Today’s devotion comes from Isaiah 45:1-7.

“Thus says the Lord to Cyrus His anointed,
Whom I have taken by the right hand,
To subdue nations before him
And to loose the loins of kings;
To open doors before him so that gates will not be shut:
“I will go before you and make the rough places smooth;
I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars.
“I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden wealth of secret places,
So that you may know that it is I,
The Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.
“For the sake of Jacob My servant,
And Israel My chosen one,
I have also called you by your name;
I have given you a title of honor
Though you have not known Me.
“I am the Lord, and there is no other;
Besides Me there is no God.
I will gird you, though you have not known Me;
That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun
That there is no one besides Me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other,
The One forming light and creating darkness,
Causing well-being and creating calamity;
I am the Lord who does all these.”    Isaiah 45:1-7.

——————————-

“9 “Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;
11 Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man of My purpose from a far country.
Truly I have spoken;  truly I will bring it to pass.
I have planned it, surely I will do it.”   Isaiah 46:9-11.   

“Whatever the Lord pleases, He does,
In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.”  Psalm 135:6.

“The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.”  Psalm 103:18.

Does all of this Scripture sound like the god of other doctrine who defers to the alleged free-will of man?

Or, does all of this Scripture sound like the God of Reformed Doctrine Who accomplishes all of His good pleasure? 

But our God is in the heavens;
He does whatever He pleases.”  Psalm 115:3.

Today’s devotion comes from Isaiah 44:21-28.

21 “Remember these things, O Jacob,
And Israel, for you are My servant;
I have formed you, you are My servant,
O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me.
22 “I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud
And your sins like a heavy mist.
Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.”
23 Shout for joy, O heavens, for the Lord has done it!
Shout joyfully, you lower parts of the earth;
Break forth into a shout of joy, you mountains,
O forest, and every tree in it;
For the Lord has redeemed Jacob
And in Israel He shows forth His glory.

24 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb,

“I, the Lord, am the maker of all things,
Stretching out the heavens by Myself
And spreading out the earth all alone,
25 Causing the omens of boasters to fail,
Making fools out of diviners,
Causing wise men to draw back
And turning their knowledge into foolishness,
26 Confirming the word of His servant
And performing the purpose of His messengers.
It is I who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited!’
And of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built.’
And I will raise up her ruins again.
27 It is I who says to the depth of the sea, ‘Be dried up!’
And I will make your rivers dry.
28 It is I who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd!
And he will perform all My desire.’
And he declares of Jerusalem, ‘She will be built,’
And of the temple, ‘Your foundation will be laid.’”  Isaiah 44:21-28.

——————————-

“Shout for joy, O heavens, for the Lord has done it!
Shout joyfully, you lower parts of the earth;
Break forth into a shout of joy, you mountains,
O forest, and every tree in it;
For the Lord has redeemed Jacob
And in Israel He shows forth His glory.”  Verse 23.

For You, O Lord, have made me glad by what You have done,
I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.”  Psalm 92:4.

And yet, other doctrine focuses on what it has done and should do.

Other doctrine takes pride in what man has contributed to his salvation whether it be his works or his alleged free-will choice of Christ. 

But, Reformed Doctrine focuses on what God has done.

Reformed Doctrine shouts for joy at what God has done from the beginning to the end:  from the beginning of  “Unconditional Election” through “Limited Atonement” through “Irresistible Grace” to the end of “Preservation of the Saints”, the “U”, “L”, “I”, and “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”  1 Corinthians 1:30-31.

“Causing the omens of boasters to fail,
Making fools out of diviners,
Causing wise men to draw back
And turning their knowledge into foolishness,”  Verse 25.

but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.”  1 Corinthians 1:27-29.

“O sing to the Lord a new song,
For He has done wonderful things,
His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him.
The Lord has made known His salvation;
He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered His lovingkindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth;
Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises.
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
With the lyre and the sound of melody.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
Shout joyfully before the King, the Lord.”  Psalm 98:1-6.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | May 11, 2017

“You shall not make for yourself an idol”

Today’s devotion comes from Isaiah 44:9-20.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+44&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

Those who fashion a graven image are all of them futile, and their precious things are of no profit;  even their own witnesses fail to see or know, so that they will be put to shame.  Who has fashioned a god or cast an idol to no profit?  Behold, all his companions will be put to shame, for the craftsmen themselves are mere men.  Let them all assemble themselves, let them stand up, let them tremble, let them together be put to shame.

But the rest of it he makes into a god, his graven image.  He falls down before it and worships;  he also prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god.”  Isaiah Chapter 44:  Verses 9-11 and 17.

—————

We may quickly dismiss application of this Scripture to us, thinking:  “I would never make such an idol.”

But, as we will see later in today’s devotion, the Reformed Creeds make it very clear that the only idols are not only such wooden idols or other idols made of precious materials.  As stated in the following Westminster Larger Catechism Question and Answer 109, we can make an idol “either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image”. 

Let us first start with the importance of not making any idol.  It is important enough to be the second commandment of the Ten Commandments. 

You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.  You shall not worship them or serve them;  for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”  Exodus 20:4-6.

 

Here is what the Heidelberg Catechism states:

Q. 96.  What doth God require in the second commandment?

A.  That we in no wise represent God by images, nor worship Him in any other way than He has commanded in His Word.

Q. 97.  Are images then not at all to be made?

A.  God neither can nor may be represented by any means.  But as to creatures, though they may be represented, yet God forbids to make or have any resemblance of them either in order to worship them or to serve God by them.

Q. 98.  But may not images be tolerated in the churches as books to the laity?

A.  No;  for we must not pretend to be wiser than God, who will have His people taught, not by dumb images, but by the lively preaching of His Word.

 

Here is what the Westminster Larger Catechism states:

Q. 108.  What are the duties required in the second commandment?

A.  The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath instituted in his Word;  particularly prayer and thanksgiving in the name of Christ;  the reading, preaching, and hearing of the Word;  the administration and receiving of the sacraments;  church government and discipline;  the ministry and maintainance thereof;  religious fasting;  swearing by the name of God;  and vowing unto him;  as also the disapproving, detesting, opposing all false worship;  and, according to each one’s place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry.

Q. 109.  What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?

A. The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counselling, commanding, using, and anywise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself; tolerating a false religion; the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever;  all worshipping of it, or God in it or by it;  the making of any representation of feigned deities, and all worship of them, or service belonging to them, all superstitious devices, corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, or taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretence whatsoever;  simony;  sacrilege;  all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and ordinances which God hath appointed.

Q. 110. What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce it?

A. The reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce it, contained in these words, For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;  and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments;  are, besides God’s sovereignty over us, and propriety in us, his fervent zeal for his own worship, and his revengeful indignation against all false worship, as being a spiritual whoredom;   accounting the breakers of this commandment such as hate him, and threatening to punish them unto divers generations; and esteeming the observers of it such as love him and keep his commandments, and promising mercy to them unto many generations.

 

Let us look at some of the other Scriptures which speak about idols.

Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves molten gods;  I am the Lord your God.”  Leviticus 19:4.

‘Cursed is the man who makes an idol or a molten image, an abomination to the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’  And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen.’”  Deuteronomy 27:15.

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.”  1 Corinthians 10:14. 

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are:  immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”  Galatians 5:19-21. 

 

So, knowing both the importance of not making an idol and knowing how we can make idols in different ways, we “become the more earnest in seeking the remission of sin and righteousness in Christ;  likewise, that we constantly endeavor, and pray to God for the grace of the Holy Spirit, that we may become more and more conformable to the image of God, till we arrive at the perfection proposed to us in a life to come.”  Heidelberg Catechism Question and Answer 115.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”  Galatians 5:16.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;  against such things there is no law.  Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”  Galatians 5:22-24.

Today’s devotion comes from Isaiah 44:1-8.

“But now listen, O Jacob, My servant,
And Israel, whom I have chosen:
Thus says the Lord who made you
And formed you from the womb, who will help you,
‘Do not fear, O Jacob My servant;
And you Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
‘For I will pour out water on the thirsty land
And streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring
And My blessing on your descendants;
And they will spring up among the grass
Like poplars by streams of water.’
“This one will say, ‘I am the Lord’s’;
And that one will call on the name of Jacob;
And another will write on his hand, ‘Belonging to the Lord,’
And will name Israel’s name with honor.

“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:

‘I am the first and I am the last,
And there is no God besides Me.
‘Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it;
Yes, let him recount it to Me in order,
From the time that I established the ancient nation.
And let them declare to them the things that are coming
And the events that are going to take place.
‘Do not tremble and do not be afraid;
Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it?
And you are My witnesses.
Is there any God besides Me,
Or is there any other Rock?
I know of none.’”  Isaiah 44:1-8.

———————–

We eagerly meditate on the descriptive name of the LORD, the “Rock”, used in today’s Scripture which reveals His qualities.

“…   Is there any God besides Me,
Or is there any other Rock?
I know of none.’”  Verse 8.

We also see the LORD named and described as the “Rock” many other times in Scripture.

“There is no one holy like the Lord,
Indeed, there is no one besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God.”  1 Samuel 2:2.

He (David) said,

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge;
My savior, You save me from violence.”  2 Samuel 22:2-3.

32 “For who is God, besides the Lord?
And who is a rock, besides our God?
33 “God is my strong fortress;
And He sets the blameless in His way.”  2 Samuel 22:32-33.  Very similar quote in Psalm 18:31-32.

The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock;
And exalted be God, the rock of my salvation,”  2 Samuel 22:47.  Very similar quote in Psalm 18:46.

“I love You, O Lord, my strength.”
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”  Psalm 18:1-2.

For You are my rock and my fortress;
For Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me.
You will pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me,
For You are my strength.”  Psalm 31:3-4.

“He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold;  I shall not be greatly shaken.”  Psalm 62:2.

My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold;  I shall not be shaken.
On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.  Selah.”  Psalm 62:5-8.

“Be to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come;
You have given commandment to save me,
For You are my rock and my fortress.”  Psalm 71:3.

“He will cry to Me, ‘You are my Father,
My God, and the rock of my salvation.’”  Psalm 89:26.

“… He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”  Psalm 92:15.

“But the Lord has been my stronghold,
And my God the rock of my refuge.”  Psalm 94:22.

“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness,
Who seek the Lord:
Look to the rock from which you were hewn
And to the quarry from which you were dug.”  Isaiah 51:1.

and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them;  and the rock was Christ.”  1 Corinthians 10:4.

And yet, instead of trusting and resting on the everlasting Rock, other doctrine prefers to trust and rest at least partially on the works and the will of man.

But, Reformed Doctrine trusts and rests wholly on the LORD, “the rock of our salvation”.  

“O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord,
Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.”  Psalm 95:1.

“Trust in the Lord forever,
For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock.”  Isaiah 26:4.

Today’s devotion comes from Isaiah 43:14-28.

14 Thus says the Lord your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,

“For your sake I have sent to Babylon,
And will bring them all down as fugitives,
Even the Chaldeans, into the ships in which they rejoice.
15 “I am the Lord, your Holy One,
The Creator of Israel, your King.”

16 Thus says the Lord,

Who makes a way through the sea
And a path through the mighty waters,
17 Who brings forth the chariot and the horse,
The army and the mighty man
(They will lie down together and not rise again;
They have been quenched and extinguished like a wick):
18 “Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
19 “Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.
20 “The beasts of the field will glorify Me,
The jackals and the ostriches,
Because I have given waters in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert,
To give drink to My chosen people.
21 “The people whom I formed for Myself
Will declare My praise.

22 “Yet you have not called on Me, O Jacob;
But you have become weary of Me, O Israel.
23 “You have not brought to Me the sheep of your burnt offerings,
Nor have you honored Me with your sacrifices.
I have not burdened you with offerings,
Nor wearied you with incense.
24 “You have bought Me not sweet cane with money,
Nor have you filled Me with the fat of your sacrifices;
Rather you have burdened Me with your sins,
You have wearied Me with your iniquities.

25 “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake,
And I will not remember your sins.
26 “Put Me in remembrance, let us argue our case together;
State your cause, that you may be proved right.
27 “Your first forefather sinned,
And your spokesmen have transgressed against Me.
28 “So I will pollute the princes of the sanctuary,
And I will consign Jacob to the ban and Israel to revilement.”  Isaiah 43:14-28.

————————-

The chosen ones (the elect) may be in the same nation or in same church as the non-chosen ones, but the LORD knows His chosen ones and will bless them.

Other doctrine teaches that God loves everyone and Christ died for everyone.

But, Reformed Doctrine teaches that God only loves His chosen ones and Christ died only for God’s chosen ones.

For a while, it may appear that they are treated the same, but there is a sharp division between how the LORD treats His chosen ones compared to how the LORD treats the non-chosen ones.

For the LORD’s chosen ones:

“…  I have given waters in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert,
To give drink to My chosen people.
21 “The people whom I formed for Myself
Will declare My praise.”  Verses 20-21.

For the non-chosen ones:

“… I will pollute the princes of the sanctuary,
And I will consign Jacob to the ban and Israel to revilement.”  Verse 28.  

For the chosen ones:

“I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake,
And I will not remember your sins.”  Verse 25.

For the non-chosen ones:

“… Rather you have burdened Me with your sins,
You have wearied Me with your iniquities.”  Verse 24.

For the chosen ones:

“But now listen, O Jacob, My servant,
And Israel, whom I have chosen:
Thus says the Lord who made you
And formed you from the womb, who will help you,
‘Do not fear, O Jacob My servant;
And you Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
For I will pour out water on the thirsty land
And streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring
And My blessing on your descendants;”  Isaiah 44:1-3. 

Today’s devotion comes from Isaiah 43:8-13.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+43&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

10 “You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“And My servant whom I have chosen,
So that you may know and believe Me

And understand that I am He.
Before Me there was no God formed,
And there will be none after Me.
11 “I, even I, am the Lord,
And there is no savior besides Me.
12 “It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed,
And there was no strange god among you;
So you are My witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“And I am God.
13 “Even from eternity I am He,
And there is none who can deliver out of My hand;
I act and who can reverse it?”  Isaiah 43:10-13.

————————-

“You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“And My servant whom I have chosen,
So that you may know and believe Me
And understand that I am He.  …”  Verse 10.

We know and believe the LORD and are His witnesses, because He chose us.  

We know and believe that the LORD is a sovereign LORD and are His witnesses, because He chose us.

“Even from eternity I am He,
And there is none who can deliver out of My hand;
I act and who can reverse it?”  Verse 13.

We know and believe that the LORD is our Savior and are His witnesses, because He chose us.

11 “I, even I, am the Lord,
And there is no savior besides Me.
12 “It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed,
And there was no strange god among you;
So you are My witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“And I am God.”  Verses 11-12.

You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.”  John 15:16.

God raised Him (Christ) up on the third day and granted that He become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.”  Acts 1:40.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;”  1 Peter 2:9.

Today’s devotion comes from Isaiah 43:1-7.

“But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel,
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name;  you are Mine!

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.
“For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I have given Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your place.
“Since you are precious in My sight,
Since you are honored and I love you,
I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life.
“Do not fear, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
And gather you from the west.
“I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
And to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring My sons from afar
And My daughters from the ends of the earth,
Everyone who is called by My name,
And whom I have created for My glory,
Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.”  Isaiah 43:1-7.

———————–

Other doctrine attributes the cause of salvation to what we have done.

But, Reformed Doctrine attributes the cause of salvation to who we are.

Other doctrine attributes the cause of salvation to what we have done whether it be our works or even “as little” as our alleged free-will choice of Christ.

But, Reformed Doctrine attributes the cause of salvation to who we are, namely God’s elect a/k/a God’s people a/k/a God’s children, His sons and His daughters.

This is how the Heidelberg Catechism states it.

“Q. 1.  What is thy only comfort in life and death?

 A.  That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ;  who, with His precious blood, hath fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil;  and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head;  yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto Him.

In other words, this great Reformed creed teaches us that our only comfort in life and death is not in what we have done but in who we are.  Our only comfort is that we belong to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ. 

In the LORD’s own words of today’s Scripture:  “you are Mine!”.  Verse 1.

Because we are the LORD’s sons and daughters, He commands:

“I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
And to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring My sons from afar
And My daughters from the ends of the earth,
Everyone who is called by My name,
And whom I have created for My glory,
Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.”  Verses 6-7.

Other doctrine falsely maintains that God loves everybody and Christ died for everyone (redeemed everyone).

But, Reformed Doctrine truly maintains that God only loves His elect and Christ died only for those elect (thus, redeeming only His elect).

Notice the sharp contrast between God’s people and “other peoples”.  Not all are redeemed a/k/a ransomed.  

“For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I have given Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your place.
“Since you are precious in My sight,
Since you are honored and I love you,
I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life.”  Verses 3-4.

“But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel,
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name;  you are Mine!”  Verse 1.

Today’s devotion comes from Isaiah 42:14-25.

“14 “I have kept silent for a long time,
I have kept still and restrained Myself.
Now like a woman in labor I will groan,
I will both gasp and pant.
15 “I will lay waste the mountains and hills
And wither all their vegetation;
I will make the rivers into coastlands
And dry up the ponds.
16 “I will lead the blind by a way they do not know,
In paths they do not know I will guide them.
I will make darkness into light before them
And rugged places into plains.
These are the things I will do,
And I will not leave them undone.”
17 They will be turned back and be utterly put to shame,
Who trust in idols,
Who say to molten images,
“You are our gods.”

18 Hear, you deaf!
And look, you blind, that you may see.
19 Who is blind but My servant,
Or so deaf as My messenger whom I send?
Who is so blind as he that is at peace with Me,
Or so blind as the servant of the Lord?
20 You have seen many things, but you do not observe them;
Your ears are open, but none hears.
21 The Lord was pleased for His righteousness’ sake
To make the law great and glorious.
22 But this is a people plundered and despoiled;
All of them are trapped in caves,
Or are hidden away in prisons;
They have become a prey with none to deliver them,
And a spoil, with none to say, “Give them back!”

23 Who among you will give ear to this?
Who will give heed and listen hereafter?
24 Who gave Jacob up for spoil, and Israel to plunderers?
Was it not the Lord, against whom we have sinned,
And in whose ways they were not willing to walk,
And whose law they did not obey?
25 So He poured out on him the heat of His anger
And the fierceness of battle;
And it set him aflame all around,
Yet he did not recognize it;
And it burned him, but he paid no attention.”  Isaiah 42:14-25.

———————–

Despite all that God had done for Israel in giving them the law and miracles, they were still not willing to obey the law and they did not walk in God’s ways.

“You have seen many things, but you do not observe them;
Your ears are open, but none hears.”  Verse 20.

“… And in whose ways they were not willing to walk,
And whose law they did not obey?”  Verse 24.

And, despite being punished, they “paid no attention”.  Verse 25.

“But this is a people plundered and despoiled;
All of them are trapped in caves,
Or are hidden away in prisons;
They have become a prey with none to deliver them,
And a spoil, with none to say, “Give them back!”  Verse 23.

And, God states:
“14 “I have kept silent for a long time,
I have kept still and restrained Myself.
Now like a woman in labor I will groan,
I will both gasp and pant.
15 “I will lay waste the mountains and hills
And wither all their vegetation;
I will make the rivers into coastlands
And dry up the ponds.”  Verses 14-15.

This Scripture reminds me of Isaiah 6:18-13.

“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.

But, even in all of the apparent hopelessness of all of this Scripture, there is the hope in Isaiah 6:13.  God provided and preserved a remnant, that hope in One of that remnant, a “holy seed” Who is Jesus Christ, the Redeemer and the Servant and the Savior and the Son of God.

Nevertheless, other doctrine teaches that there is still hope in man to obey the law and to follow in God’s ways and to repent.

But, Reformed Doctrine recognizes and teaches “Total Depravity” of man and further recognizes and teaches that the only hope is in God doing everything necessary for salvation from “Unconditional Election” (which is similar to providing that remnant) through “Limited Atonement” (which is the work of Jesus Christ), through “Irresistible Grace”, and “Preservation of the Saints”, the “T”, “U”, “L”, “I”, and “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

And He saw that there was no man,
And was astonished that there was no one to intercede;
Then His own arm brought salvation to Him,
And His righteousness upheld Him.”  Isaiah 59:16.

“26 Help me, O Lord my God;
Save me according to Your lovingkindness.
27 And let them know that this is Your hand;
You, Lord, have done it.”  Psalm 109:26-27.

Today’s devotion comes from Isaiah 42:1-13.

“Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold;
My chosen one in whom My soul delights.
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the nations.
“He will not cry out or raise His voice,
Nor make His voice heard in the street.
“A bruised reed He will not break
And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish;
He will faithfully bring forth justice.
“He will not be disheartened or crushed
Until He has established justice in the earth;
And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law.”

Thus says God the Lord,

Who created the heavens and stretched them out,
Who spread out the earth and its offspring,
Who gives breath to the people on it
And spirit to those who walk in it,
“I am the Lord, I have called You in righteousness,
I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You,
And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the nations,
To open blind eyes,
To bring out prisoners from the dungeon
And those who dwell in darkness from the prison.
“I am the Lord, that is My name;
I will not give My glory to another,
Nor My praise to graven images.
“Behold, the former things have come to pass,
Now I declare new things;
Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you.”

10 Sing to the Lord a new song,
Sing His praise from the end of the earth!
You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it.
You islands, and those who dwell on them.
11 Let the wilderness and its cities lift up their voices,
The settlements where Kedar inhabits.
Let the inhabitants of Sela sing aloud,
Let them shout for joy from the tops of the mountains.
12 Let them give glory to the Lord
And declare His praise in the coastlands.
13 The Lord will go forth like a warrior,
He will arouse His zeal like a man of war.
He will utter a shout, yes, He will raise a war cry.
He will prevail against His enemies.”  Isaiah 42:1-13.

—————————

Scripture shouts and sings about the sovereignty of God.

And yet, other doctrine portray a god who bows to the alleged free-will of man with arms folded only to react to what man does.

But, Reformed Doctrine sees and recognizes and teaches the sovereignty of God.

“God the LORD” created the heavens and earth and gives breath to all people.  Verse 5.  He will prevail against His enemies.  Verse 13.

And, His Servant, God the Son, Jesus Christ, will be a light to the nations and will open blind eyes to bring out prisoners from the dungeon.  Verses 6-7.  “He will bring forth justice to the nations.”  Verse 1.  “He will faithfully bring forth justice.”  Verse 3. 

Does this Scripture sound like the passive god of other doctrine who defers to man’s alleged free-will and who only reacts?

Or, does this Scripture sound like the active sovereign God of Reformed Doctrine Who created everything and prevails over everyone?

12 Let them give glory to the Lord
And declare His praise in the coastlands.
13 The Lord will go forth like a warrior,
He will arouse His zeal like a man of war.
He will utter a shout, yes, He will raise a war cry.
He will prevail against His enemies.”  Verses 12-13.  

Today’s devotion comes from Isaiah 41:15-29.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+41&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

17 “The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none,
And their tongue is parched with thirst;
I, the Lord, will answer them Myself,
As the God of Israel I will not forsake them.

18 “I will open rivers on the bare heights
And springs in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool of water
And the dry land fountains of water.
19 “I will put the cedar in the wilderness,
The acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree;
I will place the juniper in the desert
Together with the box tree and the cypress,
20 That they may see and recognize,
And consider and gain insight as well,
That the hand of the Lord has done this,
And the Holy One of Israel has created it.”  Isaiah 41:17-19. 

——————

Other doctrine teaches about what man contributes to salvation whether it be works or will as earning salvation or at least as distinguishing himself worthy of salvation.

But, Reformed Doctrine sees and recognizes and teaches that for all that is needed for salvation:  “the hand of the Lord has done this”.

“And He saw that there was no man,
And was astonished that there was no one to intercede;
Then His own arm brought salvation to Him,
And His righteousness upheld Him.”  Isaiah 59:16.

Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven
With the saving strength of His right hand.
Some boast in chariots and some in horses,
But we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God.”  Psalm 20:6-7.

“For You, O Lord, have made me glad by what You have done,
I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.”  Psalm 92:4.

“O sing to the Lord a new song,
For He has done wonderful things,
His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him.
The Lord has made known His salvation;
He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered His lovingkindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.”  Psalm 98:1-3.

26 Help me, O Lord my God;
Save me according to Your lovingkindness.
27 And let them know that this is Your hand;
You, Lord, have done it.”  Psalm 109:26-27.

14 The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.

15 The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous;
The right hand of the Lord does valiantly.
16 The right hand of the Lord is exalted;
The right hand of the Lord does valiantly.
17 I will not die, but live,
And tell of the works of the Lord.”  Psalm 118:14-17.

But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”  1 Corinthians 1:30-31.

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