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Day 30 March 31

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Day 30 March 31
PassageIsaiah 4924-26 Today's text begins with a question, and the warrior in the question presumably was Babylon. "Can spoils be taken from a warrior, captives be rescued from a conqueror?" Babylon was such a powerful warrior, who could be his competitor? God thinks he can do it. In order to accomplish His will, Babylon had to be dealt with. And the sequence of events that led to the eventual demise of Babylon the powerful warrior can be traced all the way to a tiny nation called Judah. Is this a realistic hope?
Could Persia become a superpower that could potentially save Judah? When God wanted to salvage Judah from Babylon, it was like someone who intended to snatch a prey from the mouth of a lion, was it possible? But God said, “captives will be taken from a warrior; spoils will be rescued from a conqueror. I will oppose your adversary and I will rescue your children."(49:25)
Babylon was once the agent of the Lord and reigned over Judah, whether …

Day 29 March 30

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Day 29 March 30
PassageIsaiah 49:14-23 The text begins with a monologue of the city Zion (verse 14); the rest of the section comprises the LORD’s response to the people.
There are several biblical passages in the Old Testament where God spoke to the people as a mother. Verse 15 portrays a moving picture concerning the tender mercies of the Covenantal God. A mother can never forget the child whom she had nursed. From the time of their birth, babies will need to feed on their mother’s milk. During the stage of breast-feeding, an intimate bond will naturally develop between the mother and the infant. Could a mother ever become heartless, even to abandon and forget a child whom she has been nursing? The LORD employed the imagery of an affectionate mother towards her nursing child to illustrate the tender aspect of His covenantal-love towards His people Israel.
Even if there are exceptions, where a mother, for some reason, forgets her child, the LORD solemnly declared that He will never ev…

Day 28 March 28

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Day 28 March 28
Passage: Isaiah 49:7-13 The servant was described here as “the one who is despised and rejected by nations”, and surely the painful experience was beyond words. Yet the Lord said there would be a surprise twist, and one day he will no longer be so lowly and despised; Kings will see him and rise in respect. The crucial point is God is faithful, and it is He who will lift up His lowly servant to become a respectable ambassador to the Kings, and be duly received and respected. This is reflected in 49:5, where the vindication came from God, and as such His servant was duly honoured.
“At the time I decide to show my favour, I will respond to you; in the day of deliverance I will help you”, is a response by the Lord to this frustrated servant who saw no achievement in his endeavours. When the Lord said “I will protect you and make you a covenant mediator for people,” He was saying that He would bless the people through His servant. “Plans to rebuild the land and to reassign t…

Day 27 March 27

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Day 27 March 27
PassageIsaiah 49:1-6 God spoke to Israelites while they were sojourners in Babylon, and this “servant” appeared on the stage of history.
We found this person speaking on coastlands and to people who live far away (they could be Gentiles, or Jews in diaspora), and we would soon find out more about his identity.
He claimed that the Lord summoned him from birth, and commissioned him. In the past, the Lord spoke and His words brought forth heavens and earth, but over here, the Lord was going to use this servant’s mouth, words and voice to speak for Him. The servant said his mouth was like a “sharp sword”, “sharpened arrow”, in the hands of the Lord. In other words, God’s word was now delivered by this chosen person. We are reminded of the times when he was hidden by God in the hollow of His hand, or in His quiver (cf 49:2).
We may expect this “sharp sword” or “sharpened arrow” to be an effective tool of the Lord at all times. However his experience made him conclude that h…

Day 26 March 26

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Day 26 March 26
Passage: Isaiah 4812-22 When the Lord proclaimed that “I am the one who is present at the very beginning, and at the very end” (48:12), He was actually demanding them to know and acknowledge that God was the One who created the world. When He said His hands founded the earth, and His right hand spread out the sky, on one hand He was showing off His power, and on the other hand He was clearly stating that He was the One who was present at creation. Hence the Lord is the one from the beginning till the end, and whatever that has happened to Israel or has been accomplished, He hid nothing from Israel (cf 48:6,16). In short, He expressed His presence, and took responsibility for everything from the beginning till the end.
Back then, Abram who was the wandering Aramean, listened to God, and God promised that his offspring would be as countless as the dust of the earth and the stars in the sky. And they later became a nation, and after some time Judah was defeated by Babylon…

Day 25 March 25

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Day 25 March 25
Passage: Isaiah 48:1-11 This entire passage is a speech from the Lord, addressing the family of Jacob, Israel, and the descendants of Judah.
From the perspective of God, they were the people of God, who took oaths in the name of the Lord, but did not act in the honest and just manner of the Lord (cf 48:1). In other words they did not live in the way of the Lord. Though they proclaimed themselves as residents of the Holy city, and so-called trusted in the Lord, but their practices were contrary. The irony was that the Lord knew how stubborn they were, their neck muscles were like iron, and their foreheads were like bronze. Such descriptions reflected their rebellious nature, even when the Lord said He announced it to them beforehand. Common sense would lead one to avoid such stubborn people, yet the Lord predicted their stubbornness and went ahead with His plan to elect them as His Holy people. Despite their rebellion and deceitful behaviour, He stuck to them, for the Lo…

Day 24 March 24

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Day 24 March 24
Passage: Isaiah 46: 3-10 Israel had gone through the humiliation of captivity, yet God who loves his people has never forgotten them. Instead, God’s tone was unwavering as he spoke, “With whom do you compare me? Tell me, who is like me that he can be compared with me?” This is not the first time these words were uttered. In fact, since the time of Moses, God has said likewise (Deuteronomy 4: 32-36), and now, once again, He was saying this to His people.
Humans are forgetful, but God is constantly present. He has witnessed the passing of generation after generation of Israelites, from when they were like a child cared for by Him, till the present, having developed into a nation, and even when they lost their nationhood, God said he has been with them all the way (verses 3 - 4), and He will deliver them.
When Babylon and Persia were caught in the ultimate decisive battle, God announced through the prophet, "As I have said, so it needs to be completed. What I have pur…