August 6

Read Isaiah 27 -- 31

In Today's Reading:

Judgment of Ephraim; Jerusalem warned; Israel rebuked for its alliance with Egypt; future destiny assured

The magnificent northern kingdom of Israel was enjoying great prosperity when the Lord led Isaiah to prophesy its coming captivity by Assyria. He proclaimed: Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine! Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the (His) hand. The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet (Isaiah 28:1-3,).

The people of Samaria, the capital of the large and powerful northern kingdom, were enjoying the luxury of both summer and winter homes, ivory palaces, and a wealth of gardens. They were content in their affluence and unwilling to hear the Lord's prophet. With a heavy heart, Isaiah warned them that all would soon be destroyed because they had rejected the Word of God and turned to idols.

Samaria's beauty was likened to a fading flower that would soon disappear. Just as horrifying, the prophet foretold: Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet — and without God it would be helpless to withstand the fierce Assyrian army. Like most worldly-minded people today, they did not believe judgment could happen to them.

Isaiah appealed to the people to repent of their sins, return to the Lord, and be obedient to His Word. Those in Judah who had turned from God did not escape the pronouncements of doom. God, speaking to them through His prophet, also warned them that, since they had refused to live in obedience to the Covenant of God, they had made a covenant with death and would be destroyed by the Assyrians. They would pay the same price for their sins as the northern kingdom.

Times and circumstances change; but one fact remains the same — all those who have not received Christ as their Savior have made an eternal covenant (agreement) with death (28:15,18), whether knowingly or unknowingly. For those who have knowingly made the choice, we can pray that they will change their minds. If they have not heard the Gospel and don't possess a Bible, it is our duty to warn them.

We can praise the Lord that while there is life, there is still hope. The Lord is not slack (slow) concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (II Peter 3:9). Let every one that nameth the Name of Christ depart from iniquity (sin) (II Timothy 2:19).

Christ Revealed:

As a tried Stone, a precious Corner Stone, a sure foundation (Isaiah 28:16). Jesus became the Chief Corner Stone (Ephesians 2:20-21; see also Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:10-12; Romans 9:33; I Peter 2:6-8).

Word Studies:

27:1 piercing = swift; 28:21 strange = awesome, unusual; 28:22 bands be made strong = punishment be made greater; 30:1 cover with a covering = make an alliance; 30:3 confusion = humiliation, your undoing; 30:24 ear = plow.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Universal Printing, printers of Bible Pathway in the U.S. · the International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in honor of Henry Rogers · Government Officials: Gov. James McGreevey (NJ) and Rep. Mike McIntyre (NC) · Country: Moldova (4 million) southeastern Europe · Major languages: Rumanian and Russian · Limited religious freedom · 66% Romanian/Russian/Bulgarian Orthodox; 3% Roman Catholic; 2% Protestant; 2% Jewish · Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to reveal His will and fill you with His Spirit (Ephesians 5:17-18).

Optional Reading: James 1

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 5:1