Monday, November 30, 2009

Voice in Wilderness Isaiah 40

Isaiah 40:3 "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God." See also Matt. 3:3

It is appropriate, in this Christmas season, that we come to this chapter where the coming of the Christ is mentioned. Indeed, it would be a difficult thing to find a part of the Bible that is not about him. It is His story.

Verse 3 above is referring to John the Baptist who came a few months ahead of Jesus and baptized and told of his coming. John the Baptist was similar in appearance and character to Elijah.

v5 "And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it." See also Exodus 16:7 Luke 2:10

Perhaps, some of these passages are why Israel did not understand the coming of Jesus. I am sure they expected him to set up his kingdom, his fleshly kingdom, then and there. Jesus, though, had the whole world in mind and set up a different kingdom, one of the heart so that all could come. He will be back to set up an earthly kingdom and rule from Jerusalem.

v10 "Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him."

I am unsure how to explain this, let me try. Not the verse but the mission of Israel and that of the Savior.

I've said in previous studies (many times) that Israel was like a pregnant lady carrying the promise down through the ages so that Jesus could be born at the appropriate time. He was born of a virgin, yes, but the promise was established with Israel. For them firmly, but also for the whole world, As Abraham was told that in him all nations would be blessed.

v11 "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young."

Then we are told of his greatness. It would require God, that such a system of worship as was established with Moses on the mountain could be set up. It would require God, to fulfil such a worship system and bring a new and better system. As the original system required blood sacrifices, the new system would require a blood sacrifice but a pure one and greater than all those offered. A sacrifice that could be offered ONE time only and be sufficient. Jesus was that sacrifice.

v21 "Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?"

They should, by now, understand that there is but one God. But the mystery of salvation by the cross of Calvary was not understood. Isaiah left the explanation of this mystery off, although we can understand it now.

I Peter 2:9 "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;"

I Peter 2:24 "Who (speaking of Christ) his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."

I think of this ministry of Jesus in the same vein as the ministry of Israel. Let me explain. Israel had a purpose and an ultimate destination. They were to honor one God amidst a world that worshipped many gods. Israel was on a journey to the time when Christ the Messiah would reign over them and they would again be great as with King David. Jesus was headed to that same destination, to glorify his Father and to set up his kingdom. He did it differently than was expected by Israel but being king, he can do things differently. The king does not have to tell all his plans to those he rules. Jesus went to the cross to fulfill the requirement of the law for a sacrifice. He made things better than under the law. He is still on his way to reigning in Jerusalem but he choose to include all of us under the offer of grace through faith in Him. Jesus was often on his way someplace but stopped along the way to help someone sick or blind or in need. It did not hinder his goal to stop and help.

I'm sure I did not explain myself well but I gave it a shot.

v31 "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

God has been really good to me. I deserved no grace or mercy and he has covered me with both. I asked for a good wife and he gave me the best. I asked for a family and it continues to grow. I am blessed. I have been homeless and now have a nice warm home to sleep in at night and to shelter me when it rains or snows. I wanted good health and he has taught me to endure pain and appreciate each respite. I sought recognition and he has taught me to recognize good in others. I have known bitterness and failure and he has often softened and broken my heart. I dreamed a dream and he showed me reality which is far better. He has shown me the magnificence of hope and its substance. God has loved me through all my mistakes and blessed me for trying. I am thankful that Jesus, the captain of my salvation, made it possible for me and my family and you to have an open door to God Himself.

My other blog.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hezekiah's Mistake Isaiah 39

Isaiah 39:6 "Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left,s aith the LORD."

Hezekiah has been sick and since he is king, the word gets around.

v1 "At that time Merodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah: for he had heard that he had been sick, and was recovered."

Merodachbaladam means Merodach, worshipper of Baal. Merodach means slaughter and was an idol of the Babylonians and often used as a surname.

Hezekiah liked the attention and did some showing off.

v2 "And Hezekiah was glad of them, and showed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armor, and all that was found in his treasures; there was nothing in his house, not in all his dominion, that Hezekiah showed them not."

That was like showing a bank robber around a bank. He could see that there was much more to steal besides what was in the registers. Isaiah found out about this and told the king what would happen.

v4 "Then said he, What have they seen in thine house? And Hezekiah answered, All that is in mine house have they seen; there is nothing among my treasures that I have not showed them."

Which leads us to the text verse. What they saw, they would take away.

Next is the part of the chapter that I find shocking for such a good king. Isaiah also told Hezekiah that his sons would be taken away. Hezekiah, himself, would be spared this even but his sons would suffer. Hezekiah's attitude was very selfish.

v7 "And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon."

Then the first that shocked me. It is as if Hezekiah cares only for himself.

v8 "Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, Good is the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken, He said moreover, For there shall be peace and truth in my days."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sun 10 Degrees Back Isaiah 38

Isaiah 38:8 "Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward. So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down."

It must have been a strange sight for the people living then, to see the sun going the other way.

The occasion was to give Hezekiah 15 more years of life.

v1 "In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live."

Hezekiah was a special person, a king and the son of David but he still had an appointment with death. So do we. Hezekiah was very sad over this and pleaded with the Lord recounting his faithfulness.

v3 "And said, Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore."

With compassion, the Lord gave Hezekiah an extension of life but those years were perhaps the darkest time of his life.

I say that because it was during these years that he showed the representatives of the king of Babylon all his treasures. Those treasures would be taken. It also led to the captivity of his two sons who would serve in the king of Babylon's house.

The balance of the chapter is Hezekiah's song about his sickness and restoration.

v21 "For Isaiah had said, Let them take a lump of figs, and lay it for a plaster upon the boil, and he shall recover. v22 Hezekiah also had said, What is the sign that I shall g up to the house of the LORD?"

It is not unlike us that Hezekiah would seek a sign even after the Lord had sent Isaiah to tell him his life was extended. The story is told in previous studies.

v16 "O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit; so wilt thou recover me, and make me to live."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rabshakeh Part2 Isaiah 37

Isaiah 37:10 "Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying Let not thy God, in whom thou trustest, deceive thee, saying Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria."

Rabshakeh has increased his blasphemy. In the last chapter, he told the people to not let Hezekiah deceive them (v14), now he is telling them to not let God deceive them.

v1 "And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the LORD."

Here is Hezekiah strength. He has told the people to not be afraid. Now, he goes before the LORD to plead for Judah and Jerusalem. He has said that the LORD would take care of them and now he prays that he would be so.

Hezekiah sent to Isaiah that he would call upon the LORD and received an answer. He himself also goes in to pray.

v16 "O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubim, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth. v17 Incline thine ear, O LORD, and hear; open thine eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God."

Although Sennacherib was not there in person, he was responsible in that he sent Rabshakeh to do his work. It reads like that at some point Sennacherib did come at least near to where Rabshakeh was because he 'returned' to Nineveh.

Hezekiah's prayer was answered and it happened as the LORD told him.

v36 "Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand; and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses."

As for Sennacherib, he lost his kingdom to his son.

v38 "And it came to pass as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Armenia and Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead."

They learned that the One true God is not like the gods made by man. Also, that He protects Jerusalem.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rabshakeh Isaiah 36

Isaiah 36:1 "Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the defensed cities of Judah, and took them."

He is closing in on Jerusalem and things look pretty bad. The story is also told in II Chronicles 32:1.

Rebshakeh is the representative of Sennacherib. Rebshakeh uses some strong words to discourage the men guarding the city. He made his mistake when he blasphemed the LORD and put him in the same bunch as the idols worshipped by other nations.

v7 "But if thou say to me, We trust in the LORD our God; is it not he, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and said to Judah and to Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar?"

Rebshakeh had his facts all wrong. Hezekiah had done some housecleaning by getting rid of the idols.

v18 "Beware lest Hezekiah persuade you, saying The LORD will deliver us. Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?"

What was it that Hezekiah told the people?

II Chronicles 32:7 "Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him; for there be more with us than with him: v8 With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah."

We will have to wait until the next chapter for the rest of the story.

We can go back to a story of Elisha in II Kings 6 where the king of Syria sent people to fetch Elisha but it did not work. That is also where the swimming ax story is.

v15 "And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto, Alas, my master! how shall we do? v16 And he answered, Fear not; for they that be with us are more than they that be with them."

The servants eyes were opened and he saw a host protecting the prophet.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Highway and a Way Isaiah 35

Isaiah 35:8 "And an highway shall be there; and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein."

Almost all this chapter refers to the coming of Messiah. You can see the ministry of Jesus throughout. As the first says, in this highway even a fool can walk without erring.

So, look out for those that are weaker, a better day is coming.

v3 "Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees."

v4 "Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not; behold your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you."

The verse says 'your God will come' then he repeats it 'he will come'. And Christians know that he did come. Whether everyone believes in Jesus or not, next month the world will acknowledge in one way or another his birth.

v5 "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped."

Luke 11:14 "And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered."

Luke 18:42 "And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee."

Luke 8:50 "But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying Fear not; believe only, and she shall be made whole."

These are a few examples of the fulfilling of this chapter in Isaiah. Jesus often said 'Fear not'.

v10 "And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."

These words are being spoken to give hope in the face of suffering. A time of trouble is ahead as we will see in the next chapter but joy is promised. We are much in the same boat today, we live in a troubled world. There is no escaping to Egypt for us, we live in a time of global trouble and we can see it on the news. But we have a hope that joy will come.

Joel 3:17 "So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain; then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more."

Revelation 21:27 "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie; but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life."

Do you remember the story of the great supper where the guest did not show and the master sent his servants out into the highways and byways to find people for guest. Although many have rejected Jesus, he will fill the house.

Luke 14:16 "Then said he unto him A certain man made a great supper, and bade many. And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it; I pray thee have me excused. And another said I have bought five yoke of oxen...And another said, I have married a wife... when the master heard this he sent out his servants again v23 "And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. v24 "For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper."

As it was said "I turn to the Gentiles."

Jesus waits for anyone to come to him for salvation. We will be one with him.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Indignation of the Lord Isaiah 34

Isaiah 34:1 "Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people; let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it."

Indignation is a very strong word. It means anger aroused by something unjust. While Assyria and others were used to execute judgment on Israel, there was instance of nations going beyond this chastisement and abusing Israel. I do not totally understand all that is involved here but I think of parents and their children. A parent may do something that seems extreme prompted by a single event but is actually a result of cumulative infractions of parental rules. It was like the straw that broke the camel's back. But one thing for sure, no stranger should think they will get away with stepping in and correcting the child. So, it is with Israel.

v2 "For the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations, and his fury upon all nations, and his duty upon all their armies; he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter."

It is a scary thing to be on the wrong side of the Lord's anger. It will happen to the unsaved when judgment day finally comes. There will be those looks of 'why me' and I've done so much for everyone and given to charity. The problem is we will not be judged by how we followed our plan of salvation but by how we followed God's plan of salvation. It will be an awesome day. Even as a child of God, I dread facing him.

v6 "The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams; for the LORD hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea."

That verse escapes me for meaning but my thoughts, as I read it, were two fold: one of the word of God which is said to be sharper than a two edged sword, and of all the sacrifices Israel made even while they were turning away from the Lord. Sacrifices were an indication of their belief in God but without loyalty they meant nothing.

Then we see a description of a great nation and city which I think refers to Babylon.

v13 "And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof; and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court of owls."

Finally, we are told as was Israel, to search through the book of records to see if things did not happen as the Lord said they would.

v16 "Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read; no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate; for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them." Speaking of the owls and vultures. See also Psalm 56:8 and Malachi 3:16

So Isaiah, is going about preaching of the coming days of trial and the judgment that follows. Also, he speaks of a future day when the people will be gathered and there will be joy with their true worship of the Lord.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Morning

Good Sunday Morning. My health won't let me go to church in the traditional sense so I tune in to an online service and set aside that time most every Sunday. On the side you will see a link to 'A country church' which is where I go. it is Eleventh Avenue Baptist Church. Just click on their webcast and pick a Sunday. Also, you might like to go to their music section and hear a few songs.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Land that is Very Far Off Isaiah 33

Isaiah 33:17 "Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off."

For those scattered and in captivity, this verse must have been a promise they kept in their hearts. At least some of them, those who came back to rebuild the wall for sure.

Those who have taken advantage of the weak will have their judgment day.

v2 "Woe to thee that spoilest, and thou wast not spoiled; and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee! when thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled; and when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee."

Israel was rare (and is so now), they worshipped the one true God and there was a time when they exalted Him. For a time, this was not the case and trouble has come to the nation.

v5 "The Lord is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness."

He is high and lifted up but people need to acknowledge it. Our belief or non belief does not change his position but it certainly changes ours.

v9 "The earth mourneth and lanquisheth: Lebanon is ashamed and hewn down: Sharon is like a wilderness; and Bashan and Carmel shake off their fruits."

But there is hope in the Lord. Once the hearts of the people are changed. After judgment has turned the people from idols, then the good times come.

v10 "Now will I rise, saith the LORD; now will I be exalted, now will I lift up myself."

Imagine being taken from your homeland by people who do not understand your pleas for mercy. You tell them of your child who is lost in the crowd but they ignore you. They have no mercy or feelings and even if they did they did not understand your words.

v19 "Thou shalt not see a fierce people, a people of a deeper speech than thou canst perceive; of a stammering tongue, that thou canst not understand."

After judgment, then a new day.

v21 "But there the glorious LORD will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby. v21 For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us."

Trouble now but joy is to follow.

Zephaniah 3:8 "Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey; for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy."

Monday, November 09, 2009

A King, A Man, A Hiding Place Isaiah 32

Isaiah 32:1-2 "Behold a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land."

Sounds like Jesus to me. He will be king. For now, he is our hiding place in a troubled world. He was called the Son of man while here as well as God with us. This chapter starts with the mystery that we now know to be the coming of Jesus as a virgin bringing salvation to us all.

It goes on to tell of the trouble that is to come and ends in hope.

v10 "Many days and years shall ye be troubled, ye careless women; for the vintage shall fall, the gathering shall not come."

We are still dealing with the judgment or chastisement of Israel. Remember Isaiah is going around telling the nation of things to come. The women are accustomed to plenty and of the harvest coming on time, as are the men. These verses tell them that there is coming a time when things will not be so.

v13 "Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns and briers; yea, upon all the houses of joy in the joyous city."

I noticed in this verse that the Lord still calls Israel 'my people'. He is not deserting them, only chastening them to bring them back to Him. He is by no means disowning them.

This verse tells of the time after.

v18 "And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;"

So, Isaiah tells them, trouble is just ahead but beyond that there is salvation.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Egypt Isaiah 31

Isaiah 31:1 "Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many;and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!"

Doesn't Israel sound a lot like all of us in our Christian life? We look every where for help when the Lord is standing there with outstretched hands.

Egypt is often used in a spiritual sense, in addition to the physical where the children of Israel fled to for protection.

Spiritually, Egypt is the place Christians often head for when things go wrong at church or in their life generally. Like Israel, they remember the food and good times but not the idols and slavery. Once we have crossed Jordan in our spiritual life, we have no business back in Egypt. The Lord is our protector now, even when things are bad.

v3 "Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh and not spirit, When the LORD shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is helped shall fall down, and they all shall fail together."

What do people go back to? For some it is drugs or the bottle. They remember the friends that gathered round them and the feeling they got when all their problems seemed to disappear. Problems and troubles do not disappear just because they are forgotten in a drug or alcohol state. Someone still has to deal with them. It is only when their life comes crashing down that those returning to Egypt remember why they sought the Lord. Best to stay with what works even when times are bad.

v5 "As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem, defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it."

The Lord loves Jerusalem and loves us no less. He will defend us and preserve us if we let him.

Better days are ahead.

v7 "For in that day every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin."

So we see that it was not the best thing for Israel to flee chastisement by going down to Egypt and trusting in Egypt's horses and chariots. Those horses and chariots would be fine in a physical battle but Israel's problem is a spiritual one. They have forsaken the Lord for idols. Payday is here and there is no escape.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Be Quiet, Be Still Isaiah 30

Isaiah 30:15 "For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength; and ye would not."

We have said several times that Israel is going under the judgment of God for their idol worship and rejection of the one true God. Now instead of taking their chastisement like children should, they are running to find shelter someplace else.

v1 "Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin."

We've heard it said to people in trouble that refuse help from those who love them, 'You are just making it worse.' Israel by not seeking the Lord but rather returning to the land they were delivered from, is just making things worse.

v2 "That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth, to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt."

Egypt is not the help Israel needs. Egypt gave Israel shelter once because of Joseph but later made them slaves. Israel departed slaves and were turned into a great nation by the Lord. It is shameful for Israel to now return to the land that enslaved them.

v3 "Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh, be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion."

So, if running is not the answer, what is the answer?

v7 "For the Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose; therefore have I cried concerning this, Their strength is to sit still."

v16 "But ye said, No; for we will flee upon horses; therefore shall ye flee, and We will ride upon the swift; therefore shall they that pursue you be swift."

So, we see Israel trying to avoid facing their chastisement but there will come a day when they seek the Lord for help and he will be there.

v18 "And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you; for the LORD is a God of judgment; blessed are all they that wait for him."

When the day comes that Israel can admit that they have been wrong to worship idols, then the Lord can help them. No one can really be helped until they admit to themselves that they need help.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Ariel Isaiah 29

Isaiah 29:13 "Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men v14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a wonder; for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid."

It happened in the Jewish community and has happened in churches down through the have taken it upon themselves to try to improve on what God has said. It results in rule books put out by leaders. These rule books end up being heeded to more than the word of God.

v16 "Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?"

Ariel was where David dwelt but even that area was not exempt from the judgment because they had turned from God. You'd think people would learn that just because they are friends with someone special or that they belong to a certain organization, that it does not deliver them from obeying what thus saith the Lord. When it comes time to stand before God, it will be one to one, not as one having another to speak for them or having someone to blame for mistakes. When it is time to answer God, each individual will have to answer.

v6 "Thou shalt be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire."

There is one exception to what I said above. Jesus came to die for our sins. He alone can stand before God and represent us to his Father. That is what the plan of salvation is all about. We need someone who knows the judge and Jesus knows him well. He gave his life so that he could stand in for man. All we have to do is accept his salvation. He will do the rest.

After that stern beginning to the chapter, we are again given hope.

v18 "And in that day, shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. v19 The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel."

We have seen this in our day. While it is not impossible for rich men to go to heaven, even Jesus said it was difficult as in his picture of a camel and the eye of a needle. But people get distracted by things and the rich have a lot of things. Often if we go to church, we will see the poor and needy making up most of the congregation.

Now there is some warning about people putting down other people for some error and shutting them out.

v21 "That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought."

We must be forgiving of people. Even the most devoted can make a mistake.

v24 "They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.

I think it is saying to Israel that a better day is coming. We also can learn from the verses.