Archive for the ‘Isaiah’ Category

A Time for Faith, A Time for Us

June 4th, 2009

“If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.”

(Isaiah 7:9)

When my wife and I were married, the music by Kusic and Snyder was played.  It is the Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet. One of the phrases of this piece articulates-“A Time for Us, Someday Will Be…” This music was beyond my 21 years.  It was beautiful as haunting, but I could not fathom the emotional depths of this piece.  Now, 29 years later, I know that it was well chosen, and its depth has been felt as lived.

Today, there is a deep need among the Lord’s people in the churches of Christ to rededicate their lives.  Faith is not a mobile made in a Bible class, nor a Mobius Strip made at the university.

1.       Faith is an unseen reality of God with his people (2 Cor. 5:7).

2.       This faith has a primary focus in the Christ who always leads in triumphal procession (2 Cor. 2:14)

3.       This Christian faith results in good courage (2 Cor. 5:6,8; 1:24).

This is truly a time for faith, and a time for us! The present is indeed directed by the future.  The Lord is there (Ezek. 48:35)!

-Robert M. Housby


May 14th, 2009

(100-600 Levels)

“The heavens are the Lord’s heavens,

but the earth he has given to the children of man”

(Psalm 115:16)

On the 100 Level, providence involves-

1.    Definition

2.    Usage (Acts 24:2, from pronoias)

On the 200 Level, providence involves-

1.        A reference to God in the world (Eccl. 3:1-11)

a.   Hebrew world view believes in purpose on earth (3:1)

b.   And, transcendent purpose in heaven (3:11; Isa. 55:8-9)

2.        Christian world view unites God’s purpose in Christ (Eph. 1:10)

On the 300 Level, providence involves-

1.         A long and loud praise of God’s universal providence (Ps. 104)

2.         Psalm 104 begins and ends with a summons for the individual to participate in this providence (104:1,35).

On the 400 Level, providence involves-

1.         The comprehensive terminology of heaven (shamayim; ouranos)

2.         Our deepest reality is that we were meant for heaven-made for earth (2 Cor. 5:1-8)

On the 500 Level, providence involves-

1.         Kingdom of God in personal dailiness (Matt. 5:45; 6:25-34; 10:29-31)

2.         Kingdom of God in personal discernment of kingdom reality (Matt. 13)

On the 600 Level, providence involves-

1.         Living 100-600 level revitalization (Finding your place in His plan)

2.         Revelation 11:15!

-Robert M. Housby


July 6th, 2008

“Awake, O sleeper,

and arise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you”

(Ephesians 5:14)

It is plain from the quotation of Ephesians 5:14 that Paul is drawing from the Old Testament theme of personal awakening, among the Lord’s people.  This theme is especially represented in Isaiah.  Isaiah 51:9 reads-“Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake, as in the days of old, the generations of long ago…” Isaiah 51:17 reads, “Wake yourself, wake yourself, stand up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord the cup of his wrath…” Isaiah 52:1-2 says-“Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion…Shake yourself from the dust and arise; be seated, O Jerusalem; loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion…” Isaiah 26:19 is also to be studied in this vein-“Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise.  You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy!”

“Church History” speaks of “Four Great Awakenings in American History;” the essential characteristic of which is a definite rise in religious interest.

1.    1730s-40s          3.    1880-1900

2.    1800 -1830        4.    1960-1970

May your own life be awakened to the love of God in Christ and the Holy Spirit (Romans 13:11)!  Paul had much more in mind than L-dopa.

-Robert M. Housby

“The Rock of Ages:” The Being Behind the Belief

August 12th, 2007

“Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD God is an everlasting rock”

(Isaiah 26:4)

Augustus Montague Toplady (1740-1778) wrote that most popular of English hymns, Rock of Ages. It was this great hymn that echoed through Westminster Abbey during the funeral of Prime Minister William E. Gladstone. The history behind it is quite fascinating. The Christian lyrics arose from a theological debate. Especially important, in this regard, is the second stanza:

Could my tears forever flow, could my zeal no languor know,

these for sin could not atone-Thou must save and Thou alone.

It seems that Toplady was involved in a contention with John Wesley. Wesley was urging a seeking of salvation, while Toplady was denying the human role in salvation.

The being behind the rock, in the text of Isaiah 26:4 is the LORD God. He is traceable to Deuteronomy 32:4, depicted as his people’s strength; refuge (Ps. 31:2-33); and, salvation Deut. 32:15; Ps. 89:26). In the New Testament, the Rock is identified with Christ (1 Cor. 10:4) from whom the Spirit flows (John 4:13-14); the foundation of the church (Matt. 16:18) and it’s corner-stone (Eph. 2:20).

Next time that you sing, Rock of Age, realize that there is indeed a being behind the belief.

– Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, God, Isaiah, Jesus Christ, Lord, Old Testament, rock Tags:

The Snow of Isaiah 55:10,11

January 21st, 2007

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth, making it
bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread
to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which
I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it”

(Isaiah 55:10,11)

The church sign read, “I WISH FOR SNOW—ISA. 55:10,11.” To the uninitiated such a wish is superficial, and verges on the questionable side of mental health. But, to those who have read Isaiah 55:10,11, it is the wish for more. It is the wish for—

1. The farmer’s well being by the replenishing of the earth and the promise of a harvest.

2. The consumer’s delight in having a table always and adequately set with food.

3. The Lord’s designed will that his word go forth and succeed in its intended goal.

There is perhaps only one other passage, to our knowledge, where snow is used in a more ardent sense. It is written in the prophet Isaiah— “…though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow” (1:18). Do you wish for this snow?

– Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, Isaiah, Old Testament, wish Tags:

Bread and Water

July 30th, 2006

“And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore,
but your eyes shall see your Teacher.
And your ears shall hear a word behind you saying,
This is the way, walk in it…”

(Isaiah 30:20,21)

“What’s for supper?” I’d ask my mom (translated—“Can we eat now?”). The usual response was, “Wait until your father gets home from work.” “Okay mom.” Five minutes later—we’d run through the same information again. This time, however, she’d reply to my question—“bread and water.” And, so, early on, I would frequently hear the expression “bread and water.”

The expression “bread of adversity and water of affliction” turns up in Isaiah 30:20-21. Historical research into the bread and water proves this phrase to be a prison reference. 1 Kings 22:27 reads, “Thus says the king, Put this fellow in prison and feed him meager rations of bread and water…” It carries the idea of difficult times coming to an end when the people of God would suddenly behold their “Teacher.” The English Standard Version capitalizes “Teacher.” We have reason to think that this Teacher is a Messianic reference. Jesus entered his public ministry, appearing, not just as another teacher, but as the Teacher (Mk. 12:14; John 1:38; 11:28; 3:2; 14:6). The Dead Sea Scrolls also state that the Qumran Community was waiting for the coming of one called, “the Teacher of Righteousness”.

Friend, do you sit at his feet today, or have you settled for bread and water?

Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, Isaiah, Jesus Christ, Old Testament Tags:

The Master’s Mountain

June 18th, 2006

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD”

(Isaiah 2:3)

The artist, Pablo Picasso was a great admirer of the ground-breaking work of Paul Cezanne. He referred to Cezanne as, “my one and only master.” Picasso was so enthralled with Cezanne’s mountain, Mont Sainte-Victoire, that he contacted his art dealer one day to announce that he had bought it. Since Cezanne had done so many paintings of this mountain, he asked Picasso which one he had purchased. Picasso answered, “Not a painting—the mountain—Mont Sainte Victoire!” Indeed, he had actually acquired Chateau de Vauvenargues, on the side of the mountain (Architectural Digest, May, 2006, 117).

The prophet Isaiah spoke of a time in his distant future when Jerusalem would be elevated by God, and for God’s purpose. Isaiah 2:1-3 makes three statements encouraging all nations to recognize that–

1. This mountain would be the unrivaled mountain of mountains [“the highest of the mountains” and “lifted up above the hills”].

2. This mountain would be the place of origin from whence teaching from God’s law (torah) would begin [“out of Zion” and “from Jerusalem” (see John 4:22; Luke 24:47)].

3. This mountain would launch the law and the word (dabar) of the LORD [“shall go the law …and the word of the LORD”].

Beneath a cedar tree on the side of Cezanne’s mountain Picasso is buried. Yes, upon whose mountain one lives, there shall he also be buried. Who is your one and only master? Have you been to the mountain?

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: Isaiah, mountain, Old Testament Tags:

Not Teachable—Not Reachable

April 23rd, 2006

“And they will all be taught by God”

(John 6:45)

There are many versions of Christianity in the marketplace today. To most, this is a rather pleasant arrangement, as it allows for a smorgasbord approach to God—take what you want and leave the rest. But, there is a deep problem here. It is the same problem which Isaiah spoke of many years ago:

1. Preferring the word of men above the word of God (Isaiah 29:13).

2. Persevering in a plan that is not God’s plan (Isaiah 30:1).

3. Persistently refusing the Lord’s instruction (Isaiah 30:9).

To be taught by God is not optional (Isaiah 2:1-3; John 6:45;63; Hebrews 8:10-11). Jesus, himself, applied this information to the religious humanists of his day—“…in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men” (Mark 7:7-8).

So, would you be open to new information—information which comes directly from the Bible—without human creed, without human catechism, and without presumptuous human claim of direct revelation (2 Timothy 3:16,17; Galatians 1:6-9)? So, what is your attitude about Bible study?

Are you reachable or unreachable (Isaiah 59:1,2,21)?

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, God, Isaiah, Old Testament, Outreach, Worship Tags:

The Color Red

October 30th, 2005

“…though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow”

(Isaiah 1:18)

The color red is the color of sin (Isaiah 1:18). It has the longest light rays, and is usually associated with warning, even in the modern world of our own 21st century. Stop signs are red. Bio-hazardous materials are coded red, as well as other human threats.

1. The word red in Hebrew is derived from the root, dam, signifying blood
(Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, 708).

2. The Old Testament tabernacle was covered with dyed animal skins
(Exodus 25:5).

3. The Bible speaks of the redness of one’s eyes as compared to wine: “his eyes are darker than wine” (Genesis 49:12).

4. Certain astronomical phenomena are depicted in terms of blood red
(Joel 2:31; Revelation 6:12).

5. Water is described in 2 Kings 3:22,23 as being red as blood.

6. The red-heifer of Numbers 19 has tremendous theological symbolism
(Hebrews 9:13,14).

7. Messiah himself (Christ Jesus, Jn. 1:41) is ultimately clad in red
(Revelation 5:6,9; John 19:34).

The greatest threat of all is sin; bloody-red, deadly sin. But, the greatest redemptive feat of the universe is God’s substitutionary atonement through Christ Jesus, the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:21; Jn. 3:16; Isaiah 1:18)!

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, Isaiah, Old Testament Tags:

“Beauty for Ashes”

March 6th, 2005

(Why Christians May Live in Joy)


“To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness”

(Isaiah 61:3, NKJV, emphasis mine, RMH)


When the old Jerusalem gospel was preached on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), the promises of the Old Testament were opened up for all men (Acts 2:39; 3:24).
Included in this theology of promise were the words of the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 61:3 (quoted above).
The statement of Isaiah 61:3 declares that there would be consolation for those who mourn. This consolation would come in the form of something given, as bestowed by God himself, through Jesus Christ (Isaiah 61:1; Lk. 4:16-21; 7:22).

1. Beauty for ashes – The downtrodden would be the recipients of this lovely expression of promise, “beauty for ashes.” This play on words reminds one of man’s lowly origin, from ordinary chemical composition, and his/her often mournful emotional state (Gen. 18:27; 2 Sam. 13:19; Job 2:8; Jer. 6:26). The replacement here is that of God’s dignity for man’s indignity. A head-turban may well be meant in the text.
2. The oil of joy for mourning – Olive oil had cosmetic and curative properties (Ps. 23:5; 104:15). Oil is used also as a symbol for the Holy Spirit (see Exodus 30:22-38; Ps. 18:28; etc.).
3. The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness – The New English Bible reads, “a garment of splendor for the heavy heart.”

When everything seems to be going wrong–Enter, Beauty for ashes; oil of joy;
garment of praise!
Put on the promised turban today for your tomorrow.

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, Isaiah, Old Testament Tags: