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Only One risen Saviuor

Only One risen Saviuor
There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved - Jesus

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Isaiah Days 111 to 115



Isaiah Day 111 - There Is None Like Him

41:25  “I have raised up one from the north,
And he shall come;
From the rising of the sun he shall call on My name;
And he shall come against princes as though mortar,
As the potter treads clay.
26 Who has declared from the beginning, that we may know?
And former times, that we may say, ‘He is righteous’?
Surely there is no one who shows,
Surely there is no one who declares,
Surely there is no one who hears your words.
27 The first time I said to Zion,
‘Look, there they are!’
And I will give to Jerusalem one who brings good tidings.
28 For I looked, and there was no man;
I looked among them, but there was no counselor,
Who, when I asked of them, could answer a word.
29 Indeed they are all worthless;
Their works are nothing;
Their molded images are wind and confusion.

Today I leave you with a simple challenge. Idols are nothing says the Lord because they know nothing, they teach nothing, they prophesy nothing, they answer not a word. Remember Baal on Mount Carmel? What happened when he had his chance to shine? Nothing. They are an abomination, they are nothing.

Now here is the challenge:

God says he has raised up someone from the north. Read the clues and tell me who it is.


Isaiah Day 112 - Who Is It?

Yesterday we read this and I challenged you with the question "Who is the one God raised up from the north?" Only one brave soul attempted an answer. Read it again and then continue into the beginning of chapter 42.

41:25
“I have raised up one from the north,
And he shall come;
From the rising of the sun he shall call on My name;
And he shall come against princes as though mortar,
As the potter treads clay.
26 Who has declared from the beginning, that we may know?
And former times, that we may say, ‘He is righteous’?
Surely there is no one who shows,
Surely there is no one who declares,
Surely there is no one who hears your words.
27 The first time I said to Zion,
‘Look, there they are!’
And I will give to Jerusalem one who brings good tidings.
28 For I looked, and there was no man;
I looked among them, but there was no counselor,
Who, when I asked of them, could answer a word.
29 Indeed they are all worthless;
Their works are nothing;
Their molded images are wind and confusion.

And now chapter 42:1 “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold,
My Elect One in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.
2 He will not cry out, nor raise His voice,
Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
3 A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will bring forth justice for truth.
4 He will not fail nor be discouraged,
Till He has established justice in the earth;
And the coastlands shall wait for His law.”

5 Thus says God the Lord,
Who created the heavens and stretched them out,
Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it,
Who gives breath to the people on it,
And spirit to those who walk on it:
6 “I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness,
And will hold Your hand;
I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the Gentiles,
7 To open blind eyes,
To bring out prisoners from the prison,
Those who sit in darkness from the prison house.
8 I am the Lord, that is My name;
And My glory I will not give to another,
Nor My praise to carved images.
9 Behold, the former things have come to pass,
And new things I declare;
Before they spring forth I tell you of them.”

Jesus. He is the One God raised up from the north. Commentaries may tell you it was Cyrus and as so many prophecies with applications both local and immediate as well as future and global it does point in s secondary way to Cyrus but primarily it is Jesus.

When Lucifer decided he wanted God's throne for himself he declared "I will ascend.... to the furthest sides of the north." (Isaiah 14:13) When Jesus was born, His earthly parents were from Nazareth and that's where He grew up. He was known as a Nazarene. Where was Nazareth? In relation to Judah and Jerusalem it was the far north, beyond Samaria.

Even the verb tenses point unmistakably to Jesus. "I have raised... He will come..." Jesus already was and yet He was still to come. The same cannot be said of Cyrus and if you don't know who Cyrus even is that's ok. We'll be coming to him fairly soon.

It becomes so obvious in chapter 42 that it's Jesus that the translators have put capital letters on all references to Him.

I point this out because God says in 41:27 that Jesus is being sent to earth, to us, to bring good tidings, good news, gospel. Had He not come we would be left in the murky darkness of the Old Testament. We would wonder if God was truly love. We would be tempted to think He had favourites. The Old Testament is hard to see God as He is because the people had blind eyes. They saw Him as the same as their pagan idols.

Jesus brought good tidings. "God so loved the world that He sent His One and Only Son."


Isaiah Day 113 - He Won't Raise His Voice

42:1  “Behold! My Servant (Jesus) whom I uphold,
My Elect One (Emmanuel, God with us) in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.
2 He will not cry out, nor raise His voice,
Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
3 A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will bring forth justice for truth.
4 He will not fail nor be discouraged,
Till He has established justice in the earth;
And the coastlands shall wait for His law.”

I am amazed how often my daily walk through His Word intersects with my life. I am in Halifax this morning, the city where I lived and served two churches for ten years. I am not supposed to be here. It was not in my plan and yet I knew somehow I would be. I knew I would step into the pulpit I stepped into hundreds of times already. I knew what needed to be said. I could see it all coming yet I made plans to be elsewhere. God intervened not once, not twice, but three times that I know of and now I am hours away from a Divine appointment. My stomach is turning. My palms are sweaty. God has called me here to say things I'd rather not have to say to a church I love.

However, as Shawn Boonstra has reminded me more than once, God gets there first. He got to me this morning before I step into that pulpit. He had a Word for me. Jesus came for a purpose. It was not a random visit, it was a mission, a rescue mission. He came to a world where the furthest ones from Him were those who professed His Name. He who is Justice and Mercy perfectly fused together came to His own who withheld both from others. Remember how Isaiah began? God told the people of Judah He hated their sacred assemblies. He wanted no more sacrifices. He wouldn't hear their prayers because they were oppressing others, exploiting the poor, and withholding justice.

Jesus came to the same city and the same nation hundreds of years later as one of us. Things had not improved. They were worse. He came to bring justice but He didn't march in the streets. He didn't even raise His voice. He didn't seek to stand for one side at the expense of another. If there was a flicker of hope He fanned the flame back to life instead of snuffing it out. The bruised He approached with "healing in His wings". From the religion hardened to the wayward souls in the gutter of life He came to them with the same unconditional offer. Borders we're disregarded. Gender, colour, ethnicity, religious affiliations or backgrounds were all disregarded. He just ministered to them from His heart of unfailing compassion. Some received Him. More rejected Him. Others hunted Him to take His life but He did not fail nor was He discouraged.

He did not fail, nor was He discouraged.
He did not fail.
He was not discouraged.

Today by the grace and promises of an unfailing Father I will not fail nor be discouraged. He's able.


Isaiah Day 114 - They Are Waiting

42:4  He will not fail nor be discouraged,
Till He has established justice in the earth;
And the coast lands shall wait for His law.”

Israel which become Samaria through amalgamation/assimilation with Assyria and Judah were nations of the interior. Never did they gain full control of the Mediterranean coast lands. In the north was a strip of coast land known as Phoenecia (Lebanon) best known for the cities of Tyre and Sidon. In the south was Philistia best known for Gaza. These peoples were at various times controlled by Israel but autonomous to some degree.

You may recall that when Jesus was here He took His disciples to Tyre and Sidon. While there a woman came to Jesus crying for help for her sick daughter. "Son of David have mercy on me!" Jesus remained quiet.
Finally the exasperated disciples who didn't want to be there to begin with said "Master send her away, she is annoying us."
He turned to her at that moment and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”
26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”
27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”
28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. (Matthew 15)

Jesus hesitated not because He truly thought less of her but rather to expose the prejudiced hearts of His disciples and to open their eyes and hearts to a much broader Kingdom. He said He only came for Israel yet where was He when He said it? That's why she came and fell at His feet and worshipped. She was the first person in the gospel of Matthew to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah, first Son of David and twice as Lord.

She was a Canaanite. She was from the coast lands and what did Isaiah say the people of the coast lands were waiting for? His law. And what is His law? Love.

I poured my heart out yesterday. I laid the tainted racist history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church on the altar for all to see. There is an entire world beyond the walls of our churches that Isaiah simply described as the people of the coast lands. They are on the fringes. They know who we are. They know who our God is. Many of them even recognize Him for who He is but they are waiting.

Jesus is waiting too. Waiting for His disciples to be converted. Waiting for them to come to the place where their annoyance with those on the fringe turns to compassion. When the love that He poured into us starts pouring out to "the least of these".

When the law of love takes root so deep in His church that it extends even to the coast lands the end will come.

"When this gospel of the kingdom (of love in the face of hatred) shall be preached in all the world (even Tyre and Sidon and the people's of the coast lands) as at witness (person to person genuine compassion) then the end will come and Jesus will return to receive us as His own."

My favourite author wrote "Christ is waiting... for His character (of borderless, limitless love) to be perfectly reproduced in His children..." and then He will come.

Seems daunting but the best part is He will accomplish it. He will not fail nor be discouraged.


Isaiah Day 115 - Influence

42:2 He will not cry out, nor raise His voice,
Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
3 A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will bring forth justice for truth.
4 He will not fail nor be discouraged,
Till He has established justice in the earth;
And the coast lands shall wait for His law.”

I had to back track a little today and get vulnerable. They say confession is good for the soul.

Let's start out by confessing the obvious. I am nothing like Jesus and the more I see Him and get closer to Him the more obvious it becomes. There is a country music song called Daddy's Hands and the key lines are:

 "Daddy's Hands, soft and warm when I am crying. Daddy's hands, hard as steel when I've done wrong. Daddy's hands weren't always gentle but I've learned to understand there was always love in Daddy's hands."

What about Jesus? Is He always gentle Jesus meek and mild? What about when He cleared out the temple with a whip? Discipline is tough. The secret is not knowing which is better but when to apply firm and when to be gentle.

So here's my confession. I'm not the hand of steel type. I'm not very good at the warm and gentle either. My default is to say nothing when my children do right, and say lots when they do wrong. It's a bad, negative, unaffirming cycle.

What ripped my heart out were those two lines: a bruised reed He will not break and a smoking flax He will not quench. If there is a trace of hope Jesus masterfully brings healing and restoration. He sees beyond the damaged surface and grasps onto that flicker of life, that one strand that still is connected to the roots and begins His work to bring wholeness and beauty back.

"Father teach me to love better, to restore, to encourage, to affirm, to be more like You. Take back the years that the locusts have eaten..."

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