Watching Daily At Wisdom's Gates

A Yorkshireman's take on life, death, and eternity

Month: Dec, 2019

New Year’s Anticipation

My wife would affirm that some of my favorite words are “maybe” and “probably”! It’s not that I’m an indecisive person, it’s just that I know that I know that things only happen according to God’s will, and until they happen I can’t be sure they’re God’s will!

So I “probably” won’t make any New Year’s resolutions that I’d “probably” break anyway. My 2019 resolution to not be obsessed with stats was resoundingly broken!

So on the eve of this new year, “maybe” I’m more philosophical, “maybe” that little bit older and wiser!

So rather than to concretely resolve and sink like a stone, I’m going to flexibly “anticipate” and hopefully skillfully ride the waves of providence in 2020!

I know it’s trendy to have a “word” for the year. I think I had one for this year but to be honest I can’t remember it! It was “probably” “maybe”! ๐Ÿ˜€

Anyway, I think my “word” for 2020 is “anticipation”. My biggest anticipation is the return of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to call me home: “maranatha” (return, Lord Jesus!).

But I anticipate, or perhaps more accurately “hope” in a worldly rather than a Biblical sense for some other things too. Biblical hope is certain- the hope of union with Christ for eternity. Worldly hope isn’t necessarily sinful, it’s just what we would like to happen in an ideal world.

So what would I like to happen in 2020 (apart from Christ’s return)? In terms of the blog, I’d like to continue to “watch daily at wisdom’s gates” with my daily devotionals.

I also tentatively resolve to limit my extra posts to one a day in 2020 (apart from my Psalms blog which I hope to complete soon enough!). If on any particular day I feel especially inspired I can always schedule my posts for subsequent days.

My reasoning is that although I love blogging I need to be self controlled, reign myself in a bit, and prioritise my daughter.

I hope my stats continue to grow, although I’ll be philosophical if they don’t!

I’d like to preach a bit more regularly next year even than this year, I want to get consistent in my preaching as well as my writing.

Happy as we are with our daughter, we’d love another kid, so we’ll see what happens on that front!

And happy as I am in my current job (notwithstanding all the childcare I do), I suspect this time next year my working arrangements might look different (if any of my employers happen to read this which I highly doubt, I’m not about to resign!).

What are you hoping for in 2020, God willing?

Some thank-you’s :)

I’d like to thank everyone who follows, reads, likes, and comments on my blog.

But I thought I’d give a shout out to my top five commenters!

5. Efua, my fellow British blogger, it’s always a joy to hear from you, and maybe we’ll collaborate in the New Year!

4. David Ettinger, you’re like a writing mentor and example to me. I always value your comments.

3. Kim Petitt, you have a great talent of always commenting what I wish I’d included in my posts! Thank you for your insights.

2. SLIMJIM, it’s been great to collaborate with you in 2019. Here’s to even more partnership in the gospel in the year to come, if Jesus delays!

1. Mrs Mariposa, thank you so much for your faithful encouragement of me with my writing.

I’m not sure how accurate these stats are because I feel like there’s a few more people I need to specifically thank for their interaction in 2018.

Ryan Callaghan, sir, thank you for encouraging me, in my other blogs too.

Likewise brother Jeff, it’s been great to interact with you on Twitter too where I love your daily offer of prayer ๐Ÿ™‚

And last, but by no means least, sister Tammy of “God inspired art and quotes”. It’s always a delight to hear from you, always a blessing, so thanks very much ๐Ÿ™‚

As I often find myself doing, I have to apologise for not properly tagging and linking to everyone I’ve mentioned. And no doubt there’s people I should have mentioned that I didn’t. But God bless you all at this turn of the year!

Psalm 69:1-18… Zeal

Follow the link for my latest Psalm post:

Psalm 68:20-35… Salvation

Follow the link for my latest Psalm post:

My top ten posts of 2019

10. Another About Me Post

If I was only concerned about stats, I would mostly post about myself, because my personal posts are some of my most popular.

But I don’t want you to so much “watch” the “daily watcher at wisdom’s gates”. I’d rather you just “watched daily at wisdom’s gates” with me!

But I appreciate it’s nice to know the person behind the blog, and even I would admit that my daily devotionals which form the meat of this blog tend to be rather dry and formulaic.

9. Sunshine Blogger Award (2)

I’ve stopped receiving awards because anyone can give out a blogging award to their mates, regardless of how worthy the blog is!

This isn’t to say I didn’t appreciate receiving the awards, and it was always an opportunity to share a bit more about myself.

8. A Biblical Verdict on Trump and Johnson

As a graduate of politics, and a keen Bible student, this post is one of my personal favorites.

7. Sunshine Blogger Award (3)

Another award, another opportunity to share a bit more about myself ๐Ÿ™‚

6. Is Christianity against interethnic relationships?

If you understand the Bible, the answer to this question should be a no-brainer, but the question obviously struck a chord with me at the time and a lot of other people.

5. My testimony of being on mission for God

Lots of posts in the top ten are personal, this one most of all!

4. Share your passion!

This was a tag I think which enabled me to share what I’m passionate about.

3. Enjoying Sirmione, Italy

Hopefully this post was as enjoyable as my visit was ๐Ÿ™‚

2. Advice for Christian bloggers

Hopefully the popularity of this post is matched by its helpfulness!

1. Do gay people go to hell?

I’m slightly embarrassed by this post because it turns out that Israel Folau, the (in)famous Australian rugby player who inspired it is a heretic- he denies the trinity! But there we are!

Also I want to mention the 11th placed post, and top placed of my daily devotionals: “Depression”. I wrote a fair bit on mental health issues from my personal perspective this year which was well received.

And then there was one of my pet favorite posts- “Emotional Bible Men” which hopefully shows us men that it’s okay to be emotional!

Finally, apologies that I’ve been too lazy to put links up for you. If you’re more diligent than me you can use the search bar to locate these most popular posts of mine.

And of course thank you so much for joining me as I “watch daily at wisdom’s gates”. Here’s to our future of watching and waiting, until the return of the King, our Lord Jesus Christ. To Him be all the honour, both in this blog and in creation as a whole, amen.


โ€œFor I hate divorce!โ€ says the Lord , the God of Israel. โ€œTo divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty, โ€ says the Lord of Heavenโ€™s Armies. โ€œSo guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.โ€

Malachi 2:16 NLT

I’ve made an almost unheard of departure from the ESV in this devotional, but I’ve double checked the Hebrew-English interlinear Bible online and the NLT’s much better, including its footnotes which explain the slight ambiguity (the Hebrew-English transliteration is “divorce that he hates for God Yahweh says” -this is why every translation needs a degree of dynamic equivalence! No translation is perfectly literal!).

Hebrew lesson over, let’s unpack some implications. If God hates divorce, what about adultery? God only permits divorce in that case because of our hard hearts, He still hates it. Even more seriously, what about abuse? I would advocate separation over divorce any day.

Consider more implications. If God had the same laissez-faire attitude to divorce (the breaking of a covenant) that we do, He’d have done away with us ages ago! The church wouldn’t be the bride of Christ, but the divorcee of Christ. Be honest and think about how often we’re unfaithful to Him.

My four paragraph pattern is hardly enough to deal with this subject, but some people think the old and new testaments are like God divorcing Israel and remarrying to the church! No! The church is Jews and Gentiles united with Jesus the Messiah and one another through faith in Him.

“Lord God, help us to take seriously Your hatred of divorce. Thank You that there’s abundant grace for divorcees in Jesus. Thank You so much also that You’ll never spiritually divorce us because our salvation is dependant upon Your faithfulness, not ours. To Your praise and glory, amen”

Psalm 68:1-19… Father

Follow the link for my latest Psalm post:

Isaiah (40-66)

This post is a continuation of the Isaiah (1-39) post, wherein I try to draw parallels between the chapters of Isaiah and the apparently corresponding books of the Bible.

So without further ado:

40. Matthew

A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord ; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Isaiah 40:3 ESV

Matthew actually quotes this verse as being fulfilled by John the Baptist.

41. Mark

Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I am the one who helps you, declares the Lord ; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 41:14 ESV

Jesus is called Lord in Mark’s gospel. His death and resurrection are recorded- the means by which He redeems us. And the demons He drove out declared Him to be the Holy One of Israel. God became one of us- like a worm! – so that worms like us could be reconciled to God!

42. Luke

Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.

Isaiah 42:1 ESV

Isaiah 42 and Luke alike reveal God’s Spirit filled servant Jesus to be for the world- after all, Luke’s gospel is written by a Gentile to a Gentile!

43. John

I, I am the Lord , and besides me there is no saviour.

Isaiah 43:11 ESV

Both Isaiah and John are trinitarian monotheists. They know that God is one, but as Jesus said in John’s gospel, “I and the Father are one”. And He’s given us the gift of His Holy Spirit to seal our salvation.

44. Acts

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.

Isaiah 44:3 ESV

Acts is the fulfilment of this verse- when God poured out His Spirit on Pentecost and subsequently!

45. Romans

“Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit; let the earth cause them both to sprout; I the Lord have created it.

Isaiah 45:8 ESV

Romans unpacks how salvation and righteousness are purely of the Lord’s doing, we can’t claim to have earned them at all.

46. 1 Corinthians

“To whom will you liken me and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be alike?

Isaiah 46:5 ESV

The Corinthian church was getting guilty of hero worship of some of the great early church leaders. A bit of Isaiah 46 might have set them straight! God alone is worthy of our worship!

47. 2 Corinthians

You felt secure in your wickedness; you said, “No one sees me”; your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray, and you said in your heart, “I am, and there is no one besides me.”

Isaiah 47:10 ESV

Unlike ancient Babylon, we see in 2 Corinthians that the Corinthian church repented of their wickedness, and are comforted and reassured by Paul.

48. Galatians

Because I know that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead brass,

Isaiah 48:4 ESV

Isaiah’s attitude to his people (expressed in this word from the Lord) is comparable to Paul’s attitude to the Galatian church- “you foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?”

49. Ephesians

He made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away.

Isaiah 49:2 ESV

Isaiah’s language here reminds me of Paul describing the Word of God as the sword of the Spirit in Ephesians 6.

50. Philippians

I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting.

Isaiah 50:6 ESV

As Paul put it in Philippians, Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross (and of course God ultimately vindicated Him!)

51. Colossians

“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the Lord : look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug.

Isaiah 51:1 ESV

The Colossian church, as with every church, needed to be reminded that the Lord is our rock, that to build our lives on anything else is to build on sand!

52. 1 Thessalonians

The voice of your watchmenโ€”they lift up their voice; together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the Lord to Zion.

Isaiah 52:8 ESV

The Thessalonian church was looking for the return of the Lord to call His people home too enthusiastically, if that were possible. Yes, we need to be ready for Christ’s return, but no that doesn’t mean that we pack in the day job and sit around waiting for it to happen!

53. 2 Thessalonians

Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.

Isaiah 53:11 ESV

By 2 Thessalonians, the church there was beginning to lose hope that Christ would return. But as assuredly as His promised first advent happened, so shall He return to account us righteous in God’s sight, having borne our iniquities on the cross.

54. 1 Timothy

“Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord .

Isaiah 54:1 ESV

We have no record of Paul ever marrying or having children. But Timothy was his “true son in the faith”- one of many spiritual offspring for the great apostle of God.

55. 2 Timothy

Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples.

Isaiah 55:4 ESV

Paul “fought the good fight” for his leader and commander in chief, the Lord Jesus Christ.

56. Titus

Thus says the Lord : “Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon my salvation will come, and my righteousness be revealed.

Isaiah 56:1 ESV

Just because salvation and righteousness is of the Lord, doesn’t mean to say that we don’t need to do good, as Paul emphasises to Titus too.

57. Philemon

I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners,

Isaiah 57:18 ESV

God saw how Onesimus wronged Philemon and ran away, but God led him back through Paul, not to be restored as a slave but as a brother in Christ.

58. Hebrews

And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Isaiah 58:11 ESV

Hebrews 6 picks up a similar image. If we belong to Jesus we’ll be fruitful, we won’t be a weed infested wilderness.

59. James

For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness.

Isaiah 59:3 ESV

James and Isaiah are equally condemning of the evils of our words. But as Isaiah assures us, the Lord’s hand isn’t too short to save even bad-mouthing people like us.

60. 1 Peter

The sons of those who afflicted you shall come bending low to you, and all who despised you shall bow down at your feet; they shall call you the City of the Lord , the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 60:14 ESV

Peter wrote encouragement to the persecuted church. Isaiah’s 60th chapter is similarly reassuring.

61. 2 Peter

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

Isaiah 61:1 ESV

The Spirit of the Lord God who was upon Christ Jesus carried Peter along to write a second letter to warn against false teachers and to prepare his readers for the day of the Lord.

62. 1 John

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch.

Isaiah 62:1 ESV

John’s first letter assures us that our unrighteousness can be washed away by God (and if it is, He makes us righteous!).

63. 2 John

I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord , the praises of the Lord , according to all that the Lord has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love.

Isaiah 63:7 ESV

The elect lady who John wrote to in his second letter had been graciously chosen by God to receive His abundant love.

64. 3 John

as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boilโ€” to make your name known to your adversaries, and that the nations might tremble at your presence!

Isaiah 64:2 ESV

John mentions one of the Lord’s adversaries in his third letter, someone who always liked to put himself first.

65. Jude

But you who forsake the Lord , who forget my holy mountain, who set a table for Fortune and fill cups of mixed wine for Destiny,

Isaiah 65:11 ESV

Some quarters of the professing church talk a lot about “Destiny”. Jude describes them as “hidden reefs” at “love feasts”- the Lord’s Supper. The Bible for them is nothing more than a glorified horoscope, rather than God’s Word which condemns us for seeking our own fortunes rather than the glory of the Lord God Almighty.

66. Revelation

“For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the Lord , so shall your offspring and your name remain.

Isaiah 66:22 ESV

Isaiah’s last chapter and the Bible’s last book alike envisage a new and perfect creation, to the glory of the Lord God Almighty, amen!

So in conclusion, I’m not convinced that there’s very much weight to my theory equating Isaiah’s chapters with the Bible’s books.

But it’s been a refreshing exercise to cross-pollinate something of the fragrant beauty of God’s Word.

I hope you’ve enjoyed it too! ๐Ÿ™‚


And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Revelation 21:2 ESV

Revelation could be described as a tale of two cities: Babylon, the prostitute of the world; and the new Jerusalem, the bride of Christ. We belong to one of the two cities. If we belong to Jesus, we’re on pilgrimage to the heavenly city.

In this verse, the heavenly city comes to us. At the end of the age, when Babylon is destroyed and Christ returns, He will bring our heavenly home down out of heaven. The end of the world won’t just be trumpet blasts and fire, it’ll be the consummation of history.

Jesus told His followers on the night He was betrayed that He was going to prepare a place for us in His Father’s house. This verse looks ahead to the fruition of that promise. The Bible might start in a garden, but it ends in a city, where all God’s people worship Him forevermore.

I love the image of the new Jerusalem as a beautiful bride. I still remember my gorgeous bride walking down the aisle. Then I got preoccupied that the rings had been misplaced! Thankfully they turned up! But there’ll be no similar mishap at our union with our heavenly bridegroom Jesus- we’ll have been perfectly beautified.

“God, thank You that despite the stain of our sins, You wash us clean and give us white to wear on the final day. Help us not to worry about our performance, but to trust You to make us beautiful for our Lord and Saviour Jesus, in His name, amen”

Isaiah (1-39)

I find it interesting that Isaiah has 66 chapters and the Bible has 66 books.

Not only so, but the turning point in Isaiah is the 40th chapter, and the turning point in the Bible is the 40th book, Matthew.

I know the chapters weren’t in Isaiah’s original prophecy, but there is an interesting symmetry to it.

So I’ve decided to see if there’s any parallel between the books of the Bible and the chapters of Isaiah...

1. Genesis

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the Lord has spoken: “Children have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me.

Isaiah 1:2 ESV

Genesis talks about the creation of the heavens and the earth by the word of the Lord.

It talks about Him making man and woman in His image and likeness.

It talks about the rebellion of mankind against the Lord.

Even from the first verse of Isaiah’s prophecy (barring the intro) my tentative theory of a colloration between Isaiah’s chapters and the Bible’s books seems to hold.

2. Exodus

It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it,

Isaiah 2:2 ESV

The second book of the Bible is about the children of Israel escaping slavery in Egypt and heading to the promised land.

The last part of the book is about the tabernacle, the portable “house of the Lord”.

The second chapter of Isaiah anticipates not just Israel but all nations flowing to the house of the Lord.

And now in our New Testament age there’s people of most ethnic groups who have become part of the spiritual house of God, the church of Christ Jesus the Lord.

3. Leviticus

And the people will oppress one another, every one his fellow and every one his neighbour; the youth will be insolent to the elder, and the despised to the honorable.

Isaiah 3:5 ESV

Okay, so this is the opposite of the most famous verse in Leviticus: “Love your neighbour”. But that’s probably why Isaiah’s description of his contemporaries is so damning!

4. Numbers

And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem,

Isaiah 4:3 ESV

Numbers is a record of those God gave a life free from slavery in Egypt.

This verse describes those who avoid exile in Babylon as recorded for life in Jerusalem.

5. Deuteronomy

Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them!

Isaiah 5:11 ESV

Deuteronomy includes blessings for obedience to God’s law; and woe for rebellion against it.

I was reminded of that by this verse.

Okay, so Isaiah’s Scriptures will have principally been those first five books of the old testament: the pentateuch/torah/law. So this is perhaps where my theory breaks down of parallels between Isaiah’s and Bible books as a whole.

But what if the 66 chapters/books weren’t Isaiah’s design but the Holy Spirit who inspired Him? Anyway, I’ve committed myself now, so I’ll have to plough on to test my theory!

6. Joshua

Okay, so the Jewish and Greek orders of the old testament books are different, but seeing as Isaiah didn’t have the whole of the old testament anyway, I’ll plod on with the Greek order I’m familiar with in the hopes that the Holy Spirit teaches us something!

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.

Isaiah 6:1 ESV

It is widely accepted by orthodox scholars of the Bible that both Isaiah here and Joshua with the “commander of the Lord’s army”, experienced theophanies- preincarnate appearances of the Lord Jesus Christ! Pretty awesome!

7. Judges

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14 ESV

Not only is Jesus “Immanuel”- “God with us” to deliver us like the judges delivered Israel, but He is also the Judge of all the earth.

8. Ruth

I will wait for the Lord , who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him.

Isaiah 8:17 ESV

Ruth, like Isaiah, waited for and hoped in the Lord at a time when it seemed like He was hiding His face from them.

Also, Isaiah 8 is about his family, like Ruth is about her family, and how she got adopted into the family of God.

9. 1 Samuel

I know Samuel, Kings and Chronicles were originally just 3 books altogether rather than 6, but for the purposes of this exercise I’ll go with the divisions that I assume were introduced in the Greek translation of the old testament, if not later…

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6 ESV

I know all of Scripture’s ultimately points to Jesus, but this verse clearly does, as does God’s promise to king David in 1 Samuel that his Descendant would have an everlasting Kingdom.

10. 2 Samuel

Woe to Assyria, the rod of my anger; the staff in their hands is my fury!

Isaiah 10:5 ESV

I must admit that this is the most tenuous chapter so far in my attempt to link Isaiah’s chapters with Scripture’s books as a whole.

But in Assyria’s prophesied demise, I see king Saul’s actual demise at the outset of 2 Samuel. Although God can use His enemies, ultimately He pronounces woe over them.

11. 1 Kings

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.

Isaiah 11:1 ESV

Through the whole of 1 Kings we might look for the promised Davidic king, descended from David’s dad Jesse, David’s Son. But we never find Him, although we trace God’s mercy to His ancestral line.

12. 2 Kings

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”

Isaiah 12:2 ESV

Isaiah didn’t set much hope in any of his contemporary kings of Judah to be the promised Son of David whose Kingdom would ever end. But he did sing praise to the Lord God His salvation.

13. 1 Chronicles

And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the splendor and pomp of the Chaldeans, will be like Sodom and Gomorrah when God overthrew them.

Isaiah 13:19 ESV

Chronicles “chronicles” or records for posterity God’s continued grace to the children of Israel.

Isaiah 13 chronicles the demise of Babylon, the ones who would take Judah off into exile.

14. 2 Chronicles

For the Lord will have compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel, and will set them in their own land, and sojourners will join them and will attach themselves to the house of Jacob.

Isaiah 14:1 ESV

Both the book and this chapter are full of hope that no matter how difficult the circumstances, God cares for His people.

15. Ezra

An oracle concerning Moab. Because Ar of Moab is laid waste in a night, Moab is undone; because Kir of Moab is laid waste in a night, Moab is undone.

Isaiah 15:1 ESV

As Isaiah 15 describes God’s judgement upon pagan Moab, Ezra mentions God’s judgement upon His own people for intermarriage with, among others, pagan Moabites

16. Nehemiah

And joy and gladness are taken away from the fruitful field, and in the vineyards no songs are sung, no cheers are raised; no treader treads out wine in the presses; I have put an end to the shouting.

Isaiah 16:10 ESV

When God judges us as we deserve, whether Moab in Isaiah’s day or the Jews in Nehemiah’s day, joy and gladness are taken away.

But as Nehemiah encouraged His people- “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (so cheer up and celebrate Him!).

17. Esther

At evening time, behold, terror! Before morning, they are no more! This is the portion of those who loot us, and the lot of those who plunder us.

Isaiah 17:14 ESV

The conclusion of the book of Esther illustrates this verse well: it doesn’t end well for those who pick on the Jewish people!

18. Job

For before the harvest, when the blossom is over, and the flower becomes a ripening grape, he cuts off the shoots with pruning hooks, and the spreading branches he lops off and clears away.

Isaiah 18:5 ESV

This one’s a bit tenuous, but it could be argued that Job is about God “pruning” Job to make him even more fruitful (and I’m thinking more in a spiritual sense than the material sense).

19. Psalms

In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and Assyria will come into Egypt, and Egypt into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians.

Isaiah 19:23 ESV

This one’s a bit of a stretch too, but Psalms starts with the blessed man not walking in the way of the wicked, and ends with a call to everyone to praise the Lord (that includes Egypt and Assyria- historical enemies of God’s people!)

20. Proverbs

And the inhabitants of this coastland will say in that day, ‘Behold, this is what has happened to those in whom we hoped and to whom we fled for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria! And we, how shall we escape?'”

Isaiah 20:6 ESV

Proverbs tells us to hope in the God of wisdom, otherwise it won’t go well for us…

21. Ecclesiastes

For thus the Lord said to me: “Go, set a watchman; let him announce what he sees.

Isaiah 21:6 ESV

Solomon in Ecclesiastes is like a watchman who sees that if we only see with the naked eye, everything under the sun, beneath God’s dwelling place in the highest heaven, is meaningless, empty, vanity.

22. Song of Songs

and behold, joy and gladness, killing oxen and slaughtering sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

Isaiah 22:13 ESV

Isaiah portrays eating, drinking and being merry- if that’s our ultimate meaning- as a bad think.

The Song of Songs however portrays eating, drinking and bring merry as blessings to be enjoyed (just not idolised!).

23. Isaiah

The oracle concerning Tyre. Wail, O ships of Tarshish, for Tyre is laid waste, without house or harbor! From the land of Cyprus it is revealed to them.

Isaiah 23:1 ESV

I suppose this is a typical chapter of Isaiah’s prophecy. It displays something of his godly humanity. He might have pronounced judgement on nations, but he took no pleasure in doing so, and didn’t expect anyone else to either.

24. Jeremiah

From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise, of glory to the Righteous One. But I say, “I waste away, I waste away. Woe is me! For the traitors have betrayed, with betrayal the traitors have betrayed.”

Isaiah 24:16 ESV

In this verse, Isaiah has a jeremiad moment (Jeremiah had been nicknamed “the weeping prophet”- he certainly felt woeful often!)

25. Lamentations

It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord ; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

Isaiah 25:9 ESV

Isaiah’s 25th chapter is in joyful contrast to the Bible’s 25th book. But both encourage us to wait for the Lord and His salvation, whether we’re joyful or lamenting.

26. Ezekiel

In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: “We have a strong city; he sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks.

Isaiah 26:1 ESV

In his latter chapters, Ezekiel envisages the strong city that Isaiah sees here- the New Jerusalem, the heavenly Zion.

27. Daniel

In days to come Jacob shall take root, Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots and fill the whole world with fruit.

Isaiah 27:6 ESV

Different image to Daniel’s, but same meaning- Isaiah’s vine and Daniel’s rock are both the church of Jesus, the Messiah of Israel. Jesus is the vine, we are the branches. Jesus is the rock upon which His Kingdom is built and which will topple all earthly kingdoms.

28. Hosea

Ah, the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim, and the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is on the head of the rich valley of those overcome with wine!

Isaiah 28:1 ESV

Isaiah 28 and Hosea alike prophesy against Ephraim- the northern kingdom of Israel.

29. Joel

Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall be moaning and lamentation, and she shall be to me like an Ariel.

Isaiah 29:2 ESV

Both Joel and Isaiah 29 envisage judgement upon Judah, but also the better days ushered in by the Messiah, Jesus.

30. Amos

For they are a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear the instruction of the Lord ;

Isaiah 30:9 ESV

Isaiah’s listeners were about as tough an audience as those Amos had to contend with

31. Obadiah

For thus the Lord said to me, “As a lion or a young lion growls over his prey, and when a band of shepherds is called out against him he is not terrified by their shouting or daunted at their noise, so the Lord of hosts will come down to fight on Mount Zion and on its hill.

Isaiah 31:4 ESV

Obadiah spoke against the Edomites who rejoiced in Judah’s demise. Isaiah here assures us that the Lord fights for His people.

32. Jonah

Each will be like a hiding place from the wind, a shelter from the storm, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.

Isaiah 32:2 ESV

This verse reminds me of Jonah’s shelter from the burning east wind near Ninevah, which he idolised and sulked when God destroyed it. If we trust in anything other than Jesus for refuge, we’re going to be disappointed.

33. Micah

For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our king; he will save us.

Isaiah 33:22 ESV

Amazingly, Micah prophesies that the Lord, the judge, lawgiver, king and Saviour wouldn’t come to Jerusalem initially but David’s seemingly insignificant town Bethlehem.

34. Nahum

For the Lord has a day of vengeance, a year of recompense for the cause of Zion.

Isaiah 34:8 ESV

Isaiah 34 and Nahum alike portray God as a God of vengeance, although unlike us, His revenge is perfectly just.

35. Habakkuk

Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”

Isaiah 35:4 ESV

Habakkuk comes across as a troubled soul, when he considers the apparent injustice of suffering. I think Isaiah’s 35th chapter would have reassured him.

36. Zephaniah

Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord by saying, “The Lord will surely deliver us. This city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.”

Isaiah 36:15 ESV

Jerusalem may have escaped Assyria, but Zephaniah prophesied of coming Babylonian judgement (and the ultimate deliverance of God’s people).

37. Haggai

As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the Lord .

Isaiah 37:1 ESV

Isaiah 37 and Haggai centre around the house of the Lord, although Haggai is about rebuilding it

38. Zechariah

and said, “Please, O Lord , remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Isaiah 38:3 ESV

Isaiah 38 describes how king Hezekiah prays to the Lord to heal him, and He does. Zechariah hints at the Lord being the King of kings, to whom all the kings of earth are answerable.

39. Malachi

Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “There will be peace and security in my days.”

Isaiah 39:8 ESV

Hezekiah in Isaiah 39 comes across as badly as the people Malachi prophesies against. He didn’t care that his descendants would suffer because of his folly, because he himself wouldn’t, selfish man that he was.


To be continued.

My theory is far, far from proven but I’ve committed now so I’ll do the “new testament” inspired part 2 tomorrow!