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November 8–Read Hosea 7
A number of weeks ago we had a sermon about the sin of adultery, which the prophet says Israel is guilty of in Hosea 7:4. The sins of adultery and idolatry are quite related, as idolatry is committing spiritual adultery. Our pastor approached this commandment from the positive viewpoint of the sanctity of holy marriage. Our love for Christ must be exclusive. This is also true in our earthly marriages, as they picture that perfect union between Christ and his church. Even the parent-child relationship must not interfere with the marriage union. In a world that has completely embraced adultery, our young people are under increasing pressure to give in to their lust. Ironically, the world treats virginity as a disease, even as the STDs promiscuity brings with it run rampant. In opposition to this, parents must model a strong biblical marriage so their children have a high view of this union. It’s vital that our children see that “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled” (Heb. 13:4a). When we confess this with the same frankness used in the Bible, then passages such as those found in the Song of Solomon become beautiful instead of embarrassing.
Sing or pray Psalter #271.
November 9–Read Hosea 8
Hosea 8:13 reads, “They sacrifice flesh for the sacrifices of mine offerings, and eat it; but the Lord accepteth them not; now will he remember their iniquity, and visit their sins: they shall return to Egypt.” According to Calvin, in the first part of this verse, God is rebuking the Israelites for sacrificing and eating what should have been burnt with fire. These sacrifices were gifts from God that should have been offered to him, but instead the people were keeping the flesh for themselves. They corrupted this act of worship by using it just to cram themselves. The verse goes on to infer that God spares them for a time, but will soon punish them for their wicked acts. They could even flee to Egypt, but it would be in vain. Calvin ends on this note, but I wonder if there’s more to be said about the mention of Egypt. Why Egypt? Does it simply represent fleeing into the world in general? Is it showing how far they had fallen, that they would even look for their deliverance from the very nation they were brought out of?
Sing or pray Psalter #24.
November 10–Read Hosea 9
Can you imagine how angry you would be if you walked up to someone and told them how happy you were to see them, only to be met with rejection and contempt? It’s hard to imagine anyone being that hateful and uncaring, isn’t it? And yet, that’s the type of response Israel was giving God, and the type we give him as well by nature.
Hosea 9:10 reads, “I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstripe in the fig tree at her first time: but they went to Baalpeor, and separated themselves unto that shame; and their abominations were according as they loved.” Grapes are an unexpected and delightful find in the wilderness, as is finding the first crop of the year. However, the fruit was corrupt and unworthy of being sought after. As Calvin puts it, “The Israelites went in unto Baal-peor, as an adulterer goes in unto a harlot; and they separated themselves; for they denied God, and violated the faith pledged to him; they discarded the spiritual marriage which God made with them.” They had chosen the way of wickedness and now become abominable like their lovers.
Sing or pray Psalter #92.
November 11– Read Hosea 10
Yesterday we talked about Hosea 9:10, which begins, “I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness.” It was mentioned that finding grapes is a very pleasant surprise in the wilderness, but Israel wasn’t worthy of this eagerness, because they had forsaken God. In contrast, the chapter today begins, “Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images.” Now Israel is portrayed as a vine without grapes. The following words explain that Israel actually had some fruit, but it was corrupt. They had no good fruit. All they had was the fruit of serving self.
We talk about it often, but we need constant reminders that seeking self is a great danger for us today. We live in a world that glorifies self-worship as the right way to live. Without shame they talk about everything they deserve and getting as much out of this life as possible. Instead of this corrupt fruit, we must bring forth the pure fruit of walking according to God’s commandments.
Sing or pray Psalter #81.
November 12– Read Hosea 11
I think I speak for all oldest children when I say that we get blamed for everything. It doesn’t matter how many other siblings were involved or how little we participated; our parents will place the brunt of the responsibility on us.
Ephraim was not the oldest of the tribe fathers, but God chose him as Israel’s leader. Because of this, Israel is often referred to simply as Ephraim. For example, Hosea 11:12a reads, “Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit.” All of Israel was guilty, but God especially placed the blame on Israel’s leader, much like an oldest child receives most of the blame when all the children are disobedient.
As children, we may not think it’s fair that our parents usually make us responsible for things, but when we grow older we understand that this is taught in God’s Word. As the head, whether that be an oldest sibling, teacher, father, minister, employer, or board president, we’re responsible for the actions of those under us. May God give us all the grace to lead in the right way, no matter what magnitude of leadership he’s called us to.
Sing or pray Psalter #73.
November 13– Read Hosea 12
Verses 7 and 8 of this chapter have contradicting statements. Hosea 12:7 says, “He is a merchant, the balances of deceit are in his hand: he loveth to oppress.” Then verse 8 says, “And Ephraim said, Yet I am become rich, I have found me out substance: in all my labours they shall find none iniquity in me that were sin.”
We had a sermon recently about the sin of stealing. It was brought out that not long ago things were sold according to weight, and there were often news stories about weighted balances being discovered. Although balances aren’t used much today, we do see frequent oppression in situations where someone in distress is charged extremely high interest, just to mention one example. Israel was committing these kinds of sins, but then denying any wrongdoing, as we see in verse 8. By nature we are very good at justifying our sin in our own eyes. Money can deprive man of all ability to use reason. As we were told in the sermon, it’s ok to be rich, but getting rich must not be our motivation in life.
Sing or pray Psalter #198.
November 14– Read Hosea 13
The last verse of this chapter reads, “Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.” Those are some extremely graphic words of judgment for wicked Israel. We read of this horrific act taking place in a few different passages of scripture. In 2 Kings 8, God commands Elisha to anoint Hazael king of Syria. Elisha weeps when he does this, because he knows that Hazael will commit these atrocities in Israel. Amos 1:13 tells us that the Ammonites were also guilty of committing these acts in Israel. Then, in 2 Kings 15, we see that Israel had so degraded that even their king did this to his own subjects.
It’s difficult to imagine anything more evil than ripping up women with child. Not only is the act almost unbelievably gruesome, but it also shows an organized effort to completely exterminate the afflicted group. This also shows the seriousness of Israel’s sin, that not even their infants escaped judgment.
Sing or pray Psalter #207.
November 15– Read Hosea 14
A couple of phrases in verses 2 and 3 stood out to me. At the end of verse 2 Israel says to God, “so will we render the calves of our lips.” Then verse 3 begins, “Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses.” Calvin says the end of verse 2 could be reworded to say, “The calves which are wont to be offered are not the true sacrifices in which God delights, but tend rather to show that men are to offer praise to God.” In other words, God isn’t pleased with mere outward obedience; we must obey him from the heart. Moving on then to verse 3, I remember from ancient world history class that Asshur is the capital of Assyria. Israel looked for deliverance from Assyria a number of times before that nation took them into captivity. Here it’s made plain that even if they get on horses and run to Assyria for help, there will be no deliverance. Our only hope is found in God, not in the powerful men and nations of this world.
Sing or pray Psalter #235.
November 16– Read Isaiah 28
It’s important that teachers give instruction at the students’ level. When I started teaching there were some topics I remembered studying in college that I was interested in and very excited to teach. I put a lot of work into an in-depth study, but I became frustrated and disappointed when I presented it to my 5th and 6th-grade class because many of them were left confused. Instead of helping them delve deeper into the topic, I had made it so difficult to understand that they had gotten very little out of it.
Matthew Henry brings out this idea in his commentary on verse 10. However, he and Calvin connect this with verse 13 to see the whole picture. Israel had been taught like small children by the prophets, but it was of no effect to them. The word of God had become nothing more than “precept upon precept” and “line upon line.” No progress was being made in the instruction because the people weren’t interested in learning. The same is true for us. We can sit under the preaching our entire lives, but if we don’t come with ears to hear the only result is a hardened heart.
Sing or pray Psalter #222.
November 17– Read Isaiah 29
Verses 1 and 2 read, “Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt! add ye year to year; let them kill sacrifices. Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall be heaviness and sorrow: and it shall be unto me as Ariel.” Calvin says that the Ariel mentioned here is referring to the temple altar. Isaiah’s threat is coming on all Jerusalem, because the altar is their greatest defense. The people had come to believe that God would be with them as long as they continued an outward show of obedience, and they forgot that God commands obedience from the heart. Calvin states that some people think Ariel is referring to the temple as a whole, based on how it’s similar in shape to a lion. I don’t know what the connection is between Ariel and a lion. Do you? Calvin ends his discussion on this verse by saying Isaiah “intended to strip the Jews of their foolish confidence in imagining that God would assist them, so long as the altar and the sacrifices could remain, in which they falsely gloried, and thought that they had fully discharged their duty, though their conduct was base and detestable.”
Sing or pray Psalter #253.
November 18– Read Isaiah 30
I remember when I went to Dordt College I had a professor who was also a minister. He was explaining these aspects of his life to us, saying he really enjoyed teaching to satisfy his intellectual interests and pastoring for his “touchy-feely” ones. Sadly, that’s what Christianity has become to so many nominal Christians today; it’s just about stirring up the emotions and making us feel good.
This is exactly what Israel was calling for in verse 10, when they asked the prophets to speak to them “smooth things.” They had no interest in hearing about their sins and their need to repent. To them, religion was about seeing what they could get out of it. Ultimately, they worshipped themselves, not God.
In contrast to this, verse 18 brings out that God is a God of judgment. The gospel is a two-edged sword, to strengthen some spiritually and to harden others. God is indeed a God of love towards his people, but he hates sin and will judge those who reject him. We need to hear this word of judgment to see our unworthiness and give praise to God for the miraculous deliverance that’s ours through Jesus Christ.
Sing or pray Psalter #258.
November 19– Read Isaiah 31
What nonbelievers fail to understand is that calling a dream crazy is not an insult, it’s a compliment. Don’t be the fastest runner in your school, or in the world, be the fastest ever. Lose 120 pounds and become an iron man, after beating a brain tumor. Don’t ask if your dreams are crazy, ask if they’re crazy enough. Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.
These words are taken from Nike’s latest “Just Do It” ad featuring Colin Kaepernick, the NFL player who started kneeling during the national anthem a couple years ago to protest police brutality against black people. I find the tagline, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” quite ironic. What the world believes in is themselves, and what they have sacrificed is everlasting life with God. What nonbelievers fail to understand is that God is all-powerful, and we are nothing of ourselves. Isaiah 31:3 says, “Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the Lord shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all shall fail together. “
Sing or pray Psalter #256.
November 20– Read Isaiah 32
After reading through the chapter, I spent some more time examining the meaning of verses 8 and 9. According to my Bible, verse 8 is at the end of the heading “A King will Reign in Righteousness,” and verse 9 begins the heading, “Complacent Women Warned of Disaster.” Verse 7 talks about the deeds of the wicked, which the liberal in verse 8 are contrasted to. As Calvin describes these liberals, “The Lord makes them truly kind and bountiful, so that they no longer seek their own convenience, but are ready to give assistance to the poor, and not only do this once or oftener, but every day advance more and more in kindness and generosity.”
In contrast, the careless daughters of verse 9 can be seen as those who only care about themselves and don’t heed the warnings of God’s coming judgment. Some interpret these daughters as actually meaning villages, but Calvin believes it should be taken literally. How often are we like these careless daughters, instead of the liberal of verse 8? We must continually pray for grace to be careful in our spiritual fight and give liberally to our fellow saints in need.
Sing or pray Psalter #315.
November 21– Read Isaiah 33
Major cities were usually formed around large rivers, but Jerusalem was not. To give you an idea of size difference, the Jordan River that flows through Israel has an average width of about 100 feet, while the Mississippi River here in the U.S. is well over a mile wide in places. This lack of size is addressed in verse 21, where we read that Jerusalem didn’t need a large waterway because God was their river. The downside of living on such a large body of water was that enemies could sail their ships right up to your city, but this verse tells us this can’t be done in God’s river.
Now that God has been compared to a river, the wicked are compared to ships. Calvin brings out the analogy that ships may look very formidable, but they have no foundation. The mighty ships of the wicked are nothing before the God of heaven and earth. He destroys them and gives the spoil to his people. We see this in the fact that God works all of history for the good of his people, thereby using the wicked deeds of man to benefit us and lead us to heaven.
Sing or pray Psalter #220.
November 22– Read Isaiah 34
On April 25, 1986, a nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in modern-day Ukraine exploded, spewing huge amounts of radiation into the surrounding countryside. The town of Pripyat, where many of the power plant workers lived, had been heralded as a city of the future, but it had to be quickly evacuated after the blast. To this day, no one can live in the 1000 square miles surrounding the plant. Amazingly, despite the dangerous radiation in the area, the absence of humans has caused wildlife to flourish in abandoned Pripyat and the surrounding villages.
Reading this chapter made me think of the Chernobyl incident we learned about in science class last year. These verses lay out the doom of all nations who are enemies of God’s church. According to Matthew Henry, this chapter can be divided into five parts: a demand for universal attention, a scene of blood and confusion, the reason given for the judgments, the country being destroyed and cities left for the animals, and the solemn ratification of all this. Chernobyl stands as a symbol of what happens when man rejects God’s Law and follows his own way.
Sing or pray Psalter #50.
November 23– Read Isaiah 35
In this chapter about God’s blessings upon the church, we read in verse 9 that “no lion shall be there.” This made me think about the different ways the picture of a lion is used in scripture. In Proverbs 28:1 we read that the righteous are bold as a lion. Hosea 11:10 says that God will roar like a lion at those who have rejected him. Revelation 5:5 tells us that Jesus is called the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.
The verses above compare God and his people to lions, but there are also verses where the lion pictures our spiritual enemies. 1 Peter 5:8 says the devil prowls like a roaring lion. In Jeremiah 50:44 the Medes and Persians are prophesied to come and conquer Babylon like a lion. Then, Psalm 17:12 compares the wicked to lions ambushing their prey.
Why do you think the same figure is used to symbolize both God and the devil? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the strength of the lion applies to God and his people, but the savagery of this beast is applicable to the devil and his followers. What are your thoughts?
Sing or pray Psalter #402.
November 24– Read Isaiah 36
In this chapter, the Rabshekah comes to Jerusalem demanding Judah’s surrender. Gertrude Hoeksema teaches that Rabshekah is actually the title for the Assyrian king’s chief cupbearer, not a name, and a quick internet search appeared to confirm the idea. Some commentators believe this Rabshekah was an apostate Jew, because the king and nobles rent their clothes when he blasphemed God, which would’ve been an unusual reaction to the words of a gentile. Whatever the case might be, Rabshekah comes to the Jews with mocking words. He says he’ll give them 2,000 horses if they have 2,000 skilled riders to put on them. Hezekiah makes cute speeches to reassure you, he says, but he’s powerless. They can’t look for aid from Egypt either, because that weak and heathen nation will only hurt them more. Rabshekah shows his ignorance of Jewish religion by stating that Hezekiah showed he didn’t even trust in God by breaking down the high places. He also points out that none of the other nations’ gods helped them, so why should Judah’s God be any better? As we will see in the next chapter, God uses the Assyrians as an example to all those who question him.
Sing or pray Psalter #418.
November 25– Read Isaiah 37
This chapter and the previous one mention Shebna the scribe and Eliakim the son of Hilkiah as leaders in Judah. In Isaiah 22:15–25 we learn some more about these two men. Judgment is pronounced upon Shebna, because he is wicked and proud. He had a great tomb constructed to honor him after he died. Instead of honor, what he received was death in exile, rejected and forgotten by his countrymen. Eliakim is set forth as the opposite side of the spectrum. He was a very godly man who was given Shebna’s position.
On another note, we left last time with the thought that God was going to make an example of the Assyrians. Hezekiah is told that he will be delivered from them, and then we read towards the end of the chapter that the angel of the Lord came at night and slew 185,000 of them. Then, after Sennacherib retreated and went to worship in the temple of his god, two of his own sons came and murdered him. By this God showed he’s the only one to be feared and that the Assyrian gods were no more powerful than those of the other nations that they had mocked.
Sing or pray Psalter #300.
November 26– Read Isaiah 38
There are a number of questions that come up when examining this story. First, why did God say Hezekiah would die when he ended up extending his life? Calvin says that God did this so that Hezekiah would believe it and not look around for some means of escape. Second, how can Hezekiah say that he had a perfect heart? Calvin tells us that the Hebrew word translated perfect here simply means integrity, as contrasted with hypocrisy. As a side note, do you think there’s any significance to the number 15? Why did God choose that number to be added to Hezekiah’s life? Another question I had while reading the chapter was why Hezekiah started talking about being oppressed right after he had been healed, but it appears that he was talking about his feelings before he was healed. Last, why the lump of figs? Calvin says that some think this was used because it would naturally make the affliction worse, and God wanted to clearly show the healing was a wonder, but he thinks figs do indeed have some medicinal qualities in situations like these. Using qualities of his creation doesn’t lessen the power of God’s work.
Sing or pray Psalter #291.
November 27– Read Isaiah 39
I found the end of this chapter a little puzzling. Isaiah has just prophesied the judgment of the Babylonian captivity on Hezekiah and Judah for his sin. Hezekiah humbly responds that the word of the Lord is good and follows it with the statement, “For there shall be peace and truth in my days.” What does that mean? He couldn’t be expressing relief that it’s going to happen in the lifetimes of his children and not his own, could he?
In answering this, I read what Matthew Henry and John Calvin had to say. Henry says, “Though we must not be regardless of those that come after us, yet we must reckon ourselves well done by if there be peace and truth in our days, and better than we had reason to expect.” Calvin takes a similar stance and includes the following by way of explanation: “While he (Hezekiah) wished well to those who should live after him, yet it would have been undutiful to disregard that token of forbearance which God gave by delaying his vengeance; for he might have been led by it to hope that this mercy would, in some degree, be extended to posterity.”
Sing or pray Psalter #255.
November 28– Read Psalm 76
My Bible has as the heading to this chapter, “Who can stand before you?” These verses are all about God’s power and complete control over the wicked. The chapter ends, “He shall cut off the spirit of princes: he is terrible to the kings of the earth.”
There are many examples of this throughout scripture. There’s Pharaoh with the ten plagues and the destruction in the Red Sea. There’s the story of Balak, who hired Balaam to curse Israel, but God forced him to bless them instead. There’s the story we read a few days ago, about how the angel of the Lord came and slew 185,000 Assyrian soldiers, and King Sennacherib himself was murdered by his own sons soon after. There’s the time Israel and Judah were encamped against an enormous Moabite force, and God instructed them to dig ditches and fill them with water. The people must have been confused, but the rising sun shone over the water, making it look like blood. The Moabites joyfully concluded that their opponents had killed one another and ran unarmed into the trap God had laid. Can you think of other examples where God was terrible to wicked kings?
Sing or pray Psalter #261.
November 29– Read Isaiah 40
The final verse here will always stick out to me. “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.” When I was in high school, a classmate of mine died at a school function. On our senior class trip his parents gave us bookmarks with this verse on it. As a high schooler, I struggled to wait on the Lord. I was always extremely worried what everyone thought about me, all while working my tail off to appear as if I couldn’t care less. As I’ve grown older, the worrying has become more serious, but it hasn’t gone away. I worry about the signs of the times I see around us. I worry about my children and students and whether or not I’m being a good leader for them. I worry and forget to wait on the Lord. What an amazing comfort it is for us to be assured that God will always supply us with the strength for each trial. It’s only through believing that that we can walk and not be faint.
Sing or pray Psalter #347.
November 30– Read Isaiah 41
When we studied ancient world history in school, we learned about the practices of flailing and winnowing. After the grain is cut down it’s laid on the threshing floor, where it can be flailed. This is done by taking two sticks attached with a string, holding on to one end, and using the other to beat the grain. This begins to separate the kernels from the chaff. This process gets rid of the large pieces, but winnowing is still needed to get rid of the chaff completely. To do this, the grain/chaff mixture is lightly tossed into the air. Since the chaff is so light it quickly blows away, and you are left with pure grain.
This grain harvesting analogy is used throughout scripture and again in this chapter. In verse 15, God tells Israel he will make them “a new threshing instrument having teeth,” which they will use to beat the mountains and “make the hills as chaff.” The next verse then talks about winnowing when it says of the wicked, “the whirlwind will scatter them.” At the last day, God’s enemies will be utterly destroyed like chaff beaten and blown away in the wind.
Sing or pray Psalter #260.
December 1– Read Isaiah 42
Read verses 18 and 19 once again. Who are the blind and deaf mentioned here? Calvin says some interpret this as Isaiah describing the insults that wicked men throw at the prophets, but that can’t be correct when you examine the context. Instead, Calvin believes that all men are being accused of blindness, but especially the Jews. Matthew Henry adds that verse 18 might be interpreted as directed at the Gentiles, and verse 19 as stating that the Jews are even worse than the heathen around them. The Jews ought to have seen more clearly because God had given them the scriptures and cared for them all throughout their history.
This made me think about how we often willingly make ourselves blind and deaf. I was watching a football game this weekend, and an insurance commercial came with a song in it about heaven being a place on earth. Later that evening I caught myself singing that line without even thinking about the words I was saying. God has revealed himself to us, and that gives us a responsibility to spread the gospel and be on guard against sin.
Sing or pray Psalter #403.
December 2– Read Isaiah 43
At the beginning of this chapter, God is reassuring his people that he is always with them. He tells the elect that he will not let the waters overflow them or allow the fire to burn them. In this connection, some examples come to mind. Of course, there’s the story of Israel crossing the Red Sea. God caused the water to part so that Israel crossed through on dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to follow the water crashed back over them. Another instance with water is when Peter walked on the water. God gave him the power to do this by faith, and he only started to sink when he became afraid and stopped trusting. Paul was caught in a major storm at sea when he was being brought to Rome, and the crew despaired of surviving it, but Paul told them an angel had appeared to him and said they would not die. An example that comes to mind with fire is when Daniel’s three friends were thrown in the fiery furnace, and the king saw the angel of Jehovah walking around in the furnace with them. Can you think of any other examples?
Sing or pray Psalter #397.
December 3– Read Isaiah 44
We know everything belongs to God, but how often do we live otherwise? We decide to exercise and lose weight, not because we want to care for God’s property, but because we want to impress others. We use God’s money on toys and vacation get-a-ways we “need,” instead of giving more for the cause of the kingdom. We waste our time in pleasure-seeking and unprofitable activities, instead of using each moment to serve the creator of time. We use our talents for own benefit and forget that God gave them to us to serve him. We make decisions in our life based on what we’d rather do, instead of prayerfully considering what God’s will is for our life. Simply put, to our shame we often live for self.
Isaiah 44:15–16 talk about how foolish it is for us to use God’s gifts and not think to thank him for them. We bake our bread, cook our meat, worship the sustenance that has satisfied our bodies, and start thinking about what else we can get out of life. How foolish we can be! May we come to the cross daily, praising the God from whom all blessings flow.
Sing or pray Psalter #306.
December 4– Read Isaiah 45
Isaiah 45:7 reads, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” We know that God isn’t the author of sin, so how can it be true that God creates evil? Calvin explains that this can be easily explained by looking at the context. Notice that evil is contrasted with peace here, not righteousness. From this we see the evil mentioned refers to wars and unrest in the world, not sin itself. Calvin also takes this opportunity to speak out against the Sophists, Greek philosophy teachers of his day. This group acknowledged that wars and other calamities come from God but refused to say persecution of Christians was under his control. Calvin states clearly, “We ought therefore to hold this doctrine, that God alone is the author of all events; that is, that adverse and prosperous events are sent by him, even though he makes use of the agency of men, that none may attribute it to fortune, or to any other cause.” Our comfort isn’t found in claiming those things are outside God’s control, but in understanding that he will work even those things for our profit.
Sing or pray Psalter #252.
December 5– Read Isaiah 46
In verse 10, God says he declares “the things that are not yet done.” Right now in Bible class we are studying the birth of Christ and all of the prophecies that were fulfilled. There are scores of prophecies we could look at, but here are a few of them. Already in Genesis 12:3 we have a prophecy where God tells Abraham that all the families of the earth will be blessed in him. Acts 3:25–26 reveals that this was fulfilled when Christ came to save and bless his people from all nations. Genesis 49:10 says that the Savior would come from the tribe of Judah. God tells David in 2 Samuel 7:12–13 that the Messiah would come from his line and establish his throne forever. Then, in Isaiah 7:14 it’s revealed that Christ will be born of a virgin. Micah 5:2 goes on to explain that this wonder birth will occur in Bethlehem, a very insignificant city. Finally, Isaiah 25:8 states that Jesus will “swallow up death in victory” and wipe all tears from the eyes of his people by saving them from their sins.
Sing or pray Psalter #195.
December 6– Read Isaiah 47
In verses 8 and 10 Babylon makes the blasphemous claim, “I am, and none else beside me.” God stated this himself in verse 9 of the previous chapter and in verses 5, 6, 14, 18, 21, and 22 of Isaiah 45. Babylon convinces herself that she is God. She’s in complete control, and no one will ever be able to destroy her. In verse 7 she boasts, “I shall be a lady forever.” She wallows in pleasure and pride. This attitude is seen throughout world history. Nearly every empire has fallen apart because those in power completely gave themselves over to the lusts of this life. Instead of governing the people and protecting their borders, they wasted away in gluttonous and sexual entertainment. The same thing can be seen today. We live in the days of the last empire, the clay and iron feet of Daniel’s image. Wicked man with his technology believes he can do anything, even conquer death itself. He is in control of his own destiny. Yet, it only takes a moment for God to remind them that he’s the one in control and he’s directing all things towards Christ’s return on the clouds of glory.
Sing or pray Psalter #128.
December 7– Read Isaiah 48
In Deuteronomy 32:29 God through Moses says of the Israelites, “O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!” God speaks this way again in Isaiah 48:18, where we read, “O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.” These verses make it sound like God is wishing the people would do something that he’s unable to force them to do, but we know that’s not the case. We’ve discussed other passages even within the book of Isaiah that makes it clear God is in complete control and is all-powerful. Calvin says we must not try to penetrate into God’s secret counsel and ask why he didn’t make these people repent and follow him. However, there are some conclusions we can make when examining the history. When the Israelites went into captivity, it was a picture of the bondage of sin. Also, it led to the gospel going to all the nations. In addition, it glorifies God the most to choose a particular people. Can you think of other reasons for the Israelites’ rejection?
Sing or pray Psalter #44.