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Watching Daily At My Gates

September 15 Read Isaiah 1:1-9

Isaiah means “The salvation of the Lord.” It is a fitting title as the prophet must bring to God’s people the hope of salvation. Judah was going through a very trying period in its history. The nation was wealthy but poor. It had gained much riches and power, but it had fallen into spiritual poverty. Isaiah was given the task of rebuking the wicked but bringing comfort to the small remnant of faithful believers. There is much we can learn from this prophecy as it brings to us the comfort of Christ’s first and second comings. May we enjoy the word of the Lord brought by this prophet. Sing Psalter 27.

September 16 Read Isaiah 1:10-17

How do we worship God? Do we worship him with all the reverence that is due to his most holy name? Israel of old, in its riches, was not rich toward God spiritually. They offended him every time they went to do worship in his temple. God was not pleased with them, and he would soon take them away into captivity. Isaiah was commissioned to bring these words of rebuke to them and to us. We must repent of our sins. We must put off the old man that dwells within us. We must practice the true religion that is outlined in verse 17 and repeated in the book of James. When we do these things, God will be honored and we will experience his favor upon us. Sing Psalter 137.

September 17 Read Isaiah 1:18-26

Here we find the promise of the gospel. Even though we are thoroughly tainted with filth of sin, Christ’s blood will wash us as white as snow. We, like Israel of old, have sinned and gone astray in many grievous ways. The church and its members stray from the path of righteousness, but our faithful God will bring us back. He will cleanse his church and again make her to be called the faithful city. Do we pray for this? It may not be pleasant even as it was not pleasant for Israel. But it is necessary, for it is the way to salvation. Sing Psalter 140.

September 18 Read Isaiah 1:27-31

Verse 27 is used as the title of the series of sermons preached by Prof. H. C. Hoeksema. He uses it as the theme for the book of Isaiah. It is a comfort to know that the child of God is redeemed. It is also a comfort to know that the wicked will be judged by almighty righteous God. Redemption is a powerful and beautiful idea. It speaks of a slave who is free because someone has bought him. We are slaves to sin, but we have been bought with a price that no man can afford. We are bought by the blood of the Lamb who gave himself for us. Thanks be to God for such a gift! Sing Psalter 69.

September 19 Read Isaiah 2:1-9

In this vision of Isaiah that he delivers to the church we see two main themes. The first of the themes is comforting to us as we see a prophecy of the Gentiles being added to God’s chosen people. During the time of the Old Testament, God’s people were the Jews with a few exceptions. In the days after Christ’s ascension, the Gentiles were called. This is a blessing as we know what glories will be given to God’s people. Secondly, there is a warning in this section. The warning is not to associate with the wicked and not to busy ourselves walking in their devices. Israel of old would be taken into captivity. The church today is also chastised for not walking in the way of Jehovah. Sing Psalter 176.

September 20 Read Isaiah 2:10-22

Do you fear the Lord? That phrase is used three times in this passage. In two other books of the Bible that phrase is used as the starting point of what man should do. Here the phrase is used in a different manner. It is to be afraid of his judgment. Which fear do we possess? We must not be afraid of our God as he has given to us a way out of that judgment. That way is Christ. Let us learn from this passage to fear Jehovah in a way that is the beginning of wisdom. This way can be found in many places in the Bible. Let us look for that way and walk in it. Sing Psalter 236.

September 21 Read Isaiah 3:1-9

Isaiah continues to prophesy the calamities that would be Judah’s if they did not turn from their ways. He tells them of the upcoming captivity and the physical discomforts that God would bring upon them because of their sin. The reason for all of this is in the second part of verse 8. When we speak and act against Jehovah, he will chastise us. Notice the phrase: “to provoke the eyes of his glory.” Our calling on this earth is to glorify him in all that we do. It does not matter what activity we take part in, we must glorify God. When we do not, like Israel of old, woe is brought upon us. Are we giving God the glory due his name? Sing Psalter 76.

September 22 Read Isaiah 3:10-15

Notice the two antithetical statements at the beginning of the passage. While Isaiah must bring the message of God’s judgment upon the wicked, he was also to bring a message of comfort and deliverance to the people of God. Even when the wicked prosper, we can know that our God will deliver us from all our troubles. While we may not enjoy physical fruit, we have the assurance of spiritual fruit. God will bring all men and their works into judgment and in that way we will be delivered to eternal glory. Sing Psalter 1.

September 23 Read Isaiah 3:16-26

Sometimes you read a portion of Scripture and wonder if the writer was present in our day and age. But this is true because Scripture was written for the church of all ages. We need the warning found here. We are apt to fall into the same sins of glorifying the human body and worshipping that body just as Judah of old did. The warning found in the last two verses is for us as well. May we heed the warning and walk and live in a God-glorifying way at all times. Sing Psalter 301.

September 24 Read Isaiah 4:1-6

Sprinkled throughout the book of Isaiah are these nuggets of comfort. These tidbits come from the fact that there is a supreme Comforter who is Christ. Even when it looks the darkest, as is expressed in the previous chapter and summed up in the first verse of this chapter, God does not leave his people in despair. There is a way of escape and that escape is Christ—the branch. We read in the rest of this chapter what he will provide for us. Read through this short chapter again and see what there is for us. Then seek that everlasting refuge. Sing Psalter 74.

September 25 Read Isaiah 5:1-10

Here we have the well-known figure of the church being pictured as a vineyard. God has given to his people whether they be of the old dispensation or the new dispensation many advantages. Of course we are looking at the church as an organism. In that organism are vines and branches which need pruning. Even as some years much pruning must be done to the grape arbor, so must the church go through periods in which many are cast out. As we read this chapter and others like it we must remember the beautiful words of the previous chapter where the righteous branch is promised to God’s people. Let us hear the word of the Lord and be warned by it. Sing Psalter 220.

September 26 Read Isaiah 5:11-20

Here we have a passage that sets forth the sins of Judah of old. They use the good things of God, not in his service, but for their own pleasure and the service of Satan. Notice verse 13 again. God states that his people have no knowledge. Is that true of us? Do we learn but have no knowledge of his truth? If that is true of us, woe are we because God will be exalted in his judgment; he will be sanctified because he is holy. Finally, look again at verse 20. What do we call good? What do we call evil? What standard are we using? Are we using God’s or ours? Let us, by grace, live in a way that glorifies only God and his judgments. Sing Psalter 308.

September 27 Read Isaiah 5:21-30

In this last section of a chapter of woe upon Judah of old, we, too, must see ourselves. Verse 21 is a good summary verse for us. We love the pronoun “I”. We love to say, “I did this,” or “I think this.” When we do that, we are either trying to put ourselves in the place of God, or we are trying to outdo our neighbor. In doing so, we break the two commandments which summarize God’s law. Notice the terror that is brought upon Judah of old. Will God do differently to us in our sin? Let us be warned and let us live lives in which we show that we love God and our neighbor. Sing Psalter 248.

September 28 Read Isaiah 6:1-5

Do we acknowledge that the whole earth is full of Jehovah God’s glory? As we look at creation is that what we see? What about when we see man-made objects? What is our confession then? And then, even as we may acknowledge God’s glory, do we acknowledge his holiness? As the text states, God is the thrice holy God. In another part of Scripture we are told to be holy even as God is holy. Do we seek to be holy all the time? Isaiah saw the evil around him. He saw that he was unfit of himself to preach to these people. As we live our lives let us seek to recognize the thrice-holy God in all things, and let us seek to live lives which glorify him in that holiness. Sing Psalter 285.

September 29 Read Isaiah 6:6-13

Are we always ready to do what God has laid out for us? He says to us every day, “Whom shall I send?” Do we say, “Send me”? There is work for each of us to do in God’s kingdom. Some of it is hard work like that of Isaiah. He had the calling to tell Judah of the coming captivity. But he also had the calling to tell them of deliverance. There would be temporal deliverance from Babylon, but there would also be eternal deliverance wrought by Christ on the cross. What will be our work? Will we be ready to say, “Here am I, send me.”? Sing Psalter 407.

September 30 Read Isaiah 7:1-9

In this chapter we see that Isaiah is a real prophet interacting with real kings and their problems. Ahaz was threatened by a confederacy of Syria and Israel. The false church had amalgamated with the world against the people of God. Ahaz did not deserve God’s help as his heart was wicked toward God. But for the sake of the remnant that was found in Judah, God would bring deliverance. We see in verse 7 that God is sovereign, and in his sovereignty he would judge this evil confederation and destroy it. Ahaz had the reaction of unbelief. What is our reaction to the sovereignty of God? Sing Psalter 266.

October 1 Read Isaiah 7:10-16

Unbelieving Ahaz is given a beautiful sign. Does he want it? The answer is undeniably no, even though he attempts to be pious. That beautiful sign is the sign of the virgin birth of our Christ. Christ is identified as Immanuel or as it is translated “God with us”. What a beautiful name that is for our Savior! It is also a name rich with meaning for us. God is with us. It does not matter in what situation we find ourselves in this life, God is with us. We may be at the highest high or the lowest low, but our God is with us. David confessed this in Psalm 139. Paul also reveals this truth to us inRomans 8. We can rest in beautiful assurance that our God is with us all of the time. Sing Psalter 242.

October 2 Read Isaiah 7:17-25

Those who do not heed the word of the Lord will suffer the consequences. Ahaz had been assured of deliverance from Syria and Israel. But then he mocked God and would not ask for a sign. God gave to him the most beautiful sign: that of the wonderful birth of Christ. What is our reaction to God’s wonders and signs especially as they are opened to our eyes in his word? Are we filled with unbelief or do we humbly bow in adoration to our faithful Savior and covenant God? As we read his word, and as we observe his creation, let us acknowledge him as the sovereign God of all things and especially of our salvation. Sing Psalter 144.

October 3 Read Isaiah 8:1-8

After assuring Ahaz that Judah would be safe, the prophet now foretells the demise of Israel and Syria. The world power Assyria would destroy both of them. Israel would be scattered because, as the apostate church, they had left God and his word and worship. Judah, however, would not be unaffected. Because of its sin Assyria would invade Judah as well. They would not overcome it because it was Immanuel’s land. This was a comfort for the remnant who believed in the sign of the virgin birth. This is also a comfort for us as we wait for his second coming to deliver us from the wicked one and his forces. We must make it our daily prayer that he comes quickly as he has promised. Sing Psalter 146.

October 4 Read Isaiah 8:9-17

In verses 9-16 the prophet foretells that God will hide his face from Judah because of its sin. Many of that nation had forsaken God and his ways, and now God would come upon them in many ways. Isaiah says that he would not go along with the nation’s evil deeds. He would wait upon Jehovah for deliverance. This is what we must do in these last days. We must look for our Savior to come on the clouds of heaven. We must observe the signs and know that he is coming. We, like Isaiah, must be patient, but we must be active in the Lord’s work. Sing Psalter 206.

October 5 Read Isaiah 8:18-22

We see two beautiful truths in verse 18. First of all we see evidence of the covenant. God gives to us children. This is hard for some to understand. We might wonder why some are childless while others have many. Some in the world wonder why there are children at all. Children are a blessing from the Lord as we sing in Psalter 359. God establishes his covenant of friendship with his people and gives to them children as a sign of that covenant. Secondly, God’s people are signs in the world. As they live an antithetical life, they speak to the wicked around them of God and his judgments. We must live antithetically as we have been placed in this world to do so. Sing Psalter 359.

October 6 Read Isaiah 9:1-7

Isaiah is prophesying about the present problems in Israel but also about the future blessing that would come to all of God’s people. The land of Israel was undergoing attacks from various enemies. Those who were being attacked first were looking for some hope. For the church of all ages that hope is Christ who is called by the beautiful names in verse 6. Are we looking for the dawning of his second coming? Do we want the Christ who will rule all? Make no mistake. He is coming! Let us seek him and his kingdom. Let us earnestly await his coming and embrace it with great joy. Sing Psalter 198.

October 7 Read Isaiah 9:8-14

Isaiah’s prophecy turns to Israel’s destruction. Notice first of all the power of God’s word. When God speaks, action is taken. It is God who ordains all things. Some may say that God would never send hardship. But he does to correct us and to lead us in the right way. The reason for Israel’s destruction is found in verse 13. Israel did not turn to God. Israel did not seek Jehovah, and therefore they were cut off from the Promised Land. We must heed these words: turn unto Jehovah our covenant God, and seek him at all times. May God give to us the grace to do this. Sing Psalter 379.

October 8 Read Isaiah 9:15-21

When we look at these words of judgment, we may wonder what we may gain from them. The answer is clear. We must not stray from God’s word. We must not ignore his will for us. Verse 16, which speaks of leaders, has much instruction. All of us are leaders in some way. Some might be leaders in the church. That is the focus of these verses. But others are leaders at work, school, or in a family. With leadership comes the responsibility of leading in the right way. Israel’s kings and priests had gone down the wrong path and had taken the people with them. What is there to say about us? On what path are we leading those who are following? May God give to us the grace to always lead in his ways and his word. Sing Psalter 42.

October 9 Read Isaiah 10:1-11

Isaiah continues to pronounce judgment upon Jerusalem and its leaders. Look at verse 2 again. Is this not the exact opposite of the definition of pure religion found in James 1? The second thought is the fact that God uses the wicked to chastise his people. They are his tools even though they think that they work in their own independence. The day will come that even the wicked will acknowledge the sovereign God our redeemer. Let us pray for that day to come quickly when we may be delivered from this valley of the shadow of death. Sing Psalter 386.

October 10 Read Isaiah 10:12-19

How many times do we say, “This is what I am going to do.” And when it does not turn out we become rebellious and try to push our way ahead? Verse 15, even though it speaks about the king of Assyria, speaks to us. We, like everyone else in this world, are tools in the hand of almighty sovereign God. He uses us for his purposes and his glory. We must use the words of James, “If the Lord will,” or as the Latin has it, Deo Volentie. We are not the masters of our fate. We belong to our heavenly Father. He will use us as he sees fit. This is a comfort. This is our hope. Sing Psalter 282.

October 11 Read Isaiah 10:20-34

Notice the words of hope for the people of God. In verse 20-22 we read that a remnant shall return unto almighty God. They will not return in their own works. They return because of the righteousness wrought by the virgin’s Son, by the Prince of Peace who is Christ Jesus. Immanuel shall come to earth, and by grace his remnant will return unto him. Being part of the remnant is no shame. Being part of the remnant is salvation. Sing Psalter 222.

October 12 Read Isaiah 11:1-9

We see prophecies of both the first and second comings of Christ. Principally there is but one coming—his coming to take the church to be his bride forever. But we look at the two aspects. First of all there is his coming in which he takes on human flesh and dies for our sins. Then there is the final coming in which we receive full heavenly glory. For Israel of old this prophecy gave hope to the faithful few. For the church of today we, too, must have faith to look for Christ to come on the clouds of glory to receive us unto himself. Let this be our hope and our prayer. Sing Psalter 344.

October 13 Read Isaiah 11:10-16

When Christ comes on the clouds of glory, he will gather his people from the four corners of the earth. He will also judge his and their enemies with a sovereign judgment. We see two things of note in this passage. First of all, the Church of Christ, his body, is a universal catholic church. People from all races will be brought together. We must not let this surprise us. We must look to spread the gospel to all corners of the earth. Secondly, Christ’s coming is with judgment. The judgment of the wicked is the way of our salvation. This is the theme of Isaiah. This is our hope and comfort. Sing Psalter 320.

October 14 Read Isaiah 12:1-6

Here and there in the book of Isaiah we see songs of praise uttered by the prophet. This psalm was applicable for those who would return from captivity some years in the future. Notice the beautiful words about God sprinkled throughout this short chapter. God is our salvation, strength, and song. Even though Judah had been taken into captivity, it could sing that Jehovah God had done excellent things. As we go throughout the various issues of life, we do well to take this Psalm on our lips often. We, too, await the end of captivity. We wait when our God will take us to the new Jerusalem. Our God is great. Do we confess that daily? Sing Psalter 413.

October 15 Read Isaiah 13:1-8

There are several of these “burdens” in Scripture. They are always put upon some wicked nation who afflicted the people of God. These are burdens which are too heavy for them to bear. These are the way of God’s judgment upon them. As the final burden crushes them, they howl and melt away. We, too, deserve such a burden. But we have one to bear it for us. Notice that I said for us and not with us. Christ bore the whole load when he suffered the accursed death of the cross. That is our hope, and that is our salvation. Sing Psalter 224.

October 16 Read Isaiah 13:9-13

We have here a foretelling of the destruction of Babylon. It is also a prophecy of the destruction at the end of time. Israel of old was not to make Babylon their permanent dwelling. They were to live there, but not as if it was to be the home of their descendants. It is no different for us. This earth is not our permanent dwelling. Our home will be in the new heavens and the new earth. We are but pilgrims here. We must live each day according to that principle. All of the “I will”s will come to pass. Of that there is no doubt. Sing Psalter 23.

October 17 Read Isaiah 13:13-22

We might wonder what word God has for us in this passage of Holy Scripture. But the word is simple and twofold. First of all our God is sovereign. All things are in his hand. Not just some things or things that we think need to be in his hand. All things belong to his counsel. It needs to be because otherwise there would be no hope for us. The second part of this word is that he cares for his people. God used Babylon to chastise Judah for its sin. Babylon had to pay for the cruelty upon Judah for which they were responsible. God heard the prayers of his faithful. We can be assured that he will hear our prayers as they rise up to him each day. Let us remember to go to his throne of grace and find mercy in time of need. Sing Psalter 108.