Saturday, August 13, 2011

Isaiah 41-43.....a new thing!

I know that reading the prophets can get weary with all of the doom and gloom, but Isaiah is filled also with such joy, such hope, such remarkable promises for Israel and for us.

Chapter 41 speaks again of impending doom with the forces from the north (Assyria) coming to do the work of God as he punishes and corrects his children (Israel) who have refused his love, his mercy and his grace.  The illustrations reveal great pain and anguish that will fill the land until God returns them from their self-chosen exile.  And then comes the wonder, the marvel, the exhilaration of Chapter 42.

"Here is my servant" declares the Lord.  "My spirit is within him."  he is wise and tender-hearted, so tender that he would not break a "bruised reed".  This is the promised one....this is the Savior.....this is Jesus that Isaiah speaks of.  Look at the world around us and how discouraged we can sometimes become because it seems that right is losing and wrong has the upper hand, but look at the promise: "he will not be discouraged, he will not falter."  That is the kind of Savior we need, one who will not hear our discouragement but who will continue the good work that God has begun in us.  He will not falter until Justice is established.   My Lord, come quickly.  If ever we needed to cry out for justice for the poor, the oppressed, the widow, the orphan, the starving is that day.

Need encouragement?  Got hard times?  Finances a problem?  Familial difficulties?  Hear the promise of God in Isaiah 32:  "the Lord will take your hand!"  I always felt safer when my little hand was in the big strong hand of my Daddy and here is God promising to hold my hand....and your hand!  Don't your feel safer already?

God promises to make us a covenant people, to open the eyes of the blind and to set the captive free!  There ought to be an Alleluia welling up in your heart about now, but there is more.....Chapter 43 promises that we can walk through fire and not be burned, that we can walk through the water and not be overwhelmed.  God is our protection and there are no other Gods but God.

And then he says, "you are my witness".  Shades of New Testament and Jesus saying to the Disciples, "you are my witnesses from Jerusalem, to Judea, to the ends of the world.  Proclaim God's goodness even in this difficulty.....our Savior has been and is and will be.  We need not be afraid.  Difficulty may come, but we will overcome, by the power of the risen one.....the one that we witness to.....the one we call Jesus!!

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