Thursday, November 3, 2016

Comfort My People: The Prophecies Of Isaiah, Day 128

Comfort My People:
The Prophecies Of Isaiah
Day 128

We ended yesterday with the Lord concluding that the generation going into exile will be willfully blind and deaf to Him. But today we find the promise that He is going to help them anyway.

"But now listen, Jacob, My servant, Israel, whom I have chosen. This is what the Lord says---He who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen." (Isaiah 44:1-2) The word "jeshurun" means "upright one" and the Lord is applying it to Israel, to the people He has already rightfully accused of being deaf and blind to Him. How can this be? Because of what the Lord said in our passage yesterday, "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more." (Isaiah 43:25) He is not calling Israel upright because the nation has been upright, but because He is going to redeem these people.

We who are in Christ will someday stand before the Holy One in heaven and He will declare us upright, not because we have been upright, but because we have been redeemed by Christ. For His own sake and because He loves us, God has helped us by providing a means by which we can be righteous in His sight, and this could only be done through the spotless Lamb of God. Because of Christ, God has blotted out our transgressions and He remembers our sins no more. 

The people are told not to fear. God has not cast them off due to their sins but has new and wondrous plans for them. "For I will pour out water on a thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and My blessing on your descendants." (Isaiah 44:3) The Lord is not miserly with the Holy Spirit. He pours liberally. As the Lord Jesus said, "Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life". (John 4:14) God is promising the outpouring of the Spirit on those who thirst for such an anointing, for those who yearn to know Him. Jesus explained that God will not hold back the Holy Spirit from those who have a heart that seeks Him, comparing God to an earthly father who sees to the needs of his children, "If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" (Luke 11:13) If an earthly father, weak and wayward though he may be, knows how to supply the needs of his children, how much more will our righteous and perfect heavenly Father bestow the gift of the Holy Spirit on those who ask?

Faced with the unwelcome news of a coming Babylonian captivity along with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, the people may have felt all was lost. They may have believed they were finished and would perish in a foreign land. But no, they will spring up again like fresh new grass. "They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar springs by flowing streams. Some will say, 'I belong to the Lord'; others will call themselves by the name of Jacob; still others will write on their hand, 'The Lord's,' and will take the name Israel." (Isaiah 44:4-5) As the Apostle Paul put it, "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." (Romans 8:16) This is how we know we are in Christ and have become the children of God: we have the Holy Spirit who testifies to our adoption into God's family. The Spirit identifies us as the sons and daughters of the living God, so that we confidently assert, "I belong to the Lord!" 

In ancient times a servant might have his master's name tattooed on his hand and that may be what the text means when it says there will be those who write on their hand, "The Lord's." This is a willing submission, a grateful surrender to the One who redeemed them. The Master is not writing His name on the servant's hand, but the servant is writing the Master's name. This is not slavery, but freedom. "For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him we cry, 'Abba, Father.'" (Romans 8:14-15) 

When we understand that Christ came in the flesh and was willing to be identified with mankind, to take on all our sorrows and cares, to become sin in our place and receive our punishment, we can't help but want to be identified with Him. The Holy Spirit in us causes us to cry out, "I belong to the Lord!" The Spirit causes us to want to surrender our lives to the One who surrendered His life for us. It should be our daily prayer that the Lord pour out the Spirit on us so that we continually become more like Christ and others see Him in us. The joy we have in our salvation will attract others to Jesus. They will want what we have found in Him, to have that same joy liberally poured out on them like water. And thanks be to our Father in heaven, He has more than enough for all of us. He will give and not hold back. There is room in His house for all who want to be called by His name.

Our worship song link for today is below.

No comments:

Post a Comment