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Beginning January 1, we’ll be studying the book of Proverbs for the next 31 days. The new year is a great opportunity to invite your friends, families, and Life Groups to read along with you in 2023.
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Read Isaiah 65
Judgment and Salvation
65 “I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me;
I was found by those who did not seek me.
To a nation that did not call on my name,
I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’
2 All day long I have held out my hands
to an obstinate people,
who walk in ways not good,
pursuing their own imaginations—
3 a people who continually provoke me
to my very face,
offering sacrifices in gardens
and burning incense on altars of brick;
4 who sit among the graves
and spend their nights keeping secret vigil;
who eat the flesh of pigs,
and whose pots hold broth of impure meat;
5 who say, ‘Keep away; don’t come near me,
for I am too sacred for you!’
Such people are smoke in my nostrils,
a fire that keeps burning all day.
6 “See, it stands written before me:
I will not keep silent but will pay back in full;
I will pay it back into their laps—
7 both your sins and the sins of your ancestors,”
says the Lord.
“Because they burned sacrifices on the mountains
and defied me on the hills,
I will measure into their laps
the full payment for their former deeds.”
8 This is what the Lord says:
“As when juice is still found in a cluster of grapes
and people say, ‘Don’t destroy it,
there is still a blessing in it,’
so will I do in behalf of my servants;
I will not destroy them all.
9 I will bring forth descendants from Jacob,
and from Judah those who will possess my mountains;
my chosen people will inherit them,
and there will my servants live.
10 Sharon will become a pasture for flocks,
and the Valley of Achor a resting place for herds,
for my people who seek me.
11 “But as for you who forsake the Lord
and forget my holy mountain,
who spread a table for Fortune
and fill bowls of mixed wine for Destiny,
12 I will destine you for the sword,
and all of you will fall in the slaughter;
for I called but you did not answer,
I spoke but you did not listen.
You did evil in my sight
and chose what displeases me.”
13 Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“My servants will eat,
but you will go hungry;
my servants will drink,
but you will go thirsty;
my servants will rejoice,
but you will be put to shame.
14 My servants will sing
out of the joy of their hearts,
but you will cry out
from anguish of heart
and wail in brokenness of spirit.
15 You will leave your name
for my chosen ones to use in their curses;
the Sovereign Lord will put you to death,
but to his servants he will give another name.
16 Whoever invokes a blessing in the land
will do so by the one true God;
whoever takes an oath in the land
will swear by the one true God.
For the past troubles will be forgotten
and hidden from my eyes.
New Heavens and a New Earth
17 “See, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
and its people a joy.
19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more.
20 “Never again will there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not live out his years;
the one who dies at a hundred
will be thought a mere child;
the one who fails to reach a hundred
will be considered accursed.
21 They will build houses and dwell in them;
they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree,
so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy
the work of their hands.
23 They will not labor in vain,
nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune;
for they will be a people blessed by the Lord,
they and their descendants with them.
24 Before they call I will answer;
while they are still speaking I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
and dust will be the serpent’s food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,”
says the Lord.
Isaiah 65 begins with the Lord responding to the prayers of the previous chapters. Isaiah 65:2 says, “I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices.” What does it mean to be rebellious against God? The Lord himself gives us a definition here: people who follow their own devices. The Message translation says, “People who make wrong turns, who insist on doing things their own way.” If we trust in our own wisdom, judgment, and thoughts, then we are amongst the rebellious people! Proverbs 16:25 warns us that “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”
Isaiah then goes on to look forward, further into the future than any Old Testament prophet has so far. In verses 17-25 he talks about the new heavens and new earth. Isaiah gives us a glimpse into the new creation. One that will be filled with rejoicing and gladness (v. 18-19); one in which long life will prevail (v. 20); and one in which there will be just rewards for labor (v. 21-23). Probably the most Gospel-worthy prophesy about the new creation comes from v. 24: “Before they call, I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.” In the new heaven and the new earth, our relationship with the Lord will be so close that there will be an immediate and constant sense of the presence of God!
How we all long for the day when the earth will be as it was intended! A time of great rejoicing and constant communion with Jesus. A day when all of creation shall graze together as it talks about in verse 25. As believers in Jesus Christ, we can look forward to that day with hopeful anticipation. In the meantime, we can use Romans 12:2 as a road map as we navigate the world in its present state: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” God’s solution for us so that we don’t fall into the same trap as the rebellious Israelites is to continually renew our minds. May we be a people marked by our transformed, not rebellious hearts!
- In what ways do you tend to trust in your own wisdom, judgment & thoughts?
- Read Proverbs 14:12 and Proverbs 16:28. What warnings do these scriptures have for people who follow their own devices?
- What is the most hopeful promise of the new heaven and new earth that Isaiah prophesies in this chapter?
This is the first mention in scripture of the new heaven and new earth. It will also be mentioned in Isaiah 66 and in the New Testament in 2 Peter 3:13 and Revelation 21. For a better understanding of what the new heaven & earth are, check out this article and video from GotQuestions.org.
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