Sunday, July 24, 2016

Comfort My People: The Prophecies Of Isaiah, Day 33

Comfort My People:
The Prophecies Of Isaiah
Day 33

We have been studying Isaiah's prophecies of the kingdom of Christ and today we come to a chapter of praise. There is nothing but good news in Chapter 12.

"In that day you will say: 'I will praise You, Lord. Although You were angry with me, Your anger has turned away and You have comforted me." (Isaiah 12:1) The chastening of Israel is past. God was angry with her unfaithfulness but now she is His and He is hers forever. 

"Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid." (Isaiah 12:2a) In the past, the kings of Israel and Judah trusted in alliances with pagan kings rather than in a relationship with the living God. But now Immanuel, God With Us, sits on the throne at Jerusalem and never again will His people turn to anyone else for help. 

"The Lord, the Lord Himself, is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation." (Isaiah 12:2b) We recall that Isaiah's own name means "the Lord is salvation" and that his name and the name of his sons were signs for the people. Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz meant "speed to the spoil, hurry to the plunder", indicating defeat by an enemy. Shear-Jashub meant "a remnant shall return", a promise that all is not lost even when the people are taken captive. And now once again we are reminded that "the Lord is salvation", that He is the One who brought Israel out of bondage in Egypt and the One who brings mankind out of bondage to sin. From the time the first man was created til the final person is born, the Lord alone is the only hope of salvation for mankind. "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

"With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation." (Isaiah 12:3) In time past, the Lord said, "My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken Me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water." (Jeremiah 2:13) No help was to be found in the idols, the work of their own hands. It is faith that saves and nothing else. Without the Lord we are like a dry and broken well, but in Christ we have this promise, "Let whoever is thirsty come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." (John 7:37b-38) The Bible has a lot to say about wells. They were vital for the survival of people and animals. Israel was a dry and thirsty land, just as this sin-laden world is a dry and thirsty land, but in Christ we need never have a thirsty soul. "Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:14b)

"In that day you will say: 'Give praise to the Lord, proclaim His name; make known among the nations what He has done, and proclaim that He is exalted.'" (Isaiah 12:4) Israel is to tell the world what her God has done for her, just as we are to tell the world the good news of the gospel. Before Jesus went to be with the Father, He gave this commission to all who are His, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." (Mark 16:15)

"Sing to the Lord, for He has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world." (Isaiah 12:5) It's good for us to think back on all the glorious things the Lord has done for us. I'm going through a troubling season right now and sometimes I wake up in the night with my mind racing, with my thoughts crowded full of all the things I feel like I'm up against. But I'm not up against them alone. During the darkness of night when our troubles seem their biggest, going back over all the glorious things God has done for us will remind us that He is bigger than anything we will ever face. As the familiar hymn Amazing Grace asserts, "Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come; 'tis grace has brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home". 

It's because of how far God has brought them that Israel can sing His praises. It's because of how far God has brought us that we too can sing His praises. "Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you." (Isaiah 12:6) At last all is as it should be. The power of sin is broken. Death is defeated. The curse is lifted. Creation is restored and mankind reaches his full potential through his relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. "No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him. They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign forever and ever." (Revelation 22:3-5) 

No matter what troubles us today, a future awaits us that is beyond anything we are capable of imagining. 

Before we listen to our worship song for today, I wanted to let you know we will need to pause our study for a week while I go out of town, so the blog will resume on Monday, August 1st. I won't have access to wifi for several of those days and I'm way too slow typing on my tablet to do the blog using 4G, so I apologize for the delay in our study. But we are pausing it in a great place, in a place of praise. Today's passage has encouraged me in my current struggles and I hope it has encouraged you too.

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