Friday, January 6, 2017

Comfort My People: The Prophecies Of Isaiah, Day 185

Comfort My People:
The Prophecies Of Isaiah
Day 185

Yesterday we discussed what the new "birth" of Zion might be and today the Lord assures the people He will do what He has promised. "'Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?' says your God. 'Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn over her. For you will nurse and be satisfied at her comforting breasts; you will drink deeply and delight in her overflowing abundance." (Isaiah 66:10-11) 

The nations of the world will rejoice along with Israel when at last she stands before her King, wholeheartedly loving and trusting in Him. Christ will come and reign from the throne of David and, after banishing all His enemies, the believing world will live in peace together. This will be the ultimate fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham that all nations would be blessed through his seed (Christ). In order for the nations to be blessed by the offspring of Abraham, that offspring had to come to the people of Abraham, and Isaiah foresaw the birth of the One who will make of Israel and the Gentile world one family, "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6) The world will flock to Jerusalem to honor the King with worship and the wealth of the nations, but this is a mutually beneficial relationship. Israel will benefit from the help and fellowship the world shows her, and the world will draw spiritual nourishment and joy from the One who rules in righteousness from Jerusalem. The Lord has planned His family in such a way that Israel is not complete without the Gentiles and the Gentiles are not complete without Israel. 

The Apostle Paul spoke of the work of Christ which makes one family of Jews and Gentiles, "For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in His flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit." (Ephesians 2:14-18)

The Lord speaks of the peace that reigns in the kingdom of Christ, for His people Israel and for the believing Gentiles, "For this is what the Lord says: 'I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees. As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem." (Isaiah 66:12-13) There are a few occasions in the Scriptures when God compares Himself more to a mother than to a father, and these occasions involve comfort and protection. God is going to soothe and comfort His people in the way a mother soothes and comforts a child. 

In Chapter 48, when disciplining the people for their sin, the Lord said, "If only you had paid attention to My commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea." (v 18) But now we find Israel obtaining this peace at last, and not through her own works which the prophet Micah said had only brought forth wind, but the peace that is bestowed upon them by the work of Christ. Yesterday when looking at a passage from Micah we found him mourning over the fact that his people had attempted to obtain righteousness through their own works and rituals and legalism, but like a mother who goes into labor and runs out of strength before delivering a child, Israel had failed to deliver on her intentions to be a light to the world. Only One has ever brought light to the world and as He promised yesterday, He is going to bring a new birth to the people, and this will be His work alone. The only righteousness any of us will ever obtain is that which Christ has wrought for us. When we stand before God, the only defense we will have is that we have trusted in what Christ did for us on the cross. The only way we will ever enjoy peace like a river is through our relationship with Him. He is our source of strength and comfort. Christ came to make peace between man and God and to make peace between Jews and Gentiles. The Prince of Peace, who made our hearts new, will someday make all things new and we will no longer inhabit a dark and fallen world full of troubles. The government of the world will be on His shoulders and it will be a government of peace.

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