Showing posts with label Isaiah. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Isaiah. Show all posts

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Isaiah 66

In his final chapter, Prophet Isaiah outlines what LORD is expecting in His people. Essentially, He is portraying what is pleasing in the eyes of LORD.

While, LORD rejects and condemns empty religious rituals, listen to what He is looking for:
Isaiah 66:2 .....“These are the ones I look on with favor:
    those who are humble and contrite in spirit,
    and who tremble at My word."
LORD's Prophecy regarding the recovery of Israel is next. Israel will experience the joy of birth after her labor pain.
Isaiah 66:12 For this is what the LORD says:
“I will extend peace to her like a river,
    and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream;
you will nurse and be carried on her arm
    and dandled on her knees.
13 As a mother comforts her child,
    so will I comfort you;
    and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”
In a graphic narrative, LORD portrays the end of those who purify themselves versus those who choose to stay in their current path. He reveals His plan about that final resting place.
Isaiah 66:22 “As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the LORD, “so will your name and descendants endure. 23 From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before Me,” says the LORD. 24 “And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against Me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”

Isaiah 65

In this chapter, Isaiah speaks about Judgement and salvation. LORD feels disgraced as He was revealing Himself to those who did not seek Him. He voices His legitimate concerns here, in a rather long speech. Who other than a loving LORD will go after His children pleading, even when they have rejected Him because of their rebellion, apostasy, and idolatry:
Isaiah 65:1 “I revealed Myself to those who did not ask for Me;
    I was found by those who did not seek Me.
To a nation that did not call on My name,
    I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’
2 All day long I have held out My hands
    to an obstinate people,
who walk in ways not good,
    pursuing their own imaginations—
3 a people who continually provoke Me
    to My very face,
offering sacrifices in gardens
    and burning incense on altars of brick;... 
Can anyone imagine the hurt with which LORD is speaking here - when He went after His children, revealing His glorious personality saying, "Here I am, Here am I." They gave no attention to the LORD.

As LORD continues, they became sinful by taking part in idol worship, partying all night, eating impure meat, and doing wicked deeds that wicked people perform. LORD was getting ready to pay for their sins and that of their ancestors. He has already decided their destiny.
Isaiah 65:12 I will destine you for the sword,
    and all of you will fall in the slaughter;
for I called but you did not answer,
    I spoke but you did not listen.
You did evil in My sight
    and chose what displeases Me.
LORD then makes a comparison between those who chose Him, and those who chose to ignore Him. He outlines the pros and cons of each group.

Next there is wonderful prophecy about the new heavens, the new earth, and He mentions about the peaceful life in that time.
Isaiah 65:25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
    and dust will be the serpent’s food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
    on all my holy mountain,”
says the LORD. 

My Thoughts
Prophet Isaiah speaks about the life after this world and gives us a glimpse of the other world - another wonderful topic, which we can talk about for days and days. 

Isaiah 64

This chapter is a continuation of prayer from previous chapter. This prayer is for the LORD to intervene and hear their repentance. Great rewards await those who love the LORD.
Isaiah 64:4 Since ancient times no one has heard,
    no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides You,
    who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.
In a series of verses, they acknowledge their own sins. Just like modern times, they have even stopped calling His name.
Isaiah 64:7 No one calls on Your name
    or strives to lay hold of You;
for You have hidden Your face from us
    and have given us over to our sins.
They make an earnest plea to forgive their iniquity.
Isaiah 64:8 Yet you, LORD, are our Father.
    We are the clay, You are the potter;
    we are all the work of Your hand.
9 Do not be angry beyond measure, LORD;
    do not remember our sins forever.
Oh, look on us, we pray,
    for we are all Your people.
They seek His forgiveness as Jerusalem has become a wasteland and everything they treasured is now in ruins, after being burnt down with fire. They ask for His mercy.

Isaiah 63

LORD's day of vengeance and redemption is portrayed here. The glorious second coming of Jesus Christ is prophesied here, and on that day LORD will trample His enemies under His feet. His robes will be of red color due to the blood that spattered on His garments. 
Isaiah 63:6 I trampled the nations in my anger;
    in my wrath I made them drunk
    and poured their blood on the ground.
Next Isaiah narrates LORD's historic relationship with earlier leaders of Israel such as Moses. He also outlined how those rebellious people grieved the Holy Spirit. 
Isaiah 63:10 Yet they rebelled
    and grieved his Holy Spirit.
So He turned and became their enemy
    and He Himself fought against them.
The chapter closes with Isaiah pleading with LORD to restore Israel to it's earlier state of 
righteousness and to provide them with the lands of their inheritance. 

Isaiah 62

This prophecy is regarding that future glorious life of Israel. This is a continuation of Isaiah's song of salvation from previous chapter. He does not intent to stay silent until Zion's righteousness glows in brightness.

LORD's love for Israel is similar to how a bridegroom loves his bride. He has posted watchmen around those city walls to protect her against enemies. The leaders will diligently teach their people.

Those who labor will be rewarded with the land's fruits.
8 The LORD has sworn by His right hand
    and by His mighty arm:
“Never again will I give your grain
    as food for your enemies,
and never again will foreigners drink the new wine
    for which you have toiled;
9 but those who harvest it will eat it
    and praise the LORD,
and those who gather the grapes will drink it
    in the courts of My sanctuary.”
Zion will soon become a city that is sought after. 

Isaiah 61

Prophet Isaiah speaks about the recovery and rebuilding of Zion. He also said that the Spirit of LORD is upon him, who has anointed him.
Isaiah 61:4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
    that have been devastated for generations.
Shame that has fallen upon Israel will turn into an honor, and LORD's covenant will endure for several generations.

A song of salvation, voiced by Isaiah concludes the chapter.

Isaiah 60

Prophet Isaiah speaks the first few verses, and then LORD follows His explanation about the glory of Zion. Some theologians who compare the doctrines and covenants believe this restored Zion is the United States of America.

We are foretold about the rise of a mighty nation being restored, which will dwell in celestial splendor. Gentile nations will join Israel and Zion to serve them, bringing in their wealth.
Isaiah 60:16 You will drink the milk of nations
    and be nursed at royal breasts.
Then you will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior,
    your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
Nursing at royal breasts is a metaphor for receiving abundantly rich blessings.

LORD promises to serve as an everlasting light to replace sun and moon.
Isaiah 60:20 Your sun will never set again,
    and your moon will wane no more;
the LORD will be your everlasting light,
    and your days of sorrow will end.
There shall be no more mourning.

Isaiah 59

Prophet Isaiah documenting Prophecy - Antonio Balestra (1666 - 1740)

Another reason, for LORD not answering our prayers, according to Prophet Isaiah is because of our wicked or sinful lifestyle. Such individuals should repent and ask LORD for forgiveness. 
Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated
    you from your God;
your sins have hidden His face from you,
    so that He will not hear.
Our sins and wicked lifestyle have drowned us and created a rift between LORD. We are engulfed in darkness. 
Isaiah 59:9 So justice is far from us,
    and righteousness does not reach us.
We look for light, but all is darkness;
    for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.
Truth was nowhere to be found and LORD was displeased. In the absence of such righteousness, the LORD Himself became a righteous warrior, and lifted up His standard before the enemy. 

Finally, there is Prophecy of LORD's protection over Israel, for those who repent and thus deliverance. 

Isaiah 58

In this chapter, Prophet Isaiah narrates LORD's expectation on true fasting. He answers why LORD does not answer normal fasting, performed by those citizens. In our churches, we are taught ritualistic observances that are shallow.

For the sake of ease, I am quoting what LORD expects us during fasting:
Isaiah 58:6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
    and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
    you will cry for help, and He will say: Here am I.
LORD expects us to bring out these desires from the bottom of our heart. Unless we apply His law of fasting, LORD will not give ears to our prayers. He will strengthen those individuals who try to satisfy and remove the yoke of the oppressed. The light of such individuals will shine in darkness and they will be like a well watered spring.

Isaiah ends the chapter with an appeal to observe the Sabbath day in the LORD's way. Those who keep the Sabbath will ride on the high hills of the earth.
Isaiah 58:13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
    and from doing as you please on My holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
    and the LORD’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
    and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the LORD,
    and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
    and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

My Thoughts
The sermon that Prophet Isaiah gave on fasting in chapter 58 is timely, as advent lent starts tomorrow.

It sounds as if LORD expects me to perform those tasks everyday - whenever I encounter them. I often tend to see people around me, siding up with those who oppress the poor, and take advantage of the needy - some even find pleasure in it. I think just by being in their company means that I are giving them my silent affirmation.

The easiest way, maybe to cut a check to one of those charity and say, "I do not know of any hungry or homeless people. Those charity organizations will do it, on my behalf." Well, LORD has sufficient bank balance to cut them His own check - He does not need me for that.

LORD is serious about me keeping the Sabbath Holy. It is meant to be observed as LORD's Holy Day. Just by going to church in the morning (to meet friends and get caught up on newest gossip) and later going our my way will not help. Nor does it mean to come home after a heavy church meal and sleep (I cannot be doing any sin just by having an afternoon nap).

LORD expects me to work on His behalf - in finding those hungry and oppressed, spending few minutes with them and comforting them. By the way, providing help to our own pastor/priest does not count as charity in LORD's eyes - He sees that as an effort towards 'influencing him'.

Isaiah 57

In this chapter, Isaiah gives a reasoning for that blessed state of righteous who perish. They are taken away from the further evil to come - entering a state of peace.
Isaiah 57:2 Those who walk uprightly
    enter into peace;
    they find rest as they lie in death.
Immediately, in a matter of seconds, Prophet Isaiah's tone changes towards those wicked people and LORD rebukes them of their wickedness. He commands a shout with that trembling voice, "You - come here." The language that follows in those next several verses are not pretty.
Isaiah 57:3 “But you—come here, you children of a sorceress,
    you offspring of adulterers and prostitutes!
LORD rebukes those who have committed spiritual adultery. The chapter goes on and on, pointing out those idol worship practices. He asks numerous questions, that depicts the state of wickedness and none can be answered.
Isaiah 57:11 “Whom have you so dreaded and feared
    that you have not been true to Me,
and have neither remembered Me
    nor taken this to heart?
Is it not because I have long been silent
    that you do not fear Me?
Those wicked are in a continuous troubled and perturbed state, with no peace whatsoever.

My Thoughts
The line of questioning outlined in this chapter gives a slim idea of how that day of judgement will be. When LORD reads out my iniquities, all I can do is to hang my head in shame and stay quiet, without uttering a single word. Many of my foolishness I may have long forgotten, but they are recorded in His books, which will come alive on that day of judgement.

The very thought of standing in front of His Judgement sends shivers down my spine.

Am holding back on elucidating my own thoughts due to my fear - all I want, is to get through the book of Prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah 56

The formula to learn LORD's righteousness is given in those beginning verses.
Isaiah 56:1 This is what the LORD says:
“Maintain justice
    and do what is right,
for my salvation is close at hand
    and my righteousness will soon be revealed.
LORD makes an earnest call to be righteous and not to defile Sabbath. The LORD will not separate the foreigner and the eunuch. Those foreigners and eunuchs who please the LORD will be gathered by the LORD and given joy . They will receive an everlasting name in LORD's house, which will be called, 'a house of prayer for all nations'.

LORD defines the characteristics of some bad pastors, teachers, and priests. It gives a vivid description of those who have forsaken the LORD - a contrast to righteous people. Here is a sneak preview to such leaders, with a drinking song as their theme song:
Isaiah 56:11 They are dogs with mighty appetites;
    they never have enough.
They are shepherds who lack understanding;
    they all turn to their own way,
    they seek their own gain.
12 “Come,” each one cries, “let me get wine!
    Let us drink our fill of beer!
And tomorrow will be like today,
    or even far better.”

My Thoughts
LORD formula for righteousness is far worthy and valuable than any 'secret recipe' humans invented.

LORD does not care whether anyone is a foreigner or an eunuch. As long as such individuals walks in the ways of the LORD, their sacrifices will be acceptable by the LORD.

Many 'wolves' come into the midst of the people, pretending to be shepherding the christian flock. This illness was prevalent even during the times of prophet Isaiah, during 7th century BC. For majority of them today, it is merely a means for livelihood - a costume without a sincere relationship with the LORD, and no righteousness whatsoever. They do their best to sound like they are leading their followers towards the LORD, and in the process seek their own gain.

Few of those people who fall prey to the tricks of such 'shepherds' are:
(a) those blind and ignorant of the Holy Scripture,
(b) individuals who have hardened their own hearts,
(c) those wanting a spiritual leader who will dance according to the tunes of 'their own scripture',
(d) ones who think themselves to be smart and 'think' they can bail out as they desire,
(e) ones wanting to derive materialistic pleasures under such leaders,
(f) individuals who love to be in the company of 'christian drunkards'.

I sincerely pray, "May LORD help navigate such christian leaders and their followers."

Isaiah 55

This is the last part of Isaiah. This chapter is titled, "Invitation to the Thirsty" and the LORD calls out to all those who want a free drink, and be richly satisfied. The drink here refers to LORD's words - it is the only drink that can quench and satisfy anyone's thirst.
Isaiah 55:1 “Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.
He invites His beloved creation to search out for Him, while it is still possible.
Isaiah 55:6 Seek the LORD while He may be found;
    call on Him while He is near.
LORD encourages the unrighteous to become righteous so that they could seek Him too.

Majority of us have figured out that LORD does not respond the way we usually expect Him to. Nor does He respond with the speed with which we calculate - instantly. LORD gives an explanation for that.
Isaiah 55:8 “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.
LORD's thoughts are certainly higher than man’s. He promises to shower us with revelation and guidance if we ask Him in faith. This revelation is reserved for those very few who are trustworthy. Anyone who hears those words from His mouth will be rejoiced. His words have a special effect upon those individuals and the nature.
Isaiah 55:12 You will go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
    will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
    will clap their hands.
They can see the nature dance in front of them.

My Thoughts
The one and only satisfying drink is His Scripture. Those who taste the sweetness of it will never want another drink. This was the same message Jesus provided to the Samaritan woman, whom He met besides Jacob's well.

The Good News is that it is possible to search out for the LORD, and truly find Him. Anyone who searches Him out, with an eager and honest desire will meet Him - He will reveal Himself to those who come towards Him. In fact, everyday He is looking out from "His Home" to see who is coming towards Him. Few individuals who take that road towards "His Home" will witness angels opening the gates for them. It is not an easy road to take - but attainable with persistence, dedication and a sincere heart.

The way in which we think is not how the LORD thinks - they are light years apart. Remember - LORD is Holy and all His thoughts are Holy. As sinful humans, we have the tendency for those selfish thoughts concerning just "me" or "my family" to creep in. The good news is that (with LORD's help) it is possible to get an idea of how LORD thinks.

Jesus, during His ministry, spelled out all those wonderful qualities of LORD. If we perform 'reverse engineering' upon His teachings, we arrive at those thoughts with which they were said. Again, it is with the aid of the Holy Spirit and wisdom that we can figure those thoughts.

As everything is possible by the LORD, all His thoughts are positive and possible. In a nutshell, He thinks about the goodwill and welfare of every creation under Heaven. He wants all His creations to coexist in harmony and peace. Even the smallest cell structure is accounted for, and taken care of. He wants good things to happen to every creation of His. He does not desire jealousy or animosity towards anyone or anything - such emotions should be eradicated from a mind that seeks the LORD. The one and only language LORD thinks and speaks is, that of Love. By practicing love in our thoughts and deeds, we can slowly get an idea of how He thinks. He thinks in abundance. Whatever He builds, He has a BIG plan, and the word "shortage" does not exist in His Kingdom. LORD thinks about favors or what we call help or blessings - He bestows them in secrecy, without revealing that it was Him Who did so. Recovering the lost is another thought which lines up with being the brightness or light. He illuminates everything around Him with His charisma. For those who messes up things, He has a huge heart that overflows with forgiveness. To be forgiven, all we have to do is - ask sincerely. Next, the fear of LORD gives us an understanding of what His expectations are. Essentially, that is wisdom, which can reveal LORD's plans - which contains His thoughts. If we ask Him, He will reveal it to us, slowly. He expects us to be good custodians of the entire universe - in other words, as His children, He expects us to be good stewards and work towards the betterment of all His creation and shine His light.

Above is a small sample of that long list of wonderful qualities of our LORD. Nobody can teach Him anything nor provide consulting services. As Jesus says, "Ask, and it will be given."

Isaiah 54

In the final chapter of Section II, Isaiah provides a prophecy regarding the time of LORD's everlasting kindness, mercy, and protection over the Israelites after a period of temporary wrath.

Isaiah uses the metaphor of a barren woman, smitten and scattered. She will be restored and bears numerous children. He tells the woman not be be afraid, and she will forget the shame of her youth.
Isaiah 54:5 For your Maker is your husband -
    the LORD Almighty is His name -
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
    He is called the God of all the earth.
The first thing a woman wants to know after a long period of absence is, "Where were you?" The next words are, "I missed you." Out of sincere love, and kindness, here is the explanation our loving LORD gives:
Isaiah 54:7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you,
    but with deep compassion I will bring you back.
8 In a surge of anger
    I hid my face from you for a moment,
but with everlasting kindness
    I will have compassion on you
    says the LORD your Redeemer.
Preceding the the days of 'Great Flood', LORD promised not to fill the earth with water again and destroy it. Likewise, He will not be angry at His people and won't rebuke them anymore.

Out of His deep love, which followed a period of anger, LORD promises to rebuild her - to cheer her up.
Isaiah 54:11 “Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted,
    I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise,
    your foundations with lapis lazuli.
12 I will make your battlements of rubies,
    your gates of sparkling jewels,
    and all your walls of precious stones.
13 All your children will be taught by the LORD,
    and great will be their peace.
14 In righteousness you will be established:
Tyranny will be far from you;
    you will have nothing to fear.
Terror will be far removed;
    it will not come near you.
15 If anyone does attack you, it will not be My doing;
    whoever attacks you will surrender to you.
LORD, then lavishes her with precious stones, He promises to tutor her children, provides her peace, establishes her with righteousness, tells her not to be afraid, and provides safety.

This represents the closing of that exile period and the opening of another glorious phase of gathering and restoration.

My Thoughts
What wonderful characteristics should a girl have, in order for her to visualize LORD being her husband? Is it possible to attain those qualities?

To me, those few wonderfully beautiful women the Bible portray are Lady Wisdom, the Virtuous Woman from Proverbs 31, and Mary, mother of Jesus. They are the ones who set the golden standard for womanhood.

Notice how compassionate LORD is, and how He tries to make His people happy.

One of the biggest concern of a mother is regarding her children's education. Quite often she worries about the quality of their teacher. LORD, the Supreme Teacher, makes a wonderful promise that He will teach the children.

Isaiah 53

Prophet Isaiah foretells the innocence and sufferings of Jesus Christ in this short chapter, comprising of 12 verses. This chapter remains the most quoted chapter by those New Testament writers.

It speaks about Jesus Christ, as the One who
- appears to be a normal person in His appearance,
- will be despised and rejected by men,
- will remain a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
- will bear our griefs and carry our sorrows,
- was pierced for our transgressions,

We are compared to the lost sheep.
Isaiah 53:6 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.
Speaking of His sufferings,
Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet He did not open His mouth;
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so He did not open His mouth.
The LORD made His soul an offering for sin. His grave was with the wicked. The righteous servant shall justify many. He bore the iniquities of many. The LORD will reward Him:
Isaiah 53:12 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.

My Thoughts
Prophet Isaiah was revealed all these hundreds of years before the arrival of Jesus Christ. The LORD had it all planned out.

The LORD still reveals wonderful things to His beloved people - those who truly love Him.

Isaiah 52

Restoration and gathering are the theme we read in this chapter. Prophet Isaiah asks Jerusalem to put on her garments of splendor, shake off her dust and sit enthroned.

The wonderful message of deliverance will soon be heard.
Isaiah 52:7 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!”
Then there is a piece of advice to stay pure.
Isaiah 52:11 Depart, depart, go out from there!
    Touch no unclean thing!
Come out from it and be pure,
    you who carry the articles of the LORD's house.
LORD will stay rear guard during the journey.

Regarding those related to LORD's servant, Isaiah is speaking of Jesus Christ. As a Prophet of restoration, He will be both exalted and humiliated. Nations will be astounded at His message.

My Thoughts
Visualize a little girl getting ready to go out. Her father asks her to put on her best clothes, not to play anymore in dirt and stay pure. He will stay guard while she travels. Then there is mention about Jesus Christ, the prince. This is what Isaiah summarized in this chapter, as LORD asking Jerusalem to do.

A journey with LORD, holding his mighty hands - can you ask anything better than that?

Isaiah 51

In a long explanation, LORD reminded the Israelites and those righteous people about:
- His strength,
- about depending on Him and
- about not fearing any human;
He also announced that their punishments were complete.

He speaks about His righteousness:
Isaiah 51:6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
    look at the earth beneath;
the heavens will vanish like smoke,
    the earth will wear out like a garment
    and its inhabitants die like flies.
But my salvation will last forever,
    my righteousness will never fail.
LORD has seen several people who stood up for what is right, being crushed by opponents. He has a word of comfort for them. This is a wonderful piece of consolation for those who become victims of truth. Note that something that lives through generations is righteousness.
Isaiah 51:7 “Hear me, you who know what is right,
    you people who have taken my instruction to heart:
Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals
    or be terrified by their insults.

8 For the moth will eat them up like a garment;
    the worm will devour them like wool.
But my righteousness will last forever,
    my salvation through all generations.”
LORD announces that His fury will be taken from Israel and be given to it's enemies.

My Thoughts
Have you kept track of how many times righteousness was mentioned in the Scripture? We saw the theme 'righteous' recurring in wisdom books.

It is very difficult to find a righteous person. First, one should know where to find such individuals - we never find such individuals at the most obvious spots.  Even though we are fortunate to find those rare individuals, it is extremely hard it is to preserve their friendship. They don't live by the worldly standards - their standards are measured against those golden standards set by Jesus Christ.

Yes, such individuals do exist during all times, though rare they maybe. They not only know what is right, but also act upon what is right. Seek the LORD's intervention in finding them - only He knows where His beloved followers live.

LORD is talking to His people through the Holy Scripture. But people are busy with their lives - they don't have "time" to listen to what LORD said. They are busy listening to their colleagues, friends and superiors at work. As a security blanket, they keep a copy - "just in case."

Isaiah 50

Isaiah explains two things in this chapter. He sends a message to the Israelites that LORD is bringing them misfortunes due to their own evil choices, sins and wickedness. He explains his obedience to LORD, which is compared to sufferings of Jesus.

The first few verses explain the reason for their punishment - again, in a strong language.

Isaiah acknowledges that LORD has provided him with wisdom such as
- the ability to speak words of encouragement, and
- the spiritual gift of hearing the voice of the LORD.
Isaiah 50:4 The Sovereign LORD has given me a well-instructed tongue,
    to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
    wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.
5 The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears;
    I have not been rebellious,
    I have not turned away.
He then portrays that LORD will support him during times of hardships. These were those similar conditions Jesus Christ encountered.
Isaiah 50:6 I offered my back to those who beat me,
    my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face
    from mocking and spitting.
He has extreme faith in the LORD who will justify him. He also has the wisdom to understand that his adversaries will grow old and be consumed by moth like a garment.

Isaiah then provides words of encouragement for those with wisdom - fear of the LORD.
Isaiah 50:10 Who among you fears the LORD
    and obeys the word of his servant?
Let the one who walks in the dark,
    who has no light,
trust in the name of the LORD
    and rely on their God.

My Thoughts
A well instructed tongue that knows the words of those weary is a blessings. That is what we call a 'golden tongue'.

Something that I did not know few months ago was about the 'ear to listen to the LORD'. To listen, first, I have to shut up. During those hours of prayers, I should practice listening to the LORD with my ears, rather than rattling off a long list of plea.

The circumstances which Isaiah explained were the same ones Jesus Christ encountered. They are precisely the same a follower of LORD can expect to encounter in today's world too.

Stand up for the truth, and anticipate people to beat you down.

Isaiah 49

In this chapter, Isaiah, outlines some details about himself - on how LORD chose him to serve as His Prophet. Even though the people of Israel do not repent, LORD promises glory to him.

- he was called while he was in his mother's womb,
- he will be made light for the gentiles, so that he can bring salvation to the ends of earth,
- kings will see him and rise up,
- princes will see and bow down,

Then there is the Prophecy regarding Israel’s restoration. LORD says that He will not forget His people.
Isaiah 49:15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
    and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
    I will not forget you!.."
The LORD will protect Israel from her enemies, who will be humbled and defeated. Israel will be gathered in the latter days.

My Thoughts
It is no surprise that Prophet Isaiah's words are so sharp - in Isaiah 49:2, he admits that LORD made his mouth sharpened like a sword. 

LORD created women to be filled with love and care. The moment a baby is born, that baby becomes the entire world for the mother - everything else becomes secondary. That is how the DNA of a mother works. In our circles, we can hardly find a mother having no compassion towards the child she bore. LORD makes a powerful statement that He will not forget us, though the mother forgets her child. Now, does it not display the ownership and show the amount of care He has for us? 

Too bad that only few people see His love and care. 

Isaiah 48

Prophet Isaiah rebukes people for their perfunctory religious observance and fake holiness. He then makes and indictment for their wickedness. LORD made sure He was revealed, rather than concealed. He asks those questions of wisdom which nobody can answer.

LORD's love is so great that despite their sinful nature, He would refine them in the 'furnace of affliction'. LORD is doing all these for His own sake, so that He won't be defamed.
Isaiah 48:17 This is what the LORD says -
    your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the LORD your God,
    who teaches you what is best for you,
    who directs you in the way you should go.
18 If only you had paid attention to My commands,
    your peace would have been like a river,
    your well-being like the waves of the sea.
He wishes to bless us abundantly - only if we approach Him. The good news is that if we approach Him, He will redeem us. The chapter closes with a verse on peace.
Isaiah 48:22 “There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.”

My Thoughts
Speaking about holiness, I started spending time in Sunday rituals without even knowing what they performed, and thought that was Christianity. I was told (by many) that was the holiness one should aim to attain. I made a sincere effort to learn it and paid close attention to what was being performed. After almost a decade of study and observation, when I got a grasp of those Sunday rituals, I was baffled - I still am.

It was a terrible shock when I realized what I was taught and performed all these years in church was not even close to what Jesus expected out of me. It was the exact opposite of what Jesus preached on the Sermon on the Mount and in His ministry. His teachings are documented and spelled out so clearly in the Holy Scripture. Like a fool, I was so blind not to pay attention to it.

Remember Isaiah 35 speaking about the 'Highway of Holiness'? I have found more ordinary people travelling on that highway, than the so called 'church leaders'.

In this chapter, LORD says He is the One who teaches us what is good for us. He is the One and only One who cares about the well being of our soul - because He owns it. As our owner, He wants us to function properly and return to Him.

Who else, but our LORD, will plead in such a fashion to return to Him? Not even our parents, teachers, siblings, spouse or best friends - they give up after some time. LORD, out of His deepest love, is doing all these because He cannot be defamed and He cannot yield His glory to another.

It is a melancholy truth that hardly a handful of us want to return to the LORD. Even heart-rendering is the fact that, those few who arrive at a church in hopes of reaching the LORD, are misled in a wrong direction by those 'masked shepherds'.

Isaiah 47

The Fall of Babylon

Babylon, a beautiful city, is no longer personified as a queen; she is instead portrayed as a degraded woman, naked and shame uncovered.

Isaiah foretells the total destruction of Babylon because of her iniquities. He uses some harsh vocabulary in rebuking the pride and arrogance of Babylon.

LORD is about to bring judgement and vengeance upon Babylon and their sorcerers with their useless magic won’t be able to help them.