A SURE FOUNDATION
Suggested Reading: Isaiah 28-29
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Key Verse: Isaiah 29:18
In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.
There’s bad news on the way to the good news of our key verse. Six times Isaiah declares that “intoxicating drink” and drunkenness are bad news! Like this blog, hopefully, “precept upon precept [repeated], line upon line [repeated], here a little, there a little” (28:10) will cause us to understand the message! God will then use the people who speak other languages, the Assyrians and the Babylonians, to speak to His people, because they don’t listen well! It’s almost as if they had a pastor with a serious stammer trying his best to communicate. In 28:13 the people responded to Isaiah’s words with mockery, considering them unworthy of a hearing, repetitive, and boring. This resulted in backsliding, brokenness, and being caught in the snare of their own making. They brought it on themselves! Isaiah 28:16 tells us of the foundation upon which we should build our lives. A helpful New Testament reading is 1 Peter 2:4-8.
Isaiah 29 mentions “Ariel” several times. “Ariel” means in Hebrew, “Hearth of God,” and probably refers to the altar of burning coals in the Temple at Jerusalem. The people who offered their sacrifices were going through the motions of their religion but were not repenting for their sins! Therefore, they were bringing more judgement upon themselves. But God does not give up on His people. It turns around and our key verses kick in! Hallelujah!!!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord God, I pray that I will have Your grace to continue building my life on Your “sure foundation,” the measuring line (horizontal) and the plummet (vertical) being 100% governed by the position of Jesus Christ in my life, the “Precious Cornerstone!” I ask this in His Name! Amen!!!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
I’ve been impressed by the repetition of “black cummin” and “cumin” in today’s reading. My daughter, Ellen Shaheen, has become an expert cook in middle-eastern foods. She tells me that “black cummin” is caraway seed, and cummin is the spice that makes much of her food so delicious. In preparation for use the seeds are “beaten out with a stick” (28:27) in order to remove the casings and to bring out the flavour of the spices. The “beating” Judah had by the Babylonians served to bring out the best in the people of God! Never again did the Jews turn to wholesale idolatry.
The Apostle Paul writes of the necessity of disciplining our bodies (the stick, maybe!). Norma-Jean and I are joining Ron, Moira, Jerry, and our CEO John Hull in an amazing plan developed by Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California called “The Daniel Plan.” It’s important, as Paul teaches us, to make sure the building in which God dwells, our bodies, are in good shape. Check it out by watching Jerry Johnston and Rick Warren from the New Year’s Day 100 Huntley Street show (click here). If you join us in this program (dare I call it a “stick”), I want to hear from you. We’ll design a format for you to report to me with ease and for me to report to you. Norma-Jean and I plan to start on Monday, January 20th! God willing I’ll keep reminding us all regularly.
Yours for building in an excellent way the “temple” in which God desires to live and in which we live! (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
P.S. Yesterday afternoon I visited my daughter Ellen Shaheen who often cooks for her family using common middle eastern spices. I asked her for samples of “cummin” and “black cumin” which are mentioned in today’s reading. She told me that the “cumin has been ground into a fine powder and the “black cumin” or “caraway” is beaten to remove a shell. Isaiah gives us a word picture of what the Assyrians and Babylonians will do to Israel and Judah! I know from personal experience that the end result makes certain foods taste very good! (Isaiah 28:25-27)