Watching Daily At My Gates

December 3 Read Isaiah 29:1-8

God pronounces judgment upon his church and the enemies of that church. It is thought that Ariel is the altar of burnt offerings. If that is so, God is judging the misuse of his worship. How about us? Do we worship in a right way, or do we just go through the motions each week? God will not be mocked and is jealous towards his name. But for the faithful in Jerusalem and in the church today there is a promise. It is thought that this chapter was written when the Assyrians were getting close to the city. They had no reason to fear the enemy and neither do we. Those who are faithful to God can rest assured in his mercies and know they will be delivered by judgment. Sing Psalter 137.

December 4 Read Isaiah 29:9-16

After showing to Judah what Assyria would do to them, God shows why this was so. Simply put God was chastising them because they no longer worshiped him from the heart. Look at verse 13 again. Oh, the people could use the right words. They could sing the songs of Zion. They knew all about the feasts and sacrifices. But in their hearts they despised it all. They wanted to worship in their own way. If this is true of us, we must turn from our ways. We must repent and seek the potter who has made us. Only through that way will we be redeemed from this earth and taken to our glorious home in heaven. Sing Psalter 138.

December 5 Read Isaiah 29:17-24

In the future there would come redemption for Israel and for us. Why? we might ask. Why would God do those things for those who were sinful and had not trusted in him? He brings redemption because of his covenant. Notice the reference to Abraham and Jacob. Those covenant promises were not forgotten. That is our comfort today. As we await the return of our Savior we do not have to fret that he might not come. He is coming, and when he comes he will redeem us unto that glorious place which is heaven. We have been redeemed through the blood of Christ. Our final glory will be when Christ returns on the clouds of heaven. Sing Psalter 139.

December 6 Read Isaiah 30:1-7

Israel, while under attack by Assyria, sought aid from Egypt. From our vantage point we might either say “How foolish, why not use the help of the Lord? or It is good to use means that are available.” Are we any different? When faced with difficulty do we not forget to trust in Jehovah? As Israel is typical of the church of all ages, we must see that they were to go to God at all times. We are no different. Now, that does not mean that we do not use means of healing in our lives. But our trust must be in God who gives to those doctors their skills. If we think that men alone can help us, their help, like that of the Egyptians, will be vain. Sing Psalter 112.

December 7 Read Isaiah 30:8-18

Again we are no different from Israel. As we look to approach God in his house again, what is our attitude? Do we really want the minister to preach to us only from God’s Word? Do we really want to hear what the Spirit has to say to the churches? God’s word is sure and true concerning us if we remain in our sin. There is also a word of comfort found in these verses. It is in verse 15. We will be saved in the quietness and confidence of God’s ways. Like Naaman of old we want a show, but that is not God’s way. Let us wait wholly upon Jehovah who has made heaven and earth. Sing Psalter 348.

December 8 Read Isaiah 30:19-26

God has given to us those who lead us in the right ways. For the very young it is God-fearing mothers and fathers who by word and example show to us the way we must go. As we get older there are teachers and ministers who direct us in God’s ways. As we take our place in the manifestation of God’s church on this earth, elders join those who are our guides. For these men and women we must be thankful. They show to us the way to eternal Jerusalem. May God bless their work; for it is indeed his work. Sing Psalter 278.

December 9 Read Isaiah 30:27-33

The close of this chapter contains the judgment upon Assyria, its king, and its armies. God will judge the wicked and through that judgment redeem his people. This is prophetical concerning the end of time when Christ shall appear on the clouds of glory to bring judgment upon the world and take the elect to their eternal home. Notice verse 29. We will be given a song to sing. It will be a song of victory for this occasion. God, however, will give this song to us. It will not be man’s song, but our great Jehovah’s. Let us wait to hear the voice of the Lord and join the grand chorus singing hallelujahs of praise to him who is our God. Sing Psalter 261.

December 10 Read Isaiah 31:1-9

God’s people throughout the ages have attempted to seek their help from someone else than God. Abraham did this, David did this, Asa did this, and others did as well. What about us? Do we put our trust in others rather than God? Here in this chapter we have a beautiful promise that he will care for us. In verse 4 we read that God will fight for Mount Zion. Verse 4 also uses the figure of a lion. Christ is the lion of Judah’s tribe. Verse 5 likens his care to that of a mother bird defending her young. Let us not ignore our heavenly Father’s daily care for us. Let us look for him to deliver us from all of our troubles. Call unto him in prayer; he will hear us. Sing Psalter 150.

December 11 Read Isaiah 32:1-8

In the troubles that surround Judah of that day and the church of today, we find this breath of fresh air. Christ will come for his true people and will deliver them from those who oppress them. This is a comfort for us. It is a comfort that knows no bounds. May we know that comfort and feel it every day. Let us pray for Christ to come quickly and deliver us from this valley of the shadow of death. Sing Psalter 152.

December 12 Read Isaiah 32:9-20

What a gracious God our God is! Even when we fall into sin, he sends his Spirit to bring us back to the right way. And when his Spirit works, a time of peace and spiritual prosperity falls upon his people. This is the way of salvation. It begins with God’s work and ends in his glory. Notice that the result of God’s work is peace. No matter how hard we seek to have peace, whether it be among the nations or within ourselves, the only true peace is that which comes from God. This is a great blessing. May we give thanks for it. Sing Psalter 141.

December 13 Read Isaiah 33:1-6

In times of turmoil God’s people must and can look to him for comfort. Even in Judah’s troublous times the faithful few looked to God. To them Isaiah brought a word of comfort. That word of comfort was that no matter what enemy or what trouble besets God’s people, he is to be exalted and will be exalted. Our knowledge of our Savior is precious. Knowing God and the strength of our salvation will sustain us through all trouble. The wisdom spoken of here is not an earthly wisdom, but rather one that comes from above. Be gracious unto us, O Jehovah, and grant to us peace. Sing Psalter 228.

December 14 Read Isaiah 33:7-13

These verses are written about the time that the Assyrians had sent ambassadors to Hezekiah to demand that Judah surrender. Hezekiah had tried to buy them off but to no avail. In verse 10 God said that he would arise and glorify his name in Assyria’s defeat. It is no different for us. We try to make things go “our way” by our devices. But God will have things go his way. He will do this in such a way that his name and his name only will be glorified. In the end, here on earth, and at the final day, all will say about Jehovah that he is God-the mighty one. Let us live in that realization today, giving to him the glory and honor due to his name. Sing Psalter 420.

December 15 Read Isaiah 33:14-24

Isaiah continues with words of comfort for the people of God. That comfort can only be found in one place. In the Old Testament it was the temple at Jerusalem where God dwelt with his people in holiness. It was that temple with its multitudes of pictures of Christ which provided them comfort needed in every situation. For us today it is the church of God. Here is where we hear the Word of God that contains all the comfort we need. Because Jehovah is our judge, lawgiver, and king, he will save us out of all trouble. “Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forever more.” Sing Psalter 320.

December 16 Read Isaiah 34:1-8

Edom is a picture of the reprobate throughout all ages. They continue to torment God’s people in many different ways. God’s people do not have to worry, as God is their protector. When God speaks, his Spirit carries out his word even if it is vengeance upon the wicked around us. What must we do? We must stay away from the enemies of God’s church and seek after him and his righteous ways. Sing Psalter 224.

December 17 Read Isaiah 34:9-17

There are two items of note in this section. First of all, notice how creation serves to show to us the workings of our sovereign God. This is the idea in the first articles of the Belgic Confession. When we see these things, we are taught about the providence of God. This is a blessed comfort for us. We need not worry; nothing happens by chance; it is in his hand, and that hand is gracious to his people. Secondly, we see that we are to look into the Bible for God’s word of faithfulness to us. This is also mentioned in those first articles of the Belgic Confession. Do not forget to read his Word over and over. It provides instruction in all things as well as comfort. Sing Psalter 37.

December 18 Read Isaiah 35:1-10

Here we have a beautiful chapter for the comfort of God’s people. We can easily recognize that it speaks of Christ and his works toward his people. If we confine the works to physical blessings, we miss the whole point. Isaiah is prophesying of the spiritual blessings gained by the elect through the work of Christ Jesus. Verse 8 clearly indicates that this work is not for all but only for some. While it speaks of the end of the Babylonian captivity, there is clearly a reference to our heavenly home. Let us rest in the comfort that Christ is preparing a place for us and will come again to take us unto him. Sing Psalter 161.

December 19 Read Isaiah 36:1-10

What is our answer to the question of verse 4? This is the question that the world puts to us daily. We have to be, according to the words in the New Testament, “ready always to give an answer”… for the hope which lies within us. Are we ready? Are we willing to confess our faith to anyone, at any place, at any time? This is what we must do. Israel of old would forget that God was their confidence. They wanted to be like the world around them. We, too, will fall into this wrong. Let us work each day to identify with confidence the God in whom we place our trust. Sing Psalter 336.

December 20 Read Isaiah 36:11-22

Even Satan knows who God is and how to combat God’s people. So when the Assyrian king comes to Judah, different words are used to frighten Judah than if they were coming against, for example, Syria. They knew that Judah trusted on a different kind of a God. Not that it changed their attitude toward God; no, they still did not acknowledge him as God. They knew how to fight just as Satan knows how to come against us. We do not have to fear. We have been given the armor of salvation that enables us to fight against Satan and all his hosts. Sing Psalter 363.

December 21 Read Isaiah 37:1-13

Instead of focusing on Rabshakeh’s words, let us look at Hezekiah’s and Isaiah’s reactions and words. It is easy for us to get caught up looking at the wicked-witness Asaph’s words in Psalm 73. We must remember who our God is and the honor we must give to him. Hezekiah does two correct things. First of all, he goes unto the house of the Lord. He goes in prayer to God. Do we always do this or do we look for some earthly solution out of a difficulty with no thought about our heavenly Father? Secondly, he sends for Isaiah, the prophet of God. He looks into God’s word. Are our Bibles well read enough so that we do this? As we go into God’s house, let us look to him for help at all times. Sing Psalter 201.

December 22 Read Isaiah 37:14-20

Hezekiah does what any child of God should do in times of difficulty. He prays. Notice first of all, that he acknowledges God as God, the creator of heaven and earth. Only those who believe, by faith, that God is creator of all things can pray with confidence. Secondly, he says that the enemy is reproaching God. This is not merely Israel’s enemy; it is God’s. Finally, the reason for asking is that God’s name may be glorified. Not Hezekiah’s name, not Judah’s name, not Jerusalem’s name, but that all the world may know that God is God. Do we pray this way? We should. Sing Psalter 339.

December 23 Read Isaiah 37:21-32

Not only does God promise to destroy Assyria and its host, but he also promises to take care of Judah after Assyria is sent home. He not only will care for them physically by giving them food that they did not plant, but he will also care for them spiritually by preserving his church for ever. His zeal for his name will cause this to happen. This should be both a comfort and an encouragement for us. God will take care of us. He loves us now and forevermore. Let us seek him at all times in the trust that he will care for us. Sing Psalter 286.

December 24 Read Isaiah 37:33-38

There is nothing in Judah, or Hezekiah, or us, that is of worth. God redeems his people for his own glory. That is why he created us, that is why he preserves us, that is why he redeemed us, and that is why ultimately he will take us to glory. We see in verse 35 the promise and realization of the covenant in David and in Christ Jesus. Satan and his entire host may try to prevail against us, but we need not fear. God is on our side; “who can be against us?” Judah’s deliverance is a sign of our ultimate deliverance. Judah’s deliverance was by judgment on Assyria. Our deliverance will be judgment on the wicked world. Let us be patient and wait for that deliverance. Let us watch and pray for that day. Sing Psalter 248.

December 25 Read Isaiah 38:1-8

In order to understand this event in Hezekiah’s life, we need to understand all of the history of his life. All of this is not told us here, but by using the companion passage in II Kings 20, we can more easily understand this history. Jerusalem was still threatened by Assyria. More importantly Hezekiah had not had a son as yet, and, therefore, he could not see how the promise to David would be carried out. When he fell sick, he did what every child of God should do in difficulty. He went to God in prayer. In this summary chapter we see that God gave him an answer that was a blessing to Jerusalem, to Hezekiah, and to the church of all ages. Sing Psalter174.

December 26 Read Isaiah 38:9-22

Hezekiah confesses that which should be the confession of every child of God. While we are on this earth, we must praise our God. We take the praise of him for granted sometimes. We do this by not attributing to him that which is his. We do this by not making use of worship to bend the knee toward our Creator and God. We do this by making too much of our works. We must know that while we have breath we have the calling to praise God with our whole being. Hezekiah knew that his calling was to frequent the house of God. Do we know this? Sing Psalter 256.

December 27 Read Isaiah 39:1-8

Sometimes God gives us a great blessing, and we forget his ways. That is what happened to Hezekiah. It appears that he made himself look like the mighty one and not the sovereign God, Jehovah. It is hard to understand the last verse. It is obvious that Hezekiah has repented. Is he happy only for himself while seemingly ignoring the people of Judah? This we must remember. Hezekiah was zealous for the cause of Christ. So peace in his day would give to him the heir who would continue the promise to David and to us. Let us be warned by Hezekiah’s actions; let us know that all things work for the good of them that love God. Sing Psalter 212.

December 28 Read Isaiah 40:1-8

We have here not only a Messianic promise but also a beautiful word of comfort for God’s people. No matter what the affliction of this world may be, God’s Word will uphold us. We know that it is a true word of comfort because it comes directly from the mouth of our God. It is not man’s word or deed that does not last; it is God’s Word that stands forever. Let us look for his glory all around us, and let us look for his glory in heaven. Sing Psalter 114.

December 29 Read Isaiah 40:9-17

The first verse in this section is a transition from the previous section to the next verses. As the God of comfort, he cares for his people as a shepherd does his sheep. We are reminded of Psalm 23 by this verse. Then Isaiah goes on to tell us that God is a sovereign God. This, too, affords us great comfort. Nothing depends upon our weak means. All things are carried out in his time, for his people’s good, and for his glory. No nation, no man can touch us because they are nothing. Let us give thanks for such a God and such a Savior. Sing Psalter 52.

December 30 Read Isaiah 40:18-27

Judah was prone to worship idols. They would copy the nations around them and even bring those idols into the temple. Are we any different? While we probably do not have graven images in our houses or churches, we still can be and probably are at times guilty of idol worship. There are many things in this modern world in which we might put our trust. Are any of them equal to God? Is there anything that we can conceive of that is greater than our sovereign Creator? We must face this truth, and then we must say that God is the only God who has redeemed us and will deliver us from this life unto glory. Sing Psalter 308.

December 31 Read Isaiah 40:28-31

Here we find some very beautiful words of Scripture. In verse 28 Isaiah reminds us who God is. He is not like what others think of as a god, or anything we can think of as a god. He gives power to the faint because he is power himself. In situations when even the strong become weary, God is power and gives power to his people. Then you have the beautiful words of verse 31. We must be patient in all situations. When we wait for Jehovah, we will receive grace to handle all situations. These are words that will sustain us anytime and all of the time. Let us wait for Jehovah, and then we will not faint. Sing Psalter 247.

January 1 Read Isaiah 41:1-9

God has called his people friends. That is the testimony in verse 8. That is the essence of the covenant. It is nothing that we do. It is nothing that we can do. God has called us friends. As his friends he has taken us from all corners of the earth and will bring us together in heaven to dwell with him forever. Unlike human friendships, this one never fails. God never says, “I do not want to be your friend any longer.” He is our friend from eternity and forever. Are we thankful? Do we live lives of thankfulness for such a gift? We are friends of God. What a blessing! Sing Psalter 328.

January 2 Read Isaiah 41:10-20

What beautiful words start out this portion of Scripture! “Fear thou not!” There are many times that we find these words in the Bible. Always they are spoken to the child of God in some time of distress. Always we can take comfort in them and know that God says to us “Fear not.” Why does he say those words to us? We can find the answer to that question in the passage as well. He is the Holy one, our redeemer, and our creator. Because we are his covenant people, no matter what situation we are in, he will care for us. He will put his arms around us and say, “Fear not.” Let us be comforted with these words today and every day. Sing Psalter 300.

January 3 Read Isaiah 41:21-29

The final verses of this chapter show to us that the only deliverer, the only redeemer is Christ. He is the one who brings the gospel, the good news, to his people. No one else could redeem Zion, and no one else can redeem us. In this day and age we see many trying a different gospel with a different way of salvation. There is nothing new under the sun. Our Savior is the only way to salvation. As we go through this life, this is what we must believe. When we do, we will enjoy all the blessings of the salvation wrought for us at the cross. Thanks be to God! Sing Psalter 47.

January 4 Read Isaiah 42:1-8

Here we have an obvious prophecy of Christ. It was he who brought care to those in need. It is he to whom we can go with all and any troubles, and he will not turn us away. He is Jehovah, the God of the covenant. He will not break that covenant that he has made with us no matter how far we stray from it. By his mighty arm he will lead us onto the right way. Let us worship him always, and let us worship him as he has commanded us, in spirit and in truth. Sing Psalter 58.

January 5 Read Isaiah 42:9-17

Here in these verses we have another prophecy of the gospel being taken to the Gentiles. They will respond with joy even as we must when we hear God’s word. Our praise must continually go forth wherever we are, and at whatever time we are in. The day is coming when we will be given another new song. The first new song was sung at the appearance of Christ on earth. The second new song will be in heaven when all the church will be gathered together. Let us ready ourselves for that glorious time by singing to God whenever we have the opportunity. Praise be to God! Sing Psalter 261.

January 6 Read Isaiah 42:18-25

Here we find a warning to the church of all ages. Even though Judah was his beloved people, they had fallen into sin and had to be chastised. Are we any different? We, too, serve idols. We, too, do not worship God in the way that he has commanded us. We are sometimes blind and deaf to his ways. But he has given to us a redeemer, our Saviour, Christ Jesus. Each and every day we must be obedient to God’s law and in that way he will be pleased with us. Sing Psalter 158.

January 7 Read Isaiah 43:1-7

From the dark and gloomy words of the last chapter, we have the beautiful words, “fear not”. One reason that we do not have to fear is that we are his. Because we are his, no one can take us out of his hands. Because we are his, he will care for us wherever we might be. Because we are his, we are precious to him, and he loves us. These are beautiful words in whatever situation in which we are found. They will sustain us in all things at all times. May we continually give thanks for such a great comfort. Sing Psalter 149.

January 8 Read Isaiah 43:8-17

Remembering that the theme of Isaiah is “Redeemed through Judgment”, we can easily see how this chapter fits within the book. Notice the words “I am.” This is God’s covenant designation. By this we know that we are his and will remain his for all eternity. You also know how in the history of Israel, God’s way of salvation for his people is worked out. When we watch history today, we must see that it proclaims our redemption through the second coming of Christ upon the clouds of heaven to bring judgment on the world. May we watch and wait with patience for that glorious day. Sing Psalter 87.

January 9 Read Isaiah 43:18-28

We have been formed by God to give him praise. We need to think about that idea often. Our purpose in life is not to glorify ourselves but to glorify our Creator. Is this how we go through each day of our lives? Do we seek to glorify God in all that we do? If we do not, we weary him with our inconsequential lives. We pretend to worship him. Let us stop and think about that for a moment. He has provided a way of salvation for us. How do we thank him for not remembering our sins? Let us learn from Israel’s captivity. Let us learn to live lives of praise to our creator and redeemer. Sing Psalter 306.