Hezekiah prayed and God forgave the people for their error in sacrificing because they worshiped with enthusiasm and with a whole heart.

The people who formerly relocated from Israel to Jerusalem (6/8 reading) brought a huge tithe with them. This money was divided among the priests and Levites that dedicated themselves to their Temple responsibilities. God blessed King Hezekiah and made him successful for his authentic worship.

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July 2

We read the middle most portion of the Chronological Bible. Congratulations! We are halfway through. Today begins eighteen days of reading the collections of the previously long forgotten (200+ years!) proverbs and psalms that were discovered deeply hidden when King Hezekiah commanded the priests and Levites to restore the Lord's Temple. The historical narrative will resume on July 20th.

Some wise saying that I find pertinent for today are: "If the godly give in to the wicked, it's like polluting a fountain or muddying a spring" (25:26). "Don't answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are" (26:4). "A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences" (27:12). "Iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend" (27:17)." "When the godly succeed, everyone is glad. When the wicked take charge, people go into hiding" (28:12). There are many more...

The proverbs were not to be considered "The Law." Rather they were the writings of wise men's observations concerning the rewards and consequences that followed the obedience to and rebellion from the Law (respectively). They were to be viewed as "the practical application of the spirit of the law," presented in a way that common people could understand.

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July 3

We read the proverbs composed by Agur whose name means: "gatherer." He may have been King Solomon or a student during Solomon's reign. We also read the proverbs of King Lemuel whose name means: "devoted to God" or "God is bright." Lemuel may have been another name for Solomon or Hezekiah or a name to represent any virtuous king to convey certain axioms. (Herbert Lockyer, 1058, p217).

This reading portion includes a well-known chapter where the ideal woman is described. Many theologians have said that such a woman does not exist, however the essence of her character, being to exude excellence in her every attribute, is a worthy goal. This may simply be a golden standard toward which  Scripture  encourages women of faith to strive. The penultimate verse is the climax, "Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised" (31:30).

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July 4

We read various undated psalms. Today's reading includes only compositions by the sons of Korah. These were descendants of the Korah who led in a rebellion against Moses and Aaron, (3/4 reading) who obviously did not join their patriarch's sin (Numbers 26:11). In Psalm 42 and 43 the composer has been exiled and through deep distress he expresses his wish to return to his homeland where he formerly enjoyed unmolested worship of God. Psalm 44 is a psalm of lament in response to a national defeat. The writer reiterated the past victories of which his elders taught him and petitioned God to also deliver his nation from their oppressors. The Apostle Paul quoted from this psalm in Romans 8:36. Psalm 45 is a royal wedding song. It includes an intermingling of subject references with the earthly king (groom) and the Eternal King. Interestingly Psalm 46 calls for "soprano" voices. It also mixes elements of the contemporary earthly kingdom with the future Millennial Kingdom. It includes the well-known phrase, "Be still and know that I am God."

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In my personal study of the psalms today I am reminded of the lessons I received at Liberty University Theological Seminary about the "Worship Wars" among Christians in many churches. I would like to share that I learned that the psalmists expected their lyrics to be sung. However, only the lyrics have survived through the thousands of years that have passed. Other than directions of instrumentation (which ones to use) and dynamics such as "shout," "joyfully," or "loudly," there is no treatise on the style from which to imitate the original sound. This could be God's way of telling us that "musical style" is of less importance than the content of the message. Worship wars among Christians are always the result of ignorance and/or selfishness, both of which are contrary to the purpose of authentic holy worship. Worship in the Millennial Kingdom will be "international" in flavor. (Psalm 87:4-7). Why then do so many so-called "Christians" vehemently demand to worship only in their own traditions to the exclusion of all others?

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July 5

Today we read the last six psalms composed by the sons of Korah. Psalm 47 heralds God's eternal authority over all the earth. It also alludes to Jesus' Millennial reign. Psalm 48 is a song that celebrates the glory of God, Mount Zion (His favorite place on earth), and the hilarious scattering of His powerless enemies. The writer records his meditation on and praised God's loving kindness. He called for the people to praise Him and put their trust in Him. Psalm 49 is a song of wisdom. It's purpose is less about praising God than it is about teaching the sober truth that no amount of earthly wealth can purchase eternal glory. Only God can redeem a lost soul. To experience salvation is to gain the ultimate value of true wealth. Psalm 84 is a song for the travelers to sing together as they ascend to celebrate in one or more of the three annual festivals held in Jerusalem. It describes the numerous blessings enjoyed by all who dwell in Zion (even the swallows). It is this psalm that includes the favored statement that, "...a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside." Psalm 85, written within the backdrop of misfortune. The composer reminds the listener of God's past multiple deliverances, His presence during their current sufferings, and he offers assurance that God will again cause them to prosper. Psalm 87 praises Zion as the worshipers' most desired location.  

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July 6

We begin reading the undated and anonymously written psalms that were most likely collected by King Hezekiah (Judah-S) during this period of the chronological narrative. Dr. Charles C. Ryrie called Psalm One, "...a faithful doorkeeper to the entire Psalter." It teaches that the one who is faithful to immerse himself or herself in God's law will enjoy a fruitful life. Psalm 2 is a royal psalm. The outstanding characteristic is the theme of God as the Almighty and Supreme King to whom absolutely every human ever born will submit, either as a blessed worshiper or a cursed and defeated foe. Psalm 10 is a song of lament. It is very similar to David's Psalm 9. In it the composer petitioned God to save those who are being afflicted from the cruelty of the wicked and he affirmed his confidence that God will respond favorably to his request. Psalm 33 is a song of praise where the author instructs God's worshipers to sing, give thanks, and play skillfully with a shout of joy because of His superiority in creation and in His excellent administration of it. Psalm 71 is a plea for help from a lifelong devotee, from his birth (v.6) to his youth (v.17), to his old age (v. 19) and even hope in his future resurrection (v.20). Psalm 91 is a song of trust in the essence of God's character in favor of the worshiper's personal care, security, and protection.

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July 7

We read more anonymous and undated psalms that were probably collected by King Hezekiah (Judah-S). Psalm 92, a Sabbath Day song, praises God for the way He punishes evil people while blessing the righteous ones. Psalm 93 heralds the sovereignty of God over the raging tempest waters and looks forward to His Millennial reign. Psalm 94 is a lament psalm that calls on God to take vengeance on the acts of the wicked while affirming faith in God's protection and justice for His people. Psalm 95 calls believers to celebrate God's creative superiority and His tender care, and a challenge for everyone to avoid the rebellious attitude of the Israelites during their forty year wilderness wandering. Psalm 96, while not attributed to David, includes ten verses of his psalm recorded in 1 Chronicles 16. The psalm begins with a call for everyone to praise God for His salvation, a call for the nations to praise God for His salvation, a call for the nations to praise God for His sovereignty over them, and a call for nature to rejoice because He will eventually judge the earth's inhabitants with righteousness. Psalm 97 declares God as king of the earth and challenges the righteous to hate evil and to praise His holy name.

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July 8

We read more undated anonymous psalms. Psalm 98 is a song of praise to God as a victorious deliverer, king, and the ruler of the earth. The psalmist calls on all creation to rejoice before Him because He is coming to judge the world with righteousness Psalm 99 describes God as a majestic king of justice who both forgives and punishes and before whom all creation should tremble. Psalm 100 is a short song of thanksgiving. The psalmist calls on everyone to praise and worship Him because He is the good God. Through his complaint the psalmist asserts his confidence in God's master plan and immutability. It includes an interesting phrase that instructs, "Let this be recorded for future generations, so that a people not yet born will praise the Lord." Psalm 104 is a hymn of praise that has details of creation as its theme.

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July 9

We read two psalms. Psalm 105 gives an outline of Israel's history from the time of God's covenant to Abraham, through the Exodus narrative, and then to include the procession when David brought the Ark to Jerusalem. Question: Which two Egyptian plagues were not mentioned in Psalm 105, and why?

Psalm 106 is the last psalm in Book Four. It begins with praise for God's favor toward His people. Then the psalmist confessed Israel's sins and continual rebellious provocations that they committed in spite of God's discipline via foreign oppressors. In the end because of His great mercy He caused Israel's captors to treat them gently. The writer concluded the psalm  with a prayer asking for a more complete restoration so that they would give appropriate thanks to the holy name of God forever.

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Answer: plague 5 (diseases) and plague 6 (boils) See Exodus chapters 7 - 11. No one knows why. Click here to share your idea (or guess) with me.

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July 10

We read more anonymous and undated psalms that were collected by King Hezekiah (Judah-S). Psalm 107 tells us how God delivered His people, whom He exiled for their rebellion, from four types of punishment (aimless wandering, dungeon imprisonment, near death illness, and great storms at sea). "Each of there vignettes contain a problem, a prayer, God's provision, and praise." (Ryrie, 1978, p901). It ends with, "Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord." Psalm 111 was composed as an acrostic (where the first letter of each first word of the twenty-two lines each begin with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet in succession). The psalmist praised God for the display of power, righteousness, truth, and justice in His great works. The writer expected that those who know these things would respond with reverent praise. Psalm 112 is also an acrostic. It describes the opposing outcomes between the righteous and the wicked.  Psalms 113 and 114 are two of the so called "Egyptian" psalms (113-118) because they were used during the Passover celebrations.

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In the Jewish tradition Psalm 113 is called "the Lesser Hallel" (meaning "praise") and is read during the Passover meal (Ryrie, 1978, p907, 925).

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July 11

We read Psalm 115. It could very well work antiphonally, meaning that there is a call-and-response of the verse between the congregation and the priests. * Psalm 116 is an intimate song of thanksgiving of one devotee to his God. He expressed his love for the Lord in response to God's past multiple deliverances and looked forward to once again being able to praise Him in concert with other believers. Psalm 117 is the "...shortest and middle chapter of the Bible. [It] is a hymn in its simplest form - a call to praise (v.1) and cause for that praise (v.2)." Ryrie, 1978, p909. Psalm 118 is a song of joyful gratitude to be sung in a procession toward the Temple. It lists many instances of how "His love endures forever." The people shouted verses twenty-five and twenty-six during Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem in Matthew 21:9 because they wanted Jesus to deliver them from their Roman oppressors, but He redirected his disciples' attention by applying these verses to the ultimate fulfillment of them in His second coming (Matthew 23:39; Luke 13:35).

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*The antiphonal (call-and-response) could have followed the following pattern:

vv.1-8 The people give God the glory and mock the idol gods of the pagans.

vv.9-11 The priests encourage the people to trust in the Lord.

vv.12-13 The people affirm that God is faithful to bless all His people regardless of their social station.

vv.14-15 The priests pronounce a blessing on the people.

vv. 16-18 The people praise the Lord for His provision.

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July 12

We read only one psalm today because it is the longest chapter in the Bible. Psalm 119 is a wisdom psalm composed as "...an alphabetic acrostic in which each stanza of eight verses is devoted to successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet, each verse of a particular stanza beginning with the same letter." (Ryrie, 1978, p911). The writer repeatedly affirmed the sufficiency of God's word to meet all the believers' needs. He confessed and appreciated his well-deserved discipline and he held indignation for all who ignore or reject God's righteous laws. There are about fifty-eight references to mankind's obedience and disobedience. He confirmed his faith in God's provision and protection. He distanced himself from the wicked and longed to be united with those who appropriately feared God. Finally, he repeatedly praises the Lord for all the goodness that God directed toward him. A pertinent verse for every generation is, "How can a young man (or woman) keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Thy word." Psalm 119:9 (NASB).

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July 13

We read more anonymous and undated psalms that were collected by King Hezekiah (Judah-S). Psalm 120 is the first of the next 14 psalms (Songs of Ascents) that were sung by the worshipers during their three annual pilgrimages to Jerusalem. It is a song of lament where the author cries for deliverance from all liars and lovers of violence. Psalm 121 included the writer's affirmation that the Lord is the true attentive protector of Israel. Psalm 123 is a song where the composer declared his trust in God and asked for Him to respond to the mocking of Israel's oppressors. We skipped Psalm 124 because it was by David and we read it back when he was in the historical narrative. Psalm 125 includes a comparison of the security of the believer to the stability of Mt. Zion because of the Lord's care. In it he also reminded the people that their oppression is temporary because the Lord will judge righteously. Psalm 126 is a song of joy for the Lord's deliverance and the subsequent return of the Hebrew exiles. He promised that the patriots' efforts to restore the community's infrastructure would be rewarded with success.

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July 14

We read the last five anonymous Psalms of Ascent. Psalm 128 is a song of blessing that teaches the truth that as the home goes, so goes the community. It begins with, "How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD..." Psalm 129 begins with a description of Israel's oppression. The middle part affirms the writer's faith in God's deliverance. Then it ends with precatory wishes toward Israel's enemies. Psalm 130 is a song of lament and is penitential in character. The composer exhorted Israel to trust in the Lord in anticipation of God's forgiveness. Psalm 132 is a royal psalm. In the first half of it the writer reminded God of how enthusiastically King David sought an appropriate location for the Ark of Covenant and for God's promise of an enduring dynasty to King David's family line. The second half recorded God's response to the psalmist's request. Psalm 134 concludes the pilgrim songs with a call for the priests to bless and be blessed by the Lord. Psalm 135 is a song of praise to God for His goodness, His choice of Israel, and ended with another call to praise Him.

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Psalms 131 and 133 are not included in today's reading because we read them back when King David was a character in the historical narrative.

Psalm 135 begins the collection of psalms that do not include subscripted directions for function.

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July 15

We read the last of the Psalms of Praise collected by King Hezekiah (Judah-S). Psalm 136 is unique in the fact that every statement made is answered by the refrain, "For His loving kindness is everlasting." This arrangement suggests that it was sung antiphonally (where there was a call-and-response of phrases between two geographically separated groups of singers in the Temple). In it the writer called for people to praise God for His creation, His involvement in Israel's history, and His mercy toward everyone. Then it book ended with another call for people to praise Him. The next five psalms conclude the book of Psalms with each of them being book ended with the word, "Hallelujah" which means "praise to God." Psalm 146 is a call for praise to God for His greatness and graciousness toward the needy (which is everyone). Psalm 147 gives three compelling reasons to support the three calls for praise, respectively. Psalm 148 instructs everyone in heaven and on earth to praise God. Psalm 149 calls for triumphant praise and Psalm 150 is the doxology that prescribes that all who can breathe to make a joyfully loud and rhythmic sound as a climax to God's well-deserved praise.

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In the Hebrew tradition Psalm 136 is called "the Great Hallel" (meaning "praise") and it was recited at the Passover meal after the "Lesser Hallel" which was the reciting of Psalm 113 (Ryrie, 1978, p907, 925).

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July 16

We return to reading Isaiah's prophecies (dated around 714 to 701 BC. )of destruction over Ethiopia, Babylon, Jerusalem, and Tyre. * Because each of these kingdoms depended solely on their own military power and political prowess, God made them to self-destruct through civil discord and bad leadership with their foolish remedies. Because they partied hard in the face of God's judgment and refused to repent in humility, He swore that they would never be forgiven. This is what is termed a "sin of a high hand." Isaiah prophesied that Eliakim would replace proud Shebna. **

These prophecies are peppered with references to Christ's Millennial Kingdom and a quote (22:22) that Jesus applied to Himself about His having the authority to choose who would and who would not enter His future Davidic Kingdom (Revelation 3:7).

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* Isaiah prophesied the ultimate fate of Tyre and its sister city Sidon that was fulfilled when Alexander the Great figured out how to conquer the well-fortified island by creating a half-mile long road out of the rubble scattered on the mainland to reach it in 332 BC.

** While the details of how this drama unfolded are not recorded, the results will be evidenced in 7/20's reading when Eliakim works for King Hezekiah.

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July 17

We read some of Isaiah's undated prophecies. In them we can learn about God's character. If God could ever be accused of being "unfair" it would be in the way He patiently withholds His righteous judgment of rebels. He continually instructs, provides for, and equips, but the rebels continually ignore, reject, and pervert their intended purpose in life (that being to honor and worship their Maker). Then before His righteous discipline is dealt them, He repeatedly warns, "There is coming a purging." Only a remnant of faithful believers will survive. "In that day the [faithful] people will proclaim, 'This is our God! We trusted in Him, and He saved us! ... Let us rejoice in the salvation He brings!" Isaiah 25:9 (NLT). In addition, they say, "Lord, we show our trust in You by obeying Your laws; our heart's desire is to glorify Your name" Isaiah 26:8 (NLT).

Isaiah also prophesies the resurrection of the dead Isaiah 26:19. I suppose the Sadducees (who denied the resurrection of the dead) in Jesus' time overlooked this verse.

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July 18

We read God's indictment of Judah's sin of putting her trust in the Egyptian military without even considering God's mighty saving power. He waited for those who would return to Him so that He could bless them, but He prepared horrific disaster for those who refused to look to Him. Then He did (and also will in the future) destroy Judah's oppressors and Jerusalem's inhabitants will rejoice with singing. Some phrases used that are repeated in the Revelation are "ears to hear," the "Spirit being poured out from heaven," "God will make His home in Jerusalem," "all will see His splendor," and "Write down these words ... They will stand to the end of time." Resting in Jesus will save your soul (Isaiah 30:15). The final verse in today's reading promises, "The people of Israel will no longer say, 'We are sick and helpless,' for the LORD will forgive their sins."

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July 19

We read another of Isaiah's undated prophecies and we begin reading the writings of Micah which probably occurred just prior to the Assyrian invasion of Jerusalem around 703 BC. The subject matter of both prophets' proclamations contained warnings and condemnations for the world's nations, and promises of restoration, with prophecies of Jesus' coming and His divine activates peppered throughout. Micah accurately pinpointed Bethlehem as Jesus' birthplace seven centuries before m His arrival. Micah repeated Isaiah's statement that God will ignore the cries of those who repeatedly refuse His salvation by committing sins of a high hand at the time of His invitation. (Compare Isaiah 22:14 with Micah 3:4.) Micah 4:1-3 is almost verbatim with Isaiah 2:1-5 (6/29's reading). Micah accurately predicted the Lord's return of the exiled Hebrew diaspora. Micah prophesied the ultimate destruction of the rebellious wicked and the salvation of the obedient remnant worshipers of God. * He foretold'd that the future ruler of Israel will be One "... whose origins are from the distant past." This can only be appropriately applied to Jesus Christ!

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Their "obedience" was the evidence that they possessed faith in God. It was not the source of their salvation.

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July 20

We read the rest of Micah's prophecies. First, the Lord made a case against Israel, demanding that they bring any evidence that would counter His argument that He had done all that He could do to teach them about His faithfulness. The ignored what was obvious and incurred guilt that resulted in their punishment. Micah remembered that God's anger does not last forever (because He delights in showing  unfailing love). Then Judah's (S) history narrative resumed, (continuing from where it left off on July  2). The Assyrian army invaded Judah (ca. 703 BC.) and their chief of staff (Sennacherib) shouted threats in the Hebrew language so that the common people could understand and panic in fear. King Hezekiah encouraged the people by telling them to trust in the Lord's superior strength, but he also made a failed attempt to appease the Assyrian king by sending him all the gold that he stripped from his palace and the Temple, which amounted to eleven tons of silver and one tone of gold. Sennacherib claimed that the Lord had told Assyria to attack. This is doubtful. He probably heard of Isaiah's prophecies against Judah (the southern kingdom).

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July 21

We read how King Hezekiah responded to Assyria's threats. The Assyrian chief of staff (Sennacherib) said that his army would destroy Jerusalem as easily as it did many other defeated nations where he arrogantly burned their idol gods. He blasphemed God by claiming that He was just as inept to save them from the Assyrian army. King Hezekiah sent messengers (including Eliakim of whom Isaiah prophesied about in the 7/16 reading) to Isaiah. Meanwhile, Hezekiah put on burlap sackcloth and went to the Temple to pray, laying Sennacherib's threatening letter before the Lord. . Outside the Assyrian messengers were shouting blasphemies and mocking the silent listeners on Jerusalem's walls in the Hebrew language to weaken them through fear. Then God, through Isaiah, promised to King Hezekiah that He would (and did) deliver a decisively fatal blow to the Assyrians to make them withdraw from their attack. After this God blessed King Hezekiah with honor and peace. Tomorrow we will learn how this time of prosperity became the optimum environment for King Hezekiah's pride to flourish leading to the eventual Babylonian invasion which will come in 586 BC. when Jerusalem will be destroyed and the people exiled.

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July 22

We read that after God's deliverance from the Assyrian threat, King Hezekiah became deathly ill with a boil. Isaiah visited, but before he left he prophesied that he would not recover. King Hezekiah immediately began to pray and God sent Isaiah back to cure him. To prove that he would recover God moved the sun's light backwards ten marks on the sundial (the first mention of timekeeping in Scripture). Following these two miracles, King Hezekiah became proud of all his treasures and the respect he received from the neighboring kingdoms. God withdrew His divine restraint from him to reveal the content of King Hezekiah's heart. When the Babylonian envoy came to congratulate him for his recovery, he proudly displayed all the treasures in the palace and in the Temple. Isaiah prophesied that the visitors that he tried to impress would now eventually return as his enemies and carry all these valuables back to Babylon along with his sons as captives. Upon hearing this ominous prophesy King Hezekiah strangely responded that "... this is good." This probably reflected his relied that this would happen after he has died and/or he may have been trying to focus on the only bright part of the prediction. (See MacArthur, 2005, p804).

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July 23

We read some of Isaiah's undated prophecies. These contain many verses that are popularly quoted in Christendom such as vv. 40:30-31, "Even the yours shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (KJV). There are also prophecies about Jesus the Messiah. George Frederick Handel included some of this material in his sixth English oratorio called "Messiah." Through Isaiah, God called for the lifeless idols to do something, even something bad! His eternal essence was and is constantly demonstrated by the way He called and continues to call each new generation of people from ancient to contemporary times (v. 41:4). That "He is the only eternal God" is a common theme presented. "From eternity to eternity I Am God. No one can snatch anyone out of My hand. No one can undo what I have done" (v. 42:13). There is a comforting promise in verse 42:3 that  states, "He will bring justice to all who have been wronged." (NLT).

I found it interesting that words existed before the creation of the world. (v. 40:21).

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July 24

We read more of Isaiah's undated prophecies. God exposed the utter foolishness of trusting in idols, especially since the craftsman did all the work to form them and then used the scrap pieces for firewood. He asked how is the idol able to have any power when it can be so easily created and destroyed by the very one that crafted them. Included in Isaiah's writing is a verse that many Christians do not realize is an Old Testament statement that the Apostle Paul applied to Jesus that, "Every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess allegiance to me." (Compare this with Romans 14:11 and Philippians 2:10-11). Through Isaiah's prophecy, two hundred years before its fulfillment, God called a pagan named Cyrus to serve His purpose. He even guided his life choices and situations so that he became the founder of the Persian Empire. He defeated the Babylonians and became Israel's benevolent caretaker. * God chose and enabled him for the task so that, "... all the world from east to west will know there is no other God." (Isaiah 45:6, 13). Because of their rebellion toward God, He severely punished the Jews, but for His own sake and the honor of His name, God restrained Himself from completely annihilating them.

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*See:

Lockyer, 1958, p86

Ryrie, 1978, p1079

MacArthur, 2005, 814

Smith, 1863, p132

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July 25

We read more of Isaiah's undated prophecies. Do you think it is a coincidence that God said in Isaiah 48:12 what Jesus repeated in Revelation 1:8? I say, "No." Daniel will reinforce Isaiah's prophesy that Jesus' potential will appear to unbelievers, to have been wasted because it seemed to them that He accomplished nothing impressive (compare Isaiah 49:4, 7 and Daniel 9:26). This lack of spiritual enlightenment by unbelievers is why the Apostle Paul wrote the words in 1 Corinthians 1:18, concerning the preaching the cross. But believers will be save in the palm of His hand (56:16). God offered to the Messiah (Jesus) a better deal than Satan did. In Matthew 4:8-9 the Devil offered Jesus the glory of all the kingdoms and promised to give Him all these "things," if He would only worship him, but God already promised to give Him all the "people" seven centuries earlier in Isaiah 49:8.

Finally, God promised, "... I will reveal My name to My people, and they will come to know its power. Then at last they will recognize that I am the One who speaks to them." (Isaiah 52:6) (NLT).

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July 26

We read what Christians recognize as a description of Jesus at the crucifixion. The unbelieving Jews could not accept that the promised Messiah would be so humble and meek He suffered for our weaknesses, sorrows, rebellion, sins, incompleteness, and sickness. Jesus bore the sins of all people and interceded for rebels. When He will be satisfied by the results of His great suffering when all the redeemed are standing before Him (Isaiah 53:11 and Hebrews 12:22). The Jewish zeal for racial purity blinded them from their God-given task of being a salvation beacon to the Gentile world. Here we read yet another of God's invitations to the Non-Israelites when He said, "I will also bless the foreigners who commit themselves to the LORD, who serve Him and to love His name, ..." (Isaiah 56:6) (NLT). Before the great disciplinary suffering, many believers were (and may still be) spared of it through natural death to protect them from the evil to come (57:1). Finally, God withdrew His restraining control from the greedy rebels. * Life without the Holy Spirit's conviction has got to be truly unnerving. This may be why the last verse states, "There's no peace for the wicked."

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* God withdrew His restraint from King Hezekiah (7/22's reading). The Apostle Paul recognized a similar situation in Romans 1:24, 26 (11/23's reading).

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July 27

We read that God evidences true worship by the way the devotee delights in the same things as He does. True worshipers demonstrate the authenticity by serving those people that are less fortunate than they, being a champion that delivers the oppressed, and by expressing joy in the Sabbath Day's rest. False worshipers engage in rituals that appear to be pious, but are masking a self-centered heart. Compare Isaiah 59:17 and Ephesians chapter six (the armor of righteousness and the helmet of salvation). In Luke 4: 18-19 (9/29's reading). In a Nazareth synagogue Jesus was handed a scroll of Isaiah and asked to read from it. He searched for and read Isaiah 61:1-2. Then He proceeded to claim that He was the fulfillment of it because He came to set the captives free. The listeners favored His chosen passage because they were suffering from Roman oppression, but they did not realize that He was referring to their spiritual captivity to sin. The rest of the passage (vv. 2b-11) reference His second coming, which is why He stopped reading at the first half of verse two. Finally, we can be encouraged to endure our current sufferings because of His promise of rewards for those who are ready for His return. (Compare Isaiah 62:11 with Revelation 22:12.)

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July 28

We begin by reading Isaiah's prayer for mercy and pardon while mourning the brevity of Israel's glory as God's chosen people flourishing in the Promised Land. He wished for God to show His purging power so that Israel could be set aright. He lamented what appeared to him to be God's apathy and silence in the face of the Temple being freely ransacked and destroyed by pagan invaders. God responded that He was not being silent. * The destruction was actually directed by Him in response to the generations of His having to endure their polluted worship. Repeatedly He called. Repeatedly they ignored Him. His holiness demanded the justice that His mercy had been holding back, but when the line had been crossed so far that it seemed not to even exist, His holiness demanded punitive action against the rebels. However, He remembered His faithful remnant. They did (and will) survive His wrath and return to an eternal glorious inheritance. Although, in the in between time, many will be persecuted, but in the Millennial kingdom (living) corpses of the rebels forever as believers come and go to worship Him. ** Finally, King Hezekiah's son Manasseh assumed the throne at the age twelve and proved to be filled with wickedness.

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* It may appear that for centuries God had been "silent" toward Israel, but in 1947 He seemed to have answered His question in Isaiah 66:8 written two millennia ago. However amazingly intriguing this event is and not to discount the possible connection in any way, the purpose of the passage was probably less about a conceivable prediction about 1947 than it was to illustrate to the faithful remnant that a joyful reward would be waiting for them after their patience in suffering was over, similar to the joy that follows the struggle of childbirth or the forming of a nation. I think the passage reinforces both views simultaneously.

** The horrific sight of the rebels' suffering may serve to increase (if possible) the value of salvation to the redeemed, knowing that they could have suffered the same fate, but for the grace of God.

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July 29

We read about how King Manasseh (who co-reigned with his righteous father for ten years) became to most evil and longest reigning of Judah's kings. * Then when the Assyrians deported him to Babylon in chains and imprisoned him for twelve years, he repented of his sins and God forgave and returned him to Jerusalem. When he returned he tried to reverse his former evil influence, but the people would not turn back. When he died, Amon (also the name of an Egyptian sun-god) succeeded him, but Amon was assassinated after two years. His son Josiah, who was Judah's last good king before their exile to Babylon, (three hundred years after a prophet foretold his birth by name, 6/9's reading) became king at the age of eight years old. The Babylonian military's power grew greater than the Assyrian's during his reign. This was also the time when the prophet Jeremiah was called by God to prophesy. The reading finishes with the Lord presenting a "legal" argument concerning Judah's infidelity. In it Israel is identified as the first of nationalities to worship God, yet they abandoned Him for worthless idols. Even His creation in heaven was shocked. Finally God poignantly said, "Soap will not cleanse this kind of filth."

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* Manasseh set up pagan altars in the Temple and burned all the Scriptures he could find until there was only one copy left that had been hidden deep in the Temple. The high priest Hilkiah found it when Amon's son King Josiah had the Temple restored during his eighteenth year of reign (7/31's reading).

He murdered countless innocent people (2 Kings 21:16).

He offered his sons as burnt offerings (2 Chronicles 33:6).

"Legend has it that he [Isaiah] was placed inside a hollow tree and sawn asunder at the command of Manasseh (Hebrew 11:37)." Lockyer, 1958, p158.

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July 30

We read how God, through Jeremiah, compared the faithlessness of Israel (the now defunct northern kingdom) to an adulterous wife, even a prostitute. Then how Judah (the southern kingdom) followed in her sister's immorality. God was not impressed with their insincere prayers, because while their piety was well observed rituals on the Sabbath Day their daily behavior otherwise remained immoral. God patiently and compassionately pleaded with them to "Come home ... acknowledge guilt ... admin rebellion ... confess sin ... and return home..." Since they continued to refuse, God foretold the severity of their disaster, yet He promised to preserve a faithful remnant. He described a future time when the Hebrews would reminisce on the days when the Ark of Covenant was in the Temple. * But that period would be followed by Jesus' Millennial reign where they would not miss the presence of the Ark of Covenant because the Lord Himself would be present among them. In the meantime Judah will not repent and the southern kingdom will be exiled to serve the Babylonians because they refused to serve the Lord, but He will not blot them out completely.

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* Nobody knows what ever happened to the Ark of Covenant or the items that were contained in it. It was still in Jerusalem when King Josiah had the Temple restored and the Passover celebrated (2 Chronicles 35:3). It may have been taken or destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar (Smith, 1863, p53).

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July 31

We read some of Jeremiah's prophecies that warned the people of the coming destruction of Judah as punishment for their rampantly embedded idolatry. Because of their rebellion, God was bringing the ruthless Assyrians who were famous for their merciless cruelty, down from the north. In his eighteenth year of reign, King Josiah ordered that the Temple be restored. While the priest was gathering together money from the treasury to pay for it, he found a single scroll of the Law. (Apparently, Manasseh's destruction of God's Word was so thorough that only one copy of it was left, which some unknown priest must have hidden in the deep recesses of the treasury.) King Josiah listened to the reading of it and responded in humility by renting his clothes and weeping before the Lord. The prophetess Huldah said that all the curses previously prophesied would still come to pass, but that since he humbled himself the destruction would not come during his lifetime.

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