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Watching Daily At My Gates

September 8 Read Isaiah 42

In the first part of this chapter we see a description of Christ. The Messiah will come and bring deliverance to his people who are often despised and downtrodden by the world. We see this in verse 3. This Messiah will be a complete deliverer. As we saw in the preceding chapter, this portion of Isaiah’s prophecy is written for the Jews in captivity. A man, Cyrus, would be raised up by God to deliver his people. However, Cyrus is not a complete deliverer; he cannot deliver God’s people from their sins. The last part of the chapter describes the church’s joy at Messiah’s coming. It also has a word of judgment for those who know about the Messiah but do not receive him. Are we ready for his coming? Sing Psalter 302.

 

September 9 Read Isaiah 43

God’s people of all ages are often found in affliction. God’s people in Babylon are only one group representative of the church of all ages. In their affliction Isaiah comes with a word of great comfort. Our God, unlike the gods of the heathen, will deliver us. He has made us, has sustained us, and has the ability to deliver the church from any sort of affliction. Most of us reading this do not know of the physical affliction that the church has gone through. Yet Satan uses the wicked of this world to afflict us in many ways. We have the comfort that our God is faithful and will keep us even until the end. Sing Psalter 329.

 

September 10 Read Isaiah 44

Verse two overflows with the love and care God has for his people. First, he identifies himself as their creator and helper. Many seek idol gods for such help. As is pointed out later in this chapter, those gods are unable to be helpers, as they are made of created materials. Second, he uses those beautiful words, “Fear not.” These are the words of a father to his beloved children. Even as earthly fathers seek to subdue their children’s fears, God can subdue our fears, and he does it with two little words. Finally, the word Jesuran is a pet name that God has for his people, It is a name of love that he has for those whom he will deliver from the world’s affliction throughout all of time. What a beautiful verse this is for us! Sing Psalter 184.

 

September 11 Read Isaiah 45

Those who question the sovereignty of God should read this chapter over many times. First, once again we are made aware of King Cyrus who would come to power in the future. It would be this king who would allow the Jews to return to their homeland, to reconstruct their heritage, and to be prepared for the birth of the Savior. Second, those who doubt God’s sovereignty should reread verse 7. Is there anything Almighty God cannot or does not do? There is nothing. He will care for his people using the working out of history as he as planned it in his counsel. This is our God; he will be with us forever and ever. Sing Psalter 133.

 

September 12 Read Isaiah 46

As the prophecy of Babylon’s destruction continues, God’s people are warned neither to fear Babylon’s gods nor to take them with them as they return to their homeland. God through his prophet tells the church of all ages that idolatry is a worthless act with no help for man and is demeaning to God. Do we make idols out of the things of the Babylon in which we live? Just as Babylon was not Judah’s home, this earth is not our home. Our God will come and deliver us from this Babylon and bring us into the new Jerusalem where he reigns for ever. Let us fear him and walk in his way, as he is no idol, but the living God. Sing Psalter 308.

 

September 13 Read Isaiah 47

Remembering that the theme of this book is redeemed through judgment, we see God’s judgment upon Babylon for their treatment of his people. Even though by his sovereign counsel Babylon had been used by God to punish his people, they still were responsible for the atrocities they had carried out upon them. In his mercy God would deliver his people from captivity. With that same mercy he would send a deliverer for all of his people. Even yet today we await deliverance from the bondage of this Egypt. We wait for another redemption through judgment. Sing Psalter 379.

 

September 14 Read Isaiah 48

After addressing Babylon concerning Israel’s release from captivity, God now addresses his people. He tells them of the joy that will be theirs because of their release. He reminds them that he does this so that his name, not theirs, would be glorified. Israel is reminded of the reason for their captivity and admonished that the way of true peace is in the keeping of God’s law. Do we seek “peace like a river?” There is only one way of that peace, and that way is God’s way. May we ever seek it. Sing Psalter 128.

 

September 15 Read Isaiah 49

In this chapter we find the promise of the gospel. In the previous chapters we have seen the prophecy that Judah would be released from Babylon’s captivity. To many this release would not seem all that glorious. Only a few will be delivered. Judah will only have a shadow of its old Yet that release is a picture of the redemption that will encompass all of God’s people. Those people will be redeemed from every tribe and tongue. God cannot forget his people any more than a mother can forget her baby. The covenant God would send Messiah to deliver his beloved. For what more could we ask? Sing Psalter 182.

 

September 16 Read Isaiah 50

That Judah deserved to be in captivity is the theme of the first few verses of this chapter. They had decided that God was powerless to help them. This is a picture of all of us. We do not deserve redemption from our sins. We act as if God is nothing. Yet even as God delivered Judah of old from Babylon, so he has delivered us from the Babylon of sin. We do not deserve Christ. We do nothing to merit Christ. That is what makes salvation such a beautiful gift. God, out of his own loving-kindness, has given to his people a gift more valuable than any earthly possession. He has given to us life. Sing Psalter 187.

 

September 17 Read Isaiah 51

This chapter has many words of comfort, but it has a command to which we should all pay heed in verse 1. Scripture uses the idea of the rock in many places. God is called our rock in several psalms.  Christ is the rock as recorded in Exodus and referred to in 1 Corinthians 10. The wise man is called to build his house upon a rock. The church is called to look unto Abraham out of whom God called his covenant people. A builder uses rock to build strong buildings. The church is laid upon a sure cornerstone. Our rock has been prepared by our covenant God. We should remember that rock and use what we have been given to remain steadfast in our faith. Sing Psalter 392.

 

September 18 Read Isaiah 52

A messenger can bring good news. In verse seven we see that a messenger is sent to the church to tell them that they have been delivered from captivity. For Israel it was the captivity of Babylon. For all of God’s people and especially today, that messenger brings the good news of redemption from the captivity of sin. We need to listen to the messengers that God has sent to us. As Paul teaches in his letter to the Romans, that messenger is the preacher sent to give to us the gospel news. Do we receive him well?  Do we listen intently to the message of salvation? As we attend church each Sunday, let us receive the messenger and his message with the joy that befits those who have been saved. Sing Psalter 368.

 

September 19 Read Isaiah 53

Isaiah 53 shows to us the human nature that the redeemer had to assume. In this human nature the redeemer suffered many afflictions. He suffered those afflictions for the redemption of his people given to him by the Father. After his intense suffering he was received into glory by his Father. All of this was for us, his sheep. Read this chapter once more today to see what our savior did for us. Sing Psalter 47.

 

September 20 Read Isaiah 54

After portraying the suffering of Christ, the prophet shows how his glory becomes the glory of the church. After Christ’s ascension into heaven, his work is to provide for his church. The chapter describes how the Gentiles will also be brought into that glorious body. As the apostles and others did their work, the prophecy found in this chapter came to pass. There is also a reference to the work of teaching the covenant seed by the church and their parents. As we await Christ’s return, let us be busy in our activities in his glorious body. Sing Psalter 183.

 

September 21 Read Isaiah 55

Here is another familiar chapter of Isaiah. Most of us know the opening line, “Ho, everyone that thirsteth,” as well as the words of verse 6. Notice that many of the phrases are commands. They are not offers. God comes to his people through the prophet and announces the way of salvation. Are we seeking the Lord today? Did we seek him yesterday? Are we making plans to seek him tomorrow? In the way of obedience to these commands we will come into the joy of our Lord in the heavenly peaceable kingdom. Sing Psalter 273.

 

September 22 Read Isaiah 56

Once again the pronouncement of the gathering of the Gentiles is prophesied. Certain characteristics are given of those who will be called by God to his church. One of those characteristics is that the people of God are to be Sabbath keepers. Each week we must examine our Sabbath keeping. Is it in keeping with the commandments given in God’s word? Did we “frequent” the house of God, as enjoined by the Heidelberg Catechism? Sometimes it is easy to “take a Sunday off.” There is no place in Scripture that allows for this. The first phrase of the fourth commandment is, “Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.” We must keep the commandments of God and keep the Sabbath. Sing Psalter 222.

 

September 23 Read Isaiah 57

In the last part of the preceding chapter, Isaiah decries those who turn away from God and seek after idols. He continues with this thought in this chapter. God sent many nations against Israel and Judah because they walked in idolatry. Eventually he destroyed both nations. Some of those idolaters cried for peace. In this prophecy, and  especially in the last verse, God announces that there is no peace for those who walk in wickedness. What does this say to us? There is no peace to be found in our sinful ways. The only way of peace is through Christ in the keeping of God’s way for us. Sing Psalter 159.

 

September 24 Read Isaiah 58

Israel protested against God’s treatment towards them for their sins. They would point to the feasts, fasts, and other forms of worship that they performed as evidence of their godliness But God accused them of going through the motions in worship and not worshiping him from the heart. He also reminds them that the commandments have two tables. They were not keeping the second and therefore not keeping any of the law. They were treating their neighbors very despicably. Do we walk out of church and then not love our neighbor? Is our faith dead, because as James said, it is impossible to show a living faith without doing the works of faith in our lives. Let us love God, but let us show our love for God by the love of our neighbor. Sing Psalter 24.

 

September 25 Read Isaiah 59

In this Old Testament chapter we see a contrast between sin and grace. In the first part of the chapter Isaiah enumerates many kinds of sins that Israel had committed. If we go through that checklist, what would it say about us? In the first verse it says that God is able to save even a people that has committed such atrocities. In the second half of the chapter a redeemer is described who will buy his people even though they do not deserve it. Our God is a gracious God. Do we thank him for such a great, undeserved deliverance daily? Sing Psalter 106.

 

September 26 Read Isaiah 60

In the last verse of the previous chapter we have a statement of the glorious covenant that God has established with his people. In the next few chapters we have an exposition of the beauty of the church founded in that covenant. We read in this chapter that the light of the Redeemer will shine forth out of that church unto the Gentile nations. Some from those Gentile nations will be drawn to that light, and the covenant will be established with them and their seed. Here we find the promise that is for us. Are we thankful for it? Do we show that light to those around us? That is our part in the covenant as God has established it for his people. Sing Psalter 71.

 

September 27 Read Isaiah 61

When you read the first verses of this chapter, were your minds drawn to a synagogue in Nazareth as the Teacher there expounded upon them? Do you remember the people’s reaction to that exposition? What is our reaction to these words? Do we embrace the Christ, who was sent to save his people from out of all kinds of people? Do we wear the robes of righteousness and salvation in a proper manner? We have been given a great gift in our salvation. We must not despise Christ as those in Nazareth did on that Sabbath morning many years ago. We must embrace his teachings as only those who have been redeemed by grace can. Sing Psalter 79.

 

September 28 Read Isaiah 62

Isaiah believes the words that he has been given to speak by Jehovah. He believes that through judgment upon the wicked God will save his people. He also understands that it will not come in his lifetime. As we see in the first part of the chapter, he is determined to proclaim God’s word to his people, many of whom have no delight in that word. The servants of the Lord were often oppressed during the old dispensation. In the new dispensation nothing has changed. We should be thankful that God has given to us such dedicated individuals who will bring God’s word to us even when it means affliction for them. Let us pray for our office bearers daily, and let us esteem them highly. Sing Psalter 91.

 

September 29 Read Isaiah 63

When we remember that the theme of this beautiful book is “redeemed through judgment,” we can understand the next two chapters. Edom was a sworn enemy of Israel. Esau hated Jacob from birth and sought to kill him. The reprobate hate the church of God and will do all in their power to eradicate it. This chapter, like some of the psalms, is imprecatory in nature. We should not shy away from these words, but we should read them and know that our God will redeem us by judging his enemies. Sing Psalter 379.

 

September 30 Read Isaiah 64

This chapter, which seems to be a continuation of the previous one, calls upon God for deliverance in times of trouble. As a prayer it contains a confession of sin. This is found in verse six. The church of itself does not deserve deliverance. We are totally depraved by nature and are deserving of eternal judgment. Yet God, who is our maker, has determined our salvation. For this we can pray and in the hope of the answer to that prayer can look forward until Christ returns again. Let us be found watching and praying. Sing Psalter 386.

 

October 1 Read Isaiah 65

While Isaiah may not have completely understood all that he prophesied, he doubtless knew that it would come to pass. The final chapters of the book look ahead past Judah’s release from captivity. They look past the coming of Christ, and they even look past the gathering of the Gentiles into the church. These chapters look to Christ’s final coming when all of the church will be gathered into the new heavens and the new earth. These chapters give to us the reason we must read the whole of Scripture. We are comprehended in this glorious prophecy. We too are to be redeemed through judgment. Thanks be to God for the unspeakable gift of salvation! Sing Psalter 299.

 

October 2 Read Isaiah 66.

As we finish this prophecy, let us remember to whom it is addressed. First, it is addressed to Judah, who had strayed from God and had fallen into idol worship. Second, it is addressed to those who returned from captivity, who, although they stayed away from idolatry, went through the motions of worship. Finally, it is addressed to the church of the new dispensation, to us, who must not walk in those sins. It shows to us the way of salvation by grace alone. Our Redeemer is found in this book, we must give to him the glory due to his name as the Son of God. Sing Psalter 198.

 

October 3 Read Jeremiah 1

While Isaiah did not see the affliction brought upon Judah by God, Jeremiah did. He prophesied during the time of kings who had direct conflict with Judah. We also know that Jeremiah was present at the day of Judah’s captivity. We see in this chapter that God called Jeremiah to the office of prophet, that God made him able for the office, and that God showed to him his calling by the two visions found in this chapter. But God did not leave his prophet defenseless; God promised to be with him throughout his difficult work. God is with us as well, and he will care for us until our death or until the return of Christ. Sing Psalter 158.

 

October 4 Read Jeremiah 2

Jeremiah 2 was probably spoken early in Jeremiah’s ministry during the early years of Josiah’s reign. Judah was at peace, but spiritually they were falling fast. God through Jeremiah reminds them of their history, how they had turned away from God their maker and turned to idols. The church must know its history, must see its faults, and must turn away from them and follow the living God of heaven and earth. Sing Psalter 308.

 

October 5 Read Jeremiah 3

In this part of his sermon to Judah, God calls his people to repentance. He reminds them of the grace that he has shown to them. He also points out what had happened to the ten tribes when they refused to repent. Judah had all of those examples and was heading down the same path. Do we heed the call to repentance as it is sounded forth from our pulpits each Sabbath? The call to repent is not just for Judah; it is for all of the church, as evidenced by the preaching of John the Baptist and others. Repentance is not an option or offer; it is a command. Sing Psalter 140.

 

October 6 Read Jeremiah 4

The words of this chapter become more pointed towards the people of God. Jeremiah implores the people to return unto God and not face the calamities that have been shown unto him. Jeremiah is not just an announcer. He lived this message. He too saw the judgment and wished for deliverance. But he saw that deliverance would only come by way of obedience. Just as Saul was removed because of a lack of obedience, so would Judah be taken away from the pleasant land. Do we walk in the way of obedience to God and his commands? In that way is the way of peace, a peace found only in the way of Christ. Sing Psalter 215.

 

October 7 Read Jeremiah 5

Even as Jeremiah saw Judah going farther and farther into apostasy even as Israel had done, God gave to him hope for those people whom he had elected. Twice in this chapter the phrase “will not make a full end” is used. Corporately Judah deserved complete destruction, but for the sake of the elect and for the glory of his name, God would show mercy towards his people. This was the hope of the elect found in Judah even when all about them was wickedness. This is our hope as we wait for Christ to deliver us from this sinful world. Sing Psalter 337.

 

October 8 Read Jeremiah 6

In the midst of Jeremiah’s proclamation of judgment upon Judah comes the beautiful admonition found in verse 16. Fathers, do you seek the old paths for your children? Children and young people, do you listen to your fathers? Those old paths are the good way. They are the ways that lead to eternal bliss. None of us should be like Judah and boldly announce that we do not like those old paths and will not walk in them. If we do, we deserve Judah’s fate. Sing Psalter 342.