Daily Devotional Readings: Year Three - February
1st February: Psalms 82:1-83:18
'The Lord' is 'the Most High' (18). Through faith in Jesus Christ, we become 'sons of the Most High': 'You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus' (82:6; Galatians 3:26). Through the great love of God, we have received the great privilege of becoming 'sons of the Most High. With this great privilege comes the great responsibility of sharing His love with others: 'Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the desolate. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked' (82:3-4). Let us rejoice in our great privilege. Let us be faithful to our great responsibility. This is the way of enjoying God's great blessing: 'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God'. This is the way of 'giving glory to our Father in heaven' (Matthew 5:9,16).
2nd February: Isaiah 7:1-25
Isaiah looked ahead to the coming of 'Immanuel' - 'God with us' (14; Matthew 1:23). We look forward to the Second Coming of Immanuel: 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God' (Revelation 21:3). The Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ presents us with a challenge: 'When the Son of man comes, will He find faith on earth?' (Luke 18:8). He calls us to 'stand firm in our faith'. We must not 'shrink back ' from Him. We must 'believe and be saved' (9; Hebrews 10:37-39). Jesus says, 'I am coming soon'. Let us pray, 'Come, Lord Jesus'. Let us pray that our 'love' for Him will not 'grow cold'. Let us pray for strength to 'stand firm to the end and be saved' (Revelation 22:7,12,20; Matthew 24:12-13).
3rd February: Isaiah 8:1-22
'Immanuel...God is with us' (8,10). Jesus Christ has come to be with us so that we might go to be with Him. He has come from heaven to earth so that we might go from earth to heaven. He died for us that we might live with Him. He does not return to heaven alone. He 'brings many sons to glory': 'Here am I, and the children the Lord has given me' (18; Hebrews 2:9-10,13). Jesus speaks to us of the glory of the Father's House'. He shares this glory with us: 'I go to prepare a place for you...I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also'. He invites us to enter this heavenly glory. He is 'the Way, the Truth and the Life'. Without Him, we cannot enter heaven: 'No one comes to the Father except through Me'. Through faith in Him, we receive 'eternal life' (John 14:1-3,6; 6:40).
4th February: Isaiah 9:1-10:4
The prophecy has been spoken - 'To us a Child is born, to us a Son is given...'. The prophecy has been fulfilled - 'Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you: He is Christ the Lord'. Jesus Christ is our great Saviour. He is our 'Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace' (9:6: Luke 2:11). Jesus Christ has brought to us a great salvation. Through faith in Him, we enter God's heavenly and eternal 'Kingdom' (9:7: Luke 1:30-33). This is 'Good News of great joy' - for 'all the people', for 'all generations'. Let us rejoice in the Lord, as Mary, the mother of Jesus, did - 'My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour...for the Mighty One has done great things for me...'. Let us join with the angels in saying, 'Glory to God in the highest...' (Luke 2:10; 1:46-50; 2:14).
5th February: Isaiah 10:5-34
'A few, the remaining few of Jacob, will return to the Mighty God...' (21). So few people take time to worship the Lord. Are we to become discouraged? No! We must take encouragement from God's Word: 'The Light of Israel will become a fire, their Holy One a flame'(17). We must continue to pray for God's blessing. 'Let the flame burn brighter in the heart of the darkness, turning night to glorious day. Let the song grow louder as our love grow stronger; let it shine! let it shine!'. 'Shine, Jesus, shine, fill this land with the Father's glory; blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire. Flow, river, flow, flood the nations with grace and mercy; send forth Your Word, Lord, and let there be light!' (Mission Praise, 743,445). May God give us grace to 'truly rely on' Him, 'the Lord, the Holy One of Israel' (20).
6th February: Isaiah 11:1-12:6
The family tree of 'Jesse, the father of King David' has a very special 'Branch' - Jesus Christ (11:1; Matthew 1:1,6,16). Jesus Christ has raised 'a banner for the nations'. He is 'the Saviour of the world'. He has died 'for the sins of the whole world'. The 'Good News' is to be preached to 'all the world'. Christ calls 'all nations' to 'turn to Him'. He calls 'all nations' to receive the 'forgiveness of sins'. He calls 'all nations' to become His 'disciples' (12; John 4:42; 1 John 2:2; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; Matthew 28:19). May our personal faith - 'I will praise You, O Lord...God is my Salvation...The Lord is my Strength and my Song...' - become our public testimony - making Christ 'known among the nations', telling 'all the world' what the Lord has done for us (12:1-2,4-5).
7th February: Isaiah 13:1-22
'The Day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty...The Day of the Lord is coming - a cruel Day with wrath and fierce anger...' (6,9). Christ's Return will be a Day of salvation - 'the Day He comes to be glorified in His holy people and to be marvelled at among all those who have believed'. It will also be a Day of judgment - 'When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven...He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord...' (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10). Don't let the Day of the Lord 'surprise you like a thief'. It can be a Day of 'salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ'. Trust 'Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath' (1 Thessalonians 5:1-4,9; 1:9-10).
8th February: Isaiah 14:1-23
We look beyond 'the king of Babylon' (4). We see Satan, full of pride - 'I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High' - , fallen - 'How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer...' - , and brought to nothing - 'you will be brought down to the pit of hell...' (12-15). We look also at 'the king of Tyre'. Again, we see Satan - 'you were on the holy mountain of God...you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God...your heart was proud... you have come to a dreadful end...' (Ezekiel 28:12-19). Satan (the devil) wages war against the Lord and His people. The final outcome of this war is certain - defeat for Satan. Christ has won the victory: By 'the authority of Christ', Satan 'has been thrown down'. In Christ, we have the victory: 'they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb ...' (Revelation 12:7-12).
9th February: Isaiah 14:24-15:9
'My heart cries out for Moab' (5). Here, we see the loving heart of God. He takes 'no pleasure in the death of the wicked'. He does 'not want anyone to perish'. He longs for 'everyone to come to repentance' (Ezekiel 33:11; 2 Peter 3:9). We see the loving heart of God in our Saviour, Jesus Christ: 'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!'. We see the loving heart of God in Paul. He sees the nation of Israel turning away from God. He is filled with compassion: 'I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart' (Matthew 23:37; Romans 9:2). May God help us to feel for the lost, to look upon them with His love, to long for them to be saved.
10th February: Psalm 84:1-12
'How I love Your Temple, Almighty Lord! How I want to be there! I long to be in the Lord's Temple. With my whole being I sing for joy to the living God' (1-2). This is much more than paying lip-service to the Lord.This is real. Worshipping the Lord meant everything to the Psalmist: 'I long for You, O God. I thirst for You, the living God; when can I go and worship in Your presence' (42:1-2). He found great joy in worshipping the Lord: 'Let Your light and Your truth guide me...to the place where You dwell. Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight...' (43:4). He worshipped God with his whole heart: 'O God, You are my God, and I long for You. My whole being desires You...my soul is thirsty for You' (63:1). This is real worship, joyful worship, heartfetlt worship. May God help us to worship Him like that!
11th February: Hebrews 1:1-2:9
From the heights of heaven and the depths of suffering, 'God...has spoken to us by His Son' (1:1-2). Jesus Christ is God's 'Word' to us. He is 'the Word' who came from heaven: 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God'. He is 'the Word' who came to earth: 'the Word became flesh and dwelt among us...' (John 1:1-14). In heaven, He is worshipped by angels: 'Let all God's angels worship Him' (1:6). On earth, 'He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone' (2:9). We see the greatness of Christ in both His heavenly glory and His saving grace. None can compare with Him. He is our Lord. He is our Saviour. We consider all that He has done for us - 'the nail marks in His hands...' - and we worship Him - 'my Lord and my God' (John 20:19-20,24-28).
12th February: Hebrews 2:10-3:19
God invites each of us to receive a great blessing - the blessing of being His 'children' (2:13). We become God's children through faith in Christ: 'To all who received Him, who believed in His Name, He gave power to become children of God' (John 1:12). What will you do with God's great invitation, His invitation of love? Will you receive Christ and become a child of God? Will you miss out on the blessing 'because of unbelief' (19)? God is waiting for your answer - 'Today, when you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts' (3:7,15). Throughout life, we must guard against 'an evil, unbelieving heart, leading us to fall away from the living God'. 'Every day', we must take care that we do not become 'hardened by the deceitfulness of sin' (3:12-13). As God's children, let's grow in Christ (1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18).
13th February: Isaiah 16:1-17:3
'In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a Man will sit on it - One from the house of David...' (5). This Man is more than 'a descendant of David'. He is Jesus Christ, 'the Son of God' (Romans 1:4). 'Jesus, the Saviour reigns'. Jesus is 'the King of Love'. He is 'our great Redeemer ...our God and King'. Let us worship 'our glorious King'. Let us sing to Him, 'Alleluia! What a Saviour!'. Let us, with heart and voice, 'confess Him King of glory now'. He is 'our King'. Let us 'bring Him hearts that love Him'. Let us 'bring Him thankful praise'. He puts His question to us: 'Who will serve the King?'. Let us give our answer: We will 'rise up'. We will 'have done with lesser things'. We will 'give heart and soul and mind and strength to serve the King of kings' (Church Hymnary, 296,388,371,380,300,464,479,477).
14th February: Isaiah 17:4-18:7
'You have forgotten the God of your salvation, and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge' (10). How easy it is to forget! The Lord has loved us so much. We should remember to say, 'Thank You'. Very often, we forget. When Jesus healed ten lepers, only 'one of them came back' to say 'Thank You'. Far too often, we are like 'the other nine' (Luke 17:11-19). We forget to thank Him for His love. We take His love for granted. We should be celebrating. We should be letting Him know how much we love Him. Don't forget 'your first love' (Revelation 2:4). Let Jesus be your first love. Let Him be your only love - for the whole of your life. 'High heaven, that heard the solemn vow, that vow renewed shall daily hear; till in life's latest hour I bow, and bless in death a bond so dear' (Mission Praise, 499).
15th February: Isaiah 19:1-20:6
'The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, "Blessed be Egypt My people, Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel my heritage"' (19:25). 'There is neither Jew nor Greek...you are all one in Christ Jesus' (Galatians 3:28). How can people who seem to be opposites be brought together? Jesus Christ brings them together. He breaks down 'the barrier'. He removes 'the dividing wall of hostility'. We are brought 'near' to one another through 'the blood of Christ'. We must come to 'the Cross' of Christ. There, at 'the Cross', we will find each other. We will discover what it means to be 'one body' in Christ (Ephesians 2:13-16). When Satan comes, creating misunderstanding, filling our minds with suspicion and undermining our hopes of peace, let's remind him of God's Word, 'You are all one in Christ Jesus'.
16th February: Psalm 85:1-13
We are to pray for revival - 'Restore us again, O God our Saviour...Will You not revive us again that Your people may rejoice in You?' (4,6). We are to pray that God will 'grant us His salvation'. We are to pray that 'His saving presence will remain in our land'. We must pray that 'His glory may dwell in our land' (7,9). We are to pray for real listening - 'I will listen to what God the Lord will say' - , a real turning to the Lord - 'turning to Him in our hearts' - , and a real sense of His blessing - 'He will speak peace to His people' (8). Prayer for revival does not begin as a prayer for others. It begins with ourselves: 'O Holy Ghost, revival comes from Thee; send a revival - start the work in me'. It begins with this prayer: "Lord, take my life, and make it wholly Thine; fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine'(Mission Praise, 587).
17th February: Isaiah 21:1-17
We live in a situation of conflict. We are at war with the enemy. Satan is God's enemy. Satan is our enemy. Satan is a very determined enemy. Satan is a defeated enemy. The words of verse 9 - 'Fallen, fallen is Babylon...' - , repeated again in Revelation 14:8; 18:2, assure us that Satan will not prevail over the Lord and His people. The victory is the Lord's. He gives His victory to us. When the going gets tough, when Satan seems to have the upper hand, let's remember this: 'Fierce may be the conflict, strong may be the foe, but the King's own army none can overthrow. Round His standard ranging, victory is secure, for His truth unchanging makes the triumph sure'. Let us not hesitate to commit ourselves to Christ: 'Joyfully enlisting, by Thy grace divine, we are on the Lord's side; Saviour, we are Thine' (Church Hymnary, 479).
18th February: Isaiah 22:1-25
Here, we read about 'the Valley of Vision' (1,5). The Lord Himself is to be our Vision: 'Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart; Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art, Thou my best thought, by day or by night, waking or sleeping Thy presence my light' (Church Hymnary, 87). Down in the valley, the mountain-top experience seems a long way off. What are we to do when everything seems to be hard-going? When there seems to be no way out of the valley, no way back to the mountain-top, we must keep on 'looking to Jesus' (Hebrews 12:1-2). In the 'valley', we must learn to say, 'My goal is God Himself, not joy nor peace, nor even blessing, but Himself, my God'. Let your 'valley' become your 'valley of vision', the place where you are learning to 'turn your eyes upon Jesus' (Mission Praise, 470,712).
19th February: Isaiah 23:1-18
'Look at the land of the Babylonians, this people that is now of no account!' (13). To the nation which turns to Him, the Lord speaks His promise of blessing - 'Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord ...' (Psalm 33:12). To the nation which turns away from Him, God speaks His warning of judgment - 'For lack of guidance a nation falls' (Proverbs 11:14). We must choose. Will we choose to listen to the Lord, to submit our lives to Him, to follow the guidance He has given to us in His Word? Or, will we ignore Him and go our own way? The way of the Lord leads to blessing - 'Righteousness exalts a nation'. The way of self leads to judgment - 'sin is a disgrace to any people' (Proverbs 14:34). What will it be? - 'Look at the Babylonians...!' or 'They will see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven' (Matthew 5:16).
20th February: Isaiah 24:1-23
'They raise their voices, they shout for joy; from the west they acclaim the Lord's majesty. Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord, exalt the Name of the Lord, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea. From the ends of the earth we hear singing: "Glory to the Righteous One"' (14-16). What a beautiful picture of a land that is enjoying God's blessing, praising Him and giving glory to Him! Looking around us, we see a very different picture - 'The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws... therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt' (5-6). Can the dark picture of sin and guilt be turned into the brigther picture of salvation and rejoicing? God 'is able to do so much more than we can ask for, or even imagine' (Ephesians 3:20). Be bold. Pray that God will send revival in our time.
21st February: Isaiah 25:1-26:9
'O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your Name...You have done marvellous things' (25:1). We remember what God has done for us. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Saviour. We rejoice in Jesus Christ who died for us. We rejoice in Jesus Christ who rose again for us. We look forward to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. We look forward to the Day when 'He will swallow up death for ever'. On that Day, 'the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces'. On that Day, we will look back and say, 'Surely this is our God; we trusted in Him, and He saved us'. On that Day, we will 'rejoice and be glad in His salvation' (25:8-9). Here and now, let us learn to 'trust in the Lord'. We can trust in Him 'for ever'. He is 'the everlasting Rock' - 'the Rock of our salvation' (4; Psalm 95:1).
22nd February: Isaiah 26:10-27:13
Jesus is our Saviour - 'Lord, You establish peace for us'; 'We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ'. We cannot save ourselves. We can only look away from ourselves to Jesus - and be saved by Him: 'all that we have accomplished You have done for us'; 'By grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God' (26:12; Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:8). Jesus is our Lord - 'Lord, our God...You alone are our Lord'. How are we to live once we have received salvation through faith in Jesus Christ? - 'Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him'. We are not to 'keep on sinning so that God can keep on showing us more and more kindness and forgiveness'. We are to live a life of 'good works' (26:13; Colossians 2:6; Romans 6:1; Ephesians 2:10).
23rd February: Isaiah 28:1-22
Jesus Christ is 'the precious Cornerstone'. He is 'the sure Foundation' (16). Jesus is the Name of our salvation - 'Salvation is found in no-one else...there is no other name...by which we must be saved' (Acts 4:10-12). There is only one 'Foundation' for our faith - 'Jesus Christ' (1 Corinthians 3:11). He is the 'chosen and precious Cornerstone' - 'to you who believe, this Stone is precious' (1 Peter 2:6-7). Build your life on Christ, 'the solid Rock' - 'My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness; no merit of my own I claim, but wholly trust in Jesus' Name. When weary in this earthly race, I rest on His unchanging grace...When earthly hopes are swept away, He will uphold me on that Day. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand. All other ground is sinking sand' (Matthew 7:24-27; Mission Praise, 473).
24th February: Isaiah 28:23-29:16
'The wisdom of the wise will perish' (29:14). There is another 'wisdom', a 'wisdom' which shall not perish, a 'wisdom' which is 'wiser than man's wisdom'. Christ is 'the Wisdom of God' (1 Corinthians 1:24-25). With Christ as our Saviour, we 'shall not perish'. Through faith in Him, we receive the 'wisdom' which brings 'salvation' (John 3:16; 2 Timothy 3:15). Jesus Christ is 'the Way, the Truth and the Life' (John14:6). He is the Way to true wisdom. He is the Truth upon which true wisdom is based. He is the Life which is based on true wisdom. He is true Wisdom. We must not seek wisdom apart from faith in Jesus Christ - 'the world did not know God through wisdom'. There is one true wisdom which does 'not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God' - faith in 'Christ crucified' (1 Corinthians 1:21-23; 2:1-5).
25th February: Isaiah 29:17-30:17
'In returning and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. You said, "No!"' (15-16). God wants to bless us. He wants to be our 'salvation'. He wants to be our 'strength'. How does God bless us? How does He become our 'salvation'? How does He become our 'strength'? We must want His blessing. We must want His 'salvation'. We must want His 'strength'. We must return to Him and rest in Him. We must quietly listen to His Word, putting our trust in Him. There is no 'salvation' without 'returning and rest'. There is no 'strength' without 'quietness and trust'. God does not force Himself upon us. We can say, 'No! I will have none of it'. God wants to bless you. Will you say, 'Yes, Lord! I want You to be my 'salvation'. I want You to be my 'strength'?
26th February: Isaiah 30:18-31:19
'Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the Lord!' (1). It is so easy to forget the Lord. We try to go it alone, and we forget to look to Him for help. Even when we forget Him, He does not forget us. When we turn our backs on Him, He calls us to 'return to Him' (6). He reminds us that our true help is found in Him: 'Our help is in the Name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth' (Psalm 124:8). We need not look around here, there and everywhere for an answer to the question, 'Where does my help come from?'. There is only one true answer to this question: 'My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth' (Psalm 121:1-2).
27th February: Hebrews 4:1-5:10
'Today, when you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts'. These words from 3:7,15, are repeated here in 4:7. Make sure that you don't miss the point! These are words that we need to keep on hearing - again and again. None of us ever reaches a stage where we no longer need to hear and heed God's words of warning. Reading God's Word can be a very uncomfortable experience: 'God's Word is living and active...God's Word judges a person's thoughts and intentions. No creature can hide from God. Everything is uncovered and exposed for Him to see. We must answer to Him' (4:12-13). This may not be the kind of thing we like to hear. It's what we need to hear. We will only pray for 'mercy' and 'grace' when we see how sinful we really are. Then - and only then - will we come to Christ for 'eternal salvation' (4:15-16; 5:9).
28th February: Hebrews 5:11-6:20
'Let us...go on to maturity' (6:1). There can be no question of 'continuing in sin' - 'God forbid! How can we who died to sin still live in it?' (Romans 6:1-2). We are to become 'mature people, whose minds are trained by practice to know the difference between good and evil' (5:14). We are to move on to 'the better things that belong to salvation' (9). it cannot be taken for granted that every believer will 'go on to maturity'. Some start so well and then they lose their way somewhere along the line. We should read the words of 6:4-8 as a warning. We can so easily become 'sluggish' (6:12). When this wrong attitude sets in, things go from bad to worse. Do you want to become 'worthless and near to being cursed' (8)? Take care. Pray for 'earnestness in realizing the full assurance of hope until the end' (6:11).