Where does your help come from? What do you believe? Whom do you follow? With who do you align? Are you walking with or walking away? Are you talking with or talking to or talking at? Are you managing or are you building a relationship? Do you see what is going on around you? Will you be salt and light and make a difference? Will you be positive and encouraging so that people turn back to God? Will you allow your life to shine so that people will glorify your Father in heaven? Will you trust in God no matter what? Will you have hope because you know that the best is yet to come? Yes in this world we will have troubles, but as Jesus tells us, “take heart for I have overcome the world“. Yes, we will face trials, but as God’s Word tells us, “consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds” not just for kicks or for giggles, but so that in and through them we will come thru the other end complete and lacking nothing. My hope is in Jesus! As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! So don’t lose hope! Don’t lose faith! Trust in God! Don’t go it alone! Don’t try to do it your own way and in your own strength! Turn to God and follow after Him and His ways!
Today’s reading starts in Isaiah …
Vision of Jerusalem’s Catastrophe
1The burden of the Valley of Vision: What is the matter with you now? For you have gone up to the rooftops. 2You were full of noise, a boisterous city, an exultant town? Your dead were not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle. 3All your rulers have fled together, then captured without a bow. All who were caught were taken into exile together, though they had fled far off. 4Therefore I said, “Look away from me! Let me weep bitterly— don’t try to comfort me about the ruin of the daughter of my people.” 5For my Lord Adonai-Tzva’ot has a day of panic, trampling and confusion— in the Valley of Vision— of tearing down a wall, a catastrophe on the mountain. 6Elam took up the quiver, with chariots of men and horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield. 7So it will come to pass that your choicest valleys will be full of chariots and horsemen posted at the gate. 8So He will expose Judah’s defense, and in that day you will look for the armor in the Forest House. 9Then you will see the breaches in the walls of the city of David—for they will be many—though you collect the water of the lower pool. 10Though you counted the houses of Jerusalem, you broke down the houses to fortify the wall. 11You even made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool—but you did not look to the Maker, or consider the One who planned it long before. 12Now in that day, Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot will call for weeping and wailing, for baldness and putting on sackcloth. 13But instead, there is joy and gladness, slaughtering cattle and killing sheep, meat and drinking wine! “Let’s eat and drink, for tomorrow we will die!” 14But Adonai-Tzva’ot revealed in my ears: “Surely this sin will not be atoned for until you die,” says my Lord Adonai-Tzva’ot. 15Thus says my Lord Adonai-Tzva’ot: “Go, say to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the house: 16‘What are you doing here, and who are you to be here, that you cut out a grave for yourself, carving out a tomb on the height, chiseling a crypt for yourself in the rock? 17Behold, strong man, Adonai is about to hurl you headlong, and seize you firmly. 18He will roll you up tightly and toss you like a ball into a large country. There you will die, and your glorious chariots will be the shame of your Master’s house. 19I will remove you from your post, and pull you down from your station. 20“In that day I will summon my servant Eliakim, son of Hilkiah. 21I will clothe him in your robe and fasten your sash on him. I will give your authority into his hands, so he will be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 22I will set the key of the house of David upon his shoulder—what he opens, no one can shut; what he shuts, and no one can open. 23I will fasten him as a peg in a firm place, and he will be a throne of honor to his father’s house. 24They will hang all the glory of his father’s house on him—offspring and posterity, all the small vessels, from bowls to all the jars. 25“In that day,” says Adonai-Tzva’ot, “the peg that was fastened in a firm place will give way, break away and fall, and the load that was on it will be cut off.” For Adonai has spoken.
–from Isaiah 22
Let’s try to get our nation back on track. Let’s try to get it back in alignment with God’s Word, God’s Will and God’s Ways. Let’s not allow it to stray and have to deal with the consequences. Let’s put our hope and trust in God! Just as in the old testament, we have watched how people have had to get into pretty bad situations before they had the aha moments which got them to stop and turn back to God! I pray we don’t have to hit rock bottom before we do turn back to God as a nation! How bad do you need it to be before you will turn back? How bad do you need it to be before you start to intercede for others? How will you point people to the hope that is within you?
How much shaking will it take before God can get your attention? Sometimes it takes shaking things up to get your attention! Are you ready?
Shaking Tyre and Sidon
1The burden of Tyre. Wail, ships of Tarshish! For Tyre is destroyed. There is no house and no harbor. From the land of Cyprus, it was revealed to them. 2Be still, inhabitants of the coastland, you merchants of Sidon, your messengers crossing the sea. 3On many waters the grain of Shihor, the harvest of the Nile was her revenue and a marketplace of nations. 4Be ashamed, O Sidon. For the sea has spoken, the stronghold of the sea, saying, “I have not writhed or given birth. I have not reared young men or brought up maidens.” 5When the report reaches Egypt, they will be in anguish at the report about Tyre. 6Cross over to Tarshish. Wail, you inhabitants of the island! 7Is this your jubilant city? Whose antiquity is from long ago, whose feet have taken her to settle in far off lands? 8Who planned this against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants were princes, whose traders were the honored of earth? 9Adonai-Tzva’ot has planned it, to defile the pride of all glory, to shame all the honored of earth. 10Overflow through your land like the Nile, O daughter of Tarshish! There is no restraint any more. 11His hand has stretched out over the sea, He has shaken the kingdoms. Adonai has given a commandment concerning Canaan, to destroy its strongholds. 12He said, “You will exult no more.” O crushed virgin daughter of Sidon. Arise, cross over to Cyprus— even there you will have no rest. 13Look, the land of the Chaldeans— this is the people who no longer exist. Assyria set it up for desert animals. They set up their siege towers; they stripped its palaces; they made it a ruin. 14Wail, you ships of Tarshish! For your stronghold is destroyed. 15Then it will come about in that day that Tyre will be forgotten for 70 years, like the days of one king. At the end of 70 years it will happen to Tyre just as in the song of the prostitute: 16“Take a harp, stroll about the city, forgotten harlot! Skillfully play many songs, so you may be remembered.” 17Then it will come about after the end of 70 years that Adonai will take note of Tyre. She will return to her trade and will prostitute herself with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth. 18 Yet her profit and her wages will be set apart to Adonai. They will not be stored up or hoarded. For her profit will be for those who dwell in the presence of Adonai, as ample food and as fine clothing.
–from Isaiah 23
So will you turn to Jesus? Will you cry out to Jesus? Will you ask Him into your life? Will you ask Him into your heart? Will you pursue Him? Will follow after Him? Will you listen to Him? Will you be obedient to Him? Will you receive His mercies? Will you walk in His light? Will you reflect it into the world around you? Will you receive Him before it is too late? Will grab hold of the love and the hope He is offering? Will you love Him? He loves you so much He gave up His life on the cross to provide for forgiveness for you!
Mercy for a Sinful Woman
1But Yeshua went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn, He came again into the Temple. All the people were coming to Him, and He sat down and began to teach them. 3The Torah scholars and Pharisees bring in a woman who had been caught in adultery. After putting her in the middle, 4they say to Yeshua, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of committing adultery. 5In the Torah, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do You say?” 6Now they were saying this to trap Him, so that they would have grounds to accuse Him. But Yeshua knelt down and started writing in the dirt with His finger. 7When they kept asking Him, He stood up and said, “The sinless one among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Then He knelt down again and continued writing on the ground. 9Now when they heard, they began to leave, one by one, the oldest ones first, until Yeshua was left alone with the woman in the middle. 10Straightening up, Yeshua said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11“No one, Sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Yeshua said. “Go, and sin no more.”
The Light of the World
12Yeshua spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. The one who follows Me will no longer walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 13Then the Pharisees said to Him, “You are testifying about Yourself, so Your testimony is not valid.” 14Yeshua answered them, “Even if I testify about Myself, My testimony is valid. For I know where I came from and where I am going. But you don’t know where I come from or where I am going. 15You judge according to the flesh, but I do not judge anyone. 16Yet even if I do judge, My judgment is true, because it is not I alone but I with the Father who sent Me. 17Even in your Torah it is written that the testimony of two men is true. 18I am one witness for Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness for Me.” 19Then they said to Him, “Where is your Father?” Yeshua answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you knew Me, you would also know My Father.” 20He spoke these words in the treasury while teaching in the Temple, but no one arrested Him because His hour had not yet come. 21Then again Yeshua spoke to them, “I am going away. You will look for Me and die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” 22“He won’t kill Himself, will He?” the Judeans asked. “Is that why He says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” 23Yeshua said, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world 24Therefore I told you that you will die in your sins. If you don’t believe that I am, you will die in your sins.”25So they asked Him, “Who are you?” Yeshua replied, “What have I been telling you from the beginning? 26I have much to say and judge about you. But the One who sent Me is true, and I tell the world what I heard from Him.” 27They didn’t understand that He was talking to them about the Father. 28So Yeshua said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know who I am. I do nothing by Myself, but speak just what the Father has taught Me. 29The One who sent Me is with Me. He has not left Me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to Him.” 30As He was speaking these things, many people put their trust in Him. 31Then Yeshua said to the Judeans who had trusted Him, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly My disciples. 32You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!” 33They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s children and have never been slaves to anyone! How can you say, ‘You will become free’?” 34Yeshua answered them, “Amen, amen I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35Now the slave does not remain in the household forever; the son abides forever. 36So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed! 37I know you are Abraham’s children; yet you are trying to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38I tell of what I have seen with the Father; so also you do what you heard from the Father.” 39“Abraham is our father,” they replied to Him. Yeshua said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. 40But now you are seeking to kill Me—a Man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God. This Abraham did not do! 41You are doing the deeds of your father.” They said to Him, “We were not born as illegitimate children—we have one Father, God Himself!” 42Yeshua said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for from God I came and now I am here. For I have not come on My own, but He sent Me. 43Why don’t you understand My speech? Because you’re not able to hear My word! 44You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks lies he is just being himself—for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45“But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. 46Which one of you convicts Me of sinning? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe Me? 47He who belongs to God hears the words of God. The reason you don’t hear is because you do not belong to God.” 48The Judean leaders responded, “Aren’t we right to say you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” 49Yeshua answered, “I do not have a demon! I honor My Father, yet you dishonor Me. 50But I do not seek My own glory; there is One who is seeking and judging. 51Amen, amen I tell you, if anyone keeps My word, he will never see death.” 52“Now we know You have a demon!” the Judean leaders said to Him. “Abraham and the prophets died. Yet You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste death.’ 53You are not greater than our father Abraham who died, are You? The prophets also died! Who do You make Yourself out to be?” 54Yeshua answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing. It is My Father who gives Me glory—the One of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ 55Yet you do not know Him, but I know Him. If I say I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you. Yet I do know Him and keep His Word. 56Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day; he saw it and was thrilled.” 57Then the Judeans said to Him, “You’re not even fifty years old and you’ve seen Abraham?” 58Yeshua answered, “Amen, amen I tell you, before Abraham was, I am!” 59Then they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Yeshua hid Himself and went out from the Temple.
–from John 8