Isaiah 25:4 NIV
You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall....
Have you made the Lord Jesus your refuge? There's no greater blessing than that and the benefits are not only for the here and now i.e. life on earth, but when your time on earth is over, you can live with God eternally.
When in distress, we can cry out to the Lord and we can be assured that he will hear and answer.
King David, God's chosen, to lead his people, often found himself in distressing situations, but when he cried out to the Lord, the Lord delivered him.
Psalm 34:4, 6 NIV
I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.
The Lord is near to all who call on him in truth. Make Jesus your refuge, if you have still not done so. He's the only one who can give you eternal life. Not only that, he will be your refuge, all through your life, here on earth. On the other hand, if he has been your refuge for long, be assured that he will stay faithful always.
Isaiah 25:1 NIV
Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.
1) Lord, you are my God...Acknowledgement,
2) I will exalt you and praise your name....Decision,
3) In perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things.......Reason
God is perfect in faithfulness. He fulfills what he decides. He is Almighty and we too like the Psalmist can acknowledge that our God is perfect in faithfulness.
The Israelites who set out of Egypt and reached Canaan could look back and acknowledge God's faithfulness for 40 years that they journeyed through the wilderness. He was their guide, provider, protector and deliverer.
And the good news is that God has not changed.
He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He guides, provides, protects and delivers his people even now.
You are blessed if you can acknowledge this Almighty God like the prophet does here and say..... "Lord, you are my God" and praise and glorify him each day.
Isaiah 24:14-15 NIV
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.
"They", here are the remnant that survives God's righteous judgement on the wicked and rebellious.
The Lord is merciful and righteous, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Knowing this we must give glory to him for all that we have or achieve.
Before the Israelites entered the promised land of Canaan, God told them....
Deuteronomy 8:10, 17-18 NIV
When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.  You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.”  But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
Let us humble ourselves before this Almighty God and sing his praises, for it is from him that we have our being and our blessings.
The Lord Almighty planned it, to bring down her pride in all her splendor and to humble all who are renowned on the earth. (Isaiah 23:9)(NIV)
Those who are proud, God will humble, sooner or later and more so those who rebel and challenge him. Tyre, Babylon, Assyria and many other nations were humbled by him.
In Psalm 2, the Psalmist sings,
Psalm 2:1-5 NIV
Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.” The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath.....
Isaiah the prophet says,
Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. (Isaiah 40:15)
Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing. (Isaiah 40:17)
Nations are just as dust on the scales and like a drop in a bucket.....and man himself......what is he?
In the Psalms, we repeatedly read......
.........Each man's life is but a breath.(Psalm 39:5)
.........each man is but a breath. (Psalm 39:11)
Lowborn men are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie; if weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath. (Psalm 62:9)
Man is like a breath....... (Psalm 144:4)
Isn't it wonderful that God is mindful of this "but a breath" being.
So why do men boast, if they are "but a breath?"
Boasting and bragging is not for a believer. James writes in his epistle....
As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:16)
But, "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." (2 Corinthians 10:17)
“In that day I will summon my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah. I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him. He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the people of Judah. (Isaiah 22:20-21) (NIV)
When God calls for service, he empowers; for we cannot do anything significant without his power. Whatever we achieve for his kingdom, without his guidance and empowering pales in comparison with what we reap when labouring with him as the leader.
All authority in heaven and on earth is with Jesus and he empowers them who are called for labouring for his kingdom with the Holy Spirit of God.
Reading Paul's testimony in the following verses gives us an idea of how he relied on God's power to fulfill the work that he was entrusted with.
I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. (Romans 15:18-19) (NIV)
Let's seek the Lord and his strength while we labour for him and his kingdom.
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. (2 Thessalonians 1:11) (NIV)
And the lookout shouted, “Day after day, my lord, I stand on the watchtower; every night I stay at my post. (Isaiah 21:8) (NIV)
The job of a watchman can be tiring. Looking...watching.....observing......warning......but someone's got to do the job.
Looking at this matter in the present day context with regards to believers, many shrink back from their calling to be "watchmen for God and his kingdom".
They are so preoccupied with their own selves that they neglect the whole matter.
Unlike these, Paul the Apostle wrote of Timothy who was true to his calling.....
For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. (Philippians 2:21-22) (NIV)
Blessed are they who look out for the interests of Jesus Christ and serve him faithfully as "Watchmen".
In the year that the supreme commander, sent by Sargon king of Assyria, came to Ashdod and attacked and captured it - at that time the LORD spoke through Isaiah son of Amoz. He said to him, "Take off the sackcloth from your body and the sandals from your feet." And he did so, going around stripped and barefoot. Then the LORD said, "Just as my servant Isaiah has gone stripped and barefoot for three years, as a sign and portent against Egypt and Cush, so the king of Assyria will lead away stripped and barefoot the Egyptian captives and Cushite exiles, young and old, with buttocks bared - to Egypt's shame. (Isaiah 20:1-4)
The obedience of Isaiah is worth noticing here for he did as the Lord said, not caring what people would comment about him. No sackcloth, no sandals.....stripped and barefoot.......
The Lord loves his children who are obedient to him. The Bible speaks at length regarding God asking his people to be obedient.
Regarding Jesus' obedience to the father in heaven, Paul the Apostle writes,
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:8)
And the exhortation to believers from Peter the Apostle is....
As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. (1 Peter 1:14)
Do we really love the Lord? "But Of Course", many believers would say. But our love for the Lord can be tested by our obedience, for the Bible says,
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. (2 John 1:6)
So the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the Lord. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the Lord and keep them. (Isaiah 19:21) (NIV)
God can change hearts and that's for sure. When the Lord makes himself known, they (Egypt)will acknowledge and they will worship is what Isaiah prophesied......How wonderful are his ways.
Sometimes he afflicts and then he heals, so that the arrogant may know that he is sovereign.
The Lord will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the Lord, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them. (Isaiah 19:22) (NIV)
If the Lord wills, anyone, however hard hearted he/she may be, can be transformed in to a new person. All things are possible with God. He is El Shaddai; God Almighty. Praise be to his holy name.
At that time gifts will be brought to the Lord Almighty from a people tall and smooth-skinned, from a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers-the gifts will be brought to Mount Zion, the place of the Name of the Lord Almighty. (Isaiah 18:7) (NIV)
After God's intervention and the death of Sennacherib, the Assyrian king, who threatened King Hezekiah and the people of Judah with destruction, this is what happened.......
Many brought offerings to Jerusalem for the Lord and valuable gifts for Hezekiah king of Judah......(2 Chronicles 32:23) (NIV)
Most probably, as a token of respect, the people of Cush and Egypt, were the ones who did this.
But come to think of it, what gift can man give God?; does he not already have everything?
Yet, as a token of respect and honor and gratitude, we too, as believers, can give to the Lord .
God loves a cheerful giver.
One of the best things that we can give back to God for all that he has done for us is what the Psalmist mentions in Psalm 116....
What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. (Psalm 116:12-13) (NIV)
Be a witness for Christ, dear brother, dear sister........
Woe to the many nations that rage-they rage like the raging sea! Woe to the peoples who roar-they roar like the roaring of great waters! Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters, when he rebukes them they flee far away, driven before the wind like chaff on the hills, like tumbleweed before a gale. (Isaiah 17:12-13) (NIV)
Regarding "Nations" and "Peoples", the Psalmist sings....
The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. (Psalm 33:10) (NIV)
Nations that rage and peoples that roar against God finally end up like chaff on the hills and like tumbleweed when blown away. These are they who reject the Lord and live in rebellion to him.
But regarding them who serve the Lord faithfully, the Psalmist also says,
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.(Psalm 33:12) (NIV)
Individually, we all are answerable to God for our actions. Let us then check our lives and......"continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling...."as the Apostle Paul exhorted the believers in Philippi.