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July 21 - Evening

"See how the faithful city has become a prostitute! She once was full of justice; righteousness used to dwell in her— but now murderers! Your silver has become dross, your choice wine is diluted with water. Your rulers are rebels, partners with thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow’s case does not come before them. Therefore the Lord, the Lord Almighty, the Mighty One of Israel, declares:

'Ah! I will vent my wrath on my foes and avenge myself on my enemies. I will turn my hand against you; I will thoroughly purge away your dross and remove all your impurities. I will restore your leaders as in days of old, your rulers as at the beginning. Afterward you will be called the City of Righteousness, the Faithful City.'

Zion will be delivered with justice, her penitent ones with righteousness."

- Isaiah 1-3

Warning of Judgment; Promise of Refining


The book Isaiah begins by describing the decline of God’s people, and particularly, the rebellion of the culture in the city of Jerusalem. But, along with the warning of judgment at the beginning of his book Isaiah includes the promising that God will use his judgment and wrath as a refining process to produce deliverance and righteousness.

The faithful people have become prostitutes to other gods and worldly philosophies. The men of justice and the people of righteousness are now murderers.

Things have gone so bad that the refining process has been reversed. The pure silver has taken on dross and impurities have been added. Likewise, the great wine has been diluted with water. The people have become more like pagans and have lost their purpose.

The men who rule the land are rebels. The leaders partnered with criminals to gain bribes. They exchange political favors for gifts.

This generation has taken on the status of a cursed generation by oppressing the needy – the fatherless children and the widowed women.

The Lord says in 1:24 that action will be taken. The Lord tells this people through Isaiah that his wrath will be expressed and he will have vengeance. Those who suffer will be God’s own people who are now known to the Lord as his foes and his enemies.

Although the destruction will be great and the suffering so unbearable that entire generations will be destroyed, the Lord’s wrath will reset the purifying process of refining his people into pure silver again.
  • The dross will again be purged from the silver
  • The impurities in the people will be removed

After this purification process is complete, and it will take many years, Israel will once again have leaders and rulers who are righteous. The city of Jerusalem will be called:
  • City of Righteousness
  • Faithful city

This judgment will become the refining process that will manifest deliverance from sin, not merely deliverance from a foreign power. In the end people will actually BE righteous.

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Tharseo (Gr) – courage (Eng) – the Greek word tharseo means “to have confidence,” “be unafraid,” and “courage.” The verb tharseo means courage in the midst of danger or trial which could vary from martyrdom to mockery to anything that is against our desires or requires difficult work while facing uncertain results.

We see the NT using tharseo in these ways:
  • Acts 23:11 - The Lord says to Paul, "Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.”
  • Luke 23:43 - Jesus says to the thief on the cross, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
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I will allow God's refining process to produce faithfulness and righteousness in my life.
I will not rebel against the Lord nor will I follow worldly philosophies.


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Bible Reading Descriptions Here

Narrative

(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text



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Personal

Children

Church

Compassion for the world

World

Israel

Nation

Economy


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A view of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives on the east.
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Here is proof that Pilate did live and did have the title the Bible gives him. The lines in Latin read:

"Tiberium. . . Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea. . ."

This was originally a dedication of something Pilate had built in Caesarea to honor the emperor Tiberius. This slab calles Pontius Pilate the Prefect of Judea.
It was discovered having been reused to built the temple.
(Dr. Carl Rasmussen's details.)
Jeremiah 21 New International Version (NIV)
God Rejects Zedekiah’s Request
21 The word came to Jeremiah from the Lord when King Zedekiah sent to him Pashhur son of Malkijah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah. They said: “Inquire now of the Lord for us because Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is attacking us. Perhaps the Lord will perform wonders for us as in times past so that he will withdraw from us.”
But Jeremiah answered them, “Tell Zedekiah, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I am about to turn against you the weapons of war that are in your hands, which you are using to fight the king of Babylon and the Babylonians who are outside the wall besieging you. And I will gather them inside this city. I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm in furious anger and in great wrath. I will strike down those who live in this city—both man and beast—and they will die of a terrible plague. After that, declares the Lord, I will give Zedekiah king of Judah, his officials and the people in this city who survive the plague, sword and famine, into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and to their enemies who want to kill them. He will put them to the sword; he will show them no mercy or pity or compassion.’
“Furthermore, tell the people, ‘This is what the Lord says: See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death. Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague. But whoever goes out and surrenders to the Babylonians who are besieging you will live; they will escape with their lives. 10 I have determined to do this city harm and not good, declares the Lord. It will be given into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will destroy it with fire.’
11 “Moreover, say to the royal house of Judah, ‘Hear the word of the Lord. 12 This is what the Lord says to you, house of David:
“‘Administer justice every morning;     rescue from the hand of the oppressor     the one who has been robbed, or my wrath will break out and burn like fire     because of the evil you have done—     burn with no one to quench it.
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I am against you, Jerusalem,     you who live above this valley     on the rocky plateau, declares the Lord— you who say, “Who can come against us?     Who can enter our refuge?”
14 
I will punish you as your deeds deserve,     declares the Lord. I will kindle a fire in your forests     that will consume everything around you.’”
Hosea 12-14New International Version (NIV)
12 
Ephraim feeds on the wind;     he pursues the east wind all day     and multiplies lies and violence. He makes a treaty with Assyria     and sends olive oil to Egypt.

The Lord has a charge to bring against Judah;     he will punish Jacob according to his ways     and repay him according to his deeds.

In the womb he grasped his brother’s heel;     as a man he struggled with God.

He struggled with the angel and overcame him;     he wept and begged for his favor. He found him at Bethel     and talked with him there—

the Lord God Almighty,     the Lord is his name!

But you must return to your God;     maintain love and justice,     and wait for your God always.

The merchant uses dishonest scales     and loves to defraud.

Ephraim boasts,     “I am very rich; I have become wealthy. With all my wealth they will not find in me     any iniquity or sin.”

“I have been the Lord your God     ever since you came out of Egypt; I will make you live in tents again,     as in the days of your appointed festivals.
10 
I spoke to the prophets,     gave them many visions     and told parables through them.”
11 
Is Gilead wicked?     Its people are worthless! Do they sacrifice bulls in Gilgal?     Their altars will be like piles of stones     on a plowed field.
12 
Jacob fled to the country of Aram;     Israel served to get a wife,     and to pay for her he tended sheep.
13 
The Lord used a prophet to bring Israel up from Egypt,     by a prophet he cared for him.
14 
But Ephraim has aroused his bitter anger;     his Lord will leave on him the guilt of his bloodshed     and will repay him for his contempt.
The Lord’s Anger Against Israel
13 
When Ephraim spoke, people trembled;     he was exalted in Israel.     But he became guilty of Baal worship and died.

Now they sin more and more;     they make idols for themselves from their silver, cleverly fashioned images,     all of them the work of craftsmen. It is said of these people,     “They offer human sacrifices!     They kiss calf-idols!”

Therefore they will be like the morning mist,     like the early dew that disappears,     like chaff swirling from a threshing floor,     like smoke escaping through a window.

“But I have been the Lord your God     ever since you came out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but me,     no Savior except me.

I cared for you in the wilderness,     in the land of burning heat.

When I fed them, they were satisfied;     when they were satisfied, they became proud;     then they forgot me.

So I will be like a lion to them,     like a leopard I will lurk by the path.

Like a bear robbed of her cubs,     I will attack them and rip them open; like a lion I will devour them—     a wild animal will tear them apart.

“You are destroyed, Israel,     because you are against me, against your helper.
10 
Where is your king, that he may save you?     Where are your rulers in all your towns, of whom you said,     ‘Give me a king and princes’?
11 
So in my anger I gave you a king,     and in my wrath I took him away.
12 
The guilt of Ephraim is stored up,     his sins are kept on record.
13 
Pains as of a woman in childbirth come to him,     but he is a child without wisdom; when the time arrives,     he doesn’t have the sense to come out of the womb.
14 
“I will deliver this people from the power of the grave;     I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues?     Where, O grave, is your destruction?
“I will have no compassion,

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    even though he thrives among his brothers. An east wind from the Lord will come,     blowing in from the desert; his spring will fail     and his well dry up. His storehouse will be plundered     of all its treasures.
16 
The people of Samaria must bear their guilt,     because they have rebelled against their God. They will fall by the sword;     their little ones will be dashed to the ground,     their pregnant women ripped open.”
Repentance to Bring Blessing
14 
Return, Israel, to the Lord your God.     Your sins have been your downfall!

Take words with you     and return to the Lord. Say to him:     “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously,     that we may offer the fruit of our lips.

Assyria cannot save us;     we will not mount warhorses. We will never again say ‘Our gods’     to what our own hands have made,     for in you the fatherless find compassion.”

“I will heal their waywardness     and love them freely,     for my anger has turned away from them.

I will be like the dew to Israel;     he will blossom like a lily. Like a cedar of Lebanon     he will send down his roots;

    his young shoots will grow. His splendor will be like an olive tree,     his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon.

People will dwell again in his shade;     they will flourish like the grain, they will blossom like the vine—     Israel’s fame will be like the wine of Lebanon.

Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols?     I will answer him and care for him. I am like a flourishing juniper;     your fruitfulness comes from me.”

Who is wise? Let them realize these things.     Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the Lord are right;     the righteous walk in them,     but the rebellious stumble in them.
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"The gospel is a declaration, not a debate."
- James S. Stewart


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In 64 AD Peter refers to Paul's letters as "Scripture" in 2 Peter 3:15-16 and places them on equal footing with the Old Testament.


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Due to some work on the Temple Mount the original line of stones that made up the Herodian north wall of the Temple Mount may have been discovered.
(Photos 1, 2, 3. Details 1, 2.)


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"A gift given in secret soothes anger, and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath."
- Proverbs 21:14


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