Today the Lord gave me a good one – We are not commanded to “don’t do what Jesus would not do” but “do what Jesus did”. I have gotten so hung up on thinking living righteously is just keeping a clean nose…nope, it’s proactively doing what Jesus did or would do. So if you are going through every day just avoiding sin then you are not truly FOLLOWING Jesus.
“WAIT and listen, everyone who is thirsty! Come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Yes, come, buy [priceless, spiritual] wine and milk without money and without price” Isaiah 55:1 ->me: WAIT and LISTEN…not good enough to do one or the other. The call is to those who want more, who are searching to for the water that quenches. God says – “Come to the waters”; water…both a necessity and in abundance. Better to approach with no money, broke in your own ability, coming as a beggar who will accept. It may be free but there is a price, however, that price has been paid. What do you need to do to get the water, wine, and milk? Simply the self-surrender accepts the blessing.
“But no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong. This [peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord [those in whom the ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced]; this is the righteousness or the vindication which they obtain from Me [this is that which I impart to them as their justification], says the Lord.” Isaiah 54:17 ->me: What a fabulous verse! First, God tells us that He is not just involved in the ‘nice’ things of life; if He were then how grim would out plight be in this menacing world. Then, He goes on to say that this peace in knowing that He will never against take His wrath out on His people is a ‘Heritage’ received straight from His presence; through the saving work of His Servant. In chapters 40 and following Isaiah uses Servant as singular but moving forward through the rest of his book, ‘servants’ is plural. This harkens back to Isaiah 53:11 ‘my righteous Servant’ provides righteousness for the ‘many’. The Servant, by His saving work, creates servants…IN Him. So again, way back here in the old testament (Isaiah) we are told of our justification through the work of Jesus. Additionally, when we reproduce Him in ourselves by FOLLOWING Him, righteousness is made complete in us. The whole message of the new testament is right here!
“You shall establish yourself in righteousness (rightness, in conformity with God’s will and order): you shall be far from even the thought of oppression or destruction, for you shall not fear, and from terror, for it shall not come near you.” Isaiah 54:14 ->me: What a wonderful picture of God keeping His people safe in His dwelling, keeping them hidden in His sacred tent, and setting them high on a rock for all to see (Psalms 27:5). These things happen when we establish ourselves in righteousness. Yesterday, in church, Pastor Steve outlined what establishing ourselves in righteousness looks like. Here are a couple – Love what God loves, Hate what God hates, mourn over sin, fear God more than man, and worship Jesus with our life not just our singing. There are several more but these ones spoke out to me. I will lean into these this week; searching God’s word to find His clear stance in these topics.
“For though the mountains should depart and the hills be shaken or removed, yet My love and kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace and completeness be removed, says the Lord, Who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10 ->me: Just on the heels of yesterday’s quiet-time where it is understood that we are the ones who hide from God – Isaiah reinforces that the Father’s malice and anger are gone through a sworn oath just like His oath to never cover the earth with the waters of Noah. The verse here says “My love and kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall my covenant of peace and completeness be removed”. This is proof that when I sin, He is there facing me in love, arms open with compassion. It is I who move away from Him when I follow my flesh and in my guilt and shame continue to walk away from Him. STOP!!! SWALLOW YOUR STINKING PRIDE AND GO TO HIM!! He is waiting for you with expectation and with only love and kindness in His heart and peace and completeness in His hand to give.
“For a brief moment I forsook you, but with great compassion and mercy I will gather you [to Me] again. In a little burst of wrath I hid My face from you for a moment, but with age-enduring love and kindness I will have compassion and mercy on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer.” Isaiah 54:7-8 ->me: Reading this makes me ponder on how thankful I am of the price Jesus paid on the cross for me. My God never turns His face from me because the ultimate sacrifice has been made. However, my sin still separates me from Him. This is the reason why sin is like bereavement and desertion, because it alienates the Holy One and there is a sense of loss. I usually pray in my car on my way home from work; on days where I know I went against the nudging of the Holy Spirit, I will sit in my car silent and not engage My Father, because of my shame and guilt; feeling unworthy. But because of the work of Jesus, My God does not see my sin, He sees His Son, and it is only me at that point hiding my face from His. He patiently waits until I spring from my place of hiding into His cloak like a little child sorry for disappointing their parent…and He is there ready to pull me in as I blurt out my true repentance.
“SING, O barren one, you who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who did not travail with child! For the [spiritual] children of the desolate one will be more than the children of the married wife, says the Lord. Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; spare not; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes,” Isaiah 54:1-2 ->me: There is so much here! The barren one is Israel under Babylonian exile and its current dispersion. Isaiah is speaking of the adopted ones (Gentiles) into the family through the saving work of the Servant (Jesus) [Paul even quotes this verse in Gal 4:27]. Then verse 2 in regards to tent life which pictures the ideal relationship between the Lord and His people. (Jer 2:1-3) Isaiah paints a picture of vigorous growth. The work of the Servant fulfills both the Abrahamic and Davidic promises. I need to respond to this call on the church to expand. Am I putting all of my God given resources to expanding the tent to accommodate the new arrivals? Am I doing my part to witness effectively to bring more souls in? Am I reinforcing the tent stakes of the existing church by strengthening the faith of those already in the body so that they can support the impact of the new believers?
Right now I am going through Colossians with an amazing gentleman our LifeGroup. He has been looking for ways to get something in, time wise, each day that he can mull over and pray for the Lord to give him life application in. So we are doing a verse a day starting in Colossians 1; yesterday was verse 9 of Colossians 1 and today is verse 10. This is Paul telling the Colossian church how he and Timothy have been praying for them. However, I found it amazing to just turn the wording inward and actually use it as a prayer to the Lord about what I could have in my own spiritual life. Here goes – “[Lord allow me to] be filled with the full (deep and clear) knowledge of [Your] will in all spiritual wisdom [in comprehensive insight into [Your] ways and purposes] and in understanding and discernment of spiritual things; that [I] may walk (live and conduct [myself]) in a manner worthy of [You], fully pleasing to [You] and desiring to please [You] in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of [You][with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition]. Colossians 1:9b-10 (Amplified)…sooooo good!!
“Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great [kings and rulers], and He shall divide the spoil with the mighty, because He poured out His life unto death, and [He let Himself] be regarded as a criminal and be numbered with the transgressors; yet He bore [and took away] the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors (the rebellious).” Isaiah 53:12 ->me: Christ’s victory rests on 4 facts: 1) He poured His own life out: Voluntary self-offering even to the point of death. 2) He let Himself be numbered with the transgressors: His identification with those in need of Salvation. 3) He bore our consequences and thus removed the sin of many: All those He designed to save. His effectiveness as substitute. 4) Made intercession: Jesus represents His justified to the Father. He mediates for us because He understands our condition. (Hebrews 7:25) I did some study on …divide Him a portion…divide the spoil… part of this verse. The direct Hebrew translation helps -> “Therefore, I will apportion to Him the many, I will apportion the strong to Him as spoil” – so when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are given to Him by the Father. Because He paid the debt of our sin He essentially owns our lives. This may sound negative (that is just your secular filter) but I find great relief in knowing I am treasured reward Jesus has won…and what do we do with treasured rewards? We set them in high places and show them off. Jesus is proud of me and when I speak proudly of Him, He speaks proudly of me to His Father.
“Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief and made Him sick. When You and He make His life an offering for sin [and He has risen from the dead, in time to come], He shall see His [spiritual] offspring, He shall prolong His days, and the will and pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.” Isaiah 53:10 ->me: This verse begins and ends with God’s will. God’s will to heap our punishment on Him and God’s will for Jesus to wield prosperity in His hand. Said another way – Jesus’s suffering achieved Salvation; Jesus is now the Executor of the Salvation He achieved. Offering for sin – literal is GUILT-OFFERING (Lev 5:1 – 6:7) – The heart of the guilt-offering’s distinctiveness is its insistence on minute exactness between sin and remedy. It is used here not so much to affirm that the Servant bore and discharged the guiltiness of our sin, but that what He did is exactly equivalent to what needed to be done. This goes to the understanding that God knew ahead of time exactly the consequences that would be needed to purify those that would come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Through my reading – this reinforces the understanding that the credit of what Jesus did on the cross is not applied until you accept Him as your personal Savior.