Monthly Archives: March 2016

Restored and Redeemed

Isaiah 46-50 is our passage for this week. After so many chapters talking about the destruction and judgment of God on Judah and Israel; there is a light of Hope in these chapters. King Cyrus will be given the power to defeat Babylon; just like the image given to King Nebuchadnezzar depicted.  It is interesting the power is given to a “gentile” king to punish/discipline God’s people. But when the power given is abused or goes too far, then God judges or removes the “grace” position of the ruler. While Israel and Judah are not innocent; there is a limit to what the Heavenly Father will allow to be done.

God enabled the Babylonian empire to grow and dominate the world; but the power was from God, not the kings – obviously many of the kings would take pride and credit for the multitude of conquests. However, they all will be reminded that there is not power except that which is given by God. God will give power to rule; but he will also remove it if it violates His character. In the case of Babylon,pride, merciless and idolatry were the sins that cause d God to judge them harshly. The idol worship is prevalent in all countries including Judah. The Ten commandments really only needed to be two – have no other gods and do not make idols; both of which Israel and Judah broke in daily practice. Matthew 22:37-38, the Great Command says that we are to love the Lord our God with all our, body, mind, soul and strength; and to love our neighbor as ourselves. I believe if we will obey this commandment, all else of the christian life will fall into place.

Repeatedly God reminds Judah, that He is God and there is no other. He [God] has been from the beginning; all His words and works were prophetic in relating what was going to happen. Some may be cynic thinking that “looking back and prescribing what has been said to today’s situation” isn’t predictive at all. So God says, I am telling you think that have never been said before, so you will know that I have surely planned it.

Babylon was keenly interested in the occult; in chapter 47:12-13, spells, sorceries, astrologers, new moons and prophesy by the stars is revealed. Today in America and other parts of the world, the same things prevail. Why is it that we take the benevolent graces of God, then turn our back on Him, claiming He is no longer God? No matter how much Israel and Judah hear from the prophets they are just stubborn and stiff-necked. But even through all this negativity, God is Faithful. He will not destroy His people, a remnant will prevail. In fact the whole world will benefit from His provision of a Savior. Every knee will bow [Phil 2:10-11].

Jesus is the Savior, chapter 49, is Jesus the pre-incarnate Son of God speaking to the Father. Jesus is the direct result of the Father putting life in the womb – a phrase that is used no less than 5 times in our reading this week. Verses 1-4, reflect God’s working through Jesus. Now Isiah 52-53 really bring forth the prophecy of Jesus’ death, but that will be next week. In the providence of God, He provides a redeemer in His own Son. Verse 6 illustrates that work the Father has for the Son during His earthly ministry. The message for us from these chapters is this; God has not forgotten His people. While they have left Him and committed great sin; even having gone through severe punishment – God was at work reconciling the world back to Himself through His Son Jesus. In chapter 50:6-7 we find some more descriptions of what Jesus will have to endure as the Savior.

So while these chapters hold a clear restoration image for the then Judah; we also find that there is an equally clear message of Redemption for mankind. Mankind will not only be restored to God’s people, we will be restored to spiritual eternal life. Praise the Lord He has not forgotten us!

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How Great is Our God

I have been overwhelmed the last couple of weeks, and haven’t blogged the last two weeks – so I hope I didn’t lose any of you faithful followers.

With Easter this weekend, we as people of faith can reaffirm how Great God is in His love and mercy for us. The Cross and empty tomb are significant events for we who believe, and a witness for those yet to bevel.  In a world that is filled with “personal gods” of our own making, and those of culture, we need to be reminded how that there is not other god except Jehovah! Israel had forgotten that God had chosen them, He was God and they were His people. He had nursed them like a mother would a newborn child. His protection and providence through the wilderness days seemingly was taken for granted. I wonder if we might have come to a routine relationship and expectation that our Heavenly father will always be there to take care of us regardless of what we might do? God is faithful, oh,  that we would likewise be as faithful. I haven’t quite understood why the community of faith expects God to behave as the benevolent God that He is, when we are so rebellious and disobedient. Isaiah in chapter 40 – brings a great affirmation that Jehovah is God and that there is no other. This echos of the 1st two commandments – thou shalt have no other gods, and you shall not make any idols. In both cases Israel blew it; they were an idolatrous people. The first part of the chapter highlights the coming of John the Baptist as the forerunner of Jesus – preparing the way of the Lord. The time of Israel’s  “war” has ended, this begins a lengthy treatise on the restoration of Israel. This often is looked at being a post-exilic writing; and hence viewed as something after the times of Isaiah. Chapters 40 – 66 are often called Deutro-Isaiah by scholars. It is a new day for Israel, God is showing His favor on them. He has not forsaken them during their time of Babylonian captivity. Famous verse in 7-8 reflect just how temporary life on the earth is; Like the flowers and the grass grow and bloom for a season, then gone.

Rejoicing is in order for the people – God is revealing Himself to His people. It is time for renewal of the covenant that the people had with God. Here is Your God! He has not forsaken you. The omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence is expressed in the last 20 verses of this magnificence chapter.

Beginning with the creator God that Jehovah is, a description of His created acts. The obvious rhetorical questions of who did God consult with? Who measured the waters and keeps them within the boundaries? Who was God’s counselor? Who taught God? Who gave Him His understanding? Of course no one did or could. This is a familiar theme also found in Job 38. God needs none to validate that He is God; no testimony is required to establish the Father as the Lord of the universe and nature. Verse 18 to whom would you compare or liken to God – Jehovah? How absurd could one be to even think of an equal or comparison! Idols no matter their material or quality derived can compare! Haven’t you heard, do you not know that He who stands above the circle of the earth is God? [Interesting that for thousands of years, people thought he world was flat – obviously they didn’t read the scriptures] It is He who rules the heavens, He stretches out His hand, placed the stars in the sky and calls them by name so the song goes. Yahweh is in control – man may try to plant, sow, reap, even advance his position, but it is God that rules over all. Again verse 25, who would you liken to Him, who would be His equal?  Look up and see the grandeur of the LORD Almighty!

Again, do you not know, have you not heard, the Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator does not become tired or weary! But it is He who gives strength for weary mankind. He increases their power, young men, will fail in keeping up with the Lord. Those that are exhausted, those that are weary of living and life – He will renew their strength – when man has come to the end of his rope, God is their to carry us to the end. If we wait on Him – trust in His ways, we will soar like eagles in the winds of the heavens effortlessly! The Christian life so many times is tried to be lived out in human strength – I am reminded that the reason the burning bush of Moses wasn’t consumed is because it burnt from a source other than itself. If we live only on our own strength we will grow weary and faint; but if we live from the strength of God who made us, and depend on Him for life – His inexhaustible character and strength will surpass any difficulty or trial we may encounter. Oh, that Israel must have rejoiced knowing that God was receiving them back as His people – Gladness replaced the captivity sorrow. How Great is Our God, His mercy endures forever!




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In That Day

“In That Day” is a frequent phrase found in our reading this week from Isaiah 26-30. The struggle readers will have is what is reflecting the “then” and what is pointing to the “future” in prophetic writings? Often there doesn’t need to be a then and future choosing, because the writing applies to both situations. Such is the case here with Isaiah. Obviously, Isaiah is writing to warn Judah of the coming judgment and devastation because of the rebellion. Judah has not learned from the previous destruction of Israel [Northern Tribes and Samaria] and have continued to commit gross idolatry towards God. The case Yahweh has against Judah doesn’t stop with just being disobedient to Him, but how that their rebellion has affected “life in Judah” and the citizens. Treacherous dealings in the market places, the drunks and care free lifestyle reflect total disregard for others welfare and the willingness for communal living. I cannot help but think of the stature and condition of America and the world as a whole in respect to this book. Everyone wants what they want, at the expense of either loss of freedoms to others or at the expense of corruption in civility.

In chapter 26, we have the prophecy of the “rock” of God, we find this also addressed in 28:16; where the Stone becomes a stumbling block – this reflects the impact and offense of Jesus and the Gospel. [1 Peter 2:6-8] The LORD God was being rejected. I wonder if it was because of the ROTE knowing of God? [29:13] or because they were more enticed with Baalism and the sensuous aspects of the cult. Our passage declares the empathy of God for His people. While He must discipline and bring the foreign nations against Judah, the is always the element of restoration. If people will repent, God will hear the cries of His people and respond. In that day, regardless of the time, place and people, – In that Day – means that God will act. When modern nations who profess to be Christian, act like Israel and Judah they can expect to be treated with harsh discipline from the Lord. But, God has limits to His dealings with His people. Chapter 28:24-25, reveal there are limits to what is done, and even the way things are done.

God will deal with His people for restoration, He will not destroy them completely. However, this cannot be said of the pagan, unbelieving nations. Then as in the future, God will deal with the unbelieving nations.

One cannot overlook the strong language of how Judah will have everything destroyed, crushed, and laid to waste. The nation and all of its pride in buildings, fields, and culture will be laid to waste by the enemy. While there is warning after warning, people just won’t pay attention to them. Isaiah’s message is met with a counter message from the priests and prophets who were “drunkards” saying everything was well. [28:1, 3; 7-8]

I was confused at first with the repeated verses of 28:10 and 13, but illuminated when I put – yada, yada, yada in place of the words. Israel and Judah had heard all of the word of God; to them to hear the messages of Isiah, was like – yeah, yeah yeah – been there done that!

Chapter 29:11-12; finds its future fulfillment in Daniel 12 and Revelation 5. Worthy is the Lamb who can open the scroll. The scroll contains the judgment of God, both now and then. I hold to the Seals and Trumpets as the working of God through man-made tragedies and natural disasters to bring the Lost to Him in repentance. Even though we have warning signs; we will live out our disobedience thinking we are “hiding” from God. [29:15-16]

Yet through all of this, there is a light at the end, a ray of hope for all. Chapter 30:18-22 is descriptive and prescriptive of 2 Chronicles 7:14 – God is ready to forgive and restore, but we have to be responsive to the “hand of discipline” from our creator and sustainer – Jehovah God! If . . . . then; the LORD longs for you and me to come back to Him.

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