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Isaiah 27:1–28:29 (LEB)

Israel Rescued

27 On that day, Yahweh will punish with his cruel, great and strong sword Leviathan, the fleeing serpent, and Leviathan, the twisting serpent, and he will kill the sea monster that is in the sea.

On that day:

“A vineyard of beauty! Sing in praise of it!

I, Yahweh, am her keeper;

I water it again and again.

Lest one afflict harm on it,

I guard it night and day;

I have no wrath.

Whatever gives me thorns and briers,

I will step forth against in battle.

I will set it on fire altogether.

Or let it grasp at my protection;

let it make peace with me;

peace let it make with me.”

Days are coming, let Jacob take root;

Israel will blossom and send out shoots,

and they will fill the face of the world with fruit.

Does he strike him as he struck down those who struck him?

Or is he killed as those who killed him were killed?

By expelling her, by her sending away, you argue with her.

He removed them with his strong wind,

in the day of the east wind.

Therefore by this he will make atonement for the guilt of Jacob,

and this will be all of the fruit of the removal of his sin:

when he makes all the stones of the altar like crushed stones of chalk,

no poles of Asherah worship or incense altars will stand.

10 For the fortified city is solitary,

a settlement deserted and forsaken, like the wilderness;

the calf grazes there,

lies down there and destroys its branches.

11 When its branches are dry, they are broken;

women are coming and setting light to it.

For it is not a people of understanding;

therefore his maker will not have compassion on him,

and his creator will not show him favor.

12 And this shall happen:

on that day, Yahweh will thresh from the floodwaters of the Euphrates to the wadi of Egypt, and as for you, you will be gathered one by one, sons of Israel.

13 And this shall happen:

on that day, a great trumpet will be blown,

and those who were lost in the land of Assyria will come,

and those who were scattered in the land of Egypt,

and they will bow down to Yahweh on the holy mountain at Jerusalem.

Judgment against the Leaders of Ephraim

28 Ah! The garland of the pride of the drunkards of Ephraim

and the withering flower of the glory of his beauty,

which is at the head of the rich valley,

ones overcome with wine!

Look! The Lord has a mighty and strong one,

like a rainstorm of hail, a wind storm of destruction,

like a rainstorm of mighty overflowing waters,

he will put them to the earth with his hand.

The garland of the pride of the drunkards of Ephraim

will be trampled by feet,

and the withering flower of the glory of its beauty

which is at the head of the rich valley

will be like its early fig before summer,

which the one who sees it swallows while it is still in his hand.

In that day, Yahweh of hosts will become a garland of glory

and a diadem of beauty to the remnant of his people,

and a spirit of justice to the one who sits over judgment,

and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.

And these also stagger because of wine

and stagger because of strong drink;

priest and prophet stagger because of strong drink;

they are confused because of wine.

They stagger because of strong drink;

they err in vision.

They stagger in the rendering of a decision,

for all the tables are full of disgusting vomit, with no place left.

To whom will he teach knowledge,

and to whom will he explain the message?

Those who are weaned from milk,

those taken from the breast?

10 For it is blah-blah upon blah-blah,

blah-blah upon blah-blah,

gah-gah upon gah-gah,

gah-gah upon gah-gah,

a little here, a little there.

11 For he will speak with stammering and another tongue to this people, 12 to whom he has said,

“This is rest; give rest to the weary;

and this is repose”; yet they were not willing to hear.

13 And to them the word of Yahweh will be

blah-blah upon blah-blah

blah-blah upon blah-blah

gah-gah upon gah-gah

gah-gah upon gah-gah,

a little here, a little there,

so that they may go and stumble backward

and be broken and ensnared and captured.

The Cornerstone of Zion

14 Therefore hear the word of Yahweh, men of mockery,

rulers of these people in Jerusalem:

15 Because you have said,

“We have made a covenant with death,

and we have made an agreement with Sheol.

The overwhelming flood, when it passes through, will not come to us,

for we have made lies our refuge,

and we have hidden ourselves in falsehood.”

16 Therefore the Lord Yahweh says this:

“Look! I am laying a stone in Zion,

a tested stone,

a precious cornerstone,

a founded foundation:

‘The one who trusts will not panic.’

17 And I will make justice the measuring line,

and righteousness the plumb line;

and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,

and waters will flood over the hiding place.

18 And your covenant with death will be annulled,

and your agreement with Sheol will not stand;

you will become a trampling place for the overwhelming flood when it passes through.

19 As often as it passes through, it will take you,

for morning by morning it will pass through,

in the day and in the night,

and understanding the message will be only terror.”

20 For the bed is too short to stretch out on,

and the covering is too narrow when wrapping oneself.

21 For Yahweh will rise up as at Mount Perazim;

he will rave as in the valley at Gibeon

to do his deed—his deed is strange—

and to work his work—his work is alien!

22 And now you must not scoff,

or your bonds will be strong,

for I have heard from the Lord, Yahweh of hosts:

complete destruction

decreed upon all the land.

A Parable of Yahweh’s Work

23 Listen, and hear my voice!

Listen attentively, and hear my word!

24 Is it all day that the plowman plows,

opens to sow seed, harrows his ground?

25 When he has leveled its surface, does he not scatter dill,

and sow cumin seed,

and plant wheat in planted rows,

and barley in an appointed place,

and spelt grain as its border?

26 And his God instructs him about the prescription;

he teaches him.

27 For dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge,

nor is a wheel of a utility cart rolled over cumin,

but dill is beaten out with a stick,

and cumin with a rod.

28 Grain is crushed fine,

but certainly one does not thresh it forever;

and one drives the wheel of his cart,

but his horses do not crush it.

29 This also comes forth from Yahweh of hosts.

He is wonderful in advice;

he makes great wisdom.

Luke 9:28–62 (LEB)

The Transfiguration

28 Now it happened that about eight days after these words, he took along Peter and John and James and​ went up on the mountain to pray. 29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his face became different, and his clothing became white, gleaming like lightning. 30 And behold, two men were talking with him, who were Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory and​ were speaking about his departure which he was about to fulfill in Jerusalem.

32 Now Peter and those with him were very sleepy, but when they​ became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men who were standing with him. 33 And it happened that as they were going away from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here. And let us make three shelters, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah,” not knowing what he was saying. 34 And while​ he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered into the cloud. 35 And a voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to him!” 36 And after the voice had occurred, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.

A Demon-possessed Boy Healed

37 Now it happened that on the next day, when​ they had come down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. 38 And behold, a man from the crowd cried out, saying, “Teacher, I beg you to look with concern on my son, because he is my only son! 39 And behold, a spirit seizes him and suddenly he screams, and it convulses him with foam and rarely withdraws from him, battering him severely. 40 And I begged your disciples that they would expel it, and they were not able to do so.” 41 So Jesus answered and​ said, “O unbelieving and perverted generation! How long will I be with you and put up with you? Bring your son here!” 42 And while​ he was still approaching, the demon threw him down and convulsed him.​ But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. 43 And they were all astounded at the impressiveness of God.

Jesus Predicts His Suffering

But while they​ were all marveling at all the things that he was doing, he said to his disciples, 44 You take these words to heart, for the Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men.” 45 But they did not understand this statement, and it was concealed from them so that they could not understand it. And they were afraid to ask him about this statement.

The Question About Who Is Greatest

46 And an argument developed among them as to who of them might be greatest. 47 But Jesus, because he​ knew the thoughts of their hearts, took hold of a child and had him stand beside him 48 and said to them, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For the one who is least among you all—this one is great.”

Whoever Is Not Against Us Is for Us

49 And John answered and​ said, “Master, we saw someone expelling demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him, because he does not follow in company with us.” 50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not prevent him,​ because whoever is not against you is for you.”

Jesus Rejected in a Samaritan Village

51 Now it happened that when the days were approaching for him to be taken up, he set his​ face to go to Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers before him, and they went and​ entered into a village of the Samaritans in order to prepare for him. 53 And they did not welcome him because he was determined to go to Jerusalem. 54 Now when​ the disciples James and John saw it,​ they said, “Lord, do you want us to call fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” 55 But he turned around and​ rebuked them, 56 and they proceeded to another village.

Would-be Followers

57 And as​ they were traveling on the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go!” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his​ head.” 59 And he said to another, “Follow me!” But he said, “Lord, first allow me to go and​ bury my father.” 60 But he said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead! But you go and​ proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 And another person also said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first allow me to say farewell to those in my house.” 62 But Jesus said, “No one who puts his​ hand on the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God!”

Job 6:14–30 (LEB)

14 “Loyal love should come for the afflicted from his friend,

even if he forsakes the fear of Shaddai.

15 My companions are treacherous like a torrent-bed;

like a streambed of wadis they flow away,

16 which are growing dark because of ice upon them,

it will pile up snow.

17 In time they dry up, they disappear;

when it is hot, they vanish from their place.

18 The paths of their way wind around;

they go up into the wasteland, and they perish.

19 The caravans of Tema looked;

the traveling merchants of Sheba hope for them.

20 They are disappointed, because they trusted;

they came here and they are confounded.

21 “For now you have become such;

you see terrors, and you fear.

22 Is it because I have said, ‘Give to me,’

or, ‘Offer a bribe for me from your wealth’?

23 or, ‘Save me from the foe’s hand,’

or, ‘Ransom me from the tyrants’ hand’?

24 Teach me, and I myself will be silent;

and make me understand how I have gone astray.

25 How painful are upright words!

But what does your reproof reprove?

26 Do you intend to reprove my words

and consider the words of a desperate man as wind?

27 Even over the orphan you would cast the lot,

and you would bargain over your friend.

28 Therefore be prepared, turn to me,

and I surely will not lie to your face.

29 Please turn, let no injustice happen;

indeed, turn, my righteousness is still intact.

30 Is there injustice on my tongue?

Or can my palate not discern calamity?

August 13

Indiana Jones isn’t afraid of anything—until a snake shows up on the scene. Then we hear him mutter, “I hate snakes” and “Snakes, why did it have to be snakes?” Everyone is afraid of something. Even now your greatest fear is probably creeping through your mind—something completely irrational, like heights, spiders or dolls.

Like Indy and like us, the ancients had fears as well: They hated snakes. In ancient literature the serpent Leviathan was a symbol of chaos—a great monster to be subdued. When a god subdued Leviathan in the ancient stories, it showed his supremacy.

Isaiah uses the same metaphor to proclaim that Yahweh can destroy all fears: “On that day, Yahweh will punish with his cruel, great and strong sword Leviathan, the fleeing serpent, and Leviathan, the twisting serpent, and he will kill the sea monster that is in the sea” (Isa 27:1). Yahweh Himself mentions Leviathan when He responds to Job, who had suffered the loss of all he had: “Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook? Or can you tie down its mouth with a cord?” (Job 41:1).

When we struggle, it’s easy to focus on the Leviathans in our life, but God wants us to focus on His majesty. God can provide what we need. He can bring goodness in the midst of heartbreak (Isa 27:6). Perhaps this is why Jesus allowed Peter, James and John to see Him in His glory (Luke 9:28–35). He knew that they needed to understand that His glory was more powerful than anything they feared. Perhaps this is also why Jesus repeatedly pushed back the powers of darkness in front of His followers (e.g., Luke 9:37–43); He showed them that He could subdue anything He encountered.

When the Lord of the universe, who crushes the head of the great Leviathan, is in our corner, we have nothing to fear. All powers of darkness should tremble, for He is creating a great vineyard for us out of the chaos (Isa 27:2). If only Indy had known.

What goodness is God making out of the fear in your life?

John D. Barry is the publisher of Lexham Press, general editor of Faithlife Study Bible and Lexham Bible Dictionary, and the previous editor-in-chief of Bible Study Magazine. He is the author of The Resurrected Servant in Isaiah, Cutting Ties with Darkness, and Letters to a Christian, as well as the coauthor of Mary: Devoted to God's Plan. John is also the author of Not Your Average Bible Study volumes on Malachi, Colossians, Hebrews, James, and 1 Peter, and the coauthor of a study on 2 Peter–Jude.

Connect the Testaments: A Daily Devotional

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.