Saturday, July 21, 2012

July 21, 2012 … Looking Into God’s Mirror of Truth

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 203  

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Isaiah, Chapter 28-30 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage: Isaiah 28: 1-3; 11-12; 16-18 : [NIV] … 1 Woe to that wreath, the pride of Ephraim's drunkards, to the fading flower, his glorious beauty, set on the head of a fertile valley — to that city, the pride of those laid low by wine! 2 See, the Lord has one who is powerful and strong. Like a hailstorm and a destructive wind, like a driving rain and a flooding downpour, he will throw it forcefully to the ground. 3 That wreath, the pride of Ephraim's drunkards, will be trampled underfoot. … 11 Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues God will speak to this people, 12 to whom he said, "This is the resting place, let the weary rest"; and, "This is the place of repose" — but they would not listen. … 16 So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic. 17 I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line; hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie, and water will overflow your hiding place. 18 Your covenant with death will be annulled; your agreement with the realm of the dead will not stand. When the overwhelming scourge sweeps by, you will be beaten down by it.  
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 29: 13-15; 17-20 : [NIV] … 13 The Lord says: "These people [i.e., Judah] come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. 14 Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish." 15 Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness and think, "Who sees us? Who will know?" … 17 In a very short time, will not Lebanon be turned into a fertile field and the fertile field seem like a forest? 18 In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. 19 Once more the humble will rejoice in the Lord; the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. 20 The ruthless will vanish, the mockers will disappear, and all who have an eye for evil will be cut down— …
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 30: 1-3; 10-11; 15 : [NIV] … 1 "Woe to the obstinate children," declares the Lord, "to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; 2 who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh's protection, to Egypt's shade for refuge. 3 But Pharaoh's protection will be to your shame, Egypt's shade will bring you disgrace. … 10 They [i.e., many in Judah] say to the seers [to Isaiah and other prophets of God], "See no more visions!" and to the prophets, "Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. 11 Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!" … 15 This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.  

My Journal for Today: After reading of Hosea’s prophesies to the northern kingdom of Israelites the last few days, we return to the plaintive pleas of Isaiah to the southern kingdom in Judah, where God – through His prophet, Isaiah, is trying to get the more obedient children of Israel to realize that they are going astray.

Hezekiah, as we’ve seen in earlier studies of the kings of Israel, had been a pretty good leader in Jerusalem, doing a lot of good things for God. But he let his pride grab him; and he was fearful of what the king of Assyria could do to the Israelites; and he set out to forge an alliance with Egypt. … NOT GOOD!!! … And Isaiah cried out against this move, where Judah was not waiting on God for His promised protection of His children. Rather, … Hezekiah just didn’t want to hear how Isaiah and other prophets were warning Judah. You can read this in the highlight verses above I’ve selected from these three chapters of Isaiah’s writings. And in the last verses – in bold and underlined – one application for all believers is evident. And I call this the phenomena of looking into God’s mirror of truth, which is my title for today’s journal entry.

Hey, ... very few people like to be naked and stand in front of a mirror. By doing so, we see all the flaws on the outside; and most of the time we don’t like what we see. And when we do work up enough muster to look into the mirror, I generally see three reactions taking place.

First, there are the DEFIANT, … the ones who look into the mirror and see the truth and get angry, ... maybe even so angry that they try to destroy the mirror. Those could have been a lot of the Judeans who rebelled in anger as we read in Isaiah 30: 10-11 copied above. These people, not wanting to hear anymore of God’s truth from Isaiah and other prophets, just wanted to strike out in defiant anger when they were shown the mirror of God’s truth.

But, then there are the DEFENSIVE, probably like King Hezekiah, who became self-absorbed when seeing (or hearing) from God’s truth. These may read of truth in God’s word or hear of it from a pulpit sermon or maybe even get it from a discerning friend; and rather than looking deeper or listening more for God’s direction, they turn toward selfish or prideful directions and walk away from the mirror. These are people who, after looking into God’s mirror of truth, may, like Hezekiah, turn to their own way or maybe they just quit getting into God’s word or back away from the fellowship of believers (i.e., the church) for a time. They just get personally defensive when they are shown God’s mirror of truth.

Finally, there are the DETERMINED believers, who, when shown their own clear image in the mirror of God’s truth, are determined to change. Maybe these believers saw themselves clearly from a prophetic message or from studying God’s word deeply or in being confronted by a dear, fellow believer who really wants to help (as in Phil. 2: 3-4 or Gal. 6: 1). No matter how they see the mirror of truth, they clearly see who they are or who they not; and these believers become determined to be reshaped into a more God-like image

The followers of God in Judah in Isaiah’s time were believers; and they even had leaders, like Hezekiah, who wanted to follow God. However, when they were confronted with God’s mirror of truth, many, including Hezekiah, took the very human and natural route of becoming DEFIANT or DEFENSIVE, rather than being DETERMINED to see and hear God’s truth and to wait on God to give them the direction and protection He had promised them.

Oh, how we, SO OFTEN, react by letting our human defaults get in the way and distort what we see when we look into God’s mirror of truth. What about you (or me)? Are we looking into God’s mirror of truth – from His word - daily to see our selves clearly in God’s light; and if so, are we willing to be DETERMINED believers who just really desire to use God’s mirror to let us see and become a more Christlike image?

My Prayer Today: … Lord, I see me in the mirror; and I do so want to become more like You. Amen

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