Daily Bible Reading for January 24, 2014, With Commentary: Isaiah 18-22.
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Context and Meaning: The first four chapters of today's reading have the same theme; trust in the Lord God and to not rely on the power of man. We begin in chapter 18 with a prophecy against Cush. The prophecy against Cush is rather mysterious. We do not know who the tall people are, we do not know where the messengers were sent, and we do not know what the message means. So what can we gather from this mysterious message today? God knows what is going to happen, when it is going to happen, and how it is going to happen. He has control and we must trust in Him. Chapter 19 tells of the destruction of Egypt, followed by God's future salvation of Egypt. When this prophecy was fulfilled is unknown, as there are several theories. The first 15 verses describe three signs that leads to Egypt's destruction. The remaining verses are a description of what will happen “on that day.” In chapter 20, Isaiah is instructed by the Lord to removed his sackcloth and sandals, and walk around naked for three years, to demonstrate the foolishness of relying on other nations for protection instead of relying on the Lord. The first prophecy in chapter 21 foretells the destruction of Babylon, likely referring to the destruction in 689 BC. Isaiah warns that the false, pagan gods worshiped by the Babylonians will be unable to prevent the destruction. The second prophecy in chapter 21 is only two verses, 11-12, and its meaning remains a mystery today. The third and final prophecy is a warning to all in the Arabia desert. All three prophecies in this chapter reiterates that God has a plan for all, and all will be according to His plan. In today's final chapter, we read of God's plan for Judah and Jerusalem. They will fall, and the people will be captured. The message is this chapter is different, yet similar, to previous chapters. It is a warning to followers of the Lord, a warning we must also heed today. Believers are not exempt from sin, we are not perfect. We should not be overconfident in ourselves and our power, losing sight of the will of the Lord. We are to do as the Lord instructs, not what is best for us. Leaders, be it church leaders, business leaders, political leader, or other leaders, should lead according to the word of God, not for their own interests.
World History: Cush was located south of Egypt and had likely conquered and was ruling Upper and Lower Egypt at the time of the prophecy in chapter 18.