Today’s Reading: Isaiah 65–66; 2 Kings 19:37; 2 Chronicles 33:10-17
Like Jennifer, I am “confused” and amazed, not only by the image of God (in reality!) reaching out His hands and pleading with a people who did not seek Him, but also at the astonishing imagery of the actual fact of how they were treating Him, the Creator, not only Creator of the people themselves, but also Creator of the world in which these people lived! When you are standing close to the Lord relationally, it makes no sense whatsoever! It’s illogical to think of your Creator as an idol you made, whom you worship! Is it any wonder at the anger of God, when people (even those who are supposed to be His people!!) refuse to acknowledge Him – any wonder at the fury of God at such sin! To a true faithful Israelite, the details of what these people did would certainly horrify them!
Don’t you love the simile of a cluster of grapes with still some juice left, and being spared from being thrown out! So God can see where there is still some good left in His people – probably He’s the only one who can see the good! So I feel the prayer rising within me, “Dear Lord, let me be a cluster of grapes today with still SOME juice left, however small!
But there is no mercy for unrepentant – and so the New Testament has the same type of idea in Hebrews – of salvation through trust in the Lord Jesus as my/your personal Saviour when it says, “How shall we escape, if we neglect SO GREAT a salvation?” (Heb. 2:3) – The great unanswerable question – in reality – NO escape!
I wonder what Isaiah thought as he wrote or prophesied the message in “Blessing For Servants”! He was headed according to tradition to the death of being sawed in two – and certainly didn’t have an easy life. But life here on earth isn’t easy, serving the Lord, but He is faithful and whispers in our ears in Hebrews, “You have need of patience, that having done the will of God, you may obtain the reward!” (10:36) – often in the next life! Still, His presence with us in this life, is certainly a reward, that if unbelievers can see it in us, they want very badly!
A new heavens and new earth! I smile to myself when people talk about the continuous movement toward a better world and people! No wonder Scripture calls us BLIND, without His Spirit within us! But Peter (2 Peter 3:13) tells us that we await a new heaven and a new earth, wherein DWELLS righteousness! So there will be a new heaven and earth, with all harmful results of sin removed!
Interesting the connection of a dwelling place for the majestic powerful God – I certainly would not have guessed it to be with the person who is humble and contrite – need I say where that fact hits when it is applied to me? – Am I a suitable dwelling place today is the question which simmers in the back of my mind?
I love the thought of how fast God can work when He is at work rewarding – faster than child-birth? Maybe the way He views time is different than mine! But He will reward faithfulness and He will punish the wicked for their stubborn rebellion!
But let’s end today with a note of hope – a man whom God comments on as a very wicked man, even worse than all before him! How stunning what God does – “puts a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon!” So was God cheering that at last, this wicked king got what he deserved? For me, it is hard to keep back the tears and the great joy, that EVEN he was able to humble himself and God, the Sovereign Lord, “is moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea”! I can never understand why people don’t understand what a loving God and Father and such a compassionate Lord and Saviour, I belong to! The wicked king is brought back and I think I know the love in his heart for his Saviour, as he works hard to erase the harm he had brought to his country and people! And I think the thing perhaps that kept him humble was the realization, that some harms simply can’t be removed – “the high places” in man’s sight, but not the plan of God’s great heart! How God’s love is truly unfailing as Psalms tells us and He continues to bless, even when everything is not perfect! (otherwise, I won’t have a chance (only a hook in my nose and exile forever!).
Let us praise Him that we belong – body, soul and spirit – to such an amazingly beautiful God! Let today be a special day, knowing this!