Oh that our nation, our churches, our families and neighbors might give God a reason to sing and rejoice over us (Zep 3:14-17). #HolyHootenanny #SweetSongOfSalvation
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
The SONG FEST OF ISRAEL. “Sing O daughter of Zion; shout O Israel! Be glad, rejoice O daughter of Jerusalem! Cheer up, Zion! God himself is singing and rejoicing over Israel with his joyful songs of love.”
Why the SONG FEST? Because God has lifted his hand of judgment and has destroyed Israel’s enemies. He is removing all disaster, troubles and fear from Israel. He is among them again as their acknowledged Savior. His remnant (2:7,9; 3:13) of faithful ones are restored. Lord, you sing sweet songs of deliverance over your faithful ones.
Sing a Sweet, Sweet Song Of Salvation:
* A social gathering, often informal, featuring folk singing and instrumental music, sometimes dancing. It’s “Holy” when God sings over us (Zep 3:17).
Never flirt with nor tolerate sin in your life (Zeph 1:10–18). #CertainDestructionOfSin #NoEscapingSin’sConsequence
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
This prophecy takes your breath away. It is swift, sweeping and severe (it took me a couple of days to absorb it). The prophet minces no words. God fully intends to punish sin and purify his people. When judgment comes, people inside the walls of Jerusalem will wail in sorrow over their destruction. No one, no sin, will be overlooked, to the darkest recesses.
Property and homes will be destroyed. Plants, vineyards, all life will be destroyed. Strong men will weep. Distress, gloom and blackness will sweep the city. It’s walls will be smashed. Blood will run in the streets and bodies will lay rotting on the ground. Life in Jerusalem will come to a terrifying end. Why? Because of sin (v17).
Lord, remove toleration of sin in my life (the life of my nation) far from me (from us). “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” – Psalms 139:23-24 NLT
Do not delay turning to God in faith (Zeph 1:10,14). #SwiftJudgment #TimeToRepentIsNow #TodayIsTheDayOfSaving
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
God is oh so long-suffering with man in his sin and complacency. Messages of warning are sent out to repent and turn to God – judgment is coming. Eventually there will come that watershed moment when God‘s wrath over sin will pour forth like the sudden unexpected crack and devastation of a lightning strike. Swift, powerful, deafening, destructive.
We see the storm clouds gathering. We hear the distant thunder. We feel the atmospheric changes. Now the rain of God‘s judgment is falling upon us. A cry of alarm goes out, but it’s too late to run for cover. Father, the cry of the sentry is that the time to prepare, to repent, is now, while there is still time. May the nations not delay to turn to God in faith.
Expose and expel any idolatrous worship of the heart (Zeph 1:5–9). #MixedUp #HonorGod #TurnToGod #Judgment
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
The height of hypocrisy is to claim to love and serve Jehovah God, then worship the gods of Baal and Molech as well. The people of Judah had mixed the religious practices of many religious pagan beliefs. Isaiah condemned this practice, as did Jesus (Isa 29:13; Mat 15:8).
For the idolatrous worship of Judah, God will bring sweeping judgment (vv2–4). Religious leaders will be severely judged for their role in misleading the people. The deceitful practices of the heart will be destroyed. So it was when Babylon destroyed Jerusalem. So it will be in the end of time. Father, search for and expel any idolatrous worship in me; in my nation.
May the nations and people of our world humbly surrender their hearts to God (Nah 2:11-13). #FallOfANation #RepentenceOfTheNations
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
The great city of Nineveh, the great Assyrian empire, will be no more. She roamed about the earth fearing no one – all feared her. But she was ravenous for power and shredded without mercy everything on her way to it.
Assyria’s mighty military would be decimated by the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. She would never mercilessly plunder the nations again. Her voice will be utterly silenced for the ages.
Lord, pity the nation steeped in raw power, mercilessly and brutally overthrowing other nations. May we know the goodness of nations that are surrendered to God.
• The sentry cries out: I am no prophet. I am no judge. But nations in our world who brutalize their own people and the people of other nations will suffer mightily. Will Russia suffer the consequences of her brutal attacks on Ukraine? God will be the judge.
Awaken a spirit of repentance in the godless and indifferent of the world (Nah 1:9–14). #NowhereToRunNowhereToHide #Despicable
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
For the godless nation, there will be no amount of scheming that will outsmart God. Their plans will go up in one puff of smoke. They will be left reeling and brought to ashes. “We have allies,“ you say. They too will be consumed.
The yoke of bondage and destruction you have leveled against God’s people will be broken. Your grave has been dug and you will go down into it. Why? “Because you are despicable [contemptible].“ Your atrocities against the people are beyond loathsome.
Lord will you awaken the spirit of repentance in the godless and indifferent nations and people of the world.
May we as a people and as a nation understand the depths of God‘s love for us (2Ch 33:11-13) #TheDepthsOfGod’sLove #NothingIsImpossibleForGod
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
Because of King Manasseh’s deep dive into disobedience toward God and his extreme wickedness, he was taken prisoner, enslaved by Assyria and removed from Jerusalem. While in deep distress he was broken. He humbled himself before God and prayed a prayer of deep remorse.
The Lord listened to Manasseh and was deeply moved. He brought him back to Jerusalem and restored his kingdom. Manasseh finally understood that the Lord alone is God. Perhaps, in his deep distress, he recalled the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The Lord’s arm is not so weak that it cannot save and his ear is not so deaf that he cannot hear” (Isa 59:1).
Thank you Lord. You heard a young soldier’s cry of deep repentance in Vietnam, 50+ years ago. This old sentry was changed forever.
Christians around the world are praying for Ukraine. Churches are praying in their gatherings every week. We wanted to offer some ways to pray, along with some accompanying Scripture passages (These prayer notes come from Radical.Net a David Platt Site with some modifications by The Prayer Sentry; See also LINK AT THE END FOR ANSWERS TO PRAYER; Continue to pray.
Pray for the safety and protection of the Ukrainian citizens, military personnel and citizen patriots.
“God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.” (Psalm 47:8)
Pray for Ukrainian government leaders, for European and U.S. leader’s decision making and guidance: for wisdom, courage and faith in God.
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (1 Timothy 2:1–2)
Pray for the displaced and orphaned children in the Ukraine.
“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” (Matthew 18:6-7)
Pray for Ukrainian church leaders as they care for the church members that are affected by this conflict.
“ … For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12)
Pray for displaced missionaries as they seek to minister to those who remain in harm’s way.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
Pray for the Ukrainian people to look to the gospel of Jesus Christ for hope during this challenging time.
“ … there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
Pray for followers of Jesus in Ukraine to be a light for the gospel during this dark time.
“ … let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
Pray for God to put a stop to Russian aggression and to change Vladimir Putin’s plans in regard to Ukraine.
“Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.” (Jeremiah 32:17)
Brief Ukraine’s Political History
“Once one of the Soviet Union’s most fertile republics, Ukraine was a major producer of Europe’s wheat and a primary source of minerals such as coal and iron. The country’s rich, black soil generated more than 25% of the Soviet’s agricultural output. Since gaining its independence in 1991, the nation has struggled to take advantage of its economic potential and remains largely dependent on Russia for oil and gas. And while Ukraine has become a mixture of ethnicities, traditions, and customs, Ukrainians continue to be a very hospitable people.
During the seventy-one years of Soviet rule, Ukraine endured engineered famines in which an estimated eight million died. The government strictly limited attempts to develop Ukrainian culture, even forbidding the study and use of the Ukrainian language. The nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl in 1986 continues to inflict environmental damage, disease, and death. In 2013, after the government abandoned close trade ties with Europe for more favorable ties with Russia, massive protests began with hundreds of thousands in attendance.
When the government passed anti-protest laws, the protests escalated into deadly riots. Though these laws were later annulled, fighting and unrest continued across Ukraine, resulting in a civil war that has since taken thousands of lives. In the midst of this internal chaos, Russia annexed Crimea, adding further confusion to an already divided nation. Attempts at peace and reconciliation have been largely unsuccessful. In addition, the population suffers greatly from HIV/AIDS and alcoholism. Rampant drugs, crime, and prostitution enslave many of Ukraine’s most vulnerable, including orphans.
Ukraine’s Religious History
As the “Bible Belt” of the former Soviet world, the Ukrainian Church has faced a long history of persecution. Though freedom of religion is improving, it is not yet protected in both law and practice. Leadership training and direction are greatly needed among Christians, especially with the rapid growth of thousands of new congregations since 1991. Doctrinal schisms in the Orthodox church and divisions between Catholic and Protestant believers hinder their witness. The pain suffered under Soviet rule and during the most recent conflicts has greatly divided the Ukrainian people. But even amid recent violence, the Church has responded as the hands and feet of Jesus, meeting physical and spiritual needs. This has provided increased opportunities for Ukrainians to know and follow Christ.”
May our nation and our people make choices that honor God (2Ch 32:32–33:2). #ChooseToHonorGod #ChooseWell
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
As Isaiah goes off the scene Manasseh becomes king of Judah. He did what was evil in God’s sight. It is hard to imagine how anyone could ignore the prophet Isaiah and his prophecies of destruction in the face of rejecting God. But the draw of the world and the empty promises of false religion blind men to the truth.
Manasseh ignored Isaiah. His rejection of God will lead to serious consequences (as it will for any who reject God). He will soon feel the weight of God‘s hand against him. Lord, the years have shown this sentry what a foolhardy choice it is for nations and individuals to reject your love and direction.
May we be generous with what resources God gives us (1Ti 6:1-29) #GiveGenerously #DoTheMostGood
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
Americans live in one of the wealthiest nations on earth. But wealth is not a reliable source of security. World markets rise and fall. Wealth can be lost. Paul tells us that trust in God is the only reliable source of security in life. God is the one who gives the power to make wealth (Deu 8:18).
Those with any resources at all (rich or poor) should use it to do good, to be rich in good works, quick and generous to help others in need. Doing this, they will store up a wealth of meaning in this life and the life to come. We are not saved by our generous giving. Our generous giving is evidence of our commitment to Christ. Lord, give this old sentry a generous heart to give out of all you have given.
Take seriously your exhortation to pray for civil authorities (1Ti 2:2-6). #PrayForThoseInGovernment
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
The imperative to pray, especially for civil authorities, is as important today as in Paul’s day. In Paul’s day, as in ours, there were growing threats to not only civil liberties, but also to religious liberties. If men are to live “peaceful, quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity,“ Believers must pray to God for civil leaders.
Prayers ought to be offered for civil authorities that they may understand and believe the truth of the gospel; that real freedom comes from Christ’s death on the cross to free men from sin and death. This is the message God gave to the world. Our general peace and liberty comes as civil authorities embrace God‘s redemptive plan. Jeremiah 29:7 makes the same point.
Lord, I have no more important “General Order” than “to take charge of [my] post and [pray for] all government [leaders] in view.”*
* Taken from Order #1 of Marine General Orders For The Sentry.
Make prayer for leaders your regular priority (1Ti 2:2-8). #PrayForLeaders
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
It is imperative and Scripturally mandated that we pray for those in authority over us; lift up holy hands to God being certain you are free of any anger or controversy:
“Pray this way for kings and for all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity…I desire then that in every place men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;” (1Ti 2:2,8 ESV)
Set aside personal time to pray for at least these twenty-three significant people. They have major influence in your life and the life of your community. If you do not know who they are, find out.
FOCUS: Intercede for these leaders by name (or substitute what is appropriate for where you live). Pray for their families and their moral integrity. Pray that God would provide a witness of faith and wisdom for these individuals. Pray for leadership and/or political integrity and transparency.
1. Senior Pastor _________________
2. President ______________
3. State US Senator ___________
4. State US Senator ___________
5. District U.S. Representative ___________________
6. State Governor _______________
7. State Senator _________________
8. State Representative _________
9. County Sheriff ______________
10. County Judge ______________
11. City Mayor __________________
12. City Council or County Representative/Commissioner_________________
13. Children’s School Superintendent ______________________
14. CEO/Head of the organization for whom you work _________________
15. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts (Bush, GW – 2005)
May you clearly understand the warnings of God’s Word (Isa 66:22-24). #LastWords
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
I am closing out my Morning Watch in the book of Isaiah. I am certain that I have not understood every nuance of the prophet’s utterances. I pray that by the Spirit, I have caught the essence and urgency of the message. I’m indebted to Barnes’ Notes on Isaiah for help along the way.
The last verses in this book complete and describe, in dramatic fashion, the great divide between all of humanity (the faithful and the rebellious). Isaiah foresees a future when all the world, the faithful of every nation, will regularly observe a Sabbath (4th Commandment – Exo 20:8) genuinely worshiping the redeemer God.
As the faithful are departing worship they shall see the dead bodies and smell the putrid rotting flesh of every foe that has stood against God and his people. An abhorrent vision, abhorrent close, to this book in the Bible. It should cause every soul to consider the warnings of a holy, but loving, God and turn towards him in repentance, surrender and obedience.
Lord, the details of this prophetic book have caused even this aged sentry to think far more deeply on the things God has to say to me; yea, even to the world.
Remain faithful and look to God‘s promises in the midst of troubled times (Isa 65:8–10). #GodIsFaithful #StayFaithful #WinningStrategy
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
In the midst of God’s severe discipline for the sin of Israel and Judah, there will be a remnant preserved; those who have not forsaken God. These will inherit the land they lost in the Babylonian captivity (prophetically speaking here). The beautiful plains of Sharon, overgrown during 70 years of captivity, will once again thrive with flocks and beautiful, peaceful pastures. Even the “Valley of Achor” (means troubled, afflicted) where Israel was once afflicted for the sin of a man called Achan (Jos 7:24; Hos 2:15), would become a source of blessings, peace and joy upon return from captivity.
It is clear that even good people, faithful followers of God, may suffer because of the disobedience of the many in a nation (“good grapes among bad ones”). But God is careful to sort it all out. From this I understand that even in the midst of great trouble and tribulation, God promises blessings to those who remain faithful to him. Lord, may I always follow the winning strategy of faithfulness and depend upon your promises.
Remain dedicated always to God (Isa 63:7–10). #HandInTheCookieJar #SinWillFindYouOut #CantFoolGod
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
God’s people – so prone to wander, rebel and commit grievous acts against his Holy Spirit. Israel did this, in spite of God‘s great love and mercy. The church in America and elsewhere, has done the same. I myself have wandered, rebelled and committed grievous things against the Spirit of God. In my best moments I am capable of sin against God.
God has no choice but to become an adversary to Israel, the church, to me. God’s people often act like foolish children. They think they can snatch a cookie and God won’t notice (NOT!). Hence, God‘s hand of discipline will come against the erring child. His purpose? In love, to correct and instruct. Lord, thank you that you never give up on this old sentry. You won’t give up on America either.
Doubling down on prayer for Kenosha, WI. As a faithful and dutiful watchmen, with Isaiah, I will not rest from prayer in this matter. If it is good to pray for the city of Jerusalem, it is good to pray for Kenosha, good for America.
Hear the Rhyme Of The Watchmen:
“A watchman stands guard on the wall.
If there is trouble he’ll let out a call.
Though none be aware;
Still standth he there;
And his vigil secures one at all.“
Lord, my heart is provoked to stand watch in prayer over the city, over my beloved country.
“Because I love [this city, this country], I will not keep still. Because my heart yearns for Kenosha, I cannot remain silent. I will not stop praying for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn.
The Lord will hold you in his hand for all to see— a splendid crown in the hand of God. O [Kenosha], I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray day and night, continually. [They will] take no rest, who pray to the Lord. [May the Lord redeem you by his own strength].
Pray the Lord “will never hand [her] over to [her] enemies. [May no] foreign warriors come and take away [her business, economic and civic life]. [May she] be called [by the name], “The People Redeemed by the Lord.” [May she] be known as “The Desirable Place” and “The City [never] Forsaken.””
The painful reality is that our Redeemer-prince, who is here spoken of, suffered excruciatingly for our sin. He was treated as lower than the lowest in society. He took upon himself the grief and agonies of men. He was our substitute. Men interpreted his calamities as punishment for his own sin. But, NO! It was for our sin, my sin, that he took such punishment.
Jesus was my substitute. He was crushed for my sins, whipped so I could be healed (made whole). It was I for whom my Savior bled and died. He was my substitute. The Lord – God laid upon him all the sins of every man, past and present. He was my substitute; the sinless servant suffered punishment for my sin. No other could have stood in for me and borne the penalty for my sin? No one! Lord, may the love and devotion of this old sentry for you, deepen with every passing day.
The nation of Judah faces 70 years of captivity for her sins and her rejection of God. She will feel the full fury of her God. Her sin will lead her to absolute desolation and famine, destruction and war. Those in her midst who guide and comfort her will be exposed as frauds, leaving her devoid of help.
But in the end, her God will defend and deliver her. In repentance she will again find joy in her God and know peace. God will then turn his fury on her arrogant oppressor and trample them into the dust. I understand that it is never a good day to be a disobedient child; never a good day to be the instrument of chastisement in God’s hands. Lord, soften the hearts of your sentries towards you and towards others.
God’s people now plead with him to ready himself for battle and save them. They reflect back on God‘s mighty deliverance from Egypt. “Do it again Lord,” they cry. Replace our sorrow with joy.
God reminds them that their coming captivity in Babylon is of their own making, for they have trusted in men and idols, but NOT GOD. “Whose your daddy?” When we cease fearing man and begin fearing God again, he will come as the Mighty Warrior of the heavens. He will hide his people in the shadow of his hand. He will not deny his people.
Our troubles are often of our own making. We have set our eyes on the things of earth. Return home to your God. Oh Lord, may we daily reflect on God’s goodness and trust in him alone. HE IS OUR DADDY!
What brought down a 40 year old 12 story apartment building in Florida killing over 100 sleeping victims? The “core corrosion” of its foundation.
Isaiah prophesies that a once jeweled nation (Babylon) will be shamed and brought to ruin. Why? Her “core corrosion.” Having been used of God to chastise his people, Babylon was arrogant toward God and his people. She concluded that she was unstoppable, and without shame for her brutality and rejection of God. Any nation or people blessed of God who prostitutes that blessing and tramples on God‘s grace will come to ruin.
There is not a single god, not might, power, fame, wealth or any magic bullet that will save a corrupted nation or person. Like straw in a fire they will be unable to save themselves from God‘s judgment. Every friend and ally will turn a deaf ear to their cries for help. So says the “Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the Holy One of Israel.” Lord, press upon me the need to always be casting and eye toward heaven for affirmation of my walk before you.
* How can America do a much needed check on her “core?” She must come one by one, neighbor by neighbor, church by church, leader by leader to a place of humility before God. She must humbly cast an eye towards heaven for affirmation or conviction of her walk before God. She must humbly seek God’s forgiveness for her individual and collective “core corrosion.” It starts with me. May the Lord lay bare the heart, the core, of this old sentry. Start with me Lord. Revive me first, then my neighbors, my church, the leaders of my church, the leaders of my community, state and nation. Revive me Lord. Revive and awaken my beloved nation Lord.
The God of Israel, which is to say, the God of our salvation, has no equal (vv3–5). The Babylonian gods, “Bel and Nebo“ (v1), are harmless against the God of Israel (Bel, chief domestic god; Nebo, god of wisdom and learning (47:10), are man-made gods (lies) that deceive men to think that they know more than God). The arrogant Babylonians will learn this lesson the hard way.
The gods of this world (power, fame, wealth, might, knowledge, et al.) lead men away from dependence upon the one true God. That is a sure fire way to lose the blessing of God. If America is to know the blessing of God once again, she needs to deny those deceitful gods of this world and return to him. Lord, deliver my heart from a “know it all” attitude. Deliver my beloved country from prideful dependence upon anything but you.
Men with fleshly attitudes will always rail against God’s plans. It is true from time immemorial. Man stood in opposition to God in the garden and in the days of the Kings of Israel. They stood against Christ in his birth and in his life. They stood against the spread of the Gospel. They have stood, times without number, against revivals led by the Holy Spirit. How’d all that work out?
Men of the flesh act like clay in the potter’s hands telling the potter, “You don’t know what you are doing. Your hands have no skill.“ No matter, God continues his program of mercy and Redemption. There will be no refuting God’s work among men. Those who refute God will be dishonored. “The Lord of Heaven‘s Armies has spoken!“ Lord you are my Creator, my Deliverer, my redeemer. Mold my life according to your will – I yield to your skilled hands.
What happens when God delivers men from a drought of blessing, goodness and righteousness? What happens when revival comes, when awakening comes? Having lost their sense of worship for God in captivity, what would deliverance mean for Israel? What would it look like for us today.
The heavens will open wide with showers of blessing pouring down on the people. The skies open up and rain down righteousness on all men. Just as a parched land is watered and renewed, so the parched souls of men will sprout forth the beautiful fruit of salvation and righteousness. Such is the deliverance of Israel from her captivity. Such it will be for all men who repent and put their trust in God. Lord, pour down revival and awakening in our day on the parched souls of humanity.
“I [God] create good times and bad times.” Am I to understand here that God is the author of evil in the moral sense of sin? No! No! No! This statement is made in relation to the providences of God. He raises up prosperity, peace, pure religion and the like. He also calls forth adversity, calamity, ignorance, et all…but not evil, in the moral sense of sin. He gives us light. Darkness ensues because the light is withdrawn.*
When God withdraws his hand, bad things happen. But when God puts his hand of blessing on something (as here with Cyrus) good things happen. God’s point here is his complete and absolute superiority over all the things in heaven and on earth. He providentially works in the affairs of men. This is as true today as it was in the days of Cyrus.*
America may not want to hear this, but God says, “[I am he who] builds up nations, and [I am he who] destroys them. [I am he who] expands nations, and [I am he who] abandons them” (Job 12:23 NLT – see vv 13-24 for context https://bible.com/bible/116/job.12.13-24.NLT).
Lord put it into the heart of every prayer sentry to seek truth and learn from you in the good times and in the bad times. May every sentry standing on the wall speak with conviction and with compassion. May your Spirit not be withdrawn from our midst.