March 29



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Isaiah 46-49

We are in the Prophetic Stream in the book of Isaiah today reading from the God’s Word Translation.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Lord God, do your work in us. May we serve you with our whole heart and allow ourselves to be blessed as you serve us through your Spirit,  Amen.

Pausing to look at the big picture, the northern Kingdom has been hauled off by Assyria and scattered.  This was, by now a generation or two prior.  Babylon is going to capture the south in about a century or so.  God is going to let Babylon seize Jerusalem and Judah/the southern Kingdom since they will not yield and obey God.  He makes it plain in the first section of ch. 46 that He has the whole picture in mind.

46 – Babylon, with their false gods is going to rule for a bit and execute their plans over Israel.  It’s almost like God is telling the Hebrews, “…So,you like dabbling with false gods, huh? Well guess where that will lead you… to being overtaken by a nation who really follows their false gods.  Let me know how you feel as false gods and their frothing followers bust into your homes, towns, and your whole lives!”  Isaiah has a skill for keeping the fate of the wicked ever in front of us, the Lord’s impatience with rebellion, HIS faithfulness that will redeem – these things continue to be juggled in the literature and we are reminded of them throughout Isaiah’s writing.  “I am God, and there’s no one like me.” is especially good in v. 9

47 – Babylon’s day is coming too. [remember we are looking about a century ahead] They have done their deeds against the Jews and here’s what’s next for them:  They will be thrown in the dirt, dethroned, stripped, driven away, destroyed, they will be widowed, bereft of children, their witchcraft will betray them, Babylon had been a refined and decorated culture, a powerful and wealthy Kingdom. But God is done with Babylon. Their deeds and behavior have come full circle (by the time this prophecy is fulfilled and they will be well on their way to being an archaeological site.)

48 – This chapter reads like a visit to an incarcerated person you knew when they were once free. God tells His children (while captive in Babylon) what they need to hear before they are to be released from Babylon.  People who are not reformed before they are freed again simply go back to what they were deviant in and perhaps are even worse in their ways.  But God has some beautiful and sobering reminders of what the destiny of His nation is. As they return, the Lord will teach them, and guide them, there will be worship.  And they must remember their LORD and follow Him and not stray again.  This ends Isaiah’s run of prophecies that have gone on for nine chapters simultaneously. The point being driven at is that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the God to go to for answers and direction.  The rest of the gods are false and lead people on the road to nothing.

49 – The thinking that encompasses 49-55 is the “Servant of God”.  The Messiah concept and the nation of Israel both feather together intermittently to reveal this truth. Messiah will come and serve God- Isaiah is saying this 650-700 years before Jesus arrives. And Israel’s role of serving God is ongoing.  The assignment for those who serve God is to come to God and bring others also who will serve Him. The Servant brings back the Tribes to God, he is also a Light to the nations.  The task of serving God and being served by Him involves faith, favor, salvation, freedom, supply, satisfaction and comfort.  The faithful will be brought to God, reunited like a family, This will be the mighty work of God

March 28



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Psalm 9-17

We are in the Wisdom Stream today while using the God’s Word Translation this week.

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Commentary by Drake Travis
Lord God thank you for this sterling reading from King David who is yet to take his throne.  Let it inspire us to walk with you and hang on to you though the road be rough or the next steps of our pilgrimage may seem uncertain.  Thank you Lord that our destiny is salvation as your word states.  Amen.

In Psalm 9, David is thankful for victories; victories that he personally has experienced and also those that affected Israel, his nation.  Miracles have happened, there is joy and music and praise.  The Lord has been true and the enemies of the Lord are in a bad way and going down further.  God triumphs and the truth of this is evident to those who look to God for their refuge.

In Psalm 10, David starts the Psalm feeling that God is far off and that the wicked get to have their run of things.  David lists the things he sees about oppressors. They boast, rob, curse, oppress, deceive, they pounce, and crush.  David calls for God to arise and deal with them justly and to do so as the God who is able to.  David seems to be encouraging himself with the truth that he knows God to be v.s. the justice that may seem delayed as he is witnessing it. The Psalm ends with a mighty praise about God’s encouragement and protection for the orphan and the oppressed.

For Psalm 11 and following: The next three Psalms are David asking desperate questions and feeling very troubled about wicked people who seem to be everywhere and running everywhere and behaving with ill will.  He was running from Saul during these times [ I Sam. 18-26 ].  He is vexed when he sees enemies all around.  He is at the same place blessed when he is able to pause and look to God knowing of His righteousness

In Psalm 12, David is feeling almost completely alone and that liars include just about the entire human race. Somehow David knows that God’s promises are pure and good and the Lord will protect him.
In Psalm 13, David did feel alone in human terms.  Now he feels alone spiritually. It seems God uses these days in David’s life to embed in him deeply the need to seek the Lord with all his heart.  We find David doing this fervently. We find him trusting God, enjoying his salvation and singing to God for His goodness to David!  David declares this in spite of his current sentiments.
In Psalm 14, David articulates his disgust for fools, for the godless who have no regard for God.  The corruption, the rebellion – David finds it all sickening.  St. Paul quotes this passage in his observation of the same perversion [Romans 3:10-12].  For such behavior there is a judgment day coming and there will be sheer panic for them.  On that same day, God’s people will rejoice for their fate will be much different.
In Psalm 15, This is a great testament of who gets to be with God; in His Presence.  The traits of those who walk with God are clearly listed.  ‘Such an inspiration is this man of integrity, commitment, wholesome speech, righteous dealings, forthrightness and stability
Psalm 16 is a marvel of all that is good and the resurrection that is destined.  It would do us good to be reading and learning; even memorizing this Psalm.  We can hear echoes of Paul’s theology metaphorically showing up in this chapter.  v. 10 is a reference to Jesus and the protection from death afforded to those who pledge their lives to Jesus.

March 27



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I Samuel 13:23-16:23

We are in The Nation Stream today as we continue the story of King Saul and his courageous son Jonathan. We are reading from God’s Word Translation today.

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Commentary by Drake Travis

The battle between Israel and the Philistines is an over-arching backdrop for the reading today.  Saul’s hollow and selfish character is fully revealed and as the phrase goes, “the handwriting is on the wall” as to what’s IN THE AIR where things are going and what needs to happen to get the nation to where God can glorify Himself through this nation of Israel.

In chapter 14, Jonathan shows his cagey and intelligent nature as a battle strategist and defeats the Philistines in the first battle described here. Remember what is developing: in the prior chapter, Jonathan wins the battle, and Saul his father, declares that he:Saul had won the battle [I Sam.13:3-4].

So without saying or doing anything to “right” this mis-perception, Jonathan goes right ahead, without Saul’s knowledge, and marches into [and wins!] the next battle.  Keep in mind that Israel does this without legitimate war material, arms or weapons.  It was truly the hand of God stepping in to give victory in spite of Saul-the moral hot-air balloon / turned control freak obsessed with being Mr. Everything…  The man has paltry management skills and tries to compensate this through trying to monitor all matters like a school marm who forgot to retire 25 years ago.

Next he orders an ill-timed fast that all must follow – or be executed.  And who violates the illicit fast unwittingly? His son Jonathan, who is spared only by the level-headed soldiers around him.

Yes, Saul has battle victories throughout his life. We’ll grant him that, but the victories had almost nothing to do with Saul; absolutely nothing – almost.

In chapter 15, Saul errs again when he doesn’t finish the job in decimating Amalek.  They brought some of the animals back so they could, uh, “sacrifice them to God” uh-hum, yeah right!  Saul is an ante-example of how not to obey the Lord.  The LORD doesn’t need our version of obedience in order for us to obey Him. God needs to obeyed precisely.  Again, Saul can’t do what he is told. Samuel’s famous words, “to obey/follow instructions is better than sacrifice” still is relevant now and always will be.  Saul reveals his weakness of character again in v. 24 “…I was afraid of the people and listened to them.”  Saul is a typical politician that does not listen to wisdom or prophets or God. He consults the people; !he takes a poll! v.s. asking of God what to do.

Samuel finishes a gruesome task and ‘does in’ the last of Amalek in front of Saul and the LORD. Saul again stands corrected.  btw, Samuel never saw Saul again. God and Samuel left him. Think of it, why would God and Samuel try to stay around and communicate with a king who has his “fingers in his ears”?

In Chapter 16, Samuel is assigned to find and anoint the next king.  After a process that piques the interest of anyone literate, David is chosen and the Spirit of the LORD comes over David.  He has nice skin, bright eyes, is handsome and talented – sounds like a catch for sure!  It isn’t long before his musical skill takes him right to King Saul and it turns out Saul needs David to give him peace of mind amid the evil Saul has given himself to.  It is very intriguing the way God orchestrates a contrast between Saul and David. It’s these encounters that reveal the completely stark characters that emerge between these two men from different generations.  Saul and David – this is just the beginning – the showdown continues next week!

Lord, may we be found like David. Not for his flaws but because of his heart that turned to you over and over relentlessly for guidance and approval and peace.  We also ask that Your Spirit rest upon us the way it came over David.  Take us into your presence for worship; the very thing we were born to do.  Amen.