Category Archives: Doctrine

An Introduction to Isaiah – part 1 (Isaiah 1)

Scripture reading – Isaiah 1

Continuing our two-year chronological study of the Scriptures, we come to the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. Before we dive into this wonderful book, I remind you the purpose of this shepherd’s heart is to present to my readers, not only a daily devotional challenge, but a deeper survey of both the Old and New Testaments.

I want you to see history as “His-Story,” and as a testament to God’s sovereignty and His providential dealings with all people. Before introducing you to the prophet Isaiah, take a moment and subscribe to

Isaiah: Prophet to Judah

Isaiah lived in Judah in the 8th century B.C. His ministry spanned the reigns of four kings of Judah: Uzziah, Jothan, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (1:1), and three Gentile empires (the decline of Egypt, the waning years of Assyria, and the infancy of the nation of Babylon). He was, in my opinion, the foremost of the Old Testament prophets.

Isaiah: A Fearless Prophet

Isaiah was courageous, and boldly confronted the sins of Judah. He called upon kings to repent of their sins, condemned priests for their corruption and hypocrisy, and warned the people of Judah they would suffer God’s judgment should they fail to repent of their sins. Isaiah predicted the overthrow of Judah, the desolation of the cities, and the Babylonian captivity.

Isaiah: Prophet of God

Isaiah’s preaching was powerful, his words soaring, and his prophecies vivid and specific. He is quoted over 400 times in the New Testament, and his prophecies concerning the Messiah were fulfilled by Jesus Christ’s coming in exacting detail.

The Messiah’s Virgin Birth (Isaiah 7:14)
Isaiah 7:14 –  Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. [lit. “God with us”]

The Messiah Person (Isaiah 9:6)
Isaiah 9:6 –  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

The Messiah’s Rejection (Isaiah 53)
Isaiah 53:3 –  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

The Messiah’s Suffering (Isaiah 53:4-5)
Isaiah 53:4-5 –  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

The Messiah’s Vicarious Death – Substitutionary atonement (Isaiah 53:6-9)
Isaiah 53:6-9-7 – All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

The Messiah’s Resurrection (Isaiah 53:10)
Isaiah 53:10 –  Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

Closing thoughts:

We will notice in Isaiah’s preaching, four distinct warnings of God’s judgment should the nation not repent of its sins and turn to God (Isaiah 5:20-23, 26-30). Those judgments are presented in four moving pronouncements of “Woe.” 1) Judah had rejected God’s Law and had no moral absolutes (Isaiah 5:20). 2) The people had become proud and unteachable (Isaiah 5:21). 3) Judah was a narcissistic people, and they loathed the righteous (Isaiah 5:22-23).
4) The fourth and final “woe,” Isaiah was shaken by a heavenly vision of God sitting on His throne (Isaiah 6:1-4), the prophet was so overwhelmed with a consciousness of his own sins, he confessed:

“Woe is me! for I am undone [dumb; silent; perish]; because I am a man of unclean [defiled; polluted] lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5). When God asked, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Isaiah answered the call, and said, “Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8).

A study of Isaiah 1 will follow as a second devotional reading.

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Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

You Are Invited to Pastor Smith’s Study of Proverbs: An Exposition of “Uncommon Common Sense”

Pastor Smith continues his verse-by-verse study of the Proverbs of Solomon, this Wednesday, January 12, 6:30 pm. 

The focus of this week’s study is Proverbs 19:15-29 and will be broadcast live on, and
Student notes are available by sending your request to Requests must be received by 4:00pm today.

(Please note a weekly time of prayer begins at 6:15, but will not be broadcast.)

With the heart of a shepherd,
Travis D. Smith
Senior Pastor
Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

Friendly Reminder: Pastor Smith is returning to his series, A Study and Exposition of “Uncommon Common Sense”

Pastor Smith is returning to his verse-by-verse study of the Proverbs of Solomon, this Wednesday, January 5, 6:30 pm. 

This week’s study begins with Proverbs 19 and will be broadcast live on, and
Student notes are available by sending your request to Requests must be received by 4:00pm today.
(Please note a weekly time of prayer begins at 6:15, but will not be broadcast.)
With the heart of a shepherd,
Travis D. Smith
Senior Pastor
Copyright © 2021 – Travis D. Smith

The Proverbs of Solomon: A Study and Exposition of “Uncommon Common Sense”

Pastor Smith is returning to his verse-by-verse study of the Proverbs of Solomon, this Wednesday, January 5, 6:30 pm. 

This week’s study begins with Proverbs 19 and will be broadcast live on, and
Student notes are available by sending your request to 
(Please note a weekly time of prayer begins at 6:15, but will not be broadcast.)
With the heart of a shepherd,
Travis D. Smith
Senior Pastor
Copyright © 2021 – Travis D. Smith

JEHOVAH is God. (Psalm 83)

Scripture reading – Psalm 83, 2 Kings 1

Our Scripture reading brings us today to Psalm 83, and 2 Kings 1. This is the first of two devotionals, and the focus is Psalm 83.

Psalm 83 is titled, “A Song or Psalm of Asaph.”

Psalm 83 is the last of the psalms attributed to Asaph, the Levite who was one of the principal musicians in David’s era. The exact date of Psalm 83 is not given; however, it is prophetic for a time when God’s people would face a confederation of nations committed to the destruction of Israel as a nation. Consider three principal points from the psalm.

Israel’s Desperate Cry to God (83:1-8)

Facing a coalition of nations dedicated to the destruction of Israel, the psalmist cried to the LORD to come to the aid of His people (83:1). The author reasoned with the LORD that Israel’s enemies were the enemies of God, and they hated Him, and had plotted against those referred to as, “thy hidden ones” (literally, those whom the LORD treasured as His Own, 83:3). The enemies had boasted, and encouraged one another saying, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; That the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance” (83:4). They were not content to merely overcome Israel, they desired to annihilate them as a people, that their names would be forgotten (83:4b-5).

Ten heathen nations comprised the confederation that plotted Israel’s destruction: The Edomites (the sons of Esau), Ishmaelites (son of Abraham by Hagar), Moabites (descended from Lot), Hagarenes (a tribe of Ishmaelites named after Hagar), Gebal (a Phoenician, Lebanese people), Ammonites (a son of Lot), Amaelikites, Philistines, citizens of Tyre, and the Assyrians (identified as Assur, 83:8-8).

The Imprecatory Prayer of the Psalmist (83:9-17)

Having identified the enemies of God and Israel, the psalmist prayed for the LORD to destroy them as He had come to Israel’s aid in ancient times (83:9-11). The enemies of Israel had boasted they would raid and plunder “the houses of God” (i.e. the Tabernacle, and its Ark of the Covenant, 83:12), and the psalmist prayed the LORD would utterly destroy them (83:13-17).

He prayed the LORD would crush the enemy, as a wheel grinds grain, and that the enemy would become nothing more than “stubble” carried away by the wind (83:13). He longed to see the LORD burn the enemy in His wrath, as a fire destroys a forest (83:14). He desired God would confound the enemies of Israel, and they would suffer shame till they all perished (83:15-17).

Why this prayer for troubles to be inflicted upon the enemies of the LORD? (83:18)

It was not only so that Israel would see the LORD’S deliverance, but that the heathen would know there is one God, JEHOVAH [Yahweh; the Eternal, Self-existent God of Israel], Who is “the most high over all the earth” (83:18).

Closing thoughts – The existence of Israel in our day, is an undeniable testimony of Jehovah, the God of Israel, and His covenant promises with the people of Abraham’s lineage and faith. While all other ancient civilizations have passed from the stage of history, one has been preserved—Israel.

The nation we know today as Israel is a secular one, and many who live there are far from being a people of faith who love the LORD, and keep His laws and commandments. Yet, there are Hebrew people who also live there, who look for the day the Messiah will return as He has promised–Jesus Christ the only begotten Son of God, crucified, buried, raised from the dead, and coming again as He has promised!

Acts 1:11b – “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”

Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

An End of the Year Greeting, and Invitation to Follow www.HeartofAShepherd

Today, December 31, 2021, is a crossroads, and halfway point in our two-year chronological devotional study of the Scriptures.

2021 – An End of the Year Report

Today’s devotional commentary is the 365th of 2021, and a milestone for me. A year ago, I purposed to provide my church family a daily study of the Scriptures, and it has been a joy to minister to both Hillsdale Baptist Church, and guests from around the world.

My personal study has taken us, from the Book of Genesis through the Book of Job, the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament), and the era of the Judges. We studied the life of King David, meditated on his Psalms, and pondered the wisdom of Solomon in his Proverbs. As we come to the end of 2021, we are in the midst of the post-Davidic era, and a study of the historical books of the Bible that include 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 and 2 Chronicles.

2022 – The Year Ahead

Tomorrow is January 1, 2022, and the beginning of a New Year. If you have not done so, I invite you to print a copy of the Scripture reading schedule, fold it in quarters, and tuck it inside your Bible as a book mark and daily reminder to read God’s Word.

The days, weeks, and months ahead will present us with an opportunity to continue our chronological study of the Scriptures. My devotional commentaries are intended to guide you through the books of the Major and Minor Prophets, follow Israel’s tragic descent into Assyrian captivity, and Judah’s years of captivity in Babylon following the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem. We will journey through the post-exilic years, and rejoice in the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Before 2022 has passed, we will consider the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of our LORD, and follow the principles and precepts of the writings of the apostles. As the LORD blesses, 2022 will conclude with a prophetic study of the Book of Revelation.

A Parting Challenge

Discipline, determination, and dedication are required of those who will complete this two-year journey through the Scriptures. I pray there will be many who might aspire to the apostle Paul’s challenge to Timothy: 15Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

To insure you receive daily reminders and devotional posts, please subscribe to

With the heart of a shepherd,

Travis D. Smith

Copyright © 2021 – Travis D. Smith

“God is Sovereign, and The Battle is the Lord’s” (1 Kings 20) – A Bonus Devotional

Scripture reading – 1 Kings 20

Now, the LORD commanded the prophet Elijah to anoint three successors to be kings of Israel and Judah, and his own replacement (1 Kings 19:15-21). Hazael, he anointed to succeed Benhadad as king of Syria (19:15). Jehu was anointed to be king of Israel following Ahab (19:16). Finally, Elisha was chosen by the LORD to serve as Elijah’s disciple and his successor as prophet in Israel (19:16b, 19-21).

1 Kings 20 – The Failure of Ahab, and His Death Foretold

1 Kings 20 presents us with a record of how Benhadad, king of Syria, oppressed and impoverished Israel. With arrogance and impunity, he humiliated king Ahab (20:1-12) and demanded that king’s treasury of silver and gold. He abducted Ahab’s wives and took his children as hostages, along with the best of Israel’s population to serve as his slaves (1 Kings 20:2-3). When the king of Syria increased his demands, Ahab realized Benhadad’s demands were intolerable, and would never be appeased (1 Kings 20:5-6).

God in His grace, sent a prophet to encourage Ahab to be courageous and assured him the LORD was on his side (20:13). Promised victory in spite of the odds against him, Ahab withstood Benhadad in a series of three battles and God gave Israel a great victory (20:14-30).

Tragically, Ahab’s heart was lifted up with pride, and when Benhadad begged for his life to be spared, the king of Israel failed to consult the LORD. Ahab made a foolish, and fateful decision; not only did he spare Benhadad’s life, he honored him by setting him in his own chariot before the people (1 Kings 20:32-33). Sparing the enemy of Israel provoked the wrath of the LORD (20:31-34), and He sent a man to Ahab, one described as “of the sons of the prophets” (20:35). The young prophet confronted Ahab, and said:

1 Kings 20:42-43 – “Thus saith the Lord, Because thou hast let go out of thy hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people. 43And the king of Israel went to his house heavy and displeased, and came to Samaria.”

Closing thoughts – 1 Kings 20 was a spiritual crossroads for King Ahab, and true to his evil character, he made decisions independent of the LORD, and promoted his interests before that of the LORD’S.

Consider three spiritual lessons: The first, God is jealous of His glory and name (20:13). Ahab had surrendered to Benhadad’s demands and failed to seek the LORD, and in doing so, sacrificed God’s best for His people. God declared to Ahab, “thou shalt know that I am the LORD” (20:13).

We are also reminded that God is sovereign over all creation (20:23-28). The LORD is the God of the hills and the valleys. He is not the “god of many,” but the sovereign God of all, and turns the hearts of kings and rulers according to His will (Proverbs 21:1).

Lastly, God is just, and desires obedience (20:32-42). Ahab’s failure to kill his enemy invited the LORD’S judgment upon himself and Israel. Ahab will invite his own death, and Israel will suffer a humiliating defeat (1 Kings 21-22).

What about you? Do you seek the LORD and His will when making decisions? Do you put your faith in the wisdom of man, or in the LORD knowing He is sovereign, and He desires the best for His people?

Copyright © 2021 – Travis D. Smith

The Power of Faith and Fervent Prayer (1 Kings 18)

Scripture reading – 1 Kings 18

The geographical setting of our Scripture reading continues in the northern ten Tribes now known as Israel. The time is during the reign of Ahab, the seventh king of the nation after its division. As stated earlier, the wickedness of Ahab had exceeded the sins of all the kings who had gone before him (16:30-33), and provoked “the LORD God of Israel to anger” (16:33).

True to His forewarning (Deuteronomy 11:17; 28:23), the LORD sent Elijah who confronted king Ahab, and said, “there shall not be dew nor rain…but according to my word” (17:1).

1 Kings 18

The drought in Israel continued for three years, until “the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth” (18:1). Elijah obeyed, and “went to shew himself unto Ahab. And there was a sore famine in Samaria [the capital city of Israel]” (18:2).

Elijah’s Conference with Obadiah (18:3-15)

Returning to Israel, Elijah called upon Obadiah, who had served Ahab as a steward of the royal household (18:3). Though a man in a powerful, and trusted office, Obadiah had continued to fear the LORD, and used his position to provide safety to 100 prophets of the LORD who had escaped Jezebel’s purge of “the prophets of the LORD” (18:3-4).

Three years of drought had dried up the freshwater streams in Israel, and Ahab had dispatched Obadiah to seek water and grass “to save the horses and mules alive” (18:5). Ahab divided the lands between himself and Obadiah, and each man went his way in search of water.  As Obadiah went his way, he was met by Elijah (18:7). Obadiah “knew [Elijah], and fell on his face, and said, Art thou that my lord Elijah?” (18:7)

Elijah then demanded that Obadiah tell the king he had returned to Israel (18:8). Fearful the king would slay him, perhaps for sparing Elijah’s life, Obadiah objected to the prophet’s request (18:9-11). Justifying himself, Obadiah shared how he had revered the LORD from his youth, and spared and fed one hundred of the LORD’s prophets (18:12-13). Elijah assured Obadiah, “As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, I will surely shew myself unto him to day” (1 Kings 18:15).

Elijah’s Confrontation with Ahab (18:17-20)

Ahab met Elijah, and accused the prophet of being one who troubled Israel (18:17). Elijah answered the king’s charge, and rebuked Ahab saying, “I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim” (18:18).

Proving his faith and confidence in the LORD, Elijah challenged Ahab to “gather…all Israel unto mount Carmel,” along with the 150 prophets of Baal, and the 400 prophets (teachers) of the groves, (these were all whom Jezebel had supported and fed, 18:19). Ahab, revealing the depth of his wickedness and rejection of the God of Israel, agreed to the challenge, and commanded the people, and the prophets of Baal to gather at Carmel (18:20).

Elijah’s Challenge to the People (18:21-24)

Elijah charged the people, “How long halt ye between two opinions?” (18:21). How long dare you serve Baal and sacrifice to him, and make a pretense of also serving the God of Israel? The people answered Elijah’s challenge with silence, and “answered him not a word” (18:21). Elijah, the prophet of the LORD, stood alone and faced 450 prophets of Baal (18:22).

Elijah’s Contest with the Prophets of Baal (18:25-40)

The details of Elijah’s challenge are recorded, and how he and the prophets of Baal each had a bullock, that was halved, and placed upon wood on an altar. The prophets of Baal called to Baal from the morning until noon. They shouted, leaped, danced, cried, and cut themselves until they bled (18:26, 28-29). Yet, Baal was silent, and Elijah taunted them suggesting their god was talking, hunting, on a journey, or perhaps he was sleeping (18:27).

In the evening, Elijah called the people to come near, as he begain repairing the altar, and gathering twelve stones representing the twelve Tribes of Israel. He then laid wood upon the altar, sacrificed the bull, and commanded that twelve barrels of water be poured out upon the altar, until the trench around it was filled with water (18:30-35). The prophet then prayed for God to hear his prayer, and prove to all Israel that He was God (18:36-37).

The LORD answered Elijah’s prayer, and sent fire from heaven, not only consuming the bull, but burning up the stones, dust, and the water (18:38-39). Elijah concluded his contest with the prophets of Baal, and demanded the people prove their loyalty to the God of Israel, by slaying all the prophets of Baal (18:40).

Elijah Prayed, and the LORD Sent Rain (18:41-46)

Three years of drought ended with Elijah calling upon the Lord to send rain. Seven times he prayed, and commanded his servant to go and look for a sign a rain. On the seventh time, the servant saw on the horizon a small cloud that grew until “the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain” (18:45).

Closing thoughts – Our next devotional will reveal how great trials often follow great victories. But for now, we conclude reflecting on how the New Testament points to Elijah’s fervent prayer as a model of prayer for all believers. We read,

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 17  Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18  And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.” (James 5:16b-18)

Copyright © 2021 – Travis D. Smith

“Before Wisdom Goes Humility” (Proverbs 30)

Scripture reading – Proverbs 30

The opening verses of Proverbs 30 are not as practical as the majority of the proverbs; however, with a little “gold mining” into word meanings, we find nuggets of truth that are applicable to all who seek wisdom.

The human author of Proverbs 30 is debated among scholars. Some believe “Agur” is another name for Solomon; however, the reference of “Agur, the son of Jakeh” would seem to negate that suggestion. In addition, the personal admissions in verses 2-3 and 8-9 would seem out of character for Solomon, a man renowned for his wisdom.

Proverbs 30:1 “The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy [utterances inspired by God]: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal,”

The words of “Agur” are described as “the prophecy” (30:1), thereby attributing his words to be the inspired word of God. We may be unable to identify the human author; however, there is no doubt that God the Holy Spirit is the divine author. The apostles Paul and Peter testified that the scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments were God-breathed, and inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:162 Peter 1:20-21).

The prophecy of Agur was delivered to two men of whom nothing is known save their names, “Ithiel and Ucal” (30:1). Perhaps Ithiel and Ucal had come to Agur seeking words of wisdom and instruction. Agur, acknowledging the magnitude of his duty to speak on behalf of God, was overwhelmed with the responsibility.

Proverbs 30:2 “Surely I am more brutish [stupid; foolish; lacking an ability to reason] than any man, and have not the understanding [knowledge and wisdom] of a man.”

Agur admitted his inadequacy to impart wisdom apart from God, confessing he was a “brutish man”, wandering like a beast without reasoning. In my opinion, Agur expresses the humility that should be true of every man. Apart from God’s mercy and grace, we are all sinners, brute beasts, without direction (Isaiah 53:6Romans 1:28).

Proverbs 30:3 – “I neither learned [have not learned] wisdom, nor have [know] the knowledge [discernment; ex. between good and evil] of the holy [sacred; pure].”

Agur’s confession in verse 3 expresses the humility required of those who would seek the wisdom of God. The foolish reject God (Psalm 14:1) and the proud are unwilling to humble themselves. Before a man can acquire the wisdom of God, he must confess his woeful ignorance, and express the humility of Isaiah when he was given a vision of God’s heavenly glory and cried out: “Woe is me! for I am undone…for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5).

Closing thought – Where might one find the wisdom of God?

Godly wisdom, understanding, and discernment come from trusting the LORD by faith, quietly residing in His presence, and meditating on His Word. Such wisdom is not the wisdom of this world, which “is foolishness with God” (1 Corinthians 3:19). The wisdom of God is derived from reading and meditating in His Word, and walking in obedience to His Law and Commandments.

Got wisdom? It is available to those who trust the LORD, come to Him humbly, and obey His Word.

James 1:5 – “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God [ask God for wisdom and understanding], that giveth [offers; grants] to all men liberally [generously], and upbraideth not [does not reproach or find fault]; and it shall be given him.”

Copyright © 2021 – Travis D. Smith

Two-year Bible reading schedule for Heart of A Shepherd Followers

Dear Heart of a Shepherd followers,

December 31, 2021 is a milestone for those who faithfully follow I commenced writing, and publishing daily devotionals, beginning with Genesis 1, last January 1, 2021. January 1, 2022 will mark the start of my second year of writing and publishing a daily, chronological study of the Scriptures.

In February 2021, I introduced a new facet of ministry for Heart of A Shepherd Inc, when I began posting a daily devotional video on several social network sites. My HeartofAShepherd1 channel on has to date enjoyed nearly 50,000 plays (  Heart of A Shepherd Inc is also hosted on YouTube at My preferred site for hosting daily video devotionals is (

If you enjoy these devotional posts, I encourage you to subscribe and have them sent directly to your email address. If you are following the video devotionals, please “Like” and become a follower.

A personal note: On average, I invest at least 3 hours a day studying, outlining, and writing daily devotionals. My wife edits the devotionals, and then I publish the final copy to my website. The labor is indeed sacrificial; however, God has blessed this outreach and thus far in 2021, has had over 105,000 views, and been followed in 197 nations and territories.

Heart of A Shepherd 2-Year Scripture Reading Schedule

Please find attached to this post a JPG and PDF of the 2-year Scripture reading schedule for 2022-2023. The schedule can be printed, folded into 1/4 page folds, and it will fit in your Bible to serve as a page marker.

With the heart of a shepherd,

Travis D. Smith