Yahweh Will Show Mercy
18 Therefore Yahweh waits to be gracious to you,
and therefore he will rise up to show you mercy,
for Yahweh is a God of justice;
blessed are all those who wait for him.
19 For people will live in Zion;
in Jerusalem, you will surely not weep.
Surely he will be gracious to you;
when he hears the sound of your cry, he will answer you.
20 And the Lord will give you the bread of distress
and the water of oppression,
but your teachers will not hide themselves any longer.
And your eyes shall see your teachers.
21 And your ears shall hear a word from behind you, saying,
“this is the way; walk in it,”
when you go to your right
and when you go to your left.
22 And you will defile the plating of your silver idols
and the covering of your gold image.
You will scatter them like contaminated things;
you will say to it, “Filth!”
23And he will give rain for your seed with which you sow the ground,
and grain, the produce of the ground, and it will be rich and fertile.
On that day, your cattle will graze in broad pastures;
24 and the oxen and the donkeys that till the ground will eat fodder, sorrel
that has been winnowed with shovel and pitchfork.
25 And there will be streams on every high mountain and elevated hill,
watercourses of water, on a day of great slaughter, when towers fall.
26 And the light of the full moon will be like the light of the sun,
and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, like the light of seven days,
on the day when Yahweh binds up the breakage of his people,
and he heals the wound of his blow.
Judgment against Assyria
27 Look! The name of Yahweh comes from afar,
burning with his anger and heaviness of cloud.
His lips are full of indignation,
and his tongue is like a devouring fire.
28 And his breath is like an overflowing river;
it reaches up to the neck
to shake the nations with the sieve of worthlessness;
and a bridle that leads astray is on the jawbones of the peoples.
29 You shall have a song as in the night when a holy festival is kept,
and a gladness of heart like one who goes with the flute,
to go to the mountain of Yahweh, to the rock of Israel.
30 And Yahweh will cause the majesty of his voice to be heard,
and he will cause the descent of his arm to be seen,
in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire,
with a cloudburst and a rainstorm and stones of hail.
31 Indeed, Assyria will be shattered by the voice of Yahweh;
he strikes with the rod.
32 And every stroke of the staff of foundation that Yahweh lays will be on it with timbrels and lyres,
and he will fight against it with battles of brandishing.
33 For Topheth has been prepared from yesterday;
indeed, it is made ready for the king.
He makes its pile of wood deep and wide;
he makes fire and wood abundant.
The breath of Yahweh burns in it like a stream of sulfur.
The Egyptians are No Help
31 Ah! Those who go down to Egypt for help!
They rely on horses
and trust in chariots because they are many,
and in horsemen because they are very numerous,
and they do not look to the holy one of Israel,
and they do not consult Yahweh.
2 And indeed, he is wise, and he brings disaster,
and he does not remove his words,
and he will rise against the house of evildoers
and against the help of workers of iniquity.
3 And the Egyptians are human and not God,
and their horses are flesh and not spirit.
And Yahweh stretches out his hand,
and the helper will stumble,
and the one being helped will fall,
and together all of them will come to an end.
4 For Yahweh said this to me:
“As which a lion growls
and a young lion over its prey
when a full group of shepherds is called against him,
it is not terrified by their voice,
and to their noise it does not respond,
so Yahweh of hosts will come down to fight upon Mount Zion
and upon its hill.
5 Like birds flying overhead, so Yahweh of hosts will protect Jerusalem;
he will protect and deliver it;
he will pass over and rescue it.
6 Turn back to the one against whom the sons of Israel have made deep rebellion.
7 For on that day, each one will reject his idols of silver
and his idols of gold which your hands have made in sin for you.
8 And Assyria shall fall by a sword not of a man,
and a sword not of a human shall devour him;
and he shall flee from the sword,
and his young men shall be put to forced labor.
9 And his rock will pass over because of terror,
and his officers will be terrified because of the flag,”
who has a fire in Zion
and has a furnace in Jerusalem.
The Kingdom of Righteousness
32 See, a king will rule according to righteousness,
and princes will rule according to justice.
2 And each one will be like a hiding place from the wind
and a covering from the rainstorm,
like streams of water in a dry region,
like the shade of a large rock in a weary land.
3 And the eyes of those who see will not gaze,
and the ears of those who hear will listen.
4 And the minds of the rash will understand knowledge,
and the tongues of stammerers will hasten to speak clearly.
5 A fool will no longer be called noble,
and a scoundrel will not be said to be eminent.
6 For a fool speaks folly,
and his mind does iniquity:
to behave wickedly,
and to speak error concerning Yahweh,
to leave the throat of the hungry empty,
and he deprives the thirsty of drink.
7 And a scoundrel, his weapons are evil;
he plans evil devices
to ruin the poor with words of deception
even when the speech of the needy is right.
8 But the nobleman plans noble things,
and he stands upon noble things.
Against the Carefree Women
9 Women who are at ease, rise up; hear my voice!
Carefree daughters, listen to my word!
10 In a year you will tremble, carefree ones,
for the vintage will come to an end;
the harvest will not come.
11 Tremble, you who are at ease;
tremble, carefree ones;
strip, and strip yourself,
and gird yourself on your loins,
12 mourning over breasts,
over fields of delight,
over the fruitful vine,
13 over the soil of my people.
It goes up in thorns and briers,
indeed over all of the houses of joy in the jubilant city.
14 For the palace will be forsaken,
the crowded city deserted;
the hill and the watchtower will become a cave forever,
the joy of wild asses, a pasture for flocks.
15 Until a spirit is poured out on us from on high,
and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,
and the fruitful field is reckoned as the forest.
16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,
and righteousness will live in the fruitful field.
17 And the work of righteousness will be peace,
and the work of righteousness, quietness and security forever.
18 And my people will dwell in a settlement of peace
and in a dwelling place of security
and in undisturbed resting places.
19 And it hails when the forest comes down,
and the city will become low in humiliation.
20 Happy are you who sow by all waters,
who let the foot of the ox and the donkey go free.
How to Pray
11 And it happened that while he was in a certain place praying, when he stopped a certain one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples.” 2 And he said to them, “When you pray, say,
may your name be treated as holy.
May your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation.”
Ask, Seek, Knock
5 And he said to them, “Who of you will have a friend, and will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6 because a friend of mine has come to me on a journey, and I do not have anything to set before him.’ 7 And that one will answer from inside and say, ‘Do not cause me trouble! The door has already been shut and my children are with me in bed! I am not able to get up to give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even if he does not give him anything after he gets up because he is his friend, at any rate because of his impudence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
9 And I tell you, ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened for you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 But what father from among you, if his son will ask for a fish, instead of a fish will give him a snake? 12 Or also, if he will ask for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 Therefore if you, although you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father from heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
A House Divided Cannot Stand
14 And he was expelling a mute demon. Now it happened that when the demon came out, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowds were astonished. 15 But some of them said, “By Beelzebul the ruler of demons he expels demons!” 16 And others, in order to test him, were demanding from him a sign from heaven. 17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. 18 So if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I expel demons by Beelzebul. 19 But if I expel demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons expel them? For this reason they will be your judges! 20 But if I expel demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you! 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his possessions are safe. 22 But when a stronger man attacks him and conquers him, he takes away his full armor in which he trusted and distributes his plunder. 23 The one who is not with me is against me, and the one who does not gather with me scatters.
An Unclean Spirit Returns
24 “Whenever an unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it travels through waterless places searching for rest, and does not find it. It says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came out.’ 25 And when it arrives it finds the house swept and put in order. 26 Then it goes and brings along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there. And the last state of that person becomes worse than the first!”
27 Now it happened that as he said these things, a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” 28 But he said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and follow it!”
The Sign of Jonah
29 And as the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation! It demands a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah! 30 For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation. 31 The queen of the south will rise up at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here! 32 The people of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here!
Light and Darkness
33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a bushel basket, but on a lampstand, so that those who come in can see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of the body. When your eye is sincere, your whole body is full of light also. But when it is evil, your body is dark also. 35 Therefore pay careful attention that the light in you is not darkness! 36 If therefore your whole body is full of light, not having any part dark, it will be completely full of light, as when the lamp with its light gives light to you.”
11 “Even I will not restrain my mouth;
I will speak in my spirit’s anguish;
I will complain in my inner self’s bitterness.
12 Am I the sea, or a sea monster,
that you set a guard over me?
13 When I say, ‘My bed will comfort me,
and my couch will ease my complaint,’
14 then you terrify me with dreams,
and with visions you terrify me.
15 So my inner self will choose strangling—
death more than my existence.
16 I loathe my life; I would not live forever;
depart from me, for my days are a breath.
17 “What is a human being that you make him great
and that you fix your mind on him,
18 so that you visit him every morning,
you test him every moment?
19 How long will you not turn away from me?
Or not leave me alone until I swallow my spit?
20 If I have sinned, what have I done to you, watcher of humanity?
Why have you made me as a target for yourself,
so that I have become a burden to myself?
21 And why do you not pardon my transgression
and take away my guilt?
For now I shall lie in the dust,
and you will seek me, but I will be no more.”
I’m a planner. I love schedules. The trouble is I sometimes make plans without consulting God. While I often think of this as a modern problem, I’ve discovered that, like many other modern issues, the Bible regularly addresses it. For example, in Isaiah 30:1 Yahweh declares, “Oh rebellious children!… to make a plan, but not from me, and pour out a libation, but not from my Spirit, so as to add sin to sin.”
Apparently, God’s people had been offering libations—a type of drink offering—in the ways of the Egyptians rather than in the ways of Yahweh. We make the same mistake in our lives. We seek wisdom in books or from people before consulting Yahweh. We ask our colleagues what they think before turning to our God. We look to our parents or friends instead of waiting patiently on God’s resolve. We look to our own strength or influence instead of relying on the God who created us.
In our demeanor toward God, we are so much like Israel relying on Egypt—we look to others and to ourselves for salvation rather than to God. We have removed the miraculous from our faith. Instead of asserting that God will change the course of history, we determine that we will do it. Although God certainly uses us in this work, salvation doesn’t come from our efforts—it comes from Yahweh. Rather than seeking to align our already formed plans with God’s, we must approach Him with an open mind and a willing heart. We must find the answers we seek in Him.
How can you seek God today in all that you do? How can you look to Him first and make Him foremost?
Author: John D. Barry & Rebecca Van Noord
Publisher: Lexham Press
Publication Date: 2012
This 365-day devotional walks you through the Bible in a year, following a custom reading plan that delves into the stories of the Bible from five unique perspectives.