Today’s devotion comes from Isaiah chapter 13.  Here is a link to this chapter – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+13&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“6 Wail, for the day of the Lord is near!
It will come as destruction from the Almighty.
7 Therefore all hands will fall limp,
And every man’s heart will melt.
8 They will be terrified,
Pains and anguish will take hold of them;
They will writhe like a woman in labor,
They will look at one another in astonishment,
Their faces aflame.
9 Behold, the day of the Lord is coming,
Cruel, with fury and burning anger,
To make the land a desolation;
And He will exterminate its sinners from it.
10 For the stars of heaven and their constellations
Will not flash forth their light;
The sun will be dark when it rises
And the moon will not shed its light.
11 Thus I will punish the world for its evil
And the wicked for their iniquity;
I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud
And abase the haughtiness of the ruthless.
12 I will make mortal man scarcer than pure gold
And mankind than the gold of Ophir.
13 Therefore I will make the heavens tremble,
And the earth will be shaken from its place
At the fury of the Lord of hosts
In the day of His burning anger.”  Isaiah 13:6-13.

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“Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming?   For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”   For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.  But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.  The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!  But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation;  just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.  You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity.  Amen.”  2 Peter 3:3-18.

Today’s devotion comes from Isaiah chapter 12.

“Then you will say on that day,
“I will give thanks to You, O Lord;
For although You were angry with me,
Your anger is turned away,
And You comfort me.
2 “Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
For the Lord God is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.”
3 Therefore you will joyously draw water
From the springs of salvation.
4 And in that day you will say,
“Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name.
Make known His deeds among the peoples;
Make them remember that His name is exalted.”
5 Praise the Lord in song, for He has done excellent things;
Let this be known throughout the earth.
Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”  Isaiah chapter 12.

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Other doctrine anxiously asks:  “How am I feeling?  What am I doing?  What are others doing?”

But, Reformed Doctrine peacefully proclaims:  “Behold, God is my salvation” and “the Lord God is my strength” and “He has done excellent things” and “Make known His deeds among the peoples”.

Even more and ever more:

“Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”  Verse 6.

Today’s devotion comes from Isaiah chapter 11.  Here is a link to this chapter – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+11&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,
And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
And He will delight in the fear of the Lord,
And He will not judge by what His eyes see,
Nor make a decision by what His ears hear;
But with righteousness He will judge the poor,
And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth;
And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth,
And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.
Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins,
And faithfulness the belt about His waist.

And the wolf will dwell with the lamb,
And the leopard will lie down with the young goat,
And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little boy will lead them.
Also the cow and the bear will graze,
Their young will lie down together,
And the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra,
And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
As the waters cover the sea.

10 Then in that day
The nations will resort to the root of Jesse,
Who will stand as a signal for the peoples;
And His resting place will be glorious.”  Isaiah 11:1-10.

———————-

There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.”  Isaiah 9:7.

Other doctrine seeks to know man and what man will do.

But, Reformed Doctrine seeks to know the LORD and what the LORD will do.

Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;  but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth;  for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.”  Jeremiah 9:23-24.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | March 21, 2017

“A destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness.”

Today’s devotion comes from Isaiah 10:20-34.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+10&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“20 Now in that day the remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped, will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.

21 A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.
22 For though your people, O Israel, may be like the sand of the sea,
Only a remnant within them will return;
A destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness.

23 For a complete destruction, one that is decreed, the Lord God of hosts will execute in the midst of the whole land.”  Isaiah 10:20-23.

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Other doctrine is satisfied gleaning only that the LORD will provide for a remnant to return.

But, Reformed Doctrine fully trusting in the LORD’s sovereignty, will, and wisdom (truly relying on the LORD) more readily accepts that the LORD can so precisely control even destruction that not only will a remnant be preserved but that the destruction will overflow with righteousness as stated below.

“… A destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness.”  Verse 22.

Reformed Doctrine meditates:  “How can a destruction be overflowing with righteousness?” and eagerly searches other Scripture.

“The pride of man will be humbled
And the loftiness of men will be abased;
And the Lord alone will be exalted in that day,”  Isaiah 2:17.

“Therefore thus says the Lord God,

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone,
A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed.
He who believes in it will not be disturbed.
17 “I will make justice the measuring line
And righteousness the level;
Then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies
And the waters will overflow the secret place.
18 “Your covenant with death will be canceled,
And your pact with Sheol will not stand;
When the overwhelming scourge passes through,
Then you become its trampling place.
19 “As often as it passes through, it will seize you;
For morning after morning it will pass through, anytime during the day or night,
And it will be sheer terror to understand what it means.”
20 The bed is too short on which to stretch out,
And the blanket is too small to wrap oneself in.
21 For the Lord will rise up as at Mount Perazim,
He will be stirred up as in the valley of Gibeon,
To do His task, His unusual task,
And to work His work, His extraordinary work.
22 And now do not carry on as scoffers,
Or your fetters will be made stronger;
For I have heard from the Lord God of hosts
Of decisive destruction on all the earth.”  Isaiah 28:16-22.

And, Reformed Doctrine also considers Romans 9:27-33.

“27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved;  28 for the Lord will execute His word on the earth, thoroughly and quickly.”  29 And just as Isaiah foretold,

“Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left to us a posterity,
We would have become like Sodom, and would have resembled Gomorrah.”

30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith;  31 but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law.  32 Why?  Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works.  They stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 just as it is written,

“Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense,
And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”  Romans 9:27-33.

In summary, through these Scriptures, we understand that the LORD’s destruction overflows with righteousness.  The LORD’s destruction is righteous, because it humbles the pride, arrogance, and haughtiness of man.  Isaiah 2:17.  The LORD’s destruction is like the work of a righteous level in the sense of the language of “I will make justice the measuring line And righteousness the level;  Then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies And the waters will overflow the secret place.” Isaiah 28:17.    The LORD’s destruction prepares the way for Christ, the Righteous One:  “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed.  …”  Isaiah 28:16.  The LORD’s destruction substitutes man’s sense of justice and righteousness with the true justice and true righteousness accomplished by Christ.  “…  That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith;  but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law.”  Romans 9:30-31.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | March 20, 2017

“Is the axe to boast itself over the one who chops with it?”

Today’s devotion comes from Isaiah 10:1-19.

“Woe to those who enact evil statutes
And to those who constantly record unjust decisions,
2 So as to deprive the needy of justice
And rob the poor of My people of their rights,
So that widows may be their spoil
And that they may plunder the orphans.
3 Now what will you do in the day of punishment,
And in the devastation which will come from afar?
To whom will you flee for help?
And where will you leave your wealth?
4 Nothing remains but to crouch among the captives
Or fall among the slain.
In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away
And His hand is still stretched out.

5 Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger
And the staff in whose hands is My indignation,
6 I send it against a godless nation
And commission it against the people of My fury
To capture booty and to seize plunder,
And to trample them down like mud in the streets.
7 Yet it does not so intend,
Nor does it plan so in its heart,
But rather it is its purpose to destroy
And to cut off many nations.
8 For it says, “Are not my princes all kings?
9 “Is not Calno like Carchemish,
Or Hamath like Arpad,
Or Samaria like Damascus?
10 “As my hand has reached to the kingdoms of the idols,
Whose graven images were greater than those of Jerusalem and Samaria,
11 Shall I not do to Jerusalem and her images
Just as I have done to Samaria and her idols?”

12 So it will be that when the Lord has completed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, He will say, “I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the pomp of his haughtiness.”

13 For he has said,

“By the power of my hand and by my wisdom I did this,
For I have understanding;
And I removed the boundaries of the peoples
And plundered their treasures,
And like a mighty man I brought down their inhabitants,
14 And my hand reached to the riches of the peoples like a nest,
And as one gathers abandoned eggs, I gathered all the earth;
And there was not one that flapped its wing or opened its beak or chirped.”

15 Is the axe to boast itself over the one who chops with it?
Is the saw to exalt itself over the one who wields it?
That would be like a club wielding those who lift it,
Or like a rod lifting him who is not wood.
16 Therefore the Lord, the God of hosts, will send a wasting disease among his stout warriors;
And under his glory a fire will be kindled like a burning flame.
17 And the light of Israel will become a fire and his Holy One a flame,
And it will burn and devour his thorns and his briars in a single day.
18 And He will destroy the glory of his forest and of his fruitful garden, both soul and body,
And it will be as when a sick man wastes away.
19 And the rest of the trees of his forest will be so small in number
That a child could write them down.”  Isaiah 10:1-19.

——————————-

The Lord used Assyria as a tool to punish Jerusalem.  But, after the use of Assyria, the Lord punished Assyria for its arrogance and haughtiness.

“So it will be that when the Lord has completed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, He will say, “I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the pomp of his haughtiness.”  Verse 12.

“Is the axe to boast itself over the one who chops with it?  …”  Verse 15.

The LORD, the GOD of hosts, use individuals and even nations for His sovereign purpose.  But, just because the LORD does so and allows them to survive and even prosper for a while thereafter, does not mean He is necessarily pleased with them.

But, for us as with the Psalmist in the following Scripture, sometimes it is difficult for us to understand.

“2 But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling,
My steps had almost slipped.
3 For I was envious of the arrogant
As I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”  Psalm 73:2-3.

“17 Until I came into the sanctuary of God;
Then I perceived their end.
18 Surely You set them in slippery places;
You cast them down to destruction.
19 How they are destroyed in a moment!
They are utterly swept away by sudden terrors!”  Psalm 73:17-19.

“10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment;
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
11 Worship the Lord with reverence
And rejoice with trembling.
12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way,
For His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!”  Psalm 2:10-12.

Today’s devotion comes from Isaiah chapter 9.  Here is a link to this chapter – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+9&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.

2 The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.
3 You shall multiply the nation,
You shall increase their gladness;
They will be glad in Your presence
As with the gladness of harvest,
As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
4 For You shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders,
The rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian.
5 For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult,
And cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire.
6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.”  Isaiah 9:1-7.

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Other doctrine searches the Scriptures focused on man and asking “What should man do?”.

“Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?”  John 6:28.

But, Reformed Doctrine searches the Scriptures focused on God and asking “Who is God?” and “What has God done or what will God do?”.

Jesus said:  “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life;  it is these that testify about Me;  and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.”  John 5:39-40.

“Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”  John 6:29.

And so, with great delight, Reformed Doctrine finds today’s Scripture which tells us Who God is:

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”  Verse 6.  This verse refers to God the Son, Jesus Christ.

And, with great delight, Reformed Doctrine finds today’s Scripture which tells us what God will do:

“There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.”  Verse 7.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | March 17, 2017

“should not a people consult their God?”

Today’s devotion comes from Isaiah chapter 8.  Here is a link to this chapter – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+8&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“9 “Be broken, O peoples, and be shattered;
And give ear, all remote places of the earth.
Gird yourselves, yet be shattered;
Gird yourselves, yet be shattered.
10 “Devise a plan, but it will be thwarted;
State a proposal, but it will not stand,
For God is with us.”

11 For thus the Lord spoke to me with mighty power and instructed me not to walk in the way of this people, saying,

12 “You are not to say, ‘It is a conspiracy!’
In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy,
And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it.
13 “It is the Lord of hosts whom you should regard as holy.
And He shall be your fear,
And He shall be your dread.
14 “Then He shall become a sanctuary;
But to both the houses of Israel, a stone to strike and a rock to stumble over,
And a snare and a trap for the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
15 “Many will stumble over them,
Then they will fall and be broken;
They will even be snared and caught.”

16 Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.  17 And I will wait for the Lord who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob;  I will even look eagerly for Him. 18 Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.

19 When they say to you, “Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,” should not a people consult their God?  Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?  20 To the law and to the testimony!  If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.  21 They will pass through the land hard-pressed and famished, and it will turn out that when they are hungry, they will be enraged and curse their king and their God as they face upward.  22 Then they will look to the earth, and behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish;  and they will be driven away into darkness.”  Isaiah 8:9-22.

————————

Many trust in their own plans and proposals.  Many trust in the conspiracies of men.  Many trust in mediums and spiritists.  In summary, they trust in man rather in God.

But, the LORD of hosts is the One Who should be trusted.  We should not run after man but wait for the LORD of hosts and His word and His work.

“It is the Lord of hosts whom you should regard as holy.
And He shall be your fear,
And He shall be your dread.”  Verse 13.

“…  should not a people consult their God?  …”  Verse 19.

“…  For God is with us.”  Verse 10.

But, for those who, nevertheless, trust in man:

“They will pass through the land hard-pressed and famished, and it will turn out that when they are hungry, they will be enraged and curse their king and their God as they face upward.  Then they will look to the earth, and behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish;  and they will be driven away into darkness.”  Verse 21-22.

But, we should not even trust in our own faith which can fall short or waiver.  We should trust the LORD of hosts to give us sufficient faith and to preserve it.

We get small hints of this in today’s Scripture and in yesterday’s Scripture.

In today’s Scripture, we notice election in verse 18.  “Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.”  Verse 18.  In other words, not only Isaiah would witness signs and wonders from the LORD of hosts but also “the children whom the Lord has given me (Isaiah)”.

In today’s Scripture, we notice that the elect have “dawn” in verse 20 contrast to the “darkness” of the non-elect:  “…  If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.”  Verse 20.

In yesterday’s Scripture, we notice that Jeremiah 17:7 does not end with “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord”.  Rather, this trust is conditioned and described by the following phrase “And whose trust is the Lord.”  In other words, the blessed trust is one which comes from the Lord and is not based on man’s wisdom or will.

Reformed Doctrine summarizes Scripture by describing this faith.

Article 14.  Faith is therefore to be considered as the gift of God, not on account of its being offered by God to man, to be accepted or rejected at his pleasure;  but because it is in reality conferred, breathed, and infused into him;  or even because God bestows the power or ability to believe, and then expects that man should by the exercise of his own free will, consent to the terms of that salvation, and actually believe in Christ;  but because he who works in man both to will and to do, and indeed all things in all, produces both the will to believe, and the act of believing also.  THIRD AND FOURTH HEADS OF DOCTRINE Of the Corruption of Man, His Conversion to God, and the Manner Thereof of Canons of Dordt.

Today’s devotion comes from Isaiah chapter 7.  Here is a link to this chapter – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+7&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“Now it came about in the days of Ahaz, the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Aram and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but could not conquer it.  When it was reported to the house of David, saying, “The Arameans have camped in Ephraim,” his heart and the hearts of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake with the wind.

Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out now to meet Ahaz, you and your son Shear-jashub, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway to the fuller’s field, and say to him, ‘Take care and be calm, have no fear and do not be fainthearted because of these two stubs of smoldering firebrands, on account of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and the son of Remaliah.  Because Aram, with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has planned evil against you, saying, “Let us go up against Judah and terrorize it, and make for ourselves a breach in its walls and set up the son of Tabeel as king in the midst of it,” thus says the Lord God:  “It shall not stand nor shall it come to pass.  For the head of Aram is Damascus and the head of Damascus is Rezin (now within another 65 years Ephraim will be shattered, so that it is no longer a people), and the head of Ephraim is Samaria and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah.  If you will not believe, you surely shall not last.”’”  Isaiah 7:1-9.

———————-

Ahaz, the king of Judah, received a precious promise from the LORD GOD that the intent of the king of Aram and the king of Israel to wage war against Judah and terrorize it and defeat it would not be accomplished:  “thus says the Lord God:  “It shall not stand nor shall it come to pass.”

But, such a promise also came with a warning from the LORD GOD:  “If you will not believe, you surely shall not last.”

We too receive precious promises of salvation from the LORD GOD.  Are we going to believe the LORD GOD and trust Him?  Or, are we going to trust in man?

Other doctrine trusts in man, man’s alleged free-will. man’s wisdom, man’s alliances with other men, and man’s works.

But, Reformed Doctrine trusts in God, God’s words, God’s will, God’s wisdom, and God’s works.

“5 Thus says the Lord,
“Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind
And makes flesh his strength,
And whose heart turns away from the Lord.
6 “For he will be like a bush in the desert
And will not see when prosperity comes,
But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness,
A land of salt without inhabitant.
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
And whose trust is the Lord.
8 “For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit.”  Jeremiah 17:5-8.

Today’s devotion comes from Isaiah 6:8-13.

“8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”  Then I said, “Here am I.  Send me!”  9 He said, “Go, and tell this people:

‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive;
Keep on looking, but do not understand.’
10 “Render the hearts of this people insensitive,
Their ears dull,
And their eyes dim,
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
Understand with their hearts,
And return and be healed.”

11 Then I said, “Lord, how long?”  And He answered,

“Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant,
Houses are without people
And the land is utterly desolate,
12 “The Lord has removed men far away,
And the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.
13 “Yet there will be a tenth portion in it,
And it will again be subject to burning,
Like a terebinth or an oak
Whose stump remains when it is felled.
The holy seed is its stump.”  Isaiah 6:8-13.

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Verse 10 may seem harsh.  (“Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed.”)

But, verse 10 makes it very clear that God’s sovereignty rules over man’s alleged free-will.

It reminds us of Romans 9:18-21.

So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault?   For who resists His will?”  On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God?  The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?  Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?”  Romans 9:18-21.

As God hardened Pharaoh’s heart to accomplish His purpose, God hardened Israel’s heart to accomplish His purpose.  God hardened Pharaoh’s heart to demonstrate His power.  God hardened Israel’s heart to punish Israel.

But, there is hope!

Verse 13 gives hope that God will leave a remnant to be saved including a Savior.

And, Romans 11:25-29 gives hope that all the elect of God in Israel will be saved.

“25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;  26 and so all Israel will be saved;  just as it is written,

“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.”
27 “This is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.”

28 From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers;  29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”   Romans 11:25-29.

We see “God’s choice” in Romans 11:28, and we see God’s “calling” in Romans 11:29.  Both refer to God’s elect.

Other doctrine is about man’s alleged free-will.

But, Reformed Doctrine is about God’s sovereignty and God’s salvation of His elect.  

Today’s devotion comes from Isaiah 6:1-7.

“In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.  Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings:  with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.  And one called out to another and said,

“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory.”

And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.  Then I said,

“Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I live among a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs.  He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips;  and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”  Isaiah 6:1-7.

———————-

Other doctrine thinks that it can approach the LORD on its own terms whenever it wants, reverently or irreverently, through its own alleged free-will and its own goodness.

But, Reformed Doctrine, with its mind fixed on what Scripture reveals about the LORD and what the Scripture reveals about man, recognizes that it cannot approach the LORD on its own terms.  It is dead in sin and too far removed from the lofty and exalted thrice Holy LORD of hosts.  And, even if it could somehow approach the LORD, the burning glory of the LORD would consume it before it could ever come close to the LORD.  On its own, there is a better chance for man to land on the sun and live than it is for man to approach the LORD.  “Woe is me, for I am ruined!”

Reformed Doctrine recognizes that if it will ever come close to the LORD, the LORD must come to it like how the Seraphim came to Isaiah in today’s Scripture.  The LORD must draw it to Himself.

Reformed Doctrine recognizes that its only chance for salvation is that the LORD will do all that is necessary for its salvation from the beginning to the end:  from the beginning of the LORD’s “Unconditional Election” to the LORD’s “Limited Atonement” to the LORD’s “Irresistible Grace” to the end of the LORD’s “Preservation of the Saints”, the “U”, “L”, “I”, and “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”  Ephesians 2:4-7.

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