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

Monday, 20 November 2017

Isaiah Days 119 to 121

Isaiah Day 119 - We Leave Him No Choice Sometimes

42:17 They shall be turned back,
They shall be greatly ashamed,
Who trust in carved images,
Who say to the molded images,
‘You are our gods.’

18 “Hear, you deaf;
And look, you blind, that you may see.
19 Who is blind but My servant,
Or deaf as My messenger whom I send?
Who is blind as he who is perfect,
And blind as the Lord’s servant?
20 Seeing many things, but you do not observe;
Opening the ears, but he does not hear.”

21 The Lord is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake;
He will exalt the law and make it honorable.
22 But this is a people robbed and plundered;
All of them are snared in holes,
And they are hidden in prison houses;
They are for prey, and no one delivers;
For plunder, and no one says, “Restore!”

23 Who among you will give ear to this?
Who will listen and hear for the time to come?
24 Who gave Jacob for plunder, and Israel to the robbers?
Was it not the Lord,
He against whom we have sinned?
For they would not walk in His ways,
Nor were they obedient to His law.
25 Therefore He has poured on him the fury of His anger
And the strength of battle;
It has set him on fire all around,
Yet he did not know;
And it burned him,
Yet he did not take it to heart.

In my very first church my first visit was to an elderly couple who lived up the street from us. It was kind of amusing to listen to them compete for airtime as they chatted away. One line from that conversation I will never forget. She said to me "Son don't ever let anyone tell you there is anything golden about the golden years."

A couple of years later her husband got sick and had to move into long term care before he passed away, leaving her home alone in her 90's. Her daughter lived close by and wanted her to sell her home and come live with them. She refused. They tried everything to persuade her but she was having none of it. Finally she agreed that if the Lord gave her a sign that it was time to move and let go of her home she would. That same night the electrical panel caught on fire nearly burning her house down. Still she would not budge.

There is a saying that none are so blind as those who will not see.

Judah was in bad shape by her own choices. God had tried so many things to open her eyes to her own condition but she would not. It was not God's desire to permit other nations to come in and plunder her. It was the last resort. Sometimes we give God no choice but to resort to plan x, y, and z because we turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to plans a through w.

Look at the last line. With Jerusalem on fire they still didn't connect the dots and forsake their self-destructive path.

Sin destroys no matter what colour, gender, religion, or language you speak. God wants to restore us but He will never do it against our will. Are we seeing and hearing and submitting to His restoration or stubbornly pushing ahead while our "house" burns down around us?

Isaiah Day 120 - You Better Track Those "Buts".

43:1  But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.

We could literally spend days on this verse. You may find that to be an exaggeration, but it is not. First let's deal with the obvious. We are starting a new chapter but to think we are starting fresh on a new train of thought would be a huge mistake. The first word of the chapter is "But". There is always a story before and after this word. It is a word that often connects two ideas that are seemingly opposed. To make any proper sense of 43:1 we must remember why the "but" is there. How did the last chapter end? Judah was on fire... Here is the last verse of chapter 42:

42:25  Therefore He has poured on him the fury of His anger and the strength of battle;
It has set him on fire all around, yet he did not know;
And it burned him, yet he did not take it to heart.

Why did God do that? Remember the context of this entire work of Isaiah. Judah was an oppressor of her own people. Injustice reigned. Hypocrisy was the norm. They sang holy songs and went to the Temple to worship but it was all a show. None of it touched their hearts of stone. It was so bad that God told them He hated their sacred assemblies. He called it a trampling of His courts. What He really wanted from them was justice, equity, kindness, mercy, self-sacrifice, and love toward all, from the least to the greatest.

God tried every peaceful means possible to turn them around. None of it worked. Finally with no other options left He simply backed away. He didn't come against them in battle. Had He done so what would have remained? He didn't light the fires. Enemy nations did that. He just didn't stop them. He couldn't subsidize their evil with His protecting hand any longer. He hoped that the experience would lead them to see their true condition. We are told it had no such effect.

Now comes the but. Now the stage is set, the context is in place and we are ready to move forward.

"But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine."

As Judah is being plundered and burned this is the "but" message God wants them to hear.

"You are still Mine. I am still here. This story isn't over. You are still My bride. Yes you are a Jacob. You are underhanded, selfish, scheming, lying, deceiving, and seemingly rotten to the core but that's going to change. You were born Jacob but I will form you into Israel. In fact for Me it's already past tense. It is a done deal. I have a plan to rescue you from your sin and from yourselves. You are Jacob but to Me and because of Me and in Me you are Israel (overcomers). I have redeemed you. I know you can't see that yet but it's true. I know you look and feel and seem like Jacob but you aren't. As Jerusalem burns and the glory days of David and Solomon, of Moses, and Abraham seem like a fairy tale past that never really existed let me assure you that your future is brighter than anything in the past, real or imagined.  

You were born a Jacob but I have a plan. Israel will come. It's a done deal. When you see it and experience and know the Story My vantage point you won't ever want to return to this place. You won't cry for food in Egypt or the glory days of Solomon.

Tomorrow we'll apply this to us; to the here and now. It will be both painful and wonderful. See you then.

Isaiah Day 121 - What About Us?

43:1 But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.

What's in a name? According to the Bible lots. Today we often just pick names for our children because we like the sound. Not so in the Bible. Moses means 'taken from the water'. Abram means 'father' but Abraham means 'father of a multitude'. Sarai means 'my princess' but Sarah means 'mother of nations'. The Bible is full of these name changes when the original name didn't express God's plan for their lives. In the book of Revelation we are told God is going to give us new names also just as He did to Abraham, Sarah, and later Jacob's name (underhanded) was changed to Israel (Overcomer).

If you are wondering why Isaac's name was never changed it is because like Moses the meaning was significant and appropriate to the Story just as it was. His name means 'laughter' for obvious reasons.

Now yesterday we left off with me telling you we were going to explore the meaning of Isaiah 43:1 for us. How does it apply? We aren't from Judah. Our city isn't being attacked or on fire.

Let's ask some basic questions:

1, Did God create us?
2, Do we have a name?
3, Will that name be changed?
4, Will He redeem us?
5, What name is He calling us by?
6, Are we His?

1, Yes and no. If I set up a factory to make signs that said "Praise the Lord" I would be the creator of those signs. If someone came along and reprogrammed the machine to say "Praise Satan" would I be the creator of the new sign? Yes and no. It's still my factory, still my machines, my materials, my system, my name on the whole thing. However it certainly isn't my message. My message was sabotaged.

When God created Adam and Eve everything including them was "Very Good". Then they exposed themselves to Satan's lies and Satan's realm and everything became sabotaged. So the answer to the question "Did God create me?" is "yes and no". Without Him I would not exist but I'm not in the form He intended. I am not "very good".

2, I have a name. My parents chose it for me. However the question is much deeper. The question really is "Do I have an identity?" The answer is yes but it's not the one He intended. It's marred, bent, bruised, warped, and broken. Just like God never designed Jacob to be a liar and deceiver, He never intended for me to have the flaws I have either.

3, Will my identity be changed? Yes and no. The good will be restored, the bad will be removed.

4, Will He do for us what He promised here to Judah? Absolutely! How do I know that? The promises to Judah are rooted in promises God made to Abraham. The promises He made to Abraham were for "all the nations". The Seed is Jesus and He was promised first to Adam and Eve who again are the parents of all the nations. It is not robbery or a twisting of the text to apply these promises to me or to us. God already did and He never changes.

5, To Judah He said (all in past tense) "I have called you by your name. You are Mine." Well which name? Jacob or Israel? Flawed and broken or restored overcomer? It's clear from the context which it is. "I have already redeemed you. You are already Mine. I see you, call you, identify you by the Name I had chosen for you before the world began and before your first parents allowed Satan to sabotage My plan.

6, Yes and Yes and Yes. The only choice we have in any of this is to reject Him, and tell Him we don't want to be restored. Other than His absolute respect for our free will, this is a done deal. Signed, sealed, delivered. All in the past tense. Remember, there is no one like Him, declaring the end from the beginning...

7, There was no question but here is the answer. Jesus.

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