Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Comfort My People: The Prophecies Of Isaiah, Day 171

Comfort My People:
The Prophecies Of Isaiah
Day 171

We continue on in Chapter 60, titled "The Glory Of Zion", and get a glimpse of the future of God's covenant people.

"Who are these that fly along like clouds, like doves to their nests? Surely the islands look to Me; in the lead are the ships of Tarshish, bringing your children from afar, with their silver and gold, to the honor of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for He has endowed you with splendor." (Isaiah 60:8-9) In ancient times Tarshish was a wealthy sea-trading city, and here it probably symbolizes one method in which riches will enter Zion: by sea. The exiles were not honored this way when they returned from captivity in Babylon, nor do the riches they carried out of Egypt compare with this. But when Christ reigns from David's throne, kings and kingdoms will honor Him, and the honor bestowed on Him will reflect on His people Israel. They will be "endowed with splendor". 

"Foreigners will rebuild your walls, and their kings will serve you. Though in anger I struck you, in favor I will show you compassion. Your gates will always stand open, they will never be shut, day or night, so that people may bring you the wealth of the nations---their kings led in triumphal procession. For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined." (Isaiah 60:10-12) Solomon received many gifts from his political allies while completing his building projects, from kings who eagerly wanted to be friends with one who led such a powerful kingdom. It seemed to their advantage to do favors for such a mighty king. But a day is coming when the Gentile world will bring their wealth into Zion because of the name of the Lord and His presence there. The King will reign from Zion, and all the world will honor Him. Anyone who rejects Him will perish.

"The glory of Lebanon will come to you, the juniper, the fir and the cypress together, to adorn My sanctuary; and I will glorify the place for My feet. The children of your oppressors will come bowing before you; all who despise you will bow down at your feet and will call you the City of the Lord, Zion of the Holy One of Israel." (Isaiah 60:13-14) The descendants of those who were enemies of Israel will be her friend. In coming to the saving knowledge of the Lord, the Gentile world cannot help but love the nation from which He rose. 

"Although you have been forsaken and hated, with no one traveling through, I will make you the everlasting pride and the joy of all generations. You will drink the milk of nations and be nursed at royal breasts. Then you will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob." (Isaiah 60:15-16) There have been times in Israel's history when she lay in rubble, with those who passed by shaking their heads at her downfall. Tongues have wagged against her, accusing her of forsaking her Messiah and King, but a day is coming when the Gentiles will help her become all that God intends her to be. In a day when she fully knows her Savior, the world will rejoice with her.

"Instead of bronze I will bring you gold, and silver in place of iron. Instead of wood I will bring you bronze, and iron in place of stones. I will make peace your governor and well-being your ruler." (Isaiah 60:17) God does away with the old and brings in the new. He gives His people the very best. They are not to settle for less as they have in the past. So often in this life the Lord offers us gold but we reach for the silver instead. He holds out the bronze to us but we settle for wood. He calls us to step up higher but we remain standing where we are. Not so in His kingdom. The very best is offered and accepted.

"No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise." (Isaiah 60:18) In verse 11 Isaiah told us the gates would always stand open. This was for the purpose of allowing all those on pilgrimage from other lands to enter, but it also indicates no fear of enemies. The walls and the gates will no longer symbolize the city's security: the Lamb on the throne will be her security. He will keep her safe. 

"The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory." (Isaiah 60:19) These words remind us of those of the Apostle John, who saw the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven, and said, "I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there." (Revelation 21:22-25) I don't know what is intended by the word "sanctuary" in verse 13, but in the book of Exodus it was a place for God to meet with man and dwell with man. If there is no temple in eternal kingdom age, I assume that the sanctuary in verse 13 must be the place where God literally dwells with man, where the Lamb sits on the throne of David, where it is said, "Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God." (Revelation 21:3)

"Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end. Then all your people will be righteous and they will possess the land forever. They are the shoot I have planted, the work of My hands, for the display of My splendor. The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the Lord; in its time I will do this swiftly." (Isaiah 60:20-22) King David once said, "There is no one who does good." (Psalm 14:1b) King Solomon proclaimed, "Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins." (Ecclesiastes 7:20) The Apostle Paul declared, "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." (Romans 3:10-12) But the One who says "I am the Lord" makes the unbreakable promise to Israel that "all your people will be righteous". He bases this on the power of the Savior's work on man's behalf. 

All of mankind can say that none of us was good. None of us was righteous and without sin. We had turned away and become worthless. But Christ came anyway. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) And because of Him, only because of Him, are we counted righteous in the sight of the holy God.

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