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Tag Archives: The Prophet Isaiah

Prayers to Stay Alive

The prophet Isaiah served as the spiritual advisor to King Hezekiah. On one occasion in Judah, Isaiah became a bearer of bad news, 2 Kings 20:1, revealing that Hezekiah’s illness will end his life. Not willing to go down without a fight, Isaiah records the words of this dying king. According to the context in Isaiah 38:2, upon hearing his death sentence, King Hezekiah turned away from the prophet, pouring his heart out to the Lord while facing a wall. Fourteen verses later, Hezekiah makes his intentions clear, “bring me back to life.”

Like a twittering swallow or a crane, so do I chirp and chatter; I moan like a dove. My eyes are weary and dim with looking upward. O Lord, I am oppressed; take my side and be my security [as of a debtor being sent to prison]. 15 But what can I say? For He has both spoken to me and He Himself has done it. I must go softly [as in solemn procession] all my years and my sleep has fled because of the bitterness of my soul. 16 O Lord, by these things men live; and in all these is the life of my spirit. O give me back my health and make me live! – Isaiah 38:14-16

Dying of old age is one thing, but when a rare disease threatens the life of child, parents become desperate. John Mark recalls a father who sought out Jesus, eager for him to come to his house. Before arriving, Jesus tells this ruler of the synagogue to keep on believing. Unfortunately, it appears that they were too late as news of this little girl’s death spread throughout Jairus’ home. Instead of accepting defeat, Jesus cleared the room, praying with his inner circle. Taking the laying on of hands to a new level, Jesus commands the spirit of death to leave this girl by proclaiming “arise”.

When they arrived at the house of the ruler of the synagogue, He looked [carefully and with understanding] at [the] tumult and the people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when He had gone in, He said to them, Why do you make an uproar and weep? The little girl is not dead but is sleeping. 40 And they laughed and jeered at Him. But He put them all out, and, taking the child’s father and mother and those who were with Him, He went in where the little girl was lying. 41 Gripping her [firmly] by the hand, He said to her, Talitha cumi—which translated is, Little girl, I say to you, arise [from the sleep of death]! – Mark 5:38-41

While father time will eventually be victorious, it doesn’t mean that you should accept a doctor’s diagnosis. When I was 16, I was told that I would never run again and most likely walk with a limp for the rest of my life. However, before my surgery for torn tendons and an ankle twisted 180 degrees in the wrong directions, Ken Horne and friends from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes laid hands on me in the hallway. Praying for a miracle, even the doctor who performed this procedure was surprised that I was able to run cross country my senior year of high school. When you refuse to accept fate, there are several examples of prayers in the Bible to help you stay alive physically and spiritually.

by Jay Mankus

What Gifts Will You Bring?

The prophet Isaiah foretold about a caravan of men who sought out the resting place of a newly born king. Described as Magi, astrologers who were experts of the night sky, these wise men put their faith in the promise of a Messiah. This journey wasn’t based upon a hunch or wishful thinking. Rather, these men came bearing gifts, expecting to find what they were looking for. Upon reaching their destination, this wise men were overcome with joy, worshiping and praising God for Jesus.

A multitude of camels [from the eastern trading tribes] shall cover you [Jerusalem], the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all the men from Sheba [who once came to trade] shall come, bringing gold and frankincense and proclaiming the praises of the Lord, Isaiah 60:6.

Each of the offerings brought to Jesus are symbolic of a specific class or state. The gold is associated with kings, the frankincense with priests and myrrh, the emotional state of sadness, used to embalm the dead. Perhaps, this association led Jesus’ disciples to become distracted, confusing the political with the spiritual. Instead of viewing Jesus as the Savior of the World, Peter believed that He would become the physical King of the Jews. This skewed mindset likely influenced Peter to publicly deny knowing Jesus following his arrest.

When they had listened to the king, they went their way, and behold, the star which had been seen in the east in its rising went before them until it came and stood over the place where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were thrilled with ecstatic joy. 11 And on going into the house, they saw the Child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then opening their treasure bags, they presented to Him gifts—gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And receiving an answer to their asking, they were divinely instructed and warned in a dream not to go back to Herod; so they departed to their own country by a different way, Matthew 2:9-12.

Nearly 2,000 years later, the world is still full of chaos. However, instead of dealing with tyrannical kings, governors and legislators across the country are instituting strict state mandates on houses of worship and how many members of your family can be in the same home on Christmas. These new edicts are distracting people from the true reason for Christmas. Such as what gift will you be offering up to baby Jesus? While you may not have access to gold or frankincense, everyone has something to offer. Whether it’s a gift, talent or unique quality, God is waiting for you to offer up one of these traits to Jesus. What will you give this year?

by Jay Mankus

Seeking Shelter in the Wrong Place

The prophet Isaiah began his earthly ministry in 740 BC, the year of King Uzziah’s death.  As a true prophet of God, sometimes you have to convey unpopular messages.  Any prophet who waters down God’s warning or skips important details will lose God’s favor.  Subsequently, when Judah decided to make a treaty with Egypt by trusting in human leaders rather than God. Isaiah exposes the reason for this decision in the passage below.

“Woe (judgment is coming) to the rebellious children,” declares the Lord, “Who carry out a plan, but not Mine, and make an alliance [by pouring out a libation], but not of My Spirit, in order to add sin to sin; Isaiah 30:1.”

According to biblical historians, the prophet Isaiah was sawed in two, dying as a martyr.  Perhaps, years of blunt, convicting and negative prophecies led to Isaiah’s death.  Yet, when souls choose rebellion over obedience, this becomes a spiritual addiction that results in depravity.  Whenever sin is added to sin, human beings are silently telling God with their own actions that I don’t want you or need you right now.

Who proceed down to Egypt without consulting Me, to take refuge in the stronghold of Pharaoh and to take shelter in the shadow of Egypt!  3 “Therefore the safety and protection of Pharaoh will be your shame and the refuge in the shadow of Egypt, your humiliation and disgrace, Isaiah 30:1-3.

The final portion of the prophecy above is a foreshadowing of Judah’s captivity at the hands of the Babylonians.  If the new king of Judah would have consulted God first, history could have been changed.  Unfortunately, the human flesh has of mind of itself, leading religious followers to seek shelter in the wrong place.  Like a broken high school relationship, desperate times led some to rekindle old feelings.  However, this passage in Isaiah serves as a reminder to trust in the Lord and lean not on our own understanding, Proverbs 3:5-6.  When you do, God will direct your steps via the Holy Spirit to find a spiritual refuge of God’s choice.

by Jay Mankus

Removing the Stench

As heat and humidity replaces the cold rainy days of Spring, you won’t be able to escape sweating.  This drastic change can leave a toxic odor in the air.  Whether its deodorant or laundry detergent, it might take some time to remove the stench brought on by summer conditions.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

Beyond smell, individuals can stink internally.  According to the apostle Paul, this occurs by abusing your body.  Instead of participating in wholesome activities, there is a temptation to turn to the dark side.  Like the curiosity which possessed Adam and Eve in the Garden, tasting evil is a sure way to become filled with a stench.

And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God, Ephesians 5:2.

The apostle Paul provides a solution to remove this stench.  While we were still sinners, God sent his son to be a fragrant offering.  Like stains on a carpet, Jesus lived, died and rose again to blot out our imperfections.  The Prophet Isaiah uses the symbolism of snow to cover our sin to make us whole again.  Walk in love and you too will remove the stench of sin.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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