Daily Devotional

by Larry Stockstill

God is with us-these four words strike terror in the heart of our enemies! How it must have disturbed hell the day the Lord proclaimed the sign: "The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel-‘God is with us' " (Isaiah 7:14).

When the angel announced to Mary that she would conceive a son (Luke 1:31), he referred to Isaiah's prophecy of the One who would rule with "fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David" (Isaiah 9:7). This special child, as foretold by Isaiah, would be called

"Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (v. 6). The Messiah's arrival would mean that "the people who walk in darkness will see a great light-a light that will shine on all who live in the land where death casts its shadow" (v. 2). How perfectly this prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus stepped onto the shores of "Galilee of the Gentiles" (v. 1) and began to undo the works of darkness!

Whatever darkness or trouble you are in today, remember that God came in human flesh, born of a virgin, to signal Satan's defeat and the reign of God's kingdom. Immanuel- "God with us"- is here to stay, and He is now living in you!

Isaiah 8:1-9:21

Isaiah and His Children as Signs

The Lord said to me, “Take a large scrollS Dt 27:8; Job 19:23; Isa 30:8; Jer 51:60 and write on it with an ordinary pen: Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.”Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz means quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil; also in verse 3.ver 3; Hab 2:2; Jer 20:3; Hos 1:4So I called in UriahS 2Ki 16:10 the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah as reliable witnessesver 16; S Jos 24:22; S Ru 4:9; Jer 32:10, 12, 25, 44 for me.Then I made love to the prophetess,S Ex 15:20 and she conceived and gave birth to a son.S Ge 3:15 And the Lord said to me, “Name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.S ver 1For before the boy knowsIsa 7:16 how to say ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of DamascusS Ge 14:15 and the plunder of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Assyria.S Isa 7:8

The Lord spoke to me again:

“Because this people has rejectedS Isa 5:24

the gently flowing waters of ShiloahS Ne 3:15; Jn 9:7

and rejoices over Rezin

and the son of Remaliah,S Isa 7:1

therefore the Lord is about to bring against them

the mighty floodwatersIsa 17:12-13; 28:2, 17; 30:28; 43:2; Da 11:40; Na 1:8 of the Euphrates—

the king of AssyriaS 2Ch 28:20; S Isa 7:20 with all his pomp.Isa 10:16

It will overflow all its channels,

run over all its banksS Jos 3:15

and sweep on into Judah, swirling over it,Isa 28:15

passing through it and reaching up to the neck.

Its outspread wingsIsa 18:6; 46:11; Jer 4:13; 48:40 will cover the breadth of your land,

ImmanuelImmanuel means God with us.!”S Isa 7:14

Raise the war cry,Or Do your worstS Jos 6:5; Isa 17:12-13 you nations, and be shattered!S Job 34:24

Listen, all you distant lands.

PrepareJer 6:4; 46:3; 51:12, 27-28; Eze 38:7; Joel 3:9; Zec 14:2-3 for battle, and be shattered!

Prepare for battle, and be shattered!

10 Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted;S Job 5:12

propose your plan, but it will not stand,S Pr 19:21; S 21:30; S Isa 7:7

for God is with us.Hebrew ImmanuelS Isa 7:14; Mt 1:23; Ro 8:31

11 This is what the Lord says to me with his strong hand upon me,Eze 1:3; 3:14 warning me not to followEze 2:8 the way of this people:

12 “Do not call conspiracyIsa 7:2; 20:5; 30:1; 36:6

everything this people calls a conspiracy;

do not fear what they fear,S Isa 7:4; Mt 10:28

and do not dread it.1Pe 3:14*

13 The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy,S Nu 20:12

he is the one you are to fear,S Ex 20:20

he is the one you are to dread.Isa 29:23

14 He will be a holy place;S Isa 4:6

for both Israel and Judah he will be

a stoneS Ps 118:22 that causes people to stumbleJer 6:21; Eze 3:20; 14:3, 7; Lk 20:18

and a rock that makes them fall.S Lk 2:34; Ro 9:33*; 1Pe 2:8*

And for the people of Jerusalem he will be

a trap and a snare.S Ps 119:110; Isa 24:17-18

15 Many of them will stumble;Pr 4:19; Isa 28:13; 59:10; Ro 9:32

they will fall and be broken,

they will be snared and captured.”

16 Bind up this testimony of warningS Ru 4:7

and sealIsa 29:11-12; Jer 32:14; Da 8:26; 12:4 up God’s instruction among my disciples.

17 I will waitS Ps 27:14 for the Lord,

who is hidingS Dt 31:17 his face from the descendants of Jacob.

I will put my trust in him.S Ps 22:5; Heb 2:13*

18 Here am I, and the children the Lord has given me.S Ge 33:5; Heb 2:13* We are signsS Ex 3:12; Eze 4:3; 12:6; 24:24; Lk 2:34 and symbolsS Dt 28:46; S Eze 12:11 in Israel from the Lord Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion.Ps 9:11

The Darkness Turns to Light

19 When someone tells you to consultS 1Sa 28:8 mediums and spiritists,S Lev 19:31 who whisper and mutter,Isa 29:4 should not a people inquireS Nu 27:21 of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?20 Consult God’s instructionS Isa 1:10; Lk 16:29 and the testimony of warning.S Ru 4:7 If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no lightver 22; Isa 9:2; 59:9; 60:2; Mic 3:6 of dawn.21 Distressed and hungry,S Job 18:12 they will roam through the land;Job 30:3 when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curseS Ex 22:28; Rev 16:11 their king and their God.22 Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom,S Job 15:24 and they will be thrust into utter darkness.S ver 20; S Job 3:13; S Isa 5:30; S Joel 2:2; Mt 25:30; Rev 16:10

In Hebrew texts 9:1 is numbered 8:23, and 9:2-21 is numbered 9:1-20.Nevertheless, there will be no more gloomS Job 15:24 for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,S 2Ki 15:29 but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—

The people walking in darknessS Ps 82:5; S 107:10, 14; S Isa 8:20

have seen a great light;S Ps 36:9; Isa 42:6; 49:6; 60:19; Mal 4:2; Eph 5:8

on those living in the land of deep darknessS Lk 1:79

a light has dawned.Isa 58:8; Mt 4:15-16*

You have enlarged the nationS Job 12:23

and increased their joy;S Ps 4:7; S Isa 25:9

they rejoice before you

as people rejoice at the harvest,

as warriors rejoice

when dividing the plunder.S Ex 15:9; S Jos 22:8; S Ps 119:162

For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,S Jdg 7:25

you have shatteredS Job 34:24; Isa 37:36-38

the yokeIsa 14:25; 58:6, 9; Jer 2:20; 30:8; Eze 30:18; Na 1:13; Mt 11:30 that burdens them,

the bar across their shoulders,S Ps 81:6; S Isa 10:27

the rod of their oppressor.Isa 14:4; 16:4; 29:5, 20; 49:26; 51:13; 54:14; 60:18

Every warrior’s boot used in battle

and every garment rolled in blood

will be destined for burning,S Isa 2:4

will be fuel for the fire.

For to us a child is born,S Ge 3:15; Isa 53:2; Lk 2:11

to us a son is given,Jn 3:16

and the governmentS Mt 28:18 will be on his shoulders.Isa 22:22

And he will be called

Wonderful Counselor,S Job 15:8; Isa 28:29 Mighty God,S Dt 7:21; Ps 24:8; Isa 10:21; 11:2; 42:13

EverlastingS Ps 90:2 Father,S Ex 4:22; Isa 64:8; Jn 14:9-10 Prince of Peace.Isa 26:3, 12; 53:5; 66:12; Jer 33:6; Mic 5:5; S Lk 2:14

Of the greatness of his governmentS Isa 2:4 and peaceS Ps 85:8; 119:165; Isa 11:9; 26:3, 12; 32:17; 48:18

there will be no end.Da 2:44; 4:3; S Lk 1:33; Jn 12:34

He will reignIsa 1:26; 32:1; 60:17; 1Co 15:25 on David’s throne

and over his kingdom,

establishing and upholding it

with justiceIsa 11:4; 16:5; 32:1, 16; 33:5; 42:1; Jer 23:5; 33:14 and righteousnessS Ps 72:2

from that time on and forever.S 2Sa 7:13

The zeal2Ki 19:31; Isa 26:11; 37:32; 42:13; 59:17; 63:15 of the Lord Almighty

will accomplish this.

The Lord’s Anger Against Israel

The Lord has sent a messageS Dt 32:2 against Jacob;

it will fall on Israel.

All the people will know it—

EphraimS Isa 7:2 and the inhabitants of SamariaS Isa 7:9

who say with pride

and arroganceIsa 46:12; 48:4; Eze 2:4; Zec 7:11 of heart,

10 “The bricks have fallen down,

but we will rebuild with dressed stone;S Ge 11:3

the figAm 7:14; Lk 19:4 trees have been felled,

but we will replace them with cedars.1Ki 7:2-3

11 But the Lord has strengthened Rezin’sS Isa 7:8 foes against them

and has spurred their enemies on.

12 Arameans2Ki 16:6 from the east and PhilistinesS 2Ch 28:18 from the west

have devouredS Ps 79:7 Israel with open mouth.

Yet for all this, his angerS Job 40:11 is not turned away,

his hand is still upraised.S Isa 5:25

13 But the people have not returnedS 2Ch 28:22; Am 4:9; Zep 3:7; Hag 2:17 to him who struckJer 5:3; Eze 7:9 them,

nor have they soughtIsa 2:3; 17:7; 31:1; 55:6; Jer 50:4; Da 9:13; Hos 3:5; 7:7, 10; Am 4:6, 10; Zep 1:6 the Lord Almighty.

14 So the Lord will cut off from Israel both head and tail,

both palm branch and reedver 14-15; Isa 19:15 in a single day;Rev 18:8

15 the eldersIsa 3:2-3 and dignitariesS Isa 5:13 are the head,

the prophetsIsa 28:7; Eze 13:2 who teach liesS Job 13:4; S Isa 3:8; 44:20; Eze 13:22; Mt 24:24 are the tail.

16 Those who guideMt 15:14; 23:16, 24 this people mislead them,

and those who are guided are led astray.S Isa 3:12

17 Therefore the Lord will take no pleasure in the young men,Jer 9:21; 11:22; 18:21; 48:15; 49:26; Am 4:10; 8:13

nor will he pityS Job 5:4; Isa 27:11; Jer 13:14 the fatherless and widows,

for everyone is ungodlyIsa 10:6; 32:6; Mic 7:2 and wicked,S Isa 1:4

every mouth speaks folly.S Isa 3:8; Mt 12:34; Ro 3:13-14

Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,

his hand is still upraised.S Isa 5:25

18 Surely wickedness burns like a fire;S Dt 29:23; S Isa 1:31

it consumes briers and thorns,S Isa 5:6

it sets the forest thickets ablaze,S Ps 83:14

so that it rolls upward in a column of smoke.

19 By the wrathS Job 40:11; Isa 13:9, 13 of the Lord Almighty

the land will be scorchedJer 17:27

and the people will be fuel for the fire;S Ps 97:3; S Isa 1:31

they will not spare one another.S Isa 3:5

20 On the right they will devour,

but still be hungry;S Lev 26:26; S Job 18:12

on the left they will eat,Isa 49:26; Zec 11:9

but not be satisfied.

Each will feed on the flesh of their own offspringOr arm:

21 Manasseh will feed on Ephraim, and Ephraim on Manasseh;S Jdg 7:22; S 12:4

together they will turn against Judah.S 2Ch 28:6

Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,

his hand is still upraised.S Isa 5:25

The Coming Assyrian Invasion

Then the Lord said to me, “Make a large signboard and clearly write this name on it: Maher-shalal-hash-baz.Maher-shalal-hash-baz means “Swift to plunder and quick to carry away.”I asked Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah, both known as honest men, to witness my doing this.

Then I slept with my wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. And the Lord said, “Call him Maher-shalal-hash-baz.For before this child is old enough to say ‘Papa’ or ‘Mama,’ the king of Assyria will carry away both the abundance of Damascus and the riches of Samaria.”

Then the Lord spoke to me again and said,“My care for the people of Judah is like the gently flowing waters of Shiloah, but they have rejected it. They are rejoicing over what will happen toOr They are rejoicing because of. King Rezin and King Pekah.Hebrew and the son of Remaliah.Therefore, the Lord will overwhelm them with a mighty flood from the Euphrates RiverHebrew the river.—the king of Assyria and all his glory. This flood will overflow all its channelsand sweep into Judah until it is chin deep. It will spread its wings, submerging your land from one end to the other, O Immanuel.

“Huddle together, you nations, and be terrified.

Listen, all you distant lands.

Prepare for battle, but you will be crushed!

Yes, prepare for battle, but you will be crushed!

10 Call your councils of war, but they will be worthless.

Develop your strategies, but they will not succeed.

For God is with us!Hebrew Immanuel!

A Call to Trust the Lord

11 The Lord has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said,

12 “Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do,

and don’t live in dread of what frightens them.

13 Make the Lord of Heaven’s Armies holy in your life.

He is the one you should fear.

He is the one who should make you tremble.

14 He will keep you safe.

But to Israel and Judah

he will be a stone that makes people stumble,

a rock that makes them fall.

And for the people of Jerusalem

he will be a trap and a snare.

15 Many will stumble and fall,

never to rise again.

They will be snared and captured.”

16 Preserve the teaching of God;

entrust his instructions to those who follow me.

17 I will wait for the Lord,

who has turned away from the descendants of Jacob.

I will put my hope in him.

18 I and the children the Lord has given me serve as signs and warnings to Israel from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies who dwells in his Temple on Mount Zion.

19 Someone may say to you, “Let’s ask the mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead. With their whisperings and mutterings, they will tell us what to do.” But shouldn’t people ask God for guidance? Should the living seek guidance from the dead?

20 Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark.21 They will go from one place to another, weary and hungry. And because they are hungry, they will rage and curse their king and their God. They will look up to heaven22 and down at the earth, but wherever they look, there will be trouble and anguish and dark despair. They will be thrown out into the darkness.

Hope in the Messiah

Verse 9:1 is numbered 8:23 in Hebrew text.Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory.

Verses 9:2-21 are numbered 9:1-20 in Hebrew text.The people who walk in darkness

will see a great light.

For those who live in a land of deep darkness,Greek version reads a land where death casts its shadow. Compare Matt 4:16.

a light will shine.

You will enlarge the nation of Israel,

and its people will rejoice.

They will rejoice before you

as people rejoice at the harvest

and like warriors dividing the plunder.

For you will break the yoke of their slavery

and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders.

You will break the oppressor’s rod,

just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian.

The boots of the warrior

and the uniforms bloodstained by war

will all be burned.

They will be fuel for the fire.

For a child is born to us,

a son is given to us.

The government will rest on his shoulders.

And he will be called:

Wonderful Counselor,Or Wonderful, Counselor. Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

His government and its peace

will never end.

He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David

for all eternity.

The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies

will make this happen!

The Lord’s Anger against Israel

The Lord has spoken out against Jacob;

his judgment has fallen upon Israel.

And the people of IsraelHebrew of Ephraim, referring to the northern kingdom of Israel. and Samaria,

who spoke with such pride and arrogance,

will soon know it.

10 They said, “We will replace the broken bricks of our ruins with finished stone,

and replant the felled sycamore-fig trees with cedars.”

11 But the Lord will bring Rezin’s enemies against Israel

and stir up all their foes.

12 The SyriansHebrew Arameans. from the east and the Philistines from the west

will bare their fangs and devour Israel.

But even then the Lord’s anger will not be satisfied.

His fist is still poised to strike.

13 For after all this punishment, the people will still not repent.

They will not seek the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

14 Therefore, in a single day the Lord will destroy both the head and the tail,

the noble palm branch and the lowly reed.

15 The leaders of Israel are the head,

and the lying prophets are the tail.

16 For the leaders of the people have misled them.

They have led them down the path of destruction.

17 That is why the Lord takes no pleasure in the young men

and shows no mercy even to the widows and orphans.

For they are all wicked hypocrites,

and they all speak foolishness.

But even then the Lord’s anger will not be satisfied.

His fist is still poised to strike.

18 This wickedness is like a brushfire.

It burns not only briers and thorns

but also sets the forests ablaze.

Its burning sends up clouds of smoke.

19 The land will be blackened

by the fury of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

The people will be fuel for the fire,

and no one will spare even his own brother.

20 They will attack their neighbor on the right

but will still be hungry.

They will devour their neighbor on the left

but will not be satisfied.

In the end they will even eat their own children.Or eat their own arms.

21 Manasseh will feed on Ephraim,

Ephraim will feed on Manasseh,

and both will devour Judah.

But even then the Lord’s anger will not be satisfied.

His fist is still poised to strike.

Moreover the Lord said unto me, Take thee a great roll, and write in it with a man's pen concerning Mahershalalhashbaz.

And I took unto me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah.

And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the Lord to me, Call his name Mahershalalhashbaz.

For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.

The Lord spake also unto me again, saying,

Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah that go softly, and rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah's son;

Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks:

And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel.

Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces.

10 Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us.

11 For the Lord spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying,

12 Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.

13 Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.

14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

15 And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.

16 Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.

17 And I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.

18 Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.

19 And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?

20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

21 And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward.

22 And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness.

Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.

For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.

For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel.

And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, that say in the pride and stoutness of heart,

10 The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycomores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.

11 Therefore the Lord shall set up the adversaries of Rezin against him, and join his enemies together;

12 The Syrians before, and the Philistines behind; and they shall devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

13 For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the Lord of hosts.

14 Therefore the Lord will cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush, in one day.

15 The ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.

16 For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.

17 Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

18 For wickedness burneth as the fire: it shall devour the briers and thorns, and shall kindle in the thickets of the forest, and they shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke.

19 Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts is the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire: no man shall spare his brother.

20 And he shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied: they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm:

21 Manasseh, Ephraim; and Ephraim, Manasseh: and they together shall be against Judah. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

2 Corinthians 12:1-10

Paul’s Vision and His Thorn

12 I must go on boasting.ver 5, 9; 2Co 11:16, 30 Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelationsver 7; S 1Co 2:10 from the Lord.I know a man in ChristS Ro 16:3 who fourteen years ago was caught upver 4; S Ac 8:39 to the third heaven.Eph 4:10 Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows.2Co 11:11And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—was caught upver 2 to paradiseLk 23:43; Rev 2:7 and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses.ver 9, 10; S 1Co 2:3Even if I should choose to boast,2Co 10:8 I would not be a fool,ver 11; 2Co 11:16 because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say,or because of these surpassingly great revelations.ver 1; S 1Co 2:10 Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh,Nu 33:55 a messenger of Satan,S Mt 4:10 to torment me.Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.Mt 26:39, 44But he said to me, “My graceS Ro 3:24 is sufficient for you, for my powerS Php 4:13 is made perfect in weakness.S 1Co 2:31Ki 19:12 Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delightS Mt 5:12 in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,2Co 6:4 in persecutions,2Th 1:4 in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.2Co 13:4

Paul’s Vision and His Thorn in the Flesh

12 This boasting will do no good, but I must go on. I will reluctantly tell about visions and revelations from the Lord.IGreek I know a man in Christ who. was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I don’t know—only God knows.Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body. But I do knowthat I was caught upGreek But I know such a man, that he was caught up. to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell.

That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses.If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message,even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

12 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.

I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.

And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)

How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.

For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Psalm 55:1-23

Psalm 55In Hebrew texts 55:1-23 is numbered 55:2-24.

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A maskilTitle: Probably a literary or musical term of David.

Listen to my prayer, O God,

do not ignore my plea;Ps 27:9; La 3:56

hear me and answer me.Ps 4:1

My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught1Sa 1:15-16; Ps 77:3; 86:6-7; 142:2

because of what my enemy is saying,

because of the threats of the wicked;

for they bring down suffering on meS 2Sa 16:6-8; Ps 17:9; 143:3

and assailS Ps 44:16 me in their anger.Ps 71:11

My heart is in anguishS Ps 6:3 within me;

the terrorsS Job 18:11 of death have fallen on me.

Fear and tremblingS Job 4:14; S 2Co 7:15 have beset me;

horrorDt 28:67; Isa 21:4; Jer 46:5; 49:5; Eze 7:18 has overwhelmed me.

I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!

I would fly away and be at rest.

I would flee far away

and stay in the desert;The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here and in the middle of verse 19.1Sa 23:14

I would hurry to my place of shelter,Ps 31:20

far from the tempest and storm.Ps 77:18; Isa 4:6; 25:4; 28:2; 29:6; 32:2

Lord, confuse the wicked, confound their words,Ge 11:9; Ac 2:4

for I see violence and strifePs 11:5; Isa 59:6; Jer 6:7; Eze 7:11; Hab 1:3 in the city.Ge 4:17

10 Day and night they prowl1Pe 5:8 about on its walls;

malice and abuse are within it.

11 Destructive forcesPs 5:9 are at work in the city;

threats and liesPs 10:7 never leave its streets.

12 If an enemy were insulting me,

I could endure it;

if a foe were rising against me,

I could hide.

13 But it is you, a man like myself,

my companion, my close friend,S 2Sa 15:12

14 with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowshipAc 1:16-17

at the house of God,Ps 42:4

as we walked about

among the worshipers.

15 Let death take my enemies by surprise;Ps 64:7; Pr 6:15; Isa 29:5; 47:9, 11; 1Th 5:3

let them go down alive to the realm of the dead,S Ps 49:14

for evil finds lodging among them.

16 As for me, I call to God,

and the Lord saves me.

17 Evening,Ps 141:2; Ac 3:1; 10:3, 30 morningPs 5:3; 88:13; 92:2 and noonAc 10:9

I cry out in distress,

and he hears my voice.

18 He rescues me unharmed

from the battle waged against me,

even though many oppose me.

19 God, who is enthroned from of old,S Ex 15:18; Dt 33:27; Ps 29:10

who does not change—

he will hearPs 78:59 them and humble them,

because they have no fear of God.Ps 36:1; 64:4

20 My companion attacks his friends;Ps 7:4

he violates his covenant.S Ps 41:9

21 His talk is smooth as butter,Ps 12:2

yet war is in his heart;

his words are more soothing than oil,Pr 5:3; 6:24

yet they are drawn swords.Ps 57:4; 59:7; 64:3; Pr 12:18; Rev 1:16

22 Cast your cares on the Lord

and he will sustain you;S Ps 18:35; Mt 6:25-34; 1Pe 5:7

he will never let

the righteous be shaken.Ps 15:5; 21:7; 37:24; 112:6

23 But you, God, will bring down the wicked

into the pitPs 9:15; S 30:3; 73:18; 94:13; Isa 14:15; Eze 28:8; S Lk 8:31 of decay;

the bloodthirsty and deceitfulPs 5:6

will not live out half their days.S Job 15:32

But as for me, I trust in you.Ps 11:1; 25:2; 56:3

Psalm 55

For the choir director: A psalmHebrew maskil. This may be a literary or musical term. of David, to be accompanied by stringed instruments.

Listen to my prayer, O God.

Do not ignore my cry for help!

Please listen and answer me,

for I am overwhelmed by my troubles.

My enemies shout at me,

making loud and wicked threats.

They bring trouble on me

and angrily hunt me down.

My heart pounds in my chest.

The terror of death assaults me.

Fear and trembling overwhelm me,

and I can’t stop shaking.

Oh, that I had wings like a dove;

then I would fly away and rest!

I would fly far away

to the quiet of the wilderness. Interlude

How quickly I would escape—

far from this wild storm of hatred.

Confuse them, Lord, and frustrate their plans,

for I see violence and conflict in the city.

10 Its walls are patrolled day and night against invaders,

but the real danger is wickedness within the city.

11 Everything is falling apart;

threats and cheating are rampant in the streets.

12 It is not an enemy who taunts me—

I could bear that.

It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me—

I could have hidden from them.

13 Instead, it is you—my equal,

my companion and close friend.

14 What good fellowship we once enjoyed

as we walked together to the house of God.

15 Let death stalk my enemies;

let the graveHebrew let Sheol. swallow them alive,

for evil makes its home within them.

16 But I will call on God,

and the Lord will rescue me.

17 Morning, noon, and night

I cry out in my distress,

and the Lord hears my voice.

18 He ransoms me and keeps me safe

from the battle waged against me,

though many still oppose me.

19 God, who has ruled forever,

will hear me and humble them. Interlude

For my enemies refuse to change their ways;

they do not fear God.

20 As for my companion, he betrayed his friends;

he broke his promises.

21 His words are as smooth as butter,

but in his heart is war.

His words are as soothing as lotion,

but underneath are daggers!

22 Give your burdens to the Lord,

and he will take care of you.

He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.

23 But you, O God, will send the wicked

down to the pit of destruction.

Murderers and liars will die young,

but I am trusting you to save me.

55 Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication.

Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise;

Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me.

My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.

Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.

And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.

Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah.

I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.

Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city.

10 Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it.

11 Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets.

12 For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him:

13 But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.

14 We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.

15 Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.

16 As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me.

17 Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.

18 He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me.

19 God shall hear, and afflict them, even he that abideth of old. Selah. Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God.

20 He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant.

21 The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.

22 Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

23 But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee.

Proverbs 23:4-5

Saying 8

Do not wear yourself out to get rich;

do not trust your own cleverness.

Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,S Mt 6:19

for they will surely sprout wings

and fly off to the sky like an eagle.Pr 27:24

Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich.

Be wise enough to know when to quit.

In the blink of an eye wealth disappears,

for it will sprout wings

and fly away like an eagle.

Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.

Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.

Sep 10 Sep 12
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