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Ambassador Baptist Church
1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
(412)822-7255
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Pastor's Pen - August 9, 2007
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August 9, 2007

Isaiah 54-58
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Isaiah
Chapter 54
  1. Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD.
  2. Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;
  3. For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.
  4. Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.
  5. For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.
  6. For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.
  7. For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.
  8. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.
  9. For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.
  10. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.
  11. O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires.
  12. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.
  13. And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.
  14. In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.
  15. Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.
  16. Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.
  17. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.


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Isaiah
Chapter 55
  1. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
  2. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
  3. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.
  4. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.
  5. Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.
  6. Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
  7. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
  8. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
  9. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
  10. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
  11. So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
  12. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
  13. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.


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Isaiah
Chapter 56
  1. Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.
  2. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.
  3. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.
  4. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;
  5. Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.
  6. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;
  7. Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
  8. The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.
  9. All ye beasts of the field, come to devour, yea, all ye beasts in the forest.
  10. His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.
  11. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.
  12. Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.


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Isaiah
Chapter 57
  1. The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.
  2. He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.
  3. But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore.
  4. Against whom do ye sport yourselves? against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood,
  5. Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys under the clifts of the rocks?
  6. Among the smooth stones of the stream is thy portion; they, they are thy lot: even to them hast thou poured a drink offering, thou hast offered a meat offering. Should I receive comfort in these?
  7. Upon a lofty and high mountain hast thou set thy bed: even thither wentest thou up to offer sacrifice.
  8. Behind the doors also and the posts hast thou set up thy remembrance: for thou hast discovered thyself to another than me, and art gone up; thou hast enlarged thy bed, and made thee a covenant with them; thou lovedst their bed where thou sawest it.
  9. And thou wentest to the king with ointment, and didst increase thy perfumes, and didst send thy messengers far off, and didst debase thyself even unto hell.
  10. Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way; yet saidst thou not, There is no hope: thou hast found the life of thine hand; therefore thou wast not grieved.
  11. And of whom hast thou been afraid or feared, that thou hast lied, and hast not remembered me, nor laid it to thy heart? have not I held my peace even of old, and thou fearest me not?
  12. I will declare thy righteousness, and thy works; for they shall not profit thee.
  13. When thou criest, let thy companies deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take them: but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain;
  14. And shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people.
  15. For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
  16. For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made.
  17. For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart.
  18. I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners.
  19. I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him.
  20. But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
  21. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.


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Isaiah
Chapter 58
  1. Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.
  2. Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.
  3. Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.
  4. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.
  5. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?
  6. Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
  7. Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
  8. Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.
  9. Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;
  10. And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:
  11. And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
  12. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.
  13. If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:
  14. Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.


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Thought for the day:
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 There is one particular section that I would like to look at in today’s reading. It is found in Isaiah 55:6-9, which reads,

“Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
This passage is rich with truth. First, Isaiah reminds the people that they need to respond to God’s call to repentance today. If the Lord is calling them now, they need to respond now, for there may never be another opportunity for them to get right with the Lord. Apparently there comes a time when God is no longer available. I do not know when that time is, but since it must come at some point, it makes sense to me that I should immediately respond to any conviction or direction from the Lord. Tomorrow may be too late.

 Verse 9 reveals what the Lord’s response will be to those who call upon Him. If they come to God His way, which means that they have genuine repentance which will manifest itself in a change of life (“way”) and mind (“thought”) and a returning to the Lord, then God promises that He will have mercy, and will “abundantly pardon”. The word “abundantly” means that God will heap His forgiveness upon those who come back to Him. A simple pardon would be more than enough, for we deserve absolutely nothing. But to have our pardon increased and heaped upon us is a great blessing. God wants to pardon. He doesn’t just want to forgive sins, He wants to separate them from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). He wants us to receive every benefit that we can from His bountiful hand.

 Verses 10 and 11 reveal a wonderful truth about Who God is. They remind us that God does not work and think the way that men do, because He is God and His ways and thoughts are higher than ours. This fact can be applied in several ways. First of all, the context shows us that God’s higher thoughts and ways allow Him to abundantly pardon. It is not human nature to forgive. The greater the offense, the less likely it is that forgiveness will be offered. The old expression is, “To err is human; to forgive divine.” It is not the norm for men to allow those who have trespassed against them to be reconciled to them. If we were in God’s position, it would be our tendency to extract every pound of punishment that we could from sinners. Yet God, Who has been transgressed against in a far greater way that a mere human ever could be, is willing and eager to forgive. I believe that there is also a second application here, which is an encouragement to believers. Sometimes it is difficult for us to understand what God is doing in our lives and in the lives of those near and dear to us. Tragedies occur, things which seemed beneficial are lost, and we begin to doubt God, because we think that if we were God we would never have allowed those things go take place. Always remember that God thinks differently than we do. His ways are higher: He has a perfect plan that He is allowing to unfold. His thoughts are higher: He understands exactly what each of us needs to be the finest Christians that we can be, and He knows how to see it accomplished. Don’t allow your lack of understanding to cause you to question and doubt the Lord. He always knows and does what is right.

Pastor Mark J Montgomery

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