ZADOK PUBLICATIONS MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
February 1, 2015
The New Normal
Across the nation, trade magazines and trade shows are defining, for their clients, "the new normal." Each of them taunts the reality that neither the nation nor its people are the same after 2008. Satisfaction with reduced sales, tighter company policies and continued searches for new directions are a constant format for retailers.
Nothing can be counted on to resemble the "old line of thinking." Suggestions have ranged from "green" merchandizing to streamlined internet combined with "direct customer" combinations.
Everything seems to be "up for grabs" as economies struggle to cope with debt and extremism. (Threats that have never been seen before in history (because of the scale of the capabilities for assault on a nation or a people) plus a populous which is growing more dependent on large national programs as opposed to personal initiative.)
Great struggles exist from the encroachment of government into private lives and into every arena of social posturing from education, to religion, to family life.
There is a cry for help from the Hezekiah's of the world (if there are any remaining). The people, who are writhing in disorder and the threat of chaos, cry out, "Help Me." In answer to this cry, God's response is rapid.
Listen now to the opening lines of Isaiah 40 and acknowledge within your psyche the need you have for God to speak these words to you and your situation. It is, of course, made famous through Handel's Messiah.
'Comfort, yes, comfort My people!'
Says your God.
Beginning with this chapter and going to the end of Isaiah's work, "Comfort" is the theme.
In a day where events are changing so rapidly man is unable to cope---it is time to single out God's people and be about the work of "Comforting them."
God focuses on Jerusalem to begin with. The following verses may well apply to a future time-- which may yet be experienced by that ancient city. (Many commentators say it refers to the return of Judah from their Babylonian captivity.)
'Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her,
That her warfare is ended,
That her iniquity is pardoned;
For she has received from the LORD's hand
Double for all her sins.'
Jerusalem, the target of Assyria in Chapter 39, is now the recipient of pardon and release.
Certainly this is not the Jerusalem returning after a 70 year captivity in Babylon and yet to be sacked by Rome and burned in 70 AD? Surely this is not a promise to Israel as it rises from the dust in 1948 which has been a continual target by Islam? Jerusalem has had many brief reprieves from warfare, but there must be a time to come referred to here, when the New Jerusalem rests over it and Jesus reigns supreme.
In the greater plan of God, Jerusalem, under the reign of Christ, receives eternal comfort.
God desires to give His people rest. He desires to embrace His people and let them know that, as Father, He has everything in tow. The song says, "Publish Glad tidings, tidings of peace, tidings of Jesus, Redemption and Release."
Here, God is re-introducing Himself to His people in these ensuing chapters. He is also revealing the principles which act as guidelines for His actions. Clearly these two themes surface during the unfolding of these next twenty-six chapters.
One of the repeated themes therein is, "Remember, I am the great Creator."
Over and again, He returns to being the Creator, starting with Isaiah 40:12 and onward. (A separate study could be made of all the Biblical references to God as Creator. Starting with the Genesis account, through Job, through the prophets, through the N.T. preachers like Stephen, Paul, Peter and their writings, they all touch the Rock of Creation as their creedal foundation. [See: for example, Isaiah 40:12-28].)
Because this is a vision of future events stretching over thousands of years, it should not be a shock to see a seven hundred year leap to the forerunner of the Christ. He clearly
speaks about the ministry of John, the Baptizer. (Because John's ministry follows immediately the passage on comforting Jerusalem, this may be a composite vision applying to the time of Jesus.) Matthew 3 clearly states John's fulfillment of what is called, "the Voice."
Crying out against the religious citadel of that day, he called for a baptism of repentance.
Had he never been known as "John, the Baptizer," he would have been known as, "the Voice."
The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
"Prepare the way of the LORD;
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be exalted
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight
And the rough places smooth;
5 The glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
And all flesh shall see it together;
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken."
John was anointed from his mother's womb. He knew his calling from birth, and he grew into that calling through the promise of God --"the mouth of the Lord has spoken it."
Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2 while Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. 3 And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, 4 as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying:
"The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
'Prepare the way of the LORD;
Make His paths straight.
5 Every valley shall be filled
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight
And the rough ways smooth;
6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'"
(I believe there are those of us who knew their calling before they were of age. I remember preaching to neighbors kids at age 5. As an infant, I was dedicated by
James Cass Oliver to belong to the Lord and he prayed, "Let this boy go where I could never go." James was an old time Texan, horseback riding, gun toting, Baptist preacher,
who planted churches in West Texas, many times preaching in saloons.) Oh, that there would rise up a modern Voice in this wilderness of a world.
Jesus said that of all the prophets, John was more than a prophet. His work was to make smooth the way and take down the barriers to Jesus' ministry. This formidable task, against the establishment of government and religion, was never easy and caused his death. Please note in the Luke passage that God by-passed every governmental and religious figure of John's day to plant His word in "the Voice." (I have a message I once preached entitled, "Past Kings and Priests." God often "by passes" the most popular, most equipped according to world standards, to anoint someone on the back side of nowhere to be His Spokesperson.)
As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. 9 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. 10 For this is he of whom it is written:
"Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You.'
11 "Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. 15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
16 "But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions, 17 and saying:
"We played the flute for you,
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.' 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' 'But wisdom is justified by her children.'
And you did not dance;
We mourned to you,
And you did not lament."
(Gen 19:12-14; Luke 10:13-15)
Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done because they did not repent: 21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you."
(Ravenhill: Sodom Had No Bible!)
In the following verses, the salvation of God was being revealed in His Son--God said it would happen and it did. Oh, the labor of our lips and the work of our body should be in preparing the way of the Lord in these days. Instead of erecting barriers, we should be pointing to smoothed out highways. Our efforts should be in line with His purposes, it is our voices which should be crying, "What Shall I Cry?"
The voice said, 'Cry out!'
And he said, 'What shall I cry?'
'All flesh is grass,
And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
7 The grass withers, the flower fades,
Because the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.'
If then, verse 8 was Isaiah's total message, for it brought so much truth with it--that every promise of God in the Bible bore down on that foundation. "The word of OUR GOD STANDS FOREVER!". Every encouragement, every assignment of His Word will never falter or fail to reach its destination. Though generations' will blossom and then fade like the grass of the earth, His word remains. What the early church depended upon can still be depended on. His word stands Forever!
The strong message of glad tidings from Zion contained three words: "Behold Your God."
9 O Zion,
You who bring good tidings,
Get up into the high mountain;
You who bring good tidings,
Lift up your voice with strength,
Lift it up, be not afraid;
Say to the cities of Judah, "Behold your God!"
It is time to say to the cities of the world, "Behold your God." Look how different God is from the way He has been presented. Look at how tender and caring He is toward those who are in His flock. Somehow there needs to be a stalwart group who will rise up and declare the true God in the churches of the world. They, like the religious system of John's day, simply do not know who God is.
Verse twelve begins a series that could be titled, "Get to know the true Creator."
The God of Isaiah was not the one of the Scribes and Pharisees. He was not the traditional imagery served to multitudes, but the One who made this planet and set it in space. Who is like Him? No One!
2 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand,
Measured heaven with a span
And calculated the dust of the earth in a measure?
Weighed the mountains in scales
And the hills in a balance?
13 Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD,
Or as His counselor has taught Him?
14 With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him,
And taught Him in the path of justice?
Who taught Him knowledge,
And showed Him the way of understanding?
Preachers, you need to grasp this and preach with power, "Behold your God."
Preachers, you need to preach from the right perspective, that empires and government threats are "nothing."
15 Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket,
Isaiah could say, "Assyria, you are a drop in the bucket. Babylon, you are nothing. Rome, your conquests amounted to zero."
"World powers of today, hear this-your plans are zip." Behold, Your God!
Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket,
And are counted as the small dust on the scales;
Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing.
16 And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn,
Nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering.
17 All nations before Him are as nothing,
And they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless.
Until preachers and people start telling their national leadership, as well as local government, the truth, they will continue to act as if they were God. They are "LESS than NOTHING in the sight of the True God."
Just how real is all of this to us? Literarily this is perfection in writing, but if its truth does not penetrate into our realities, it means nothing. Grasp it! It means something. It is the WORD of God.
Darwin's assault, along with scientific pursuits, has tried to minimize God as the creator. The world has sought to obliterate God from His position as Maker. They have sought to separate truth from State and School. Multitudes, today, fall before idols crafted by man or reasoned by dust. Let a voice be heard, "Behold, this is the true God (Isaiah 40:18-20)."
When the Explorers read Isaiah 40: 21-22 (because a reformation made the Word of God available to the public), they saw the earth as round and they set sail to prove it. (At the time, the official view was the earth was flat. Neither church nor government had read the Word. It was off limits to all but the Roman Catholic Clergy.)
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth
The power elite, and those who support them, are nothing before the Great God Jehovah!
He "whishes" with his breath and they are gone! Their regal positions amount to zero before Him. World: "Behold your God."
The world, which denies a "first mover" and perpetuates its atheism, doesn't diminish Our God. The rhetorical question posed by the Creator still needs an answer from the Twenty- first Century.
5 'To whom then will you liken Me,
Or to whom shall I be equal?' says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high,
And see who has created these things,
Who brings out their host by number;
He calls them all by name,
By the greatness of His might
And the strength of His power;
Not one is missing.
The two part rhetorical question posed to Israel and his progeny is also valid today, as we preen ourselves with computerized wizardry. Isaiah offers a two part response.
27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
And speak, O Israel:
'My way is hidden from the LORD,
And my just claim is passed over by my God'?
28 Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the LORD,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
Self-estimating Israel determined their God did not know them or care about their just claims. He was a foreign entity, distant in time and space. God heard this and answers.
Just when one thinks there is no solution to his or her problems, in steps the God of the Universe with, "Is anything too hard for the Lord." He, who numbers hairs and knows the falling sparrow, knows our causes and our needs. The creator is close to His creation.
The second portion of Isaiah's answer is a passage oft quoted by the weary pilgrim. It is a comforting set of verses, but must be taken in context. He is the Creator, "Behold Your God-who cares."
29 He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
(Leonard Ravenhill had eagle pictures and sculptures throughout his residence. He knew how eagles nested in clefts above the circumstances of the lower atmosphere. How they lost their old feathers and got new ones. How they soared above the storms, allowing the high winds to carry them above the clouds. How they had pockets of air in their lungs that released oxygen at high altitudes. How they had eyes that could pin point creatures and terrain at great distances. How they, like the dove and man, looked over their beaks in single vision rather than like other birds which required angling from side to side.
Mounting up with wings like eagles meant more to him than the average person. Living in his 80's found him relying on His strength.)
Chapter 41 The Court of Heaven
God assembled the earth to the bar of justice and challenged the earth to disprove His claims. He tells the nations to bring their best arguments and He will overcome their objections. He stakes His claims for all to behold.
- He loves His people and He is their provider. He will not forsake them. He caused King Cyrus to be raised up to defeat their enemies.
- He alone is the Creator.
- Idols, and they who worship them, are nothing.
Throughout the next few chapters, the Lord weaves the threads of these three stands into a tapestry featuring elements of His power on display.
The first verses of chapter 41 raise the bar for prophetic words. The first time in history a prophet calls the name of a "King-to-be," who has not yet been born. Cyrus is his name. His biography is complete before Isaiah, and God tells His people that Cyrus is anointed to be a conqueror.
2 'Who has stirred up this one from the east, whom victory meets at every step? Who, indeed, but the Lord? God has given him victory over many nations and permitted him to trample kings underfoot and to put entire armies to the sword. 3 He chases them away and goes on safely, though the paths he treads are new. 4 Who has done such mighty deeds, directing the affairs of generations of mankind as they march by? It is I, the Lord, the First and Last; I alone am He.'
5 The lands beyond the sea watch in fear and wait for word of Cyrus' new campaigns. Remote lands tremble and mobilize for war.
(The underlined portion is significant enough to highlight it. "Directing the affairs of generations as they march by…" relates to today! His people may be captured in a visual time frame of whatever period of history they emerge, but He isn't. He sees the end from the beginning.)
Consider now this passage in 2 Chronicles:
2 Chronicles 36:22-23
22 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing: 23 This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:
"'The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to-- build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you-may the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.'"
Now turn to Jeremiah (remember Jeremiah lived to see Israel taken away by Babylon and died before their deliverance).
10 For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.
(God is referring to the prophet Isaiah's words, not only here, but in chapters 44 and 45.)
Israel, as I am writing this, is proposing to add to its legal domain a statement that it is the nation of the Jews. Up until now, it has acted only as a State among nations, but to identify it as the homeland of all Jews throughout history, is a religious assent heretofore not accepted.
Review the next verses which follow a foray against idols and their inability to do anything but just sit where they are placed. Listen to God's assurances and His reference to His right hand.
But as for you, O Israel, you are mine, my chosen ones; for you are Abraham's family, and he was my friend. 9 I have called you back from the ends of the earth and said that you must serve but me alone, for I have chosen you and will not throw you away. 10 Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed. I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
11 "See, all your angry enemies lie confused and shattered. Anyone opposing you will die. 12 You will look for them in vain - they will all be gone. 13 I am holding you by your right hand -- I, the Lord your God-and I say to you, don't be afraid; I am here to help you. 14 Despised though you are, fear not, O Israel; for I will help you. I am the Lord, your Redeemer; I am the Holy One of Israel. 15 You shall be a new and sharp-toothed threshing instrument to tear all enemies apart, making chaff of mountains. 16 You shall toss them in the air; the wind shall blow them all away; whirlwinds shall scatter them. And the joy of the Lord shall fill you full; you shall glory in the God of Israel."
(Something inside me believes this passage eclipses Cyrus and speaks to the end-game for His people. No other time in history will fit the descriptor as does NOW!)
Tender love and compassion fill God's words in these passages. The job of the people of God is to be a witness to the world-a witness of His faithfulness. That is our job in these last days!
He truly cares; notice how many expressions of "fear not," "I hold you," "I will help you."
The suffering of His people is not His delight; it is, however, His opportunity to provide supernaturally for their needs. Supernatural, that is the word. Devoid of capability to supply one's own needs, finds Him Stepping into History. In the previous instance, He stepped in with a "deliverer" from their bondage (Cyrus). Now, He steps into their trials---to attend their cry.
17 'When the poor and needy seek water and there is none, and their tongues are parched from thirst, then I will answer when they cry to me. I, Israel's God, will not ever forsake them. 18 I will open up rivers for them on high plateaus! I will give them fountains of water in the valleys! In the deserts will be pools of water, and rivers fed by springs shall flow across the dry, parched ground. 19 I will plant trees--cedars, myrtle, olive trees, the cypress, fir and pine--on barren land. 20 Everyone will see this miracle and understand that it is God who did it, Israel's Holy One.
What is needed for the hour? Has He not pledged Himself to us? An implied double negative, "I will not (n)ever forsake them," is the strongest of assurances. He has a stake in the affairs of His People. This is covenant in action; this is the unity of faith. How distant is the Isaiah passage from the Corinthian teaching?
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."
Notice God's thinking at this moment. It is like an afterthought; upon considering His "supernatural miracles," He challenges man's idols. God calls them to the forefront for denigration as if they were alive and could hear. He dares someone to compare them to Him. He judges them by their inability and false hope, "They are nothing."
21 'Can your idols make such claims as these? Let them come and show what they can do! says God, the King of Israel. 22 Let them try to tell us what occurred in years gone by or what the future holds. 23 Yes, that's it! If you are gods, tell what will happen in the days ahead! Or do some mighty miracle that makes us stare, amazed. 24 But no! You are less than nothing and can do nothing at all. Anyone who chooses you needs to have his head examined!
Remember, this is God talking; these are His challenges to the idolatry of the world. Until one arrives in China or Sri Lanka and sees people, with sincerity, fall down and bow to the ground before a giant Buddha, this verse may not mean too much. Until one sees a crippled man struggle up the stairway to a Hindu Temple and upon arriving at the top then shuffle his dangling legs to a position where he can present a small gift to a many armed idol and pray by bowing many times and repeating the only prayer he knows to ask for healing-this passage might just be reading material. Until one hears the war cry of a people who have put their trust in a false prophet while they worship a false god-this passage might not mean much. When one sees a beautiful cathedral with images upon every station harboring a false depiction of who Mary is, these passages might remain trivia against other Scriptures. Believe me, this is no afterthought with God it is serious enough for Him to rise up and challenge the idolatry found in every corner of the globe and in every generation. (When the Ark of the Covenant came into the same room as a false god, that idol fell!) Listen to God's appraisal of all idols. He says, every one of the idols worshipped today are, "Less than nothing and can do nothing." Alas, idols are often more than stone and wood.
The Lord reminds His listeners of how He raised up Cyrus, brought him to power, directed his activities and told them in advance. Notice this is a future event.
25 "But I have stirred up (Cyrus) from the north and east; he will come against the nations and call on my name, and I will give him victory over kings and princes. He will tread them as a potter tramples clay.
26 "Who but I have told you this would happen? Who else predicted this, making you admit that he was right? No one else! None other said one word! 27 I was the first to tell Jerusalem, 'Look! Look! Help is on the way!' 28 Not one of your idols told you this. Not one gave any answer when I asked. 29 See, they are all foolish, worthless things; your idols are all as empty as the wind.
Jehovah stands alone. He chides the idols for their silence. Then, He discards them with an epithet: "Foolish, worthless, empty." What foolish, worthless, empty thing looms larger than your God and calls you to bow before it?
Chapter 42 : The Future King
See, it is no step for the God who revealed the future and gave the name of Cyrus, to step a bit further and give King Jesus His place in history-in advance.
42:1 'See my servant, whom I uphold; my Chosen One in whom I delight. I have put my Spirit upon him; he will reveal justice to the nations of the world. 2 He will be gentle--he will not shout nor quarrel in the streets. 3 He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the dimly burning flame. He will encourage the fainthearted, those tempted to despair. He will see full justice given to all who have been wronged. 4 He won't be satisfied until truth and righteousness prevail throughout the earth, nor until even distant lands beyond the seas have put their trust in him.'
5 The Lord God, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who created the earth and everything in it, who gives life and breath and spirit to everyone in all the world, he is the one who says [to his Servant, the Messiah],
6 "I the Lord have called you to demonstrate my righteousness. I will guard and support you, for I have given you to my people as the personal confirmation of my covenant with them. You shall also be a light to guide the nations unto me. 7 You will open the eyes of the blind and release those who sit in prison darkness and despair. 8 I am the Lord! That is my name, and I will not give my glory to anyone else; I will not share my praise with carved idols. 9 Everything I prophesied came true, and now I will prophesy again. I will tell you the future before it happens."
He, who called Cyrus by name before his time in history, describes now His Holy servant Jesus. Many times in Isaiah, glimpses of the Messiah appear and when He took His place in Time, he quoted often from this book. Evidence of these verses loomed large at Jesus' baptism "I have put my Spirit upon Him." When Jesus healed a man with a withered hand (Matthew 12:20), the Pharisees plotted against Him (because it was the Sabbath); His reaction was to sequester himself in a distant place in order to fulfill verse three.
Verse 4 may well include the US and Canada, and the rest of the world beyond the boundaries of Israel. (America was founded on, "In God we trust," in keeping with His prophetic word. Now, the enemies of the faith have come to our shores, but there is One who will not be satisfied, "Until truth and righteousness prevail.") Grab hold of these verses and stand on them in these perilous times; stand and occupy the "distant shore" you call home. His word will prevail-it has done marvelously well in the past and it holds for the future!
Beginning in verse 6, the Lord gives instruction to His servant, Jesus-long before His physical birth on earth. That word hung in history until the unfolding of time called for it. Prophetic words are like that! Jesus IS the personal confirmation of God's covenant. When He stood in the Temple and proclaimed Luke 4:18ff, He was fulfilling verse seven. By standing on this word and Isaiah 61:1,2 (the fullest expression of the same message), He called the prophecies from histories bank of deposit and relegated them to Himself. We can do the same with the promises of God written in His Word.
I have used bold type to highlight, "I will tell you the future before it happens." Numerous times Jesus told the Disciples things that lay just ahead of them. Then He prophesied those things of the end time reaching beyond even this day. (Notice, this prophetic word was not to Jesus; it is to us. We are not to stagger about in darkness during these final days.
13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
These promises ought to cause a shout from the people of God. So let us do what the prophet says; Let us sing to the Lord a new song. Notice, though, who is to sing: the remote, out of the way places! Everyone that surrounds Israel is to break forth into song.
10 Sing a new song to the Lord; sing his praises, all you who live in earth's remotest corners! Sing, O sea! Sing, all you who live in distant lands beyond the sea! 11 Join in the chorus, you desert cities--Kedar and Sela! And you, too, dwellers in the mountaintops. 12 Let the western coastlands glorify the Lord and sing his mighty power.
Is this the reason Revelation records a song of the redeemed? Did not every major deliverance in Israel's history have an accompanied song? The distant land folks, the remote ones, what is to be their song? (Grafted In, Grafted In, Praise the Lord, we're grafted In.)
It is these "grafted-in" ones who accomplished the purposes of God! They spread the word throughout the lands, and everywhere there is a nation on earth- they are "doing the work of the kingdom."
Initially, Israel was to be the medium of proclamation--but they were blind and rebellious: nevertheless, the Mighty God was out to "fix" their problem.
6 He will bring blind Israel along a path they have not seen before. He will make the darkness bright before them and smooth and straighten out the road ahead. He will not forsake them. 17 But those who trust in idols and call them gods will be greatly disappointed; they will be turned away.
18 Oh, how blind and deaf you are toward God! Why won't you listen? Why won't you see? 19 Who in all the world is as blind as my own people, who are designed to be my messengers of truth? Who is so blind as my "dedicated one," the "servant of the Lord"? 20 You see and understand what is right but won't heed nor do it; you hear, but you won't listen.
O' nations, in remote areas of the earth, learn from Israel and open your eyes and hear with your ears. O' Church, do not be the epitome of verse twenty! Your Redeemer draws near. With all the grace poured out upon Israel and its people, still they walked contrary to the plan of God.
21 The Lord has magnified his law and made it truly glorious. Through it he had planned to show the world that he is righteous. 22 But what a sight his people are- -these who were to demonstrate to all the world the glory of his law; for they are robbed, enslaved, imprisoned, trapped, fair game for all, with no one to protect them. 23 Won't even one of you apply these lessons from the past and see the ruin that awaits you up ahead? 24 Who let Israel be robbed and hurt? Did not the Lord? It is the Lord they sinned against, for they would not go where he sent them nor listen to his laws. 25 That is why God poured out such fury and wrath on his people and destroyed them in battle. Yet, though set on fire and burned, they will not understand the reason why--that it is God, wanting them to repent.
Reclaim your position in the earth, O church! Repent quickly and become the light against the darkness that has gained momentum. Our Great God will compensate for our lag, if we repent.
These are texts for messages that ought to grace every pulpit in the world this next Sunday.
Early in 2015, we must see a return to the plan of the Lord. Determine to be that one mentioned in verse 23. When these prophesies burst on Isaiah, He cried out, "Send Me."
Chapter 43 will be featured next month, and it begins with great love being poured out from God to His people. Of all that Isaiah brings to the surface, Comfort and Love prevail. God gives one of the most tender words in the whole of Scripture; preview it briefly.
1 But now the Lord who created you, O Israel, says, "Don't be afraid, for I have ransomed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. 2 When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up--the flames will not consume you. 3 For I am the Lord your God, your Savior, the Holy One of Israel. I gave Egypt and Ethiopia and Seba [to Cyrus] in exchange for your freedom, as your ransom. 4 Others died that you might live; I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me and honored, and I love you.
Until next month,
Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.