Reading for Today: Isaiah 30:1–32:20

Reading for Today:

Isaiah 30:1–32:20
Psalm 108:7-13
Proverbs 25:23-24
2 Corinthians 11:16-33

Isaiah 30:1 not of Me…not of My Spirit. Hezekiah’s advisers urged him to turn to the Egyptians, not to God, for help against the invading Assyrians. Isaiah denounced this reliance on Egypt rather than God, who had forbidden such alliances.

Isaiah 30:33 Tophet. Literally, a place of abomination. Idolatrous Israel had burned to death human victims in this valley just south of Jerusalem, an area sometimes called the Valley of Hinnom (2 Kin. 23:10; Jer. 19:6). Later it became known as Gehenna, the place of refuse for the city, with constantly burning fires, symbolizing hell. The defeat was to be so complete that the fire burns continually.

2 Corinthians 11:19–21 These verses contain some of the most scathing sarcasm Paul ever penned, demonstrating the seriousness of the situation at Corinth and revealing the jealous concern of a godly pastor. Paul did not view his disagreement with the false apostles as a mere academic debate; the souls of the Corinthians and the purity of the gospel were at stake.

2 Corinthians 11:20 brings you into bondage. The Greek verb translated by this phrase appears elsewhere in the New Testament only in Galatians 2:4, where it speaks of the Galatians’ enslavement by the Judaizers. The false apostles had robbed the Corinthians of their freedom in Christ (Gal. 5:1). devours you. Or “preys upon you.” This probably refers to the false teachers’ demands for financial support (the same verb appears in Luke 20:47 where Jesus denounces the Pharisees for devouring widows’ houses). takes from you. Better translated “takes advantage of you.” The false apostles were attempting to catch the Corinthians like fish in a net (Luke 5:5, 6). exalts himself. This refers to one who is presumptuous, puts on airs, acts arrogantly, or lords it over people (1 Pet. 5:3). strikes you on the face. The false apostles may have physically abused the Corinthians, but the phrase is more likely used in a metaphorical sense (1 Cor. 9:27) to speak of the false teachers’ humiliation of the Corinthians. To strike someone on the face was a sign of disrespect and contempt (1 Kin. 22:24; Luke 22:64; Acts 23:2).

DAY 20: What had being a minister of Christ cost the apostle Paul?

Contrasting his ministry to the false apostles in 2 Corinthians 11:23, Paul spoke of “in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.” This is a general summation of Paul’s sufferings for the gospel. The next few verses give specific examples, many of which are not found in Acts.

“Forty stripes minus one” (v. 24). Deuteronomy 25:1–3 set 40 as the maximum number that could legally be administered. In Paul’s day the Jews reduced that number by one to avoid accidentally going over the maximum. Jesus warned that His followers would receive such beatings (Matt. 10:17).

“Beaten with rods” (v. 25). Refers to Roman beatings with flexible sticks tied together (Acts 16:22, 23). “Once I was stoned”—at Lystra (Acts 14:19,20). “Three times I was shipwrecked.” Not including the shipwreck on his journey as a prisoner to Rome (Acts 27), which had not yet taken place. Paul had been on several sea voyages up to this time, giving ample opportunity for the 3 shipwrecks to have occurred. “A night and a day I have been in the deep.” At least one of the shipwrecks was so severe that Paul spent an entire day floating on the wreckage, waiting to be rescued.

“In perils” (v. 26). Those connected with his frequent travels. “Waters” (rivers) and “robbers” posed a serious danger to travelers in the ancient world. Paul’s journey from Perga to Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:14), for example, required him to travel through the robber-infested Taurus Mountains and to cross two dangerous, flood-prone rivers. Paul was frequently in danger from his “own countrymen” (Acts 9:23, 29; 13:45; 14:2, 19; 17:5; 18:6, 12–16; 20:3, 19; 21:27–32) and, less often, from “Gentiles” (Acts 16:16–40; 19:23–20:1). “False brethren.” Those who appeared to be Christians, but were not, such as the false apostles (v. 13) and the Judaizers (Gal. 2:4).

And far worse than the occasional physical suffering Paul endured—weariness and toil, sleeplessness, hunger, thirst, fastings, and cold—was the constant, daily burden of concern for the churches that he felt (v. 28). Those who were “weak” (Rom. 14; 1 Cor. 8) in faith or were “made to stumble” into sin caused him intense emotional pain.

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214,


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