Isaiah 33:10-36:22, Gal 5:13-26, Ps 64:1-10, Pr 23:23
Today is the 20th day of September, welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian and it is wonderful to be here with you today, as we do what we do, gather around the Global Campfire and take the next step forward together. Our next step forward is continuing to lead us through the book of Isaiah. I guess we are pretty much in the center of the book of Isaiah. So, we will continue forward there before jumping into the letter to the Galatians in the New Testament. So today, Isaiah chapter 33 verse 10 through 36 verse 22.
Okay, so, yesterday as we were moving through our territory in the book of Isaiah we observed a crossroads, sort of a little fork in the road. Not like there aren’t a million forks in the road every day. But a fork in the road, that had two paths: one that would lead to a quiet flagpole, all alone on a hill somewhere abandoned or a path that would lead us in quietness and trust, inviting us to calm down and trust in the Lord. Today in Paul’s letter to the Galatians, we have another crossroads, another set of divergent paths and an understanding where those paths go. And so, on one hand we have a path of the sinful nature, but conversely we have the path of following the spirit into all truth, into union with God. So let me just read or quote from Paul the description of these paths. So I quote Paul, “walk by this Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh, for the flesh desires what is against the spirit and the spirit desires what is against the flesh. These are opposed to each other so that you don’t do what you want, but if you are led by this Spirit you’re not under the law. The works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing and anything similar.” And Paul goes on to say, those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. So, something we should pay attention to, and we can read a list like this, Paul has all kinds of different sorts of lists in his different letters, we can read a list like this and go okay, I don’t practice idolatry, I don’t practice sorcery. But what about outbursts of anger, what about envy, what about selfish ambition and there’s a whole laundry list here of things that are on a path that’s not going anywhere good. Conversely, Paul talks about the pathway of this Spirit and I quote, “the fruit of this Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” And out of those two lists, we should be pretty clear on where we should be going and what we should want. I mean, just comparing the lists should tell us what our deep soul desire wants right, do we want love and do we want sexual immorality. Do we want joy or do we want moral impurity. Do we want peace or do we want promiscuity. Do we want patients or idolatry, kindness or sorcery, goodness or hatred, faithfulness or strife, gentleness or jealousy, self-control or outbursts of anger. Like, it should be obvious what our soul craves and the way that we were made and what we need. And we could be like true. It’s obvious what we need. But how do we know when were beginning, like how do we know before it’s too late, that we’re about to step onto the wrong path. Paul answers that succinctly, the works of the flesh are obvious. So, unless we are absolutely, completely unaware of ourselves, we would know when we’re moving toward sexual immorality, we would know when we’re moving toward envy or drunkenness, we would know when we’re headed towards jealousy or an outburst of anger. And according to Paul, when we are pulled or moving in that direction, then we are moving in the direction of sin and a sinful nature. If we’re going to move in that direction than we are going to be dominated by it. I mean, if we just take a step back and think about it for second, we know this, we already know this from experience. Thankfully, what Paul’s not saying is that anyone who falls in any of these sins and walked that path is doomed and cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Paul’s saying like, if this is the path you’re going to walk, if this is the way that you’re going to go and commit yourself to that path then it’s not going to end up at the kingdom of God. That’s not where that path goes. There are roadways all over the world. And I understand the roadways of the country that I live in and how that all works and I know that if I want to go to California, I need to go west of where I am, here in the rolling hills of Tennessee. But if I just decide no, I want to walk a different path, I’m going to go North, then I’m going to end up in Minnesota or Wisconsin or Michigan or somewhere up north. If that’s the path I’m going to go on, even though I want to be in a different place, I’m going to end up where the road goes. If we’re going to walk the path of the sinful nature habitually and commit ourselves to that path. Even though we want to end up at the kingdom of God, that’s not where that path goes. The path that goes there, is the path of the Spirit. And according to Paul, the fruit of the Spirit, so, the outgrowth, the harvest, of what’s been planted in our lives from the spirit yields love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control and there is no law against any of those things. Two paths that go two divergent places, where do we want to end up? Paul concludes in our reading today saying, now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. In other words died to those things. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
And so, Father, we invite You into this. We have these lists that Paul has laid out, lists describing pathways and outcomes. And if we honestly look at these lists, we realize how much energy we spend trying to make it all work so that we can have the sinful desires as well as the fruit of the spirit all intermingled into some kind of nice smoothie. It’s ironic though, because we would never grab some strawberries and blueberries and bananas and put them into a blender and get ready to make a nice smoothie and also poor in a ½ a box of rat poison because we want it all and it explains a lot me think about it that way. For some reason spiritually, we want to mix our poison with what is good for us and call it good. And then be mad at You when it doesn’t work. There are somethings we have to turn away from because they will never lead us on a healthy path and they will never get us to where we want to go. Help us, Holy Spirit, one of the fruits of the Spirit that was described today is self control. We need that, show us what that looks like in our lives. We pray in the name of Jesus, we ask. Amen.
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And that’s it for today, I’m Brian, I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here, tomorrow.
Prayer and Encouragements will be posted later.