Thursday, August 29, 2013

Isaiah

I will confess Isaiah was really hard reading for me this time.  I had a ton of trouble with the first half of the book.  I can understand the significance for the time, but I'm not understanding what else the book has for me.  The prophetic language is hard for me.  I understand that at some point after the last Child of God is regenerated, the Lord will come back in the clouds with the souls that have already departed.  He will never again set foot on this earth.  He will raise the just and the unjust, then those that are alive and remain will be caught up together, forever to be with the Lord.  The elect will go home to Heaven and the rest to Hell.  I don't understand alot about eschatology.  I wish I had a little better handle on that sort of stuff, but I am content to know that we are living in the last days, that at some point there will be a last day, and because of the work of Christ in atoning for His people, I don't have to be concerned about the books, because my name is in The Lamb's Book of Life.  There is alot in the first half of Isaiah that I'm sure relates to 1) the coming destruction of the nations of Israel and Judah, 2) the establishment of the Church Kingdom, 3) the destruction of the Temple again 70 AD, and 4) something about the end of time.  I just don't have alot of light on this stuff.  Maybe one of these days with more study, and more sermons, and the blessing of the Lord, it'll click.  After all Isaiah did write in 28:10 "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:"

What I mostly enjoyed was reading the second half of the book.  I have an EXCESSIVE amount of highlighting that I added to my bible this time around.  (Gary is always making fun of me for drawing in my bible with all the different highlighter colors I have going on in there.)  Isaiah might be the clearest book in the Old Testament with references to the coming Messiah.  The entire Old Testament is full of types and shadows which point to Christ and His work of redemption.  You can see it when Abraham must slay Isaac and God stops him and provides a substitution.  Joseph imprisoned without a cause.  You can see it when Moses strikes the rock and water comes forth.  In the same way Christ the Rock was struck for us, and by his sacrifice he provided salvation, because he is the "living water".  Hebrews 10:1 says, "For the law having a shadow of good things to come" and Romans 5:14 tells us that Adam "is the figure of him that was to come." There are so many types and shadows in the Old Testament, looking for them, and being able to see more clearly the many facets of God's character, His love, His sacrifice, are what make it such a fun read. Other wise it would just be a bunch of random stories that have no relation to today.

However, Isaiah often speaks directly of Christ, it takes some study and work to understand types and shadows, but Isaiah comes right out and tells you often, that's exactly what he's talking about. (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6, 11:1-5, 42:1, 53:2-11, 59:16, 63:1-5, and on and on) The entire last half of the book is so uplifting and comforting. Anyway, I thought today, I would just share a few of the tidbits that especially spoke to me.
And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it. (Isaiah 25:6-8)
This struck me. Christ makes atonement removing sin and guilt, removing the covering or veil that separated us from being able to approach God. Not only though did he take care of our eternal state, he gives us good things while we are here - a feast if you will. He even takes away our fear of death, and wipes away all our tears.
And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.  (Isaiah 30:20-21)
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. (Hebrews 12:11)
The first verse reminded me of the second.  Sometimes we endure hard times, sometimes the Lord sends them to us, sometimes they are just the result of the fallen world that we live in.  No matter what the cause, adversity and chastisement are never fun.  However, something that I begrudgingly learned in our 3 years of unemployment is that I can choose to let adversity make me bitter, or I can let it teach me something.  Those of you that know me well, know I'm a bit of a control freak.  (Gary is probably laughing at the extreme understatement.)  I am not sure that I would have ever learned this level of trust in the providential care of the Lord without that period in our lives.  It would have definitely taken me alot longer to get to this level of study and to the place I am with prayer.  Despite all we went through I discovered the Lord was with us all the way.
Thou while keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (Isaiah 26:3)  
Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, (Isaiah 30:29)
Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.  Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins.  The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:  And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall seeit together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. (Isaiah 40:1-5)
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. (Isaiah 61:1-3)
 Each of these refers to the peace and joy we have here in the Lord.  We have these things internally despite external situations.  Because we know that the Lord accomplished the warfare, because we have been pardoned, because He removed all obstacles between us and God, because He did the work and presented us to God.  Because of all of these things, we have nothing left to do but to be comforted, how can we not be at peace and sing with joy?  He did it all.  He left nothing for us to do.  We had nothing to do, nothing to offer and he took all of our trash.  We have to burn our garbage now in, because we don't have pick up.  The ashes are what are left afterward, the trash of the trash.  THAT is all we had to offer, and he took that and all the other worthless bits we had and gave us beauty, truth, salvation, all the good things we now have.  And he didn't do it because we some how deserved it, or because we earned it.  He did it that he might be glorified.  What an amazing and mighty God we have.

No comments: