Isaiah 34:1-35:10; Micah 2-5:15
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Today we read Isaiah chapter 35, which is a wonderful glimpse of God's Kingdom Come! The preceding Chapter 34 is a message of judgment to the nations during the end times. And then Chapter 35 is a message of hope for those who love, believe in and are obedient to the Lord. I love verse 8 in chapter 35: "And a main road will go through that once deserted land. It will be named the Highway of Holiness. Evil-hearted people will never travel on it. It will be only for those who walk in God's ways; fools will never walk there." I like that concept! The Highway of Holiness! If you could take the Highway of Holiness right now, would you? Do you look forward to walking on the Highway of Holiness in the future? In the midst of our often chaotic and un-holy world, will you seek only the Highway of Holiness for your life today and forevermore?
As I mentioned above, Isaiah chapter 34 is a message of judgment. An interesting thing to note about the "the horned owl, the hawk, the screech owl, and the raven" listed in verse 11 and the owl and the vulture in verse 15 is that these are all unclean birds per Deuteronomy 14:11-18. In verse 8 today we read - "For it is the day of the LORD's vengeance, the year when Edom will be paid back for all it did to Israel."
Today in Micah chapter 2 verse 11 we read this powerful verse to consider: "Suppose a prophet full of lies were to say to you, "I'll preach to you the joys of wine and drink!" That's just the kind of prophet you would like!" At times in our lives, do we pick and choose the "prophets" we will listen to? Do we pick and choose the pastors or teachers we will listen to? Do we look for people that will tell us basically what we want to hear? Instead, is it maybe okay for a pastor or teacher to "afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted"? Is it maybe okay if we get uncomfortable with some things we read in the Bible - at first read. But, then, do we start to reflect on and study what the challenging passages of the Bible really are saying and mean? Are we seeking Truth more than seeking being “comfortable” in our religion and our lives? Or are we just seeking comfort above all else...
Chapter 4 verse 1 stood out to me: "In the last days, the Temple of the LORD in Jerusalem will become the most important place on earth. People from all over the world will go there to worship." What are the most important places on earth today for most people? Could it be the movies, sporting events, work, vacations, etc. What are the most important places in your life? Should church (be it a cathedral or a house church) and coming together with others to worship God perhaps be the most important place on earth? Is it?
Okay, we get an amazing few verses in Micah chapter 5 today! Keep in mind that these verses were written 700 years before the birth of Jesus. Micah was the Old Testament prophet who prophesied that the Messiah, Jesus, would be born in Bethlehem. Reading these verses In Micah chapter 5 verses 2 through 5 gives me the chills... "But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village in Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past. The people of Israel will be abandoned to their enemies until the time when the woman in labor gives birth to her son. Then at last his fellow countrymen will return from exile to their own land. And he will stand to lead his flock with the LORD's strength, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. Then his people will live there undisturbed, for he will be highly honored all around the world. And he will be the source of our peace." Wow... I love it! Please read these verses again.
Okay, since we are talking the birth of Jesus here, hope you don't mind I throw out a few verses from he Gospel of Matthew - where the chief priests tell Herod about the location of the birth of Jesus based on the verses above from Micah. I usually don't like to bombard you with too many / too long of verses here in this blog, but this is too beautiful - the tie in from the Old Testament to the New. From Matthew chapter 2 verses 1 through 6: "After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"
Worship Video: Today's readings in Micah reminded me of the Matt Maher song "Alive Again." Here is a great live performance from Matt:
Are you truly alive? Click here and be made Alive Again!
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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