August 02

Read Isaiah 5 -- 9

In Today's Reading:

Parable of the vineyard; Isaiah's vision of God's holiness; his message for King Ahaz; Christ's birth and Kingdom foretold; prophecy of the invasion by Assyria.

Verses for Today:

Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink! . . . Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope! . . . Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil! . . . Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes! . . . Therefore My people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge. . . . they have cast away the Law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the Word of the Holy One of Israel (5:11,18,20-21,13,24).

The prophet Isaiah foretold the judgment of God against the Kingdom of Judah for five specific sins. First, selfishness and greed. Second, drunkenness. Third, stubbornness, refusing to recognize themselves as sinners and parading their sins before God. Fourth, insincerity, self-deception, and hypocrisy. And fifth, pride, the basis of all sin.

At this time in its history, wicked Ahaz was King of Judah and Assyria was the ruling world empire. Isaiah spoke as if Assyria had already taken the Israelites captive. The prophet appealed to King Ahaz to turn to the Lord for His protection, saying: Ask [for yourself] a sign of the Lord [your] God (Isaiah 7:11). If Ahaz would turn to Him in faith, and then ask of God, God would give him victory.

When Ahaz refused to ask . . . a sign of the Lord, Isaiah was given a glorious prophecy of the true King of kings Who was yet to come: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His Name Immanuel (God with us) (7:14). Seven hundred years later, the Angel Gabriel confirmed to the Virgin Mary: The Holy [Spirit will] come upon [you], and the power of the Highest shall overshadow [you]: therefore . . . [the Holy One Who] shall be born of [you] shall be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35). To deny the virgin birth and question either the Deity or the humanity of Jesus of Nazareth is to miss the significance that Jesus was both God and man.

Isaiah continued to plead with his people: Sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear (reverence). . . . Should not a people seek . . . their God? . . . To the Law and to the Testimony: If they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no Light in them (Isaiah 8:13).

The prophet Isaiah received another glorious vision of the Eternal King of kings of Whom he foretold: His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace (9:6). Jesus was Wonderful in His life on earth, Wonderful in providing eternal life to all believers by dying on the cross for our sins, and Wonderful in His triumph over death. He alone is the Wonderful Counselor, the Revealer of Truth: The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made (John 1:1-4).

Christ Revealed:

In Him was Life; and the Life was the Light of men (John 1:4). Other prophecies concerning Jesus Christ are found in Isaiah 8:14; 9:2,6-7. Isaiah 9:6 reveals that a Child shall be born; a Son shall be given (crucifixion); and the government shall be upon His shoulders (His Second Coming). The Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

Word Studies:

5:1 vineyard = the Israelites; 5:5 go to = listen to Me; 5:23 reward = bribes; 7:16 abhorrest = hate; 8:21 hardly bestead = sorely distressed; 9:9 stoutness = arrogance.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for your Sunday School teacher · Country: Panama (3 million) in southern Central America · Major languages: Spanish and English · Limited religious freedom · 78% Roman Catholic; 12% Protestant; 5% Muslim; .1% Eastern Orthodox · Prayer Suggestion: Lift up prayers of praise and thanksgiving to God even in times of adversity (Acts 16:22-25).

Optional Reading: Hebrews 10

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 3:24