Bible Study Notes

Isaiah 57:12-13

“I will declare your righteousness and your deeds, but they will not profit you. When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you! The wind will carry them all off, a breath will take them away. But he who takes refuge in Me shall possess the land and shall inherit My holy mountain.” – Isaiah 57:12-13 ESV
I have been reading through Isaiah for much much longer than I would like to admit. But, as God’s Word often does, the words I need to hear come at the right time and I have given myself grace about my plateau in studying. In the past two days I read through Isaiah 57 & 58, but this morning I looked back over what I highlighted and verse 12-13 of Isaiah 57 stuck out to me.
“I will declare your righteousness and your deeds, but they will not profit you. When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you!” (v. 12-13a)
The first part is a bit of a reminder that while God wants us to do good deeds (a), He judges our hearts in addition to our actions (b & c).
a“For the Lord is righteous; He loves righteous deeds” – Psalms 11:7 ESV
b“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV
c“Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.” – 1 Corinthians 4:5 ESV
Then the second part calls out the idols that distract us daily from focusing on God. So we may do the right things, or say the right things, or act the right way – but what is going on in our heart? Are we passing up Bible study time for more iPhone browsing time? (Raises hand!) Are we staying up late watching our favorite Netflix series on a Saturday night and then skipping church the next morning because we need extra sleep? Is work just more important? Idols are defined as an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship /or/ a person or thing that is greatly admired, loved or revered. But really we can break idols down to be anything that we let distract us from God or that we depend on instead of God. So God sees our heart, He knows that we are talking church on Sunday and blending in with the world on Monday-Saturday. He knows if we are being nice to that certain someones face, but talking about them behind their back. We might not have golden carved idols we bow down in worship, but we do have things that keep our focus off of the One who is most important.
“The wind will carry them all off, a breath will take them away. But he who takes refuge in Me shall possess the land and shall inherit My holy mountain.” (v. 13)
Then He reminds us that those idols we set up, those things we let distract us, are meaningless. They are but a breath that will blow away. So why are we letting them take up so much of our time and stress our life? God reminds us at the end of this verse that He alone is our refuge. We can depend on Him and He takes care of us.
So the overall lesson I gathered from these verses is this – We might be doing the “right things” but where is our focus?
As I reflect on this these are the questions I have for myself, but also for you:
– Where is my focus?
– If my focus isn’t on God, what is it on?
– What steps do I need to take to get back on the right track?
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