“I will destine you [says the Lord] for the sword, and you shall all bow down to the slaughter, because when I called, you did not answer; when I spoke, you did not listen or obey. But you did what was evil in My eyes, and you chose that in which I did not delight.” Isaiah 65:12 ->me: Today is the day before Easter, the day before our Savior is risen from the dead by the Almighty Father and given the inheritance of the Kingdom of God. Additionally we are GIVEN to Jesus by the Father. This verse is motivation for me to spend the rest of the day in prayerful petition for the souls that will be attending church services across the area tonight and tomorrow – praying for those who only really come to church on special occasions like Easter. Praying that if they hear the call of the Lord through worship services that they will answer, that theirs ears would be opened to hear God’s spoken word, that they would obey the word that they hear. That they would leave church tonight or tomorrow thinking of only delighting the Lord by seeking Him and fleeing the evil distractions and signals that come from the wicked ruler of this world. God, please hear me and the rest of Your saints today as we petition for You to call our love ones, friends, and strangers to Yourself.
“And [the plain of] Sharon shall be a pasture and fold for flocks, and the Valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down, for My people who seek Me, inquire of Me, and require Me [by right of their necessity and by right of My invitation].” Isaiah 65:10 ->me: The Plain of Sharon – speaks of deterioration and renewal. The Valley of Achor – speaks of a bright beginning marred by disobedience. Achan sinned against the Lord by taking spoil (which was forbidden) from the enemies the Israelites had conquered. In order to keep the Lord from punishing the nation Joshua gathered up Achan and his entire family as well as belongings and dropped them into the Valley of Achor. This verse says that the herds will lie down in Valley reclaiming peace and the people will reap forgiveness and God’s rest. What is the requirement? To run after God (seek), to pray to Him (inquire), and lean on the Lord for everything (require)…for I have been invited by Him and I accept! Marianne’s quiet time was on the meek inheriting the earth and her conclusion is that meekness is gained by seeing yourself against the greatness, glory, and majesty that is our God. I must pursue this meekness by putting into practice the seeking, inquiring, and requiring mentioned in this verse. [Valley of Achor pictured in header]
“Thus says the Lord: As the juice [of the grape] is found in the cluster, and one says, Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing in it, so will I do for My servants’ sake, that I may not destroy them all.” Isaiah 65:8 ->me: Juice is the wine made from the first drippings of the juice before the press was trodden. ‘Found’ suggests that the grapes were oozing as they were picked and that this was especially prized. Therefore, ‘there is some good’ or ‘there is a blessing’. How awesome then that the Lord finds His people a blessing, and He prizes and guards them. All merit the winepress of my QTVOTD from the 17th of this month – “I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the peoples there was no one with Me. I trod them in My anger and trampled them in My wrath; and their lifeblood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I stained all My raiment.” Isaiah 63:3. Thank goodness some are chosen and saved —-> ME being one of them!!!
“I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in a way that is not good, According to their own thoughts; A people who provoke Me to anger continually to My face; Who sacrifice in gardens, And burn incense on altars of brick; Who sit among the graves, And spend the night in the tombs; Who eat swine’s flesh, And the broth of abominable things is in their vessels; Who say, ‘Keep to yourself, Do not come near me, For I am holier than you!’ These are smoke in My nostrils, A fire that burns all the day.” Isaiah 65:2-5 ->me: This is God talking about His frustration with His chosen people. In the verse before this (vs 1) God is talking about opening Himself up to the Gentiles and that they would come to Him even though He does not call…yet the people whom He not only called but rescued from Egypt and revealed many miracles to in the wilderness would not heed Him. Now I better understand Paul’s passage in Romans 11:11-24 talking about being grafted into the vine because the children of Israel transgressed…I am sure that the letter to the Romans was a well researched sermon taken right out of Isaiah 65. Thank you again God for allowing me a place at your family table; being made an heir through the cleansing blood of Your Son.
“Our holy and our beautiful house, [the temple] where our fathers praised You, is burned with fire, and all our pleasant and desirable places are in ruins. Considering these [calamities], will You restrain Yourself, O Lord [and not come to our aid]? Will You keep silent and not command our deliverance but humble and afflict us exceedingly?” Isaiah 64:11-12 This heartfelt prayer of God’s people is moving. All of their comforts are gone and the places they relaxed are destroyed. The temple is burned to the ground. With one word the Lord could put a stop to their suffering and deliver them but is His intent to humble, afflict, and punish them exceedingly? They are hard pressed, asking the Lord for mercy. They are not telling God not to rebuke them but to just relent in His displeasure. How few of us call upon the Lord with our whole hearts , or stir ourselves to lay hold upon Him! God may delay for a time to answer our prayers, but He will, in the end, answer those who call on His name and hope in mercy. I think that God allows trial in our lives to teach us humility and that ultimately He is in control. Lord help me to remember to pray for your wisdom and understanding to know what you are trying to teach me in my times of trial; help me to lean entirely on You. Help me to remember what I have learned in Isaiah about the belligerence of Your people and allow your Holy Spirit to give me the conscience to see when I am walking the wrong way…the way to displeasing You.
“For we have all become like one who is unclean [ceremonially, like a leper], and all our righteousness (our best deeds of rightness and justice) is like filthy rags or a polluted garment; we all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away [far from God’s favor, hurrying us toward destruction], and no one calls on Your name and awakens and bestirs himself to take and keep hold of You; for You have hidden Your face from us and have delivered us into the [consuming] power of our iniquities.” Isaiah 64:6-7 ->me: My good works through faith are only pure and acceptable when my heart is right and I have confessed my sin to the Lord; even then it is only by the grace of God that He credits Christ’s righteousness to me. When I have been lulled by continued sin, it stifles my desire and willingness to call on Him. My sin is a powerful consuming smoke caused by my disobedience; obscuring the face of my Father from me and mine from Him. The opposite of this passage must also be true – if my sin is forgiven then I am clean, the righteousness of Jesus is credited to me; when I am free from sin I will stand steadfast in His truth. I will call upon His name in prayer and I will take hold of His word to know Him for all He is. He will then not hide His face from me and will deliver me from the evil power that sin used to have over me.
“For from of old no one has heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who works and shows Himself active on behalf of him who [earnestly] waits for Him. You meet and spare him who joyfully works righteousness (uprightness and justice), [earnestly] remembering You in Your ways. Behold, You were angry, for we sinned; we have long continued in our sins [prolonging Your anger]. And shall we be saved?” Isaiah 64:4-5 ->me: No other God has done what You have done; you have made it clear that You are the GREAT I AM. You are God. ‘Who works and shows Himself active on behalf of him who [earnestly] WAITS for Him” – WAITS -> refers to patient, confident, expectant faith, a faith truly ‘simple’ in its unwavering trust in the divine promises. God indeed could deal with any problem with consummate ease but why should such a God intervene for such as me…but he has been faithful to countless times. He has given me so much.
“O Lord, why have You made us [able] to err from Your ways and hardened our hearts to [reverential] fear of You? Return [to bless us] for Your servants’ sake, the tribes of Your heritage.” Isaiah 63:17 ->me: This is not an attempt to lay blame on the Lord, rather a recognition that the guilt of His people is such that the Lord had no option but to drive them from Him and into the far country of sin which they had chosen. The heart choosing disobedience hardens progressively against God’s way until the moment (known only to God and fixed by Him) comes when the point of no return is reached, when the final, decisive choice of sin is made. When this point is passed the situation is humanly irretrievable: only God can change it – if only He will return. This is the condition I find myself in every day…I feel it…I feel further from Him when I have let my own self fixing, self satisfying, self comforting ways come in between Him and I. When I choose a way that is against You Father; when I sin or deliberately look to other sources of strength, happiness, or worth…I drift away…but I am the first one to throw my hands down and accuse you of not being there. What choice do you have Father when my actions and heart tell You to go away? The sobering reality is that You threw my sin on your Son and then turned your back on Him so You would not have to turn Your back on me; He had to suffer a punishment that was not only incurring Your wrath meant for me but also your absence.
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you but [reverently] to fear the Lord your God, [that is] to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your [mind and] heart and with your entire being, to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?” Deuteronomy 10:12-13 ->me: This is my memory verse for the week and it has been a gift to memorize and dwell on its truths. What does the Lord REQUIRE of me? 1) Ultimately, to FEAR Him. “Walk in all His ways” means to know His ways and you cannot do that without searching what those ways are in His word and through the great teachers. 2) To LOVE Him. Love Him above all other things. 3) To SERVE Him. Serving with all aspects of the person He has created me to be – with my mind, my heart, my body, and my soul. 4) To OBEY Him. Keeping the commandments and respecting His truths by staying away from evil and wickedness. FEAR, LOVE, SERVE, and OBEY. I only have to sit and unpack this every once in a while throughout the day to stay in check with who He wants me to be.
“Then he remembered the days of old, of Moses and his people. “Where is he who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of his flock? Where is he who put in the midst of them his Holy Spirit, who caused his glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, who divided the waters before them to make for himself an everlasting name, who led them through the depths? Like a horse in the desert, they did not stumble. Like livestock that go down into the valley, the Spirit of the Lord gave them rest. So you led your people, to make for yourself a glorious name.” Isaiah 63:11-14 (ESV) ->me: These 4 verses are the Lord’s dialog back to Himself about the children of Israel after they have, once again, rebelled and therefore made God their enemy and they His. BUT!…He remembers…the days of old where He led them out of Egypt, took care of them in the wilderness with manna, quail, and water from the rock; delivered them from their enemies by leading them through the Red Sea and the across the Jordan into the promise land. Why? Why did He do this?? Because, it has been His plan all along to bring glory to Himself through His people. What the people can not do the Messiah would cover and cover for all the nations. I have not lived up to the dignity He would have for me but I am working today on my way to His sanctifying work in my life…Why? For His glory; for His design all along is to reveal His ‘name of beauty’, a task He will never desert.