chronological day 203 :)

Here we go!  Let’s read 2 Kings 20:1-11, Isaiah 38:1-8, 2 Chronicles 32:24-31, Isaiah 38:9-22, 2 Kings 20:12-19, and Isaiah 39.  Lots of ups and downs.  Even though I haven’t done a play-by-play of the day’s reading yet, maybe I’ll make an exception today!

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Hezekiah receives a prophecy that he’ll die, so he prays (2 Kings 20:3).  With the faithfulness that we always find in Him, God hears Hezekiah.  The Lord sent a miraculous sign and extended his life ( 2 Kings 20:5-6). Hezekiah says “the Lord was ready to save me” (Isaiah 38:20). Of course, He was ready to save! Even today, He IS ready to save us at all times.  Sitting at “go” all the time, waiting for opportunities to show Himself strong on our behalf.

Hezekiah receives another terrifying prophecy (2 Kings 20:16-19) and his response is literally “well, at least I’ll have peace in my lifetime”. Ugh! Is he kidding right now? Yesterday we were talking about leaving a godly legacy like David, and today Hezekiah can’t think past his own life (and he’s one of the good ones!  Remember what a relief it was when he came to power after all the evil kings?).

Contrary to what our selfish nature says, what we do and the legacy we leave is important. We have to think beyond our SELF. It’s unbelievable how quickly our hearts can turn from GOD to SELF (Hezekiah gave us whiplash today). This is a constant battle – and we have to purpose to WIN.

chronological day 202 :)

Lots going on today!  Please read 2 Kings 19:1-19, Isaiah 37:1-20, 2 Chronicles 32:9-19, 2 Kings 19:20-37, Isaiah 37:21-38, and 2 Chronicles 32:20-23.  Did you circle or star anything as you read? Leave a comment – I’d love to hear from you!

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“For I will defend this city, to save it
For My own sake and for My servant David’s sake” (Isaiah 37:35 MSG)

Again, God references David’s covenant while giving hope to the people.  The strength of this covenant, wow. It has been literal generations since David has died. What a gift to be able to leave such a legacy – Lord help me to build something of such importance to Your Name!

chronological day 201 :)

Today we’ll read Micah 6, Micah 7, 2 Chronicles 32:1-8, 2 Kings 18:13-18, Isaiah 36:1-3, 2 Kings 18:19-37, and Isaiah 36:4-22. What stands out to you?  Is the Lord speaking to your heart through His Word?  Here’s a few of my highlights:

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I love Micah.  Mercy is God’s specialty! (wait – did I already say that restoration is God’s specialty? Well, He has LOTS of specialties!)

“But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do,
    what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
    be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously— take God seriously” (Micah 6:8 MSG)

Sennacherib was an enemy of Israel and King Hezekiah, you are probably familiar with his name.  He sends a messenger to speak to Hezekiah’s people, Rebshekah. Rebshekah speaks to Hezekiah’s people in their own language (Hebrew), telling them that God is not to be trusted, and trying to get them to turn on Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:19-37).  His servants ask him to speak in his own language (Aramaic), but he refused. It’s interesting: Our enemy can “talk a good game”, and even tell us what we think we want to hear. It’s a trap, though, every time – a sheep knows the voice of the Shepherd.  Do not be deceived.  Hezekiah’s people were not deceived:

 “But the people held their peace and answered him not a word; for the king’s commandment was, ‘Do not answer him’ ” (2 Kings 18:36 NKJV)

When our enemy the devil tries to speak to us (and might even try to use our own language to confuse us), let’s not answer him, either.

chronological day 200 :)

Here we go – reading Isaiah 34, and 35; then Micah 2,3,4, and 5 today. Restoration – it’s my favorite!

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“It’s for GOD ’s people exclusively— impossible to get lost on this road. Not even fools can get lost on it” (Isaiah 35:8-10 MSG)

In the midst of His anger, God provides a road which will lead us back home.  Always looking for ways to bring us back, draw us close, restore us into right relationship.  (And this is still before Jesus – the best is yet to come!)

How about this one:

“I’m calling a meeting, Jacob. I want all of the survivors back……Then I, GOD, will burst all confinements and lead them out into the open. They’ll follow their King. I will be out in front leading them” (Micah 2:12, 13 MSG)

God wants us back, always! ALL of us!  Lead on, King – we will follow You!

 

chronological day 199 :)

Today, continuing in Isaiah.  Let’s read Isaiah 30, 31, 32, and 33. Are you hanging in there with the Old Testament?  How are you doing?  Here’s what stands out to me today:

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A favorite:

“But GOD ’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you. He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you. GOD takes the time to do everything right—everything. Those who wait around for Him are the lucky ones” (30:18 MSG)

God, just looking and waiting for opportunities to bless and strengthen us – not at all “out to get us” like people sometimes say of the God of the Old Testament. We must find Him to be kind️, His love toward us unchanging.

In 31, Isaiah says that God “must be reckoned with”. We have to decide who God is for us and operate in truth and faith. It won’t do to say “I don’t understand so I won’t do anything about God”.  It’s really our responsibility and obligation to learn and apply His truth to our lives. I love 32:15-20, so applicable to us today:

“Yes, weep and grieve until the Spirit is poured down on us from above
And the badlands desert grows crops and the fertile fields become forests.
Justice will move into the badlands desert. Right will build a home in the fertile field.
And where there’s Right, there’ll be Peace and the progeny of Right: quiet lives and endless trust.
My people will live in a peaceful neighborhood— in safe houses, in quiet gardens.
The forest of your pride will be clear-cut, the city showing off your power leveled.
But you will enjoy a blessed life, planting well-watered fields and gardens,
    with your farm animals grazing freely” (32:15-20 MSG)

What a blessed peace!

chronological day 198 :)

Please read Isaiah 24, 25, 26, 27, and 29 today.  Take every opportunity to notice God’s kindness!  Here’s what stands out to me – do you have a highlight to share?

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“Depend on God and keep at it because in the Lord God you have a sure thing” (Isaiah 26:4 MSG)

I love that. God is sure, He is a constant – and that doesn’t depend on my success or failure.

“The path of right-living people is level.
    The Leveler evens the road for the right-living.
We’re in no hurry, God. We’re content to linger
    in the path sign-posted with Your decisions.
Who You are and what You’ve done
    are all we’ll ever want.
Through the night my soul longs for You.
    Deep from within me my spirit reaches out to You” (Isaiah 26:7-8 MSG)

Amen!  Wow, what beautiful words.  To expand on that would be like trying to put ruffles on the stars – there’s no need.  Read it aloud if you have a minute – make this your prayer today!

27:2-5 reminds me of the chapter with the disappointing vineyard. God says He isn’t angry, but that He cares – even if the vineyard produces thistles. As we submit ourselves to God, He continues to work with us.

chronological day 197 :)

Today, we are reading Isaiah 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, and 23. Rough day for Isaiah and for the people within his hearing.

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It must have been hard for these prophets like Isaiah to deliver such strong messages. These prophets prayed more than anyone.  They were most closely acquainted with the character of God.  They knew His propensity for restoration.  Considering all this, it must have been heartbreaking to speak these things. Even though consequences are a result of a people’s own actions, it’s still sad to see people struggle – especially when you know that better is possible! (and with God, better is always possible!)

A verse stands out to me, and I’m going back to the NKJV for a minute on this one:

“ ‘Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?’
The watchman said, ‘The morning comes, and also the night’ ” (Isaiah 21:11-12 NKJV)

I’ll spare you the history lesson, but these folks are in bad shape.  They are afraid, so they go to the watchman, charged with seeing what comes from afar off.  What about the night, they ask – twice, like it is urgent.  I wonder if they whispered it or if they yelled – does anyone get quiet when they get afraid like I do?  The watchman’s answer offers peace and a reason to fear: the morning is coming (relief is coming), but night is coming with it (utter darkness and confusion).  I think we could describe our present situation in this same way: there is spiritual darkness all around, but the possibility of spiritual light is also near – because God is always near.  As the “morning” and the “night” are coming simultaneously, it is of the utmost importance that we can discern between them. We have to depend on the Lord and His wisdom like never before.

So thankful for the Word of God, bringing light today!

chronological day 196 :)

Psalm 136, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150:

In Psalm 136, the phrase “for His mercy endures forever” follows every line, like a cause and effect:

“Give thanks” because why? “FOR His mercy endures forever”

“He does great wonders” because why? “FOR His mercy endures forever”

“Who remembers us in our lowly state” because why? “FOR His mercy endures forever”

Everything good that happens originates with the Lord.

In all of these psalms today, we see: the Lord never leaves anyone out.  He actually never leaves at all. All people, generations, all ages, all situations, all creations… as everything falls under the category of “creation”, no one escapes the love and attention of the Lord. As everything and everyone for all time has the opportunity to benefit from the goodness and mercy and love of the Lord, then no one is exempt from the praise and worship of the Lord. ️ His faithfulness and generosity and kindness ought to inspire our faithfulness and praise and worship in return.

His mercy endures forever!

chronological day 195 :)

Today we’re reading Psalm 128, 129, 130, 132, 134, and 135.  Here’s a few of my highlights- comment with a highlight or two of yours!  Let’s visit a little bit!

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Back in the NKJV for a minute, for these old familiar friends:

“When you eat of the labor of your hands, you shall be happy and it shall be well with you” (Psalm 128:2 NKJV)

Fulfillment comes as we follow the Lord and He gives increase. The “labor of your hands” are fruits that come as a result of obedience to the Lord.

“If You O Lord should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You” (Psalm 130:3-4)

God doesn’t keep a record of our sins, not ever. That’s because He desires us to come to Him without fear, knowing He’ll forgive. Remember Psalm 56:8? God does keep a record of our heartbreak.  That’s because His greatest desire is to heal and restore us.

How great is our God, how kind.

chronological day 194 :)

Today we have what are called the “psalms of ascent”.  In other words, the “journey psalms”.  We’re on a journey ourselves!  Let’s read Psalm 120, 121, 123, 125, and 126.

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I look up to the mountains;
    does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
    who made heaven, and earth, and mountains” (121:1-2 MSG)

I love the pilgrimage psalms! So much of our returned faithfulness to God depends on a process.  What do I mean by “returned faithfulness”? Well, because His faithfulness to us came first, we should be inspired to be faithful in return from His example, right? 

He won’t let you stumble,
    your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.
Not on your life! Israel’s
    Guardian will never doze or sleep” (121:3-4 MSG)

So much depends on a daily commitment to walk with Him and toward Him – committing our hearts to this pilgrimage on hard days and victorious days alike.

God’s your Guardian, right at your side to protect you—
Shielding you from sunstroke, sheltering you from moonstroke.

God guards you from every evil, He guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,
He guards you now, He guards you always” (121:5-8 MSG)

He guards you now, He guards you always.  And with a grateful heart, we say amen.