In April and May, we are reading through the book of the prophet Isaiah. Its major themes are judgment, comfort, and hope, applicable to Jerusalem then in the 8th century B.C. and to us now. Join our study by reading today’s scripture below and journaling about it using SOAP (click on the “What’s SOAP?” link above to learn more). Below today’s scripture is an example SOAP from our team. We love hearing from you! Please use the comment section of our website to share your SOAP, thoughts or questions on the reading, or prayer requests. Join us as we build unity and community through God’s Word!
Judgment and Salvation
“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me;
I was found by those who did not seek me.
To a nation that did not call on my name,
I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’
2 All day long I have held out my hands
to an obstinate people,
who walk in ways not good,
pursuing their own imaginations—
3 a people who continually provoke me
to my very face,
offering sacrifices in gardens
and burning incense on altars of brick;
4 who sit among the graves
and spend their nights keeping secret vigil;
who eat the flesh of pigs,
and whose pots hold broth of impure meat;
5 who say, ‘Keep away; don’t come near me,
for I am too sacred for you!’
Such people are smoke in my nostrils,
a fire that keeps burning all day.
6 “See, it stands written before me:
I will not keep silent but will pay back in full;
I will pay it back into their laps—
7 both your sins and the sins of your ancestors,”
says the Lord.
“Because they burned sacrifices on the mountains
and defied me on the hills,
I will measure into their laps
the full payment for their former deeds.”
8 This is what the Lord says:
“As when juice is still found in a cluster of grapes
and people say, ‘Don’t destroy it,
there is still a blessing in it,’
so will I do in behalf of my servants;
I will not destroy them all.
9 I will bring forth descendants from Jacob,
and from Judah those who will possess my mountains;
my chosen people will inherit them,
and there will my servants live.
10 Sharon will become a pasture for flocks,
and the Valley of Achor a resting place for herds,
for my people who seek me.
11 “But as for you who forsake the Lord
and forget my holy mountain,
who spread a table for Fortune
and fill bowls of mixed wine for Destiny,
12 I will destine you for the sword,
and all of you will fall in the slaughter;
for I called but you did not answer,
I spoke but you did not listen.
You did evil in my sight
and chose what displeases me.”
13 Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“My servants will eat,
but you will go hungry;
my servants will drink,
but you will go thirsty;
my servants will rejoice,
but you will be put to shame.
14 My servants will sing
out of the joy of their hearts,
but you will cry out
from anguish of heart
and wail in brokenness of spirit.
15 You will leave your name
for my chosen ones to use in their curses;
the Sovereign Lord will put you to death,
but to his servants he will give another name.
16 Whoever invokes a blessing in the land
will do so by the one true God;
whoever takes an oath in the land
will swear by the one true God.
For the past troubles will be forgotten
and hidden from my eyes.
New Heavens and a New Earth
17 “See, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
and its people a joy.
19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more.
20 “Never again will there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not live out his years;
the one who dies at a hundred
will be thought a mere child;
the one who fails to reach a hundred
will be considered accursed.
21 They will build houses and dwell in them;
they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree,
so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy
the work of their hands.
23 They will not labor in vain,
nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune;
for they will be a people blessed by the Lord,
they and their descendants with them.
24 Before they call I will answer;
while they are still speaking I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
and dust will be the serpent’s food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,”
says the Lord.
New Earth | Becky Newman
Isaiah 65:2, 12b, 24
Isaiah 65 provides a contrast between the old order of business under God’s creation and the New Heaven and Earth that God will create. The old order is kind of a list on how not to act before God — obstinate, not good, independent, impure thoughts, not answering to our Higher Authority, not listening to our Creator, ignorant (vs. 2, 12b). The new order sounds heavenly — no sorrow, lots of joy and praise, blessed lives, no one laboring in vain, children without misfortune, answered prayers before we speak them. Has the New Heaven and Earth come yet? Or is this a description of where we’ll be spending eternity as God’s children?
I can see pieces of the New Earth from vs. 17-25 here in this world, which makes me wonder if the Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth, which we have access to through belief in Jesus, is the New Earth, and we kind of slip in and out of it in our daily lives — “your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) What’s making me think this most is that there appears to still be old age and death in this New Earth, while we know eternity won’t have that. My neighbor and I had a little chat break from yard work yesterday. He was telling me about he and his wife celebrating their 50th anniversary next month. Then he remarked how you can’t get to 50 years of marriage in this world without God, and how God has blessed him and his family richly, particularly in good health and strong family. It seems like my neighbor has found this New Earth here in our world. For me, I’d like to spend more time there. That means I need to be more dependent and less obstinate, giving my imagination to You to lead and guide; I need to be alert and ready to hear and move in Your way which is always good. My thoughts should be focused on joy and praise in each moment.
Lord, may You never call without me answering, may You never speak without me listening. Help me to cast off independence and being obstinate and give in to Your lead and guidance. Help my heart and thoughts to embrace joy and praise and turn from grumpiness and complaining. Help me to spend more time in Your Kingdom on Earth.
The Discover One Thing main website follows a reading plan that goes through the entire Bible in one year. Click HERE to check out today’s Discover One Thing post.