Category: Isaiah



2 Corinthians 6:2, “For [God] says, ‘In an acceptable time I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ Behold, now is the acceptable time! Behold now is the day of salvation.” (LITV)

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Paul here quotes from Isaiah 49:8. It would certainly be beneficial to us to refer to this verse in Isaiah, and the previous one, so that we might understand what the acceptable time means.

Isaiah 49:7-8, “The LORD, the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel, says to the One who is despised and rejected by the nations, to the One who is the servant of rulers: ‘Kings will stand at attention when you pass by. Princes will also bow low because of the LORD, the faithful one, the Holy One of Israel, Who has chosen You. At just the right time, I will respond to you. On the day of salvation I will help you. I will protect you and give you to the people as My covenant with them. Through You I will reestablish the land of Israel and assign it to its own people again.”

This chapter in Isaiah is a prelude, foreshadowing or prophecy of what would eventually come to pass. Israel would be in state of enmity against God and His Holy Servant Jesus Christ. Verse 7 gives us insight into this strife, which is extant on man’s part alone, but despite the presence of unbelief and outright hostility against God and God’s Holy One, God sought it fit to impart grace upon mankind.

I would ask the reader to reflect upon the sublimity of these facts, that at one of the most hostile times in history towards God and His Holy One, that God somehow, in accordance with a grace and love far surpassing that of human-kind, purposed a time of His favor through that same Holy One, Jesus Christ. As William MacDonald mentions, the “day of salvation” mentioned, as it pertains to Jesus, “refers to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

"Resurrection of Christ," by Carl Heinrich Bloch. c. 1875

“Resurrection of Christ,” by Carl Heinrich Bloch. c. 1875

Therefore, this “time of favor” can be said to be situated between the resurrection and Christ’s return. Philip E. Hughes, of the NIV Study Bible, says:

“[This is] an affirmation that is true in a general sense of all God’s saving acts in the history of His people, but that finds its particular fulfillment in this present age of grace between the two comings of Christ.” –Philip E. Hughes, NIV Study Bible

Hughes correctly points out that throughout history there have been manifest times of God’s favor. However, there is an innovative originality concerning the particular age we live in now, where this hallowed salvation is made available to all mankind. Yet, we say this in a general sense, for there is also an individualistic sense in which, by Paul’s words, is not only suggested this blessed grace or salvation, but also it serves as a warning. For we are told that it is a time of God’s favor, but one necessary condition of time is that it passes. The direct consequent, then, is that this time of “acceptability” will pass. Henceforth, we understand the urgency of Paul’s message, that ‘now is the day of salvation.’

Now-Time

The NIV Study Bible points this out when it states:

“[‘Now’] underscores the urgency of the divine invitation.” –Philip E. Hughes, NIV Study Bible

Time is somewhat of a relative term as it is used here. We should realize that time can mean, this moment, today, this week, fifty years from now, a hundred, or, indeed, eons from now. Of course, the verse applies its message for today. Paul does this in probably the full understanding that mankind, when it comes to salvation and holiness are the greatest of procrastinators. We tend to put off these things like obedience and faith because we fool ourselves into thinking that we will always have tomorrow, the next day, or the next, and so on, to come under the grace of our Lord. However, nobody is guaranteed tomorrow, nor ten minutes from now. This strikes me as a rather prideful assertion and delusional assurance, for all evidence points to the contrary. Rather than putting these things off, let us today put on the full armor of God, with its helmet of salvation, shield of faith, shoes to spread the gospel of peace, breastplate of righteousness and belt of truth. Let us put on the shining armor of right living, as the Scriptures tells us:

Romans 13:12, “The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living.”

Ephesians 6:11, “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.”

Ephesians 6:13-14, “Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.”

1 Thessalonians 5:8, “But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.”

Let us again consider the general and specific application regarding this “time of salvation” as it pertains to both mankind as a whole (general) and the individual (specific). We find the generality of the time of God’s favor to pertain to all man in this age between the appearances of Christ. It is in this age we are offered salvation by and through faith (in which obedience becomes an integral part) in Jesus Christ. Yet, as we have said, since it is mentioned in the context of time, it will not carry on indefinitely. Rather, this time supposes an end, so, let us run in haste and endurance that race marked out before us, while we still exist within this state or time, for we do not know the time when it will come to an abrupt end.

End

Here is our chance. Here is our opportunity. Let no man suppose that this opportunity will always be there, for if it was the case the Scriptures would not emphasize us coming to the Lord, or obeying His statues, “as long as it is still today.” The Scriptures say:

Hebrews 3:7-8, “That is why the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today when you hear His voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested Me in the wilderness.’”

Hebrews 3:13, “You must warn each other every day, while it is still ‘today,’ so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.”

Hebrews 4:7, “So God set another time for entering His rest, and that time is today. God announced this through David much later in the words already quoted: ‘Today when you hear His voice, don’t harden your hearts.’”

Psalm 69:13, “But I pray to you, O LORD, in the time of Your favor, in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation.”

Isaiah 55:6, “Seek the LORD while He may be found; call on Him while He is near.”

Psalm 32:6, “Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to You while You may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach Him.”

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No, we must run for the goal, which is Christ Jesus, in all due haste. How I cringe when I hear Christians suggest by their words that they can always ask for forgiveness later. How I cringe when I realize I too have done this very thing. Now I am not one to put limits on the grace of the Lord, for this is beyond my scope of knowledge, but this attitude speaks loudly in a resounding tone of arrogance and disrespectful presuppositions. For it supposes God will always forgive us and that He is always willing to forgive. Frightfully enough, the Scriptures, though Jesus tells us if we seek we shall find (Matthew 7:7), Proverbs makes it clear:

Proverbs 1:24-28, “I called you so often, but you wouldn’t come. I reached out to you, but you paid no attention. You ignored My advice and rejected the correction I offered. So I will laugh when you are in trouble! I will mock you when disaster overtakes you—when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster engulfs you like a cyclone, and anguish and distress overwhelm you. When they cry for help, I will not answer. Though they anxiously search for Me, they will not find Me.”

Therefore, let us not suppose we are always fit to be found under the grace of the Lord our God. However, those of us who have been forgiven for our past sins let us rejoice and take a firm hold of the faith. For the Lord has granted us favor, and not by our own works, but by His grace which transcends all understanding of man.

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1My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding – 3indeed if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4and if you look for it as silver and search for it as hidden treasure, 5then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”

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In my last entry I discussed, or rather the Scripture discussed, the consequences that occur when one doesn’t fear the Lord. What is this fear of the Lord and why is it so profound? I yet do not know in the profound measure it deserves, but I have the understanding that despite the clues I have gotten concerning the fear of the Lord, in truth its much deeper than I can fathom at this point. This is why I have yet to do any recent writing on the topic. I pray the Lord will lead me in discovery about this often wondered about phrase? What is it to fear the Lord? I invite the reader to stay tuned. One thing we do know about the fear of the Lord, however, is that it is elsewhere too aligned with a knowledge, which again speaks to its profound nature. Isaiah 11:2 says,

“The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him – the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.”

An interesting thing occurs to me. Both in Isaiah and the aforementioned Proverbs 2:5 mention BOTH the fear of the Lord, understanding, and a, or the, knowledge of God. In addition, how Isaiah talks of it suggests it being a fruit of the Spirit.

Regardless, despite the missing profound variable about the fear of the Lord, I believe there are a number of conclusions and important points we can extrapolate from these verses. First, to dissect the collection of verse a bit, there are eight conditions, or antecedents, and two consequents. The eight conditions are, to accept the Lord’s words, store up His commands, turn your ear to wisdom, apply your heart to understanding, call out for insight, cry aloud for understanding, seek it as silver, and search for it as hidden treasure. The two consequents are, an understanding of the fear of the Lord, and finding the knowledge of God.

I would like to do something a little different for this current entry and analyze the Scripture by these conditions and consequents. First, I will cite the conditions, slightly paraphrased, and immediately after write upon them. After the conditions are finished, I will then do likewise for the consequents mentioned in Proverbs 2:5. I pray this translates well into a blog post.

Accept The Lord’s Words

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I believe there are quite a few of us guilty, including myself, of approaching the Scripture with a presupposed message in hand. Simply, we go through times in our life where we encounter challenges, reap calamity, are distressed, brought low, and seemingly trampled underfoot by any number or matter of things. Of course, being of a somewhat juvenile in faith, as even the most faithful can be at times, outside Christ, we turn to our Bibles to bring us a positive message or, at the very least, one that will make us “feel better” somewhat. In a time such as this, we may be in danger of not accepting what the Lord is really trying to tell us. We find something scary, or something convicting, and we turn the page. Searching for that other verse to give us our needed exhortation. If this isn’t describing you at all my friend then God bless you!

However, I only write from personal experiences and I know the tricks of the self, as well as the enemy, are not original temptations at all. For, as Ecclesiastes 1:9 says:

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

When getting a Word from the Lord sometimes we don’t want to hear it and we fool ourselves in thinking that intuitive scripture that came to us must be mistaken or misheard. Yet, we are called not only to accept those things which make us feel good, like grace, but also those things which frighten us, like judgment. However, this is all for our own good. The Lord doesn’t want calamity to fall upon us and gives us stern warnings in order that we might have it “the easy way” rather than the “hard way.” This is simply due to his unfathomable love, much like how a parent might warn and discipline their children when they have done wrong.

Store Up The Lord’s Commands Within You

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To tap into a little bit of my own testimony, I attended a Christian private school while I was in high school, but didn’t become a Christian until after. At the time, while in school, I found one of the most ridiculous academic activities to be memorization. This ranged from vocabulary quizzes and exams to even, dare I say it, Bible verse memorization. Be assured I feel ashamed for this now, and certainly you can tell how depleted my ability to reason was at this time in my life. I mean, why would I need to memorize the Bible if I had to always have it on me anyway? Surely, the Holy Word would warrant an open book test right? Now its easy to see from my vantage point where the ridiculousness really lied.

Certainly, some of this came from just a sluggard kind of lifestyle and its paramount laziness, but whatever the causes, the effects were the most important. That whole time when I could have been soaking in God’s Word, I disregarded its importance, and thus missed out on an opportunity to be more versed than I am currently in biblical doctrine or writ. In addition, it is obvious to me, that I missed out on a great opportunity to build up a surplus of faith, which would have helped me out more during those times when I crawled through the darkness, often of my own accord.

Not only must we accept all things God reveals in His Divine Revelation, but we must also store up His commands in our hearts. This is not only for conviction purposes as one might suppose by the word “command,” but rather they are also means of following God’s perfect advice, and means of attaining blessing in our lives. This seems paradoxical that a command might act as a blessing. In and by our simple humanity, it remains a fact that we often do not like to be told what to do. Yet, we should not be so hesitant about following what the Lord tells us to do, for in that there is the aforementioned blessing. If the Lord didn’t want us to know that was the case, He wouldn’t have told us. Yet, since He did, we can have complete assurance in what the Lord says is truth. To simplify, we need to store up His commands in our hearts that we may avoid trouble and be blessed by our observance.

Turn Your Ear To Wisdom

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I recall as a small child getting in fights with my sister. On one particularly inspired mature moment, I covered my ears as she spoke and mumbled something like, “La,la,la,la,la…” to drown out her counter-argument. Whatever that might have been. Regardless, there are those times when we don’t want to hear what wisdom has to say. Moreover, we have a choice to listen to wisdom, or ignore it and drown it out. There is action and choice in this, which is made evident in Proverbs 2:2 when it tells us to turn. To turn towards something is to turn away from something else. This is much akin to the message of true repentance.

Apply Your Heart To Understanding

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The message here, to apply one’s hear to understanding, is one of commitment. We should commit to understanding. There are those questions that arise when studying the Holy Writ which are difficult to understand. We human beings tend to get discouraged or write off questions if we do not understand them. Indeed, I too went through a season where questions arising from study were discouraging to me, in the vein that such questions would arise the ever more dangerous question if what I believed was false. I had not yet understood that just because I had not the answer, didn’t mean there was no answer to be found. This is not a commitment to understanding, but rather a fleeting faith which is void of understanding and even the possibility of understanding. We are called to something much greater. A commitment to understanding that though questions arise, the Lord has many ways in which to deal with questions. These range from an understanding to a greater faith despite our questions. We almost live under the presupposition that if truth exists then we must have all the answers pertaining to that truth. Yet, the very idea of faith is that in spite of our questions we yet do still believe. Thus, we must not only commit to understanding, but to faith as well despite a

ll the unanswered questions that may arise within us. Let us have a greater faith in the Lord that He surpasses our questions and our abilities to understand. For as the scripture states, let us not lean upon our own understanding, but transcend it as the Lord transcends all.

Call Out For Insight

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Insight is more than a knowing, it is a discernment which grants us an aptitude for both the answers to questions and the direct application of the lessons found within, which can be understood as a wisdom. However, to call out for insight is to acknowledge a lack of insight and to call upon God in steadfast prayer for holy inclination. We acknowledge our lack of Godly insight, for His insight is as infinite as He is, and us being creations of His are necessarily below His enormity. So we are not to call out to the sciences, but rather God Himself who surpasses all human knowledge and man’s practicality. There are, of course, those insights of worldly or practical matters, but how much greater are those insights of spiritual matters which apply to everything? For God is everything! To call out is to desire in earnest. We don’t mutter or have some intellectual arbitrary want for insight, but we call out in a fervent heartfelt aspiration.

Cry Aloud For Understanding

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This is much similar to the one above, that is to call out for insight. It reiterates the above committing us to the importance of the lesson, that we should in earnest cry out for understanding. Furthermore, are we are not to consider it being ever fully gained, for the understanding of the Lord is as limitless as He is. Let us, therefore, take refuge in our Lord when we come unto a situation that demands further understanding. Moreover, let us be discerning in being able to identify those areas in which we lack in understanding, not lean on our own, and may the Lord grant us the understanding to be able to approach any subject or situation in a Godly knowledge which far surpasses that knowledge of man.

Look For it as Silver

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To look for something as silver is to already understand its intrinsic value and worth. Beneath the earth lie vast amounts of precious metals which when mined produce a vast storage of wealth. Likewise, at times, this understanding remains hidden from us in the same vein as one of silver or gold and we must be steadfast in our approach to find these caverns of wealth and understanding. Let us not rush after the gold of fools but rather those precious gems and metals which line outcroppings of knowledge and wisdom.

Search For it as Hidden Treasure

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There are those who dedicate their lives to the seeking of vast fortunes of wealth which have been lost over the ages. Such people invest their time, their money and even their wellbeing in order to discover hidden treasure buried within soil, sand or under the oceans. These treasure seekers not only find a thrill of discovery in such efforts, but also know that if successful then their endeavors will be greatly rewarded. Our endeavors will be greatly rewarded if we seek understanding like those who seek the treasures of old.


“‘He Himself bore our sins’ in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by His wounds you have been healed.'” -1 Peter 2:24

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"Christ on The Cross With Three Angels," by Albrecht Durer. sketch, c. 1525

Though I try not to look at Scripture in a purely aesthetic context, I am a nerd and there are times, or rather verses, where I feel almost overcome by its beauty. This verse is no different. Eons before the arrival of Shakespeare, the apostle Peter recounts something worthy of the “Hamlet” author, by the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 53:5). As Shakespeare liked to utilize compare/contrast and antithesis in his poems and plays, Peter and Isaiah do similarly with the phrases, “die to sins and live for righteousness,” and, “by His wounds you have been healed.”

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The antithesis represented by the words, “die,” “live,” “wounds,” and, “healed,” emphasize what Christ endured on our behalf, and for what cause. Christ was mocked, flogged, crowned with thorns, and crucified, in order that, by Him, we may be crowned by His glory and receive the gift of eternal life, returning the glory to its rightful place. In our salvation, we praise and glorify our savior, who bore incredible suffering for the likes of sinful, grotesque and undeserving man, that by His love, we may dwell with Him inside eternity. No praise seems worthy, for His glory far outweighs what we can offer. Yet, we strive to perfect our praise, love, and adoration in our hearts, spirits, minds and actions, for this is what God desires, commands and more than deserves. May our praises upon the alter of humility be a pleasant aroma unto our Lord and God whose glory and grace far outweigh what we could ever hope to offer.

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"Deposition," by Albrecht Durer. engraving, c. 1512

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