Isaiah 45-48, Psalm 119: 33-64
When speaking to a Jewish Rabbi about 2 years ago about Jesus, during the course of our discussion he told me that after the age of 13, Orthodox Jewish men read only the Talmud (the word of man), not the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible, our Old Testament, the Word of God). In another conversation with a rabbinical student and an orthodox Jewish woman they went as far as to say that the Talmud was for men and the the Tanakh or Bible was for women and children. Though this surprised me, is the bulk of the Christian community much different? Most don’t read the Bible. Of those that do, many read a verse for the day or short devotionals with a few verses disjointed from the entirety of Scripture with a longer commentary. We are now going through the entirety of God’s Word, which is necessary and good if revival is to occur. The Bible must always be the star of the show, the main attraction. Commentary is important to help understand, give context, etc. but must always be secondary to the actual Word so that we allow God to speak to us individually through His Word. In John 8:31-32, we read, “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
In today’s readings, we see a recurring phrase , “I am the Lord, or I am God, or I Am, and there is no other”. Many then and now wear the label of a group that professes belief in the One True God. But it is only a label and has never taken root in the heart. This holds true for both Jewish and Christian people. Most who hold these labels are now atheistic or agnostic at best. But even many who state they believe, don’t trust in Him exclusively. In Romans 10:1-3, Paul said, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.” Paul wrote this long ago about the Jewish people, but it is just as applicable to the Christian community today.
As we go through the prophets, we see amazing truths being foretold well before they actually occurred. This is what sets the Bible apart from every other book. Don’t miss the amazing prophecy in Isaiah 44:28-45:13 of Cyrus, who was named 150 years before he was born and around 200 years before the events described were fulfilled. We read in Isaiah 44:28, “Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” And to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.”‘ We read the fulfillment in 2 Chronicles 36:22-23, “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May the Lord his God be with him, and let him go up!” In Isaiah 47:9, just as prophesied, Babylon, who was not even yet a formidable empire during the time of Isaiah, but over 100 years later represented the world empire was taken in a single day (Also described further in Daniel 5). Though the Bible is our main guide, if we ever find ourselves reading and not understanding, there are so many commentaries that will give the historical background underlying the fulfillment of these pinpoint prophesies in addition to other parts of the Bible which reveals their fulfillment. The books of prophecy show the fingerprint of God on past events. Because of this we can look to the future and to end times and trust that He will also fulfill future prophecy with this same pinpoint accuracy.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: