Friday, July 22, 2016

Comfort My People: The Prophecies Of Isaiah, Day 31

Comfort My People:
The Prophecies Of Isaiah
Day 31

Isaiah has been describing the kingdom of Christ on earth and this morning we begin with one of my favorite passages, "The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra's den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper's nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all My holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." (Isaiah 11:6-9) 

Nature itself will be redeemed. No animal will prey upon another animal. Humans and animals won't prey upon each other. There will be perfect harmony among all God's creatures and earth will be like Eden once again. There will be no need for animal rescues or animal rights organizations because nobody will ever neglect or abuse any creature. We won't need social services or orphanages, for nobody will neglect or abuse a child. The curse of sin will be lifted from the earth and all of creation will live in peace. 

"In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to Him, and His resting place will be glorious. In that day the Lord will reach out His hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of His people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the Mediterranean." (Isaiah 11:10-11) Isaiah preaches a day of redemption for Jews and Gentiles alike. When he says "the peoples" and "the nations", he means all other cultures of the world. When he says "the remnant", he is referring to the people of Israel. God promised Abraham that all nations would be blessed by the seed that would come from his descendants, and that seed is Christ. The offer of salvation is all-inclusive. "So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Galatians 3:26-29) When God looks on His children in Christ, He sees us all as Abraham's seed. Even though I'm a Gentile, in Christ I too am an heir of the promise made to Abraham. All who are in Christ are "heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ". (Romans 8:17)

Isaiah has so much to say about Jesus that in my mind I like to think of this book as The Gospel By Isaiah, because from beginning to end the real theme of this book is Christ. The theme is the Messiah, the Suffering Servant, the King of the line of David, and the One who will come in the last days to sit on the throne forever. Like the Apostle Paul many centuries later, when we get to Chapter 53 Isaiah will "preach Christ crucified". (1 Corinthians 1:23) Isaiah lived about seven hundred years before the birth of Christ but, in the power of the Holy Spirit, he looked down through the centuries and preached a gospel message as powerful as those of the apostles. The same could be said of his preaching as of the Apostle Paul's, "When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God's power." (1 Corinthians 2:2b-5)

We don't need to be a gifted orator or have a vocabulary full of fancy words in order to tell people about God's offer of salvation. All we need to know is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. That message preaches itself. The power of the message comes from the Holy Spirit, not from our own powers of persuasion. We are weak and mortal vessels, vessels God has chosen so that His light may shine even more brightly. "For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness', made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not of us." (2 Corinthians 4:5-6) When God chose Moses to lead His people out of slavery in Egypt, Moses protested and said, "Pardon Your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since You have spoken to Your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue." (Exodus 4:10) Moses asked to be excused of this duty, knowing he had no talent for public speaking, fearing he could persuade neither Pharaoh nor the Israelites. But the power in Moses' words was going to come from the Lord, not from his own weak flesh.

Our education and background don't matter when it comes to sharing the good news of the gospel. We may do it in fear and trembling like the Apostle Paul. We may do it while being mocked like the prophet Isaiah. We may do it while being slow of speech and tongue like Moses. But the power in the message is from the Lord and not from us. All we need to know is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. He will take care of everything else. 

No comments:

Post a Comment