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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, 15 February 2022

 

Isaiah Day 220

 

59:1 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened,

That it cannot save;

Nor His ear heavy,

That it cannot hear.

2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God;

And your sins have hidden His face from you,

So that He will not hear.

3 For your hands are defiled with blood,

And your fingers with iniquity;

Your lips have spoken lies,

Your tongue has muttered perversity.

4 No one calls for justice,

Nor does any plead for truth.

They trust in empty words and speak lies;

They conceive evil and bring forth iniquity.

5 They hatch vipers’ eggs and weave the spider’s web;

He who eats of their eggs dies,

And from that which is crushed a viper breaks out.

6 Their webs will not become garments,

Nor will they cover themselves with their works;

Their works are works of iniquity,

And the act of violence is in their hands.

7 Their feet run to evil,

And they make haste to shed innocent blood;

Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity;

Wasting and destruction are in their paths.

8 The way of peace they have not known,

And there is no justice in their ways;

They have made themselves crooked paths;

Whoever takes that way shall not know peace.

 

The description of Judah's condition here is similar to the description of humanity before the flood - evil. God is able to save yet handcuffed by our choices. His hand/arm is not short, meaning He can reach us wherever we are. His ear is not heavy, a Hebrew expression that means He is able to hear us. So if He can reach us and hear us why can't He help us? Why are we separated from Him? Why does His functioning ear not hear us?

 

If God saved us against our will it would be kidnapping, and/or brain washing, and/or reprogramming. God does not work that way. Love does not work that way. We want the freedom to do as we please which we have, but then we want God to protect us from the consequences.

 

He doesn't work that way. He lets us feel the aftermath of bad choices. He wants us to understand His counsel is not arbitrary. The things He tells us to avoid are for our good, not His benefit. This isn't some kind of control game for Him. He knows that is good and what is evil and He is trying to steer us to life, happiness, hope, prosperity, blessing, and joy.

 

When we persist in rebellion the outcome is assured:

"And there is no justice in their ways;

They have made themselves crooked paths;

Whoever takes that way shall not know peace."

 

Isaiah Day 221 - Applying the Lessons of Isaiah to Our Times

 

59:9 Therefore justice is far from us,

Nor does righteousness overtake us;

We look for light, but there is darkness!

For brightness, but we walk in blackness!

10 We grope for the wall like the blind,

And we grope as if we had no eyes;

We stumble at noonday as at twilight;

We are as dead men in desolate places.

11 We all growl like bears,

And moan sadly like doves;

We look for justice, but there is none;

For salvation, but it is far from us.

12 For our transgressions are multiplied before You,

And our sins testify against us;

For our transgressions are with us,

And as for our iniquities, we know them:

13 In transgressing and lying against the Lord,

And departing from our God,

Speaking oppression and revolt,

Conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.

14 Justice is turned back,

And righteousness stands afar off;

For truth is fallen in the street,

And equity cannot enter.

15 So truth fails,

And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.

 

I'm not sure we realize where our culture is headed. The Bible clearly states that what has been will be again and history has certainly shown this to be true. More than once when this pattern has been pointed out to experts of ancient societies like the Roman Empire they dodge the issue. A CBC radio host directly asked one such expert if we were destined to follow the same path of demise that Rome did and he stammered before saying "We are more enlightened than they were and will find a way forward."

Here was the condition of Judah at the time of Isaiah:

 

"For truth is fallen in the street,

And equity cannot enter.

15 So truth fails,

And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey."

 

Do you remember what the Roman governor Pilate said to Jesus at His mockery of a trial? "What is truth?"

Do you know what new word was added to the Oxford Dictionary last year? Post-truth.

 

"After much discussion, debate, and research, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 is post-truth – an adjective defined as 'relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief'. Nov 8, 2016"

en.oxforddictionaries.com

 

Truth died in Judah, it died in Rome, and it's dying or dead today.

It was the United States election that birthed the new term post-truth.

A Pulitzer prize winning initiative called politifact tracks the truthfulness

of statements made by politicians, lobbyists, media outlets, etc...

 

Here is a link to things Trump has said that have been fact checked by politifact:

 

http://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/statements/byruling/false/

 

The amazing thing is not how many lies are told by so many leaders, or shared as memes

on social media, or propagated by questionable or flat out ridiculous fake news websites.

What is incredible is that people don't care. They have a view and truth has no say in the matter.

We truly are living in a post-truth era. It created a mess in Judah and in the Roman Empire and

it is doing the same now here. We are travelling into an abyss of our own making and will destroy

anyone who dares attempt to correct us. How did we get here?

 

We'll continue tomorrow...

 

Isaiah Day 222 - A Funeral For Truth

 

59:14 Justice is turned back,

And righteousness stands afar off;

For truth is fallen in the street,

And equity cannot enter.

15 So truth fails,

And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.

 

The last phase before a society implodes according to both the Bible and evidence from history is the death of truth. If you are familiar with the rapidly growing popularity of TED Talks, you may have heard the one that looked at the common denominator between countries that have thriving economies. The shared link was trust. In countries where the trust level is low, the economy is poor. In countries where the trust level is high, the economy thrives. It's hard to do business in an environment without trust. Trust is rooted in truth. 

 

Truth is absolute. The sky is blue. Grass is green, even Kentucky Bluegrass is green. Truth can't be altered by votes, councils, or public opinion. What goes up must come down and that's just the way it is. We have a tenuous relationship with truth. We embrace it and trumpet it when we are in alignment with it, but when our desires conflict with truth we take other paths. For example, there are a growing number of proponents today bashing the idea of absolute truth and saying everything is relative yet if you steal their car they will say it is absolutely wrong and you should be punished.

 

There are special interest groups who want to redefine morals and other things who preach tolerance yet are wildly intolerant towards any who oppose their views. That's being disingenuous and untruthful. There are people who proclaim to be Christians, followers of Christ, who passionately hold views completely antithetical to His character. When this is pointed out, truth has no weight. They retreat behind their dogma and repeat their views with increasing volume without acknowledging any challenge.

 

Justice is rooted in truth. A fair judge hears the evidence, seeks to get to the truth, and then pronounces judgment based on what he understands is the truth. An unjust judge cares nothing for truth. He or she studies the situation to see how to best benefit themselves and/or their agenda. It might be an opportunity to take a bribe, further their career by pleasing the right side, or simply make the judgment that aligns with their own prejudices.

 

Jesus talked about an unjust judge who finally gave justice to gain peace for himself from the incessant pleas of the woman done wrong.

 

Consider Pilate. When Jesus was brought to him for judgment he was not primarily concerned with truth. His main concern was his own position and future. When he determined the case was too politically dangerous he tried to shift the responsibility to Herod. Herod shifted it back. Neither wanted to use their positions and risk their necks for the sake of truth and justice.

 

With Jesus back in his court and Pilate seeing it was a no win situation for himself he tried to play both sides to his own benefit. He knew and admitted Jesus was innocent. He even admitted it to the crowd. He knew they were hungry for blood so he said he would beat Jesus before releasing Him. Who beats the innocent? The crowd could sense Pilate was putty in their hands. They knew his desire to be liked was greater than any concern for truth or justice so they pushed harder. "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!"

 

He of course gave in but not before washing his hands of this innocent man. He tried to play both sides but truth has no room for such cowardly foolishness. You either stand for truth or you don't.

 

Notice that Isaiah says those who depart from evil in a society where truth has died become the prey of the powerful. History is sprinkled with the blood of the honest and the innocent, victims of the evil who held the power. It started with Cain killing Abel and has never stopped.

 

We are living through a great moral shift. America used to be a bastion of truth and justice. Now we are transitioning to the post-truth era and anyone who stands for the right will likely fall. Know this though. God sees. The righteous blood of Abel cried out to Him from the ground. Truth and justice will triumph. Love will win. The post-truth era will end forever. Jesus died but He rose again. Stand with Him no matter the cost. Be a true Christ follower.

 

Isaiah Day 223   Truth Died - Then What?

 

59:14 Justice is turned back,

And righteousness stands afar off;

For truth is fallen in the street,

And equity cannot enter.

15 So truth fails,

And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.

Then the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him

That there was no justice.

16 He saw that there was no man,

And wondered that there was no intercessor;

Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him;

And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.

 

Are you seeing what I'm seeing?

Now I am going to invite you to stretch your mind. It's only fair since mine is getting stretched all over the place. 

Judah was the only tribe left from Israel. After Abraham and the promises and Moses delivering the baby nation from Egypt, David becoming king and Solomon building the empire it's down to this. The other tribes have already fallen apart. Judah is on the ropes. 

Ok big picture. There is a wonderful Creator God who made this world and us. He has been lost sight of almost completely because of the ravages of sin and the relentless campaign by Satan to misrepresent us and confuse us about Him. In an attempt to bring some clarity and truth into the situation God has revealed Himself to people like Noah, Abraham, and Moses. He built the nation of Israel to exist as a witness to the world and reveal Himself through them. That plan failed miserably. Now it was only Judah left and Judah had become a poster child for evil. Satan has successfully turned their religion into the opposite of everything it was meant to be and in the process destroyed the true identity and character of God. Truth was dead. 

Now what?

There was no man to communicate between heaven and earth. There was no one to intercede so that humanity could even see truth. There was no justice and it displeased Him. How would we know that all men are equal? That men and women are equal, that rich and poor are equal, that native born and foreigners are equal? That the role of the strong is to strengthen the weak and the role of the rich is to empower the oppressed?

There was no man to give the message. There was no people to reveal the truth. 

So God stretched out His arm. 

 

Isaiah Day 224 - Is God Scrambling?

 

59:14 Justice is turned back,

And righteousness stands afar off;

For truth is fallen in the street,

And equity cannot enter.

15 So truth fails,

And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.

Then the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him

That there was no justice.

16 He saw that there was no man,

And wondered that there was no intercessor;

Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him;

And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.

17 For He put on righteousness as a breastplate,

And a helmet of salvation on His head;

He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing,

And was clad with zeal as a cloak.

18 According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay,

Fury to His adversaries,

Recompense to His enemies;

The coastlands He will fully repay.

19 So shall they fear

The name of the Lord from the west,

And His glory from the rising of the sun;

When the enemy comes in like a flood,

The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.

20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion,

And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,”

Says the Lord.

 

God has a real challenge on His hands to teach us about Himself. If He simplifies too much, He appears less than the Almighty that He is. If He does not simplify we can't grasp enough to understand anything.

 

For example when the Bible uses phrases like "the LORD saw" it makes it sound like God suddenly became aware there was a problem. This of course is false. He knows all. He knew about the moral demise of Judah long before it happened. However love honours freedom and He allowed things to go as Judah took them but He did not like it. It displeased Him that truth was dead and justice with it. When bad things happen and evil men seem to rule the day and we wonder where God is, He is allowing free men to exercise their own choices. What we can't see is that God has a solution and it is working itself out even as evil appears to be carrying the day.

 

At the beginning Abel stood for the right and Cain killed him. Evil appeared to win. God immediately stepped in and limited the evil influence of Cain. That slowed things down but over time evil appeared to have conclusively and completely won. All except for Noah. Through him God hit the reset button. After the flood evil again picked up steam and from the chaos God called Abraham. Through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob God began to do a new thing. He was building a nation to carry His name, to demonstrate to a world drowning in evil what He was really like. Now we find out in Isaiah that the plan is failing miserably. He called a man in Noah and that plan ultimately failed even though it did buy more time. He called a nation through Abraham and his descendants. That plan ultimately failed. Is God a bad planner? Is He constantly scrambling, three steps behind a tidal wave of evil that He can't manage or is something else going on?

 

Tomorrow we will explore that, as we ponder this revelation that God didn't like where things were going and He had to do something to curb injustice and restore truth.

 

His timeline might not always suit us but He definitely has a plan...

 

Isaiah Day 225 – Where Can Truth and Justice Be Found?

 

59:15 Then the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him

That there was no justice.

16 He saw that there was no man,

And wondered that there was no intercessor;

Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him;

And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.

17 For He put on righteousness as a breastplate,

And a helmet of salvation on His head;

He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing,

And was clad with zeal as a cloak.

18 According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay,

Fury to His adversaries,

Recompense to His enemies;

The coastlands He will fully repay.

19 So shall they fear

The name of the Lord from the west,

And His glory from the rising of the sun;

When the enemy comes in like a flood,

The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.

20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion,

And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,”

Says the Lord.

 

A quick review from yesterday:

 

God called men like Abel, Enoch, and Noah but evil always seemed to prevail. After the flood He worked through Abraham and his descendants to set up an entire nation to be a witness for truth and justice. Evil prevailed again.

 

It appears like God is scrambling to win but always a step behind. Is that the case or is something else going on? Look at verses 19 and 20. Look at them in the context of verses 15 and 16. God is looking down on His failed nation. The very people who were supposed to be the light in the darkness have become the darkness. Instead of modeling justice they are mired in injustice. It wasn't for a lack of planning. They were given a blueprint. Go back and read about the cities of refuge. Go back and consider the instructions they were given about how to structure their society. The problem wasn't a lack of information, it was a lack of implementation. The foundation was flawed and cracked from the start. As much as we like to make Abraham a hero, he was far from one. He believed more than less and he was certainly growing in the right direction but he left a legacy of lying, manipulation, and polygamy that is still negatively affecting the world today. Everything that was wrong with Jacob was present in the life of Abraham.

 

Notice that God uses Jacob's name in verse 20 long after Jacob was dead and gone. Jacob's name is used all through the Old Testament as a beacon of darkness. It represents who we all are apart from God. Jacob's life was changed and so was his name. He went from Jacob - the underhanded one to Israel - the overcomer. The nation was given his new name. The objective for them was to become overcomers. Now we find hundreds of years and many generations later they are still Jacob.

 

That's the bad news. The good news is that a Redeemer is coming. Redeemer is a fancy title for Someone who will succeed where everyone from Abel onward failed. That Redeemer is Jesus. The apparent scrambling and failing was calculated. God needed us to come to the full realization that there was no hope within us. We were never going to save ourselves. No man would be sufficient, not even a nation of men, not even a nation lead by a king. Every new strategy ended the same as the others because the darkness that keeps winning is not just an external force. The darkness is within us. How can a Jacob save a Jacob from being a Jacob? If the blind lead the blind won't they both fall into a ditch?

 

We can talk about love, sing about it, etc... but only in Jesus do we actually see love. Truth is only seen in Him. Justice only exists in Him. There is no man. There is only Him. God knew this from the beginning but we didn't. He patiently allowed four thousand years of trying and failing until we came to the end of ourselves.

 

Now we have had two thousand years to compare and contrast Him with our reality, our system, our darkness.

 

Choose. That's our only real task in this life. Choose...

 

Isaiah Day 226 - He Won't Quit!

 

59:20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion,

And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,”

Says the Lord.

21 “As for Me,” says the Lord, “this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,” says the Lord, “from this time and forevermore.”

 

What an incredible promise! Those in Jacob are those mired in sin, mired in self-obsession, mired in "I did it my way". These are people who fast and pray for all the wrong reasons, worship on Sabbath but only as a means to manipulate God. These people in Jacob are me. And what does God have to say to me?

 

"I will come to you if you will turn toward Me. Let go of your hopeless struggling and toxic manipulating and I will save you from yourself."

 

As if that wasn't promise enough look what He says to Isaiah afterwards. "I will keep speaking. I will keep calling. Right now I'm calling through you but I will keep calling from generation to generation. I will never stop. I promise."

 

This mess can end well for every one of us. He will never quit but He will never force. The choice is ours: Jacob or Israel? Self or surrender?

 

Choose wisely. Choose while there is still time.

 

Isaiah Day 227 - Gun Control or Something Else?

 

60:1 Arise, shine;

For your light has come!

And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.

2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,

And deep darkness the people;

But the Lord will arise over you,

And His glory will be seen upon you.

3 The Gentiles shall come to your light,

And kings to the brightness of your rising.

 

This is one of my favourite prophecies in the entire Bible. Jesus is coming - the Light of the world! We'll see tomorrow how truly amazing this prophecy was and how completely it was fulfilled but before we get to the Light we need to notice something about the darkness.

 

Isaiah is speaking to Judah at a very dark point. Jesus will come to the world at an even darker time. Notice how Isaiah describes it:

 

Darkness will cover the land and deep darkness the people.

 

We are again today, as I write this heading quickly into a dark time and it will become the darkest point of human history. Never before and never again will things be so dark. It will never be so dark again because this last journey into darkness will end with Jesus coming to banish all darkness forever!

 

Darkness will cover the land and deep darkness the people.

 

There is a lot of talk in our world about the condition of the earth. Storms are more frequent and more violent. Earthquakes keep increasing in number and severity. The environment is suffering, the ozone is depleting, global warming is wreaking havoc. Indeed the land is dark.

 

What about the people? Isaiah said dark as covers the land and deep darkness the people. What does that mean?

 

As America is reeling from the most recent mass shooting and voices on both sides debate gun control, the discussion we are avoiding is why our own citizens are killing each other in such wildly senseless ways. This troubled youth was not a Muslim or a religious extremist of any kind. Neither was the man in Vegas.

 

Forget the gun issue for a moment and ask the deeper question. What is happening to us? Why are depression, suicide, mental illness, and violence all on the rise? Why is the level of internal darkness increasing so rapidly?

 

Jesus said just prior to His return the increase of wickedness would cause the love of many (most) to grow cold. I see it happening. Something bad happens and we play the blame game and we become more angry, more hateful, more divided. Leaders who should be finding ways to bridge the gaps and promote healthy discussion toward solutions are fueling the fires of division.

 

Indeed the land is dark and the people are in deeper and deepening darkness.

 

That's the bad news. The good news we'll talk about tomorrow. For now know this: the darkness does not have universal sway. We can remain in the light all the way through until the Day breaks and our Saviour arrives.

 

Isaiah Day 228 - A Detailed Prophecy

 

60:1

 

Arise, shine;

For your light has come!

And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.

2

For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,

And deep darkness the people;

But the Lord will arise over you,

And His glory will be seen upon you.

3

The Gentiles shall come to your light,

And kings to the brightness of your rising.

 

4

“Lift up your eyes all around, and see:

They all gather together, they come to you;

Your sons shall come from afar,

And your daughters shall be nursed at your side.

5

Then you shall see and become radiant,

And your heart shall swell with joy;

Because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you,

The wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you.

6

The multitude of camels shall cover your land,

The dromedaries of Midian and Ephah;

All those from Sheba shall come;

They shall bring gold and incense,

And they shall proclaim the praises of the Lord.

 

In the midst of this great darkness a Light. Good news. Hope! Promises!

 

Strange promises. Gentiles are coming? Why? And who are they?

 

Before we get too far we need to review history a little bit. Judah had been a beautiful place and under Solomon wealthy and prosperous. Kings did come from far to see the splendor of his kingdom. Those glory days are gone. At the time of Isaiah the nation was in steep decline, paying heavy tribute to Assyria for protection and just hoping to survive. Isaiah predicted destruction was coming at the hands of the Babylonians and it did. For 70 years Jerusalem lay in ruins while the people were scattered, those who survived. Some were taken to Babylon. Others fled south to Egypt. There was nothing and no one left. They did return to rebuild but it was never the same. The temple when it was finally rebuilt was so humble in comparison to the one Solomon built that the people wept. Indeed the glory of Judah was gone. For the next several hundred years they existed in obscurity. They had no wealth, no power, no influence. All they did have were these bizarre promises. In fact when the temple was rebuilt and the people wept over it's lack of beauty God promised that the glory of this humble temple would exceed the glory of Solomon's temple but how could it?

 

Fast forward to Bethlehem. Shine a spotlight on a humble dwelling where a young mother and her poor husband welcomed the birth of a son, wrapped him in rags, and laid him in a feed trough. A few local shepherds came to visit because angels met them out in the fields and told them to go see Him and welcome His birth. If more attention was given to the event at the time we aren't told about it. Then nearly two year later a recession of wealthy men on camels shows up. They go directly to the palace to speak with king Herod. He is oblivious. He has no idea what they are talking about. A new king? Born in Judah? He summons his advisors who specialize in Jewish prophecies. They look at the scrolls. They point to Bethlehem. If there is a new king that is where you will find Him.

 

The mysterious visitors head that way, lead by a mysterious star. Who are these men?

 

Isaiah 60 tells us. They are both Gentiles and sons of Israel.They are kings. Their family lines are mentioned: Midian, Ephah, and Sheba. They brought gold and incense as gifts.

 

Go to Genesis 25 and you will discover who they were - the descendants of the later sons of Abraham by his second wife Keturah. Moses later married Zipporah, the daughter of Jethro. He was the priest of the tribe of Midian, sons of Abraham. The queen who came to visit Solomon and see the splendor of his kingdom was from Sheba, more descendants of Abraham. They were sent Eastward to preserve the Promised Land for the promised son Isaac. The promise was that Another was coming through Isaac's line that would be a blessing for all nations. These sons of Keturah were born when Abraham was a man who finally understood the promises. "The Lord Will Provide". He knew that the One who was to come through Isaac was the same One promised to Adam and Eve. He explained it all to His children. They left rich in the knowledge that their departure was all part of a bigger Story and that some day the Seed would gather them all together again. They passed the promise on from generation to generation. The star was the sign and when they saw it they communicated together and finally an international delegation was sent to Judah to see if they could find the One promised so many years before.

 

They came on camels. They brought gold, and incense. Isaiah wrote all about it over 700 years before it happened. Coincidence?

 

If there was still hope for Judah after all that time in apparent failure and obscurity there is still hope for us. The darkness will deepen but the dawn will break and Jesus will come. He promised and He always keeps His promises.

 

Isaiah Day 229 - Veiled But Clear

 

60:7

 

All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together to you,

The rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you;

They shall ascend with acceptance on My altar,

And I will glorify the house of My glory.

 

8

“Who are these who fly like a cloud,

And like doves to their roosts?

9

Surely the coastlands shall wait for Me;

And the ships of Tarshish will comefirst,

To bring your sons from afar,

Their silver and their gold with them,

To the name of the Lord your God,

And to the Holy One of Israel,

Because He has glorified you.

 

10

“The sons of foreigners shall build up your walls,

And their kings shall minister to you;

For in My wrath I struck you,

But in My favor I have had mercy on you.

11

Therefore your gates shall be open continually;

They shall not be shut day or night,

That men may bring to you the wealth of the Gentiles,

And their kings in procession.

 

This passage speaks of gathering people and wealth from all over. It specifically focuses on the Gentiles. It says they will bring their riches. Notice where they will bring them to: to the Name of the Lord.

 

This isn't speaking of cash. This isn't about precious metals either. These people come and they add you the Name of the Lord. Their lives are testimony to His character. Their actions in this life testify to Whom they belong. God will gather all His people from every land. It isn't a matter of fact, nation, skin colour, gender, religion, or any of the myriad other ways we divide ourselves. Man sees the outward appearance but God looks on the heart. All over this planet are sincere loving people who embrace the selfless nature of God and His kingdom. Some of them traveled great distances and endangered their own lives to come and see the Promised One born in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. Still His children are scattered over the earth, from the heart of Africa, to the hills of Mongolia, the outback if Australia and farthest reaches of the north. From mountain villages to island homes, there are people who in their inmost souls long for Home, for peace, for true love, for harmony, for kindness.

 

They will meet Him when He comes and the wealth of their hearts will add to the wealth of His Kingdom.

 

Isaiah Day 230 - No Sun?

 

60:19

 

“The sun shall no longer be your light by day,

Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you;

But the Lord will be to you an everlasting light,

And your God your glory.

20

Your sun shall no longer go down,

Nor shall your moon withdraw itself;

For the Lord will be your everlasting light,

And the days of your mourning shall be ended.

 

I live in a land where work never stops. They go to great expense and effort to set up work lights in the most remote places so they can work around the clock. Light is not just important, it is vital. Without it plants don't grow, humans don't produce vitamin D, in short life can't exist.

 

The Biblical ties between the sun and God are many. Several false religions revolve(d) around the worship of the actual sun. Some of the ties between God and the sun seem scientifically ridiculous but rather than being a point of embarrassment for those of us who believe the Word, this interplay between God and the sun is actually quite revealing and quite inspiring.

 

From the very beginning of the Book the relationship starts. "Let there be light" was not a statement connected to the sun. The sun, moon, and stars, were created on day four. This is not an oops. The authors of the Bible were as aware as we are that life can't exist apart from the sun and yet it did. Plant life started on day three.

 

Now here in Isaiah and again at the end of Revelation the Bible boldly declares that the sun will be replaced. In eternity there won't be a sun. There will be no need of one. Living in the presence of God will be more than enough light. What that means or how that works scientifically we don't know yet, but we do know that here on earth many scientific inventions and advancements have been made in the face of conventional wisdom declaring "that can't be done".

 

The Bible says earth had plant life apart from the sun in the beginning and will again in the future.

 

It begs the question "Why a sun at all?"

 

That's the best part. Think of the sun as a generator. Generators are only used when the power goes out or no other power source is available. They are for the most part a back up system. God created the sun for us as a back up system to keep us going after we rejected the Light of the world. Just as Jesus was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, so too God had systems in place in advance to keep us alive in His absence.

 

The next time you worry about whether God is really on the ball or has forgotten you or some situation that is causing you pain, think about the fact He had a back up plan for us before we ever needed it.

 

Someday the "generator" will be put away. The Light of the world will shine forever on us and our days of mourning, darkness, and sin will be forever ended. Bank it. He knows. He is never caught off guard, and He keeps all His promises. :)

 

You might want to skip this one...

 

Isaiah Day 231 - Isaiah Review :(

 

My first conscious thoughts this morning were that I needed to review what I have learned so far in Isaiah. My second thought was how crazy and impossible a task that is. How can I review 230 days of exploring one of the richest books in the Bible in one day? Plus the book isn't even done yet... I had other objections too but none are stronger than the impression I need to recap so here it goes:

 

The book opens with a bang. The target audience is very specific. God has one small nation left from the twelve tribes that still claim to be His. Since the flood the descendants of Noah keep splitting away from Him. First it was Ham and his descendants, than to a lesser extent Japheth. Finally things got so bad even among Shem's offspring, that God called Abram out of Ur. He did this to both save him from the corruption in his own family and to use him as a witness among the very corrupt descendants of Ham in the land called Canaan, named after Ham's son.

 

Fast forward and the descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob became the 12 tribes of Israel. The nation(s) grew and under Solomon became mighty and prosperous. After his death a fight over taxation split the kingdom and the ten northern tribes deceived themselves into idolatry and were eventually wiped out by Assyria. All that remained was Judah in the south and within Judah the barely existent tribe of Benjamin. (See Judges 21)

 

Now Isaiah has been called by God to speak out about Judah's true condition. It is not pretty. What is worse than their true condition is how they see themselves. They are like a 600 lb man who can't get out of bed who thinks in his mind that he can run and win a 100 meter sprint in the Olympics.

 

They have churches. They have the temple. They worship. They offer sacrifices. They pray, they fast, they keep the Sabbath. They are religious in every sense of the word but in the very first chapter of Isaiah God tells them what He thinks of all their religion:

 

1:12

“When you come to appear before Me,

Who has required this from your hand,

To trample My courts?

13

Bring no more futile sacrifices;

Incense is an abomination to Me.

The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies—

I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.

14

Your New Moons and your appointed feasts

My soul hates;

They are a trouble to Me,

I am weary of bearing them.

15

When you spread out your hands,

I will hide My eyes from you;

Even though you make many prayers,

I will not hear...

 

The rest of Isaiah tells more about where they are and where they are headed. There are warnings unheeded and incredible promises from God free for the taking.

 

Here's what I have learned so far. As much as I hate to admit it I am Judah, and what I mean by that is I am in the same boat as they were. For all my religion how has the world around me benefitted or been blessed? Have the needs of the poor been relieved? Have the oppressed been set free? Has justice increased because of my influence? Does the church I belong to, who like Judah of old claims to be the last bastion of faith actually represent Jesus to the world?

 

We had the chance to demonstrate the equality of humanity in the black/white divide in America but we failed miserably. We failed so badly that we still have segregation today long after segregation in society has ended. We had and have the opportunity to live the truth that in Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no slave or free, no male or female but we continue to fail miserably while giving lip service to Revival and Reformation.

 

Reformation means to disassemble what is and build something new, a new form. Jesus lead a Reformation. Would He recognize the movement He started in my church or would He say with tears streaming down His face "your sacred assemblies my soul hates..."?

 

I don't know what God is doing in me or what He plans to do with me but I know this:

 

The status quo has to go. That is the message of Isaiah to a people who thought they were holy while God had left the building because there was simply no room for Him...

 

You might want to skip this one...

 

Isaiah Day 231 - Isaiah Review :(

 

My first conscious thoughts this morning were that I needed to review what I have learned so far in Isaiah. My second thought was how crazy and impossible a task that is. How can I review 230 days of exploring one of the richest books in the Bible in one day? Plus the book isn't even done yet... I had other objections too but none are stronger than the impression I need to recap so here it goes:

 

The book opens with a bang. The target audience is very specific. God has one small nation left from the twelve tribes that still claim to be His. Since the flood the descendants of Noah keep splitting away from Him. First it was Ham and his descendants, than to a lesser extent Japheth. Finally things got so bad even among Shem's offspring, that God called Abram out of Ur. He did this to both save him from the corruption in his own family and to use him as a witness among the very corrupt descendants of Ham in the land called Canaan, named after Ham's son.

 

Fast forward and the descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob became the 12 tribes of Israel. The nation(s) grew and under Solomon became mighty and prosperous. After his death a fight over taxation split the kingdom and the ten northern tribes deceived themselves into idolatry and were eventually wiped out by Assyria. All that remained was Judah in the south and within Judah the barely existent tribe of Benjamin. (See Judges 21)

 

Now Isaiah has been called by God to speak out about Judah's true condition. It is not pretty. What is worse than their true condition is how they see themselves. They are like a 600 lb man who can't get out of bed who thinks in his mind that he can run and win a 100 meter sprint in the Olympics.

 

They have churches. They have the temple. They worship. They offer sacrifices. They pray, they fast, they keep the Sabbath. They are religious in every sense of the word but in the very first chapter of Isaiah God tells them what He thinks of all their religion:

 

1:12

“When you come to appear before Me,

Who has required this from your hand,

To trample My courts?

13

Bring no more futile sacrifices;

Incense is an abomination to Me.

The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies—

I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.

14

Your New Moons and your appointed feasts

My soul hates;

They are a trouble to Me,

I am weary of bearing them.

15

When you spread out your hands,

I will hide My eyes from you;

Even though you make many prayers,

I will not hear...

 

The rest of Isaiah tells more about where they are and where they are headed. There are warnings unheeded and incredible promises from God free for the taking.

 

Here's what I have learned so far. As much as I hate to admit it I am Judah, and what I mean by that is I am in the same boat as they were. For all my religion how has the world around me benefitted or been blessed? Have the needs of the poor been relieved? Have the oppressed been set free? Has justice increased because of my influence? Does the church I belong to, who like Judah of old claims to be the last bastion of faith actually represent Jesus to the world?

 

We had the chance to demonstrate the equality of humanity in the black/white divide in America but we failed miserably. We failed so badly that we still have segregation today long after segregation in society has ended. We had and have the opportunity to live the truth that in Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no slave or free, no male or female but we continue to fail miserably while giving lip service to Revival and Reformation.

 

Reformation means to disassemble what is and build something new, a new form. Jesus lead a Reformation. Would He recognize the movement He started in my church or would He say with tears streaming down His face "your sacred assemblies my soul hates..."?

 

I don't know what God is doing in me or what He plans to do with me but I know this:

 

The status quo has to go. That is the message of Isaiah to a people who thought they were holy while God had left the building because there was simply no room for Him...

 

Isaiah Day 232 - Timing

 

60:20

Your sun shall no longer go down,

Nor shall your moon withdraw itself;

For the Lord will be your everlasting light,

And the days of your mourning shall be ended.

21

Also your people shall all be righteous;

They shall inherit the land forever,

The branch of My planting,

The work of My hands,

That I may be glorified.

22

A little one shall become a thousand,

And a small one a strong nation.

I, the Lord, will hasten it in its time.”

 

God has a plan and He has never veered from it. The plan is to get His children back Home. I find it fascinating that His greatest promises and strongest statements of hope are found in the darkest times of human history, times when all the evidence suggested such hope was futile and impossible.

 

The plan, His plan, has been unfolding for about six thousand years. It took about four thousand years just to complete phase one, the birth of the Seed, the arrival of the Messiah, the full character of God manifested in human form in the person of Jesus. If you want to understand what God is like, Jesus is the answer.

 

It's been about two thousand years since Jesus left with a promise made that He would return. We are still waiting, waiting for our mourning to be over, waiting for our Saviour to rescue us from this place of disease, pain, darkness, and death.

 

I want you to note the last few words of this chapter. "I the Lord will hasten it in its time."

 

Timing. Children don't grasp it. Their only time is now. Adults are barely better. Yesterday and the lessons learned there are quickly forgotten. Tomorrow is an eternity away in the midst of a crisis. We don't want history lessons or talk of better in some far distant and murky/uncertain future. We want results right now. Everything from food prep to building construction we try to make shorter and shorter but there are some things we can't hurry up. The seasons come in their time. Babies still take nine months to be born and the plan God set in place to rescue us will be seen and understood when the Story is ended to be as short as He could possibly make it without compromising the entire thing.

 

He will come. He hasn't missed a promise yet.

 

Isaiah Day 233 - 700+ Years and Then...

 

61:1

 

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,

Because the Lord has anointed Me

To preach good tidings to the poor;

He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,

To proclaim liberty to the captives,

And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

2

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,

And the day of vengeance of our God;

To comfort all who mourn,

3

To console those who mourn in Zion,

To give them beauty for ashes,

The oil of joy for mourning,

The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;

That they may be called trees of righteousness,

The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

 

A little less than 2000 years ago an artisan from Nazareth who was barely 30 years old was invited to speak in the synagogue (church) where he grew up. He had just been baptized by John in the Jordan and it was His first visit home since. Here's what happened:

 

Luke 4:16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

18

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,

Because He has anointed Me

To preach the gospel to the poor;

He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,

To proclaim liberty to the captives

And recovery of sight to the blind,

To set at liberty those who are oppressed;

19

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

 

20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”

 

The Scripture He read that day was over 700 years old. Time for us and time from God's perspective are very different. In Eden He promised to send the Seed to crush the serpent. In Isaiah in many places He promised to send Someone to succeed where Judah failed. In Nazareth the poor son of a poor local artisan stood up in church and read a prophecy from 700+ years earlier and announced "Here I Am".

 

The reaction? Shock. Bewilderment. Confusion. "Isn't this Joseph's son?"

 

Tomorrow we'll explore why Jesus chose to read that passage as the Story of our rescue continues to unfold...

 

Isaiah Day 234 - Jesus Preaches the Word

 

Luke 4:16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

18

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,

Because He has anointed Me

To preach the gospel to the poor;

He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,

To proclaim liberty to the captives

And recovery of sight to the blind,

To set at liberty those who are oppressed;

19

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." (From Isaiah 61)

 

20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”

23 He said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’” 24 Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. 25 But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; 26 but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”

 

Yesterday we found this prophecy in Isaiah that Jesus chose as the source text for His first sermon in Nazareth after His ministry began. The reaction to the text and to Him was positive until He began to expound upon it. Here's what happened after His commentary on the text:

 

28 So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, 29 and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. 30 Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.

 

Unwittingly they finished the sermon with a living skit unfolding in real time. He permitted them to play out the whole thing right to the final scene and then He left the "stage".

 

Why did He provoke them? Why did He choose that text and then use it to infuriate them? So many questions.

 

Here is a general answer that opens a window into the what and why of Jesus' choices and actions that day. The passage is one of promises. The promises are aimed at the downtrodden and oppressed. Jesus is in Nazareth. Compared to the Jerusalem they are the outsiders, the outcasts, the poor, etc... Nazareth is to Judah what Alaska is to the United States (sort of) or a closer parallel is Newfoundland to the rest of Canada - far removed, perceived as poor and often as "less than". It's why those in Jerusalem snubbed Jesus and dismissed Him with the question "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" In Canada if a disparaging joke is made it is usually at the expense of a Newfoundlander. "Did you hear about the Newfie that...?"

 

So Jesus goes home and opens the book of Isaiah in church on Sabbath morning to His people, His "downtrodden" people and the promises flow. They are moved. What grace! Then they start to doubt and question. "Wait this is Joseph's son?" In their minds they start doing to Him what those in Jerusalem do to them. "He's just a nobody".

 

Then He begins to comment. He brings up two prophets: Elijah, and Elisha. Two specific stories: The hungry widow during the drought, and Naaman the leper. Neither were Israelites. God's prophets were rejected by their own and could only be of benefit to the outsiders...

 

We'll go deeper tomorrow...

 

Isaiah Day 235 - Truth Can Be Lonely

 

Based on Isaiah 61:1-4 and Luke 4

 

Jesus was one of us. He was Joseph's son to everyone who knew him. They knew his mother. They knew the dusty street his house was on. In Nazareth they knew his parents left town amid the scandal of a pregnancy that came before the wedding. It was years before they returned but the scandal and rumours were not forgotten.

 

When Jesus stood up to read in the synagogue where He grew up it was a significant moment and everyone sensed it. Was this ordinary yet unusual young man who grew up amongst them really Someone? Were any of the angel rumours true? Did a caravan of visitors really come from afar with costly gifts to recognize him as a king after his birth? If any of that was true why was he toiling as an artisan in Nazareth?

 

Today was the day to see if any of it was legit.

 

Now imagine being Jesus in that moment. He was one of us. We all desire love, acceptance, affirmation etc... We want to affirm those around us. We want to like and be liked. We seek harmony and peace for the most part. To be at odds with others doesn't feel right. Yet Jesus knew history. He knew how lonely and even dangerous the road of truth and faithfulness to God could be. He knew how Isaiah was seen and treated by his peers. Same with Jeremiah, and with Elijah, and the list goes on. Abel was killed by his own brother just for doing the right thing...

 

Jesus stood up to read. No big thing. It happened every week. But that day was different. The air was heavy with expectations. The weight on Jesus' shoulders was enormous. Please them or lead them. Those were his choices.

 

It is important to note that He never accused anyone of anything. He read a few verses and referenced two historical events that all were familiar with. The result? They tried to kill him and he let them go far enough to see themselves but didn't allow them to follow through. The sad irony is that their actions affirmed his unspoken revelation. They were evil. They were intolerant of truth. They were enemies of God. Had they lived at the time of Elijah they would have opposed him too. Had they lived at the time of Elisha they would have lacked the faith to be healed also.

 

Jesus announced he was there to heal and deliver and they made it clear they needed no physician or deliverer.

 

Tomorrow we'll continue unpacking this prophetic message from Isaiah lived out 700+ years later by Jesus and see what we can learn for our time.

 

Isaiah Day 236 - Inconvenient Words

 

Luke 4:28 So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, 29 and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. 30 Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.

 

I know we're in Isaiah 61 but this ongoing exercise of watching Jesus apply a prophecy from Isaiah 700+ years later is beneficial and even critical in understanding the coherent consistent message of the Bible and how to apply ancient and seemingly irrelevant texts to our lives now.

 

Note that after Jesus read the words from Isaiah everyone was ok. They were still unsure about who Jesus might be beyond the obvious but they were ok. Had Jesus stopped with the reading they all could have enjoyed potluck together and gone home peacefully.

 

Instead Jesus added two stories with a touch of pastoral interpretation. He referenced the widow of Zarephath where Elijah stayed during the famine and Naaman, whom God healed of leprosy through the ministry of the prophet Elisha. The context of telling those stories was that Israel never believed their own prophets and they wouldn't believe Jesus either. "A prophet is without honour in his own country."

 

Now here is the inconvenient part. All. It's a small word with big implications. All those in the synagogue were filled with wrath and participated in the attempt to take His life. This is the home town of Jesus. These are His people. At least some of them had to be direct blood relatives. What Jesus told them is that they were as disconnected from God and His true prophets as Israel was at the time of Elijah, one of the absolute lowest spiritual points in their rollercoaster history. To add insult to injury He strongly implied there was more faith among foreign widows and captains of foreign armies.

 

Here is the sick irony. Their reaction to His accusation was to kill Him. They could not have proven the truth of His words more emphatically.

 

Now let's make this more uncomfortable:

 

So far it's a dusty old story about an even more dusty and older text. All of it is so far removed from us that it can't possibly apply right?

 

For the past several years my church has been embroiled at the highest levels in a war over women being ordained. They are already serving as pastors but are by the exclusion ranked as "less than" their fellow male pastors. Those trying to make sure it stays this way have resorted to less than ideal tactics.

 

A retired and well respected male church historian and professor, well known author of several books, came out strongly last summer comparing those tactics and attitudes as similar in nature to the Popes of dark ages Europe and the Nazi regime. What happened next was more than telling. One of those most vocal and ardent opponents of women pastors and their equality with their male peers reacted strongly. In fact he ordered all the books written by this retired professor to be banned from being sold in church stores in the area where he was the leader. A modern equivalent to a book burning, a tactic used by the very heavy handed systems of the past to which the retired professor had made reference. While denouncing the claims this opponent confirmed the historian/professor was not far off the mark at all.

 

Religious, pious, zealous, yet disconnected from He who is the Truth and a murderous opponent of His messengers. That was the case in Israel way back in Elijah's day, in Judah in Isaiah's time, and in Judah still at the time of Jesus.

 

Today?

 

I don't want to answer that question...

 

Isaiah Day 238 - Why Be A "Jerk"?

 

Isaiah 61/Luke 4

 

Luke 4:28 So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, 29 and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. 30 Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.

 

So we figured out yesterday that they were all involved in trying to throw Jesus off the cliff and all includes all. Today we need to figure out why Jesus pushed their buttons. It doesn't seem very kind, or very Jesus like to take advantage of a captive audience on Sabbath morning in church to incite a riot by purposely making them angry.

 

He did it. He knew what He was doing. He even allowed them to take Him all the way to edge of the cliff before He left. It was like He was directing the entire scene and in full control the entire time but what was His motive?

 

Love.

 

Love?

 

Jesus incited a mob for love?

 

Yes.

 

When the day began they sat comfortably in their seats, believing themselves perfect and the world a mess. They went to bed that night with the figurative blood of the son of Joseph and possibly the Messiah on their hands. They were moved from complacent arrogance and haughty pride to the gut wrenching realization that the blood of the prophets from Abel to Isaiah and beyond was on their hands too.

 

I used to think I wouldn't have made Peter's weak kneed mistake of denying Jesus while He hung on the cross. I know better now. I am part of the all. I was at the cliff too. I'm glad Jesus took me there. I'm glad He loved me enough to show me what's inside me without crushing me. He took me to the cliff and then left me there to choose what I would do next.

 

Love.

 

Love is honest. Love seeks healing and reconciliation.

 

Think about it. When you go to see the doctor what is the first thing she or he says to you? "What's wrong". They have to know what is wrong before they can hope to start making things right. Jesus came to seek and save the lost and the first step is to bring the proud to the realization they are lost.

 

He did it for love and it was no picnic for Him either.

 

Isaiah Day 239 - Tables Turned

 

61:3

 

To console those who mourn in Zion,

To give them beauty for ashes,

The oil of joy for mourning,

The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;

That they may be called trees of righteousness,

The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

 

4

And they shall rebuild the old ruins,

They shall raise up the former desolations,

And they shall repair the ruined cities,

The desolations of many generations.

5

Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks,

And the sons of the foreigner

Shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.

6

But you shall be named the priests of the Lord,

They shall call you the servants of our God.

You shall eat the riches of the Gentiles,

And in their glory you shall boast.

7

Instead of your shame you shall have double honor,

And instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion.

Therefore in their land they shall possess double;

Everlasting joy shall be theirs.

 

8

“For I, the Lord, love justice;

I hate robbery for burnt offering;

I will direct their work in truth,

And will make with them an everlasting covenant.

9

Their descendants shall be known among the Gentiles,

And their offspring among the people.

All who see them shall acknowledge them,

That they are the posterity whom the Lord has blessed.”

 

These verses are a continuation of what Jesus read in Nazareth that Sabbath morning. They are a shift from what what Jesus will do to the effect it will have on humanity. To make sense of it and not get the wrong idea you have to track the pronouns carefully to see who Jesus is talking about. Remember the overall context of Isaiah. The main problem is that the privileged are exploiting the vulnerable behind a cloak of religion and God hates it. He is the Champion of the downtrodden. His message is a call to humility for those who are proud and a promise of rescue to those oppressed.

 

What this passage is promising is a turning of the tables. Those in mourning will be comforted. Those in ashes will be made radiant. My personal favourite is "a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness".

 

How do you think it felt for Jesus when the hands of those He grew up amongst were trying to throw Him off a cliff? The look of demonic hatred (fueled by generations of misplaced national pride and religious egoism) flashing in their eyes as He looked with gracious pity into theirs. Imagine the possible scenarios: Every morning and evening growing up He fed and watered Mrs. Rebekah's goats because her health prevented her yet today she found the strength to shake her wrathful fist at Him. Mr. Josiah, who never paid for the work Jesus did on his home now looked at Him with such hate that Jesus had not yet seen.

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