Thursday, December 22, 2016

Comfort My People: The Prophecies Of Isaiah, Day 173

Comfort My People:
The Prophecies Of Isaiah
Day 173

We concluded yesterday with the Lord promising His people Israel, "Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours." (Isaiah 61:7) 

He continues on, "For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In My faithfulness I will reward My people and make an everlasting covenant with them." (Isaiah 61:8) There will be no more injustice, robbery, or wrongdoing among the people. The Lord will be able to bless them as He wants to bless them. In some translations verse 8 says, "I hate robbery for burnt offering." In Isaiah's day some of the people who were still bringing offerings were living far from the Lord. In keeping only an outward veneer of true religion they were robbing God of what was rightfully His: their hearts. There were also those who had completely given up even the pretense of serving God and no longer bothered to bring their tithes and offerings. In Malachi 3:8 the Lord says, "You are robbing Me." Because the people were not bringing in their tithes and offerings, the storehouses were not full as they should be. The priests who served at the temple were supposed to be able to provide for themselves and their families from the storehouses and now they could not. The poor and the hungry were to be assisted from the storehouses and this was no longer possible. In robbing God, the people were robbing their fellow man, and the Lord Jesus beautifully summed up this type of behavior by saying, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me." (Matthew 25:45)

But an age is coming in which this type of behavior will not be found among the Lord's covenant people. And in that day, "Their descendants shall be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the Lord has blessed." (Isaiah 61:9) The "nations" are the Gentiles. As far as I know, most or all of the blog followers are of Gentile heritage like I am, so this verse refers to us. In coming to Christ the Gentiles look to Israel as the nation from which our Lord and Savior sprang. Their Messiah has become our King. Because He came unto His own and His own received Him not, the gospel graced the Gentile world, but through the Gentiles the Lord intends to take the gospel back to Israel. He will make one sheepfold out of us all and we will have one Shepherd. Because our Lord came from the nation of Israel, from the tribe of Judah, of the lineage of David, we Gentiles who have come to Christ will give honor to God's covenant people and acknowledge that they are blessed. We will praise the Lord's name for them. For if He never made a covenant with Abraham or the promise of a continuing royal line to David, where would we be? If a Child had not been born to the nation of Israel, what joy could we find in a dark and fallen world? Without Jesus, what hope would we have?

Because a Child was born and because a Redeemer did die and because a King did rise in victory, I believe all who are redeemed can join with Israel in this song of praise, "I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of His righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations." (Isaiah 61:10-11) 

Our worship song video for today goes wonderfully with Chapter 61 of Isaiah, with the Christmas season, and with the question we have asked today: Without Jesus, what hope would we have?

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