Famine of Leadership

Isaiah 3:2-4. “The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient. The captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator. And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.”

Verse one warned the people that they were about to lose their whole staff and stay, which means every source of comfort and support.  These verses continue on that theme, detailing that their whole leadership, including craftsmen (cunning artificers) and speechmakers (orators) and strong, important men,soldiers, judges, prophets, wise men and old men, military men, men of honor, counsellors–all would be take away.

All those who had been able to lead the people wisely and well were going to be taken away, and they would be replaced with “babes,” which did not mean then what it seems to mean now. It meant very young, inexperienced, without knowledge or wisdom.

The loss of “staff and stay” included loss of physical sustenance. There would be famine in the land physically, and there would be famine spiritually, intellectually, and artistically as well.  Judah and Jerusalem would indeed be a desolate place, governed by children and struggling just for food for the day.

America is not facing physical famine yet, but we are certainly looking at a famine of leadership, of wisdom, of godly counsel. We are presently being governed by a man who had no real experience to bring to the White House, and the sad results of that choice are bountiful. While the present candidates may have more life experience, there is certainly no evidence of godliness in either one of them.

The parallels are obvious.

 God, forgive America!  Bring us back to You. Stir a revival in our country before we lose the incredible bounty with which You have blessed America, and through America, the world. Bless our pastors and spiritual leaders with the courage to preach truth from their pulpits. Give us a passion for souls, and thirst for Your Word. Amen.

Impending Judgment

Isaiah 3:1. “For behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water.”

The opening verses of this chapter show us the results of national sins. As a people, as a whole, Judah and Israel had turned from God to idolatry. Doing so destroyed their sense of good and evil, right and wrong. God would bring sure judgment, and it would be dire.

The words stay and staff  are different forms of the same Hebrew word, and they denote every sort of support.There would be physical and spiritual famine in the land.  Their sojourn into worshiping the gods of the surrounding nations was going to cost them dearly at every level imaginable.

I understand that these prophecies are spoken to Judah, but I can’t help bu see the parallels to our beloved country today.  We, too, have forsaken the worship of the One true God, the God of Israel, the Creator of the universe. In His place, we have turned to “new” forms of worship that have very little to do with God and much more to do with how we feel. We have made idols out of entertainment, work, politics, food, clothes, money, and electronics.

By the time we realize what has happened, we will have lost every form of “staff and stay.” We will have waited too long.

Antichrist

Isaiah 2:22. “Cease ye from man, when breath is in his nostrils; for wherein is he to be accounted of?”

This verse is referring to the Antichrist, the one who will rise up and proclaim himself to be God. He will fool many people for a time, and he will do incredible harm. We do not know yet who this person is.  Don’t believe all the “Antichrist Revealed!”  junk you see. People have been making predictions about this man since God revealed that there would be such a person.

The point here is that he will fail. He is merely human, who needs air to exist. His time will be fairly short, and his doom is certain. He will be the leader of the last great confederacy of the nations, and the determined destroyer of the Jewish people. He will promise world order and prosperity (2 Thess. 2:3,4).

He will ultimately fail. Here are some passages that speak of his doom:  Deut. 32:42; 2Thess. 2:8; Rev.19:19.

Sunday Morning Coffee:Isaiah’s Prophecies

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about the incredible beauty, literary genius and historical accuracy of the book of Isaiah, which I’m slowly working through here on weekdays, Monday through Thursday.  I think it’s going to take a long time.

Anyway, there is a question about how we know which of Isaiah’s prophecies have already been fulfilled. Some of them are quite obvious:  The birth of Jesus Christ, and His suffering and death on the cross. Chapters 7 and 53 are just two of the places that deal with these topics.

Some have confused the Millenial Kingdom prophecies as dealing with heaven, but those prophecies differ widely from descriptions of heaven in the book of Revelation. Those who believe Isaiah’s Millenial prophecies are about heaven generally tend to be amillenial in their theology, meaning they don’t believe in the millenial reign of Jesus here on earth. To accept that position is to ignore Isaiah’s clear foretelling of Jesus’ rebuke of  many, and of the rebellions that He deals with quickly and severely during the Kingdom here on earth. The Millenial prophecies also deal with people from nations all over the earth coming to Jerusalem, to the Temple (Isaiah 2).  That’s here on earth, not in heaven.

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I read once that there is a far future verb tense in the Hebrew language, but further study has convinced me that no such thing exists. Rather, it is the context of the passage and the use of a perfect tense that is the clue to prophecies that have not yet been fulfilled. 

I am not a Hebrew scholar. At all.  I have to rely on those who are, and who have written textbooks and commentaries explaining all this.   What I do know is that taking most of the far future prophecies in Isaiah as referring to the Kingdom rather than to heaven makes the whole book make a lot more sense.  Otherwise, we’d have children being born and reared in heaven, and the Bible makes it clear that there will be no marrying or giving in marriage in heaven. Therefore, no babies being born (Matthew 22:30).

As I browsed through some websites this morning, I found several that addressed the topic of verb tense in the Hebrew language.  I don’t have the time to read them all, so will not recommend any of them for you.  If you’re interested, though, here is what I typed into my Chrome browser:  Does the Hebrew language have a far future prophetic tense?

The article I saved for future study is by Jim Haeffele  on the website lifehopeandtruth.com. This is not a personal recommendation.  I know nothing about this writer, but what I picked up on a scan through his article seemed to make a lot of sense.

One last thought.  I do not believe that differing views on eschatology is a matter of salvation.  Whatever you and I may disagree on here and now, one of us is going to be very surprised in the long run; however, if we have trusted only the blood of Jesus and His resurrection for our salvation, we’re going to be in heaven together, and we won’t be arguing.

So please, if you don’t agree with me here, and feel you must say so, do it kindly and courteously.  And if your comments are longer than my blog post, you may want to consider opening your own blog  🙂

 

 

 

 

Thinking Biblically

I was going to title this post Heartburn,  but I think I’ve already used that.  And this title is probably more to the point, anyway.

This is not a new concept. When I went looking for an illustration, they were abundant. Hundreds of other people have written recently on this topic.

And yet–look at the incredible election cycle we’re enduring, just for starters. Neither of the candidates thinks biblically, and that’s all we need to know about why we’re in this mess.

However, this post is not intended to be political; it is intended to be very personal, as if you and I were sitting together, perhaps in my counseling office.  I can’t hear all of the pain and problems you’re dealing with, but I can tell you this:  The answer lies in learning to think biblically about your situation.

 You can get some good advice from people who aren’t particularly biblical thinkers.  We go to unsaved doctors and dentists and so on all the time and follow the directions they offer us. But when it comes to matters of principle, matters of relationships, matters of walking wisely in this worn out old world, then you need to go to God’s Word.

Thing is, we can’t think biblically if we’re not reading the Bible; if we’re not studying, not under good biblical preaching, not learning and growing in the Word.

It is that with which we are filled that controls our thoughts, behaviors, words and emotions. If we are filled with lust, then that’s what will be evident in our lives.  If we are filled with hatred, anger, bitterness, envy, self—then that’s what will be manifest in our lives, no matter how hard we try to cover it all over with a gloss of spirituality.

We live in a world that bombards us with lust. Advertisements, billboards, prime time TV, so-called music that is full of anger, violence, and lust; all these things are tempting us at every turn.  I’ve had more than one man in my office tell me that it’s really hard for a normal man to maintain a pure mind these days.  Actually, I think that’s always been the case; I think it’s just getting worse as we move farther away from biblical concepts of thought, behavior, appearance, and language.

Yes, I have heartburn.  I have deep concerns for young men entering a world that tells them pornography is just fine; that the objectification of a woman’s body is no big deal; that masturbating to porn is normal and healthy because, you know, a man has needs.

I am even more amazed that (usually, not always) younger women are becoming more involved in watching porn, finding it exciting, stimulating, fun.  They see no problem with it, and think I’m just too old-school to understand.

No, I’m not.  I do understand.  I also understand that rattlesnakes will kill  you if you play with them. I avoid what I know can cause me terrible harm.

The problem with porn is that it’s a fake relationship that requires nothing of the watcher; at the same time, it creates a lack of interest in the watcher’s spouse, because sexual needs are being met while watching porn.

You may think it’s spicing up your sex life. In actuality, it’s slowly poisoning your mind and emotions, and you will pay the penalty in a broken marriage or a broken life. It’s evil. It is not biblical, it does not come from God.

Keep in mind that the first thing Adam and Eve noticed after they sinned was NOT that they had disobeyed the God of Creation; it was NOT that the fruit left a bitter aftertaste. No, it was that they were naked. The very first thing the scaly finger of Satan corrupted after the Fall was human sexuality, and we’ve been having trouble with it ever since.

I could go on at length here, but I have neither the time nor the energy at the moment. Maybe there will be more along this line on this blog on Fridays, I don’t know.

What I know is that it’s time Bible-believing Christians stop participating in what the world tells us is okay.  It’s time we acknowledge to fellow believers that we’re dealing with sin in our lives, and to ask them for prayer and accountability. The Bible tells us to confess our sins to each other (James 5:16). That doesn’t mean we go into gross detail. It means we admit that we’re tempted, have fallen to something sinful, that we need the prayer support of our brothers and sisters in Christ. That’s all.  It’s time that our prayer requests not be just a list of physical problems. Nothing wrong with holding each other up in prayer for health issues, but really, is that all we have to pray about?

Philippians 2:5.  Colossians 3:16. Galations 5:16.  Just for starters.

Hiding Won’t Help

Isaiah 2:19-21. “And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth. In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth. ”

In that day when Jesus comes back to set up His kingdom, people are going to be terrified to be discovered with their homemade gods of silver and gold. They will throw them into holes in the ground, or into caves where bats dwell, in an effort to hide their idols from Him. They will themselves crawl into crevices and clefts in the rocks, hiding in fear from the majesty of God.

I won’t help them.

Here are some other references that pertain to these events:

Is. 13:9-13; Joel 2:30,31; 3:16; Hag. 2:6-7; Matt. 24:29,30; Rev. 6:12-17; 16:18-20.

Idols Gone!

Isaiah 2:18. “And the idols He shall utterly abolish.”

This short little verse is chock full of thought-provoking wisdom.

And idol is any thing we worship, anything more important to us than God. I can be anything from a creation made by man for the purpose of worship to something as simple as the TV or our cell phones.

Cell phones?  Just don’t even get me started. This little mini-computer has become the focus of too many lives. Irresistible, it interferes with everything and almost always gets first place. You’ve all seen the pictures of a group of people sitting at a restaurant, ostensibly out for an evening of fellowship; problem is, they’re all on their smart phones.

If You Whip Out Your Cell Phone During Dinner I Will Stab You With My ...

I think that’s idol worship.

I don’t think there will be any smart phones in heaven.

But I’ve gone to the mundane. What is so important here is that when Jesus reigns, there will be NO other gods before Him. ALL idols will be destroyed. Only He will be exalted.

And there will be peace on earth.