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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, 30 January 2018

Isaiah Day 193 - Never Alone, Never Abandoned



54:5 

“For your husband is your Maker,
Whose name is the Lord of hosts;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel,
Who is called the God of all the earth.

Many years ago I had a woman in one of my churches that was abandoned by her husband. In her grief and despair she turned to the Lord and He revealed to her this verse. She clung to it like a drowning person clings to a life saver. What we fail to appreciate is the deep meaning in this one little verse. The culture in Isaiah's time was extremely patriarchal. Women were more like property than people. They could not own anything even though God tried to correct that foolishness way back in Moses' time. A girl was owned by her father. She was then sold to her husband. If he died there was a detailed process for how she became the responsibility of his nearest relative. This relative was called her kinsmen redeemer. If he refused to fulfill his duty a woman could quickly find herself destitute on a level that doesn't exist in our society. The book of Ruth is a beautiful story of how Boaz was willing to be Ruth's kinsman redeemer even though he wasn't directly responsible and she went from essentially dumpster diving to having a husband, a family, a home, stability, security, and eventually a mother of a child that became an ancestor of Jesus.

When Isaiah says the Lord is your husband and your redeemer the meaning is rich and deep. Think about it. Humanity is referred to as the bride of the Lord. Adam and Eve essentially had an affair and chose another lover. This new lover Satan talks a big game but knows nothing of love. He romances and then discards, leaving us with nothing.

Judah fell for the lies. She came to believe that happiness and fulfillment was found in greed and selfishness. Oppression and injustice became the norm and it was leading to bankruptcy of every kind, but they were not to despair. Destitute they would not remain. Their Kinsman Redeemer would come and come He did, while we were yet in the arms of our lying lover who knows nothing of love.

For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son. He is our husband. He is our Redeemer. We are not alone, not destitute, not abandoned. He loves us with an everlasting love. He rejoices over us with singing. He is our Lord and there is no other.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Isaiah Day 192 – Hope?



54:2
“Enlarge the place of your tent;
Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not;
Lengthen your cords
And strengthen your pegs.
3 “For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left.
And your descendants will possess nations
And will resettle the desolate cities.

4 “Fear not, for you will not be put to shame;
And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced;
But you will forget the shame of your youth,
And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
5 “For your husband is your Maker,
Whose name is the Lord of hosts;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel,
Who is called the God of all the earth.
6 “For the Lord has called you,
Like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
Even like a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,”
Says your God.

Would you plan a wedding for a person who just died? Would you tell a woman who just had her doctor tell her that she'll never have children to get a baby's room ready in her house? Would you plan a graduation party for a young person who was kicked out of school? Would you tell a man on death row to invest for retirement?

So why is God telling a nation (Judah) to plan for expansion when she is already under Assyrian control and destined to be flattened by Babylon?

Once upon a time there was a young man from backwater Nazareth who caught the attention of the crowds by the things He did, the things He taught, and the miracles He performed. He also caught the attention of the Jewish religious leaders. After 3.5 years of mostly avoiding their presence, escaping their verbal traps, and eluding their murderous schemes He eventually found Himself (by choice) hanging on Roman cross just outside Jerusalem. His life, His ministry, His influence, whatever they meant and wherever they could have gone were over. "Save yourself!" His enemies cried. "Come down and we'll believe you!" they claimed.

It was hardly a Hollywood ending. His most loyal followers scattered, hiding from the public to avoid a similar fate. Since we know the rest of the story it's difficult to fully experience those moments. Hope was lost. The lights went out. Time to board up the factory, close the gate, shutter the windows, box up whatever remains. Jesus Inc. is done...

What does this have to do with Isaiah's words to Judah or with you and I in 2018 and beyond?

Simply this: If you are in step with Jesus, and embracing His promises, it doesn't matter how dark the night, how bleak the outlook, how hopeless our prospects, or how great the number of those against us. If we are with Him, the end is assured. Some say hope is everything and when it's gone we have nothing left. The Bible says something a little different. It says there are faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love. Believe in His love and you will never lose hope. Love wins.

So plan for a larger tent. Let the ropes out longer. Get some bigger pegs. God keeps His promises.

Isaiah Day 191 – Hear His Declaration



54:2
“Enlarge the place of your tent;
Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not;
Lengthen your cords
And strengthen your pegs.
3 “For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left.
And your descendants will possess nations
And will resettle the desolate cities.

4 “Fear not, for you will not be put to shame;
And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced;
But you will forget the shame of your youth,
And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
5 “For your husband is your Maker,
Whose name is the Lord of hosts;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel,
Who is called the God of all the earth.
6 “For the Lord has called you,
Like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
Even like a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,”
Says your God.
7 “For a brief moment I forsook you,
But with great compassion I will gather you.
8 “In an outburst of anger
I hid My face from you for a moment,
But with everlasting loving kindness I will have compassion on you,”
Says the Lord your Redeemer.

9 “For this is like the days of Noah to Me,
When I swore that the waters of Noah
Would not flood the earth again;
So I have sworn that I will not be angry with you nor will I rebuke you.
10 “For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake,
But My loving kindness will not be removed from you,
And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,”
Says the Lord who has compassion on you.

Need I say more? In the midst of the darkest part of their rebellion, when injustice and oppression flourished behind a mask of pious but empty religion look at how God feels about them! He has no favourites. His love for us is no less. Like the story of the prodigal, He is just waiting for us to feel the emptiness of sin, come to our senses, and come back to Him.