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Is. 65:7-10

6/26/13 V. 7, Because her sins are so many and because they have persisted in them for so long, God will eventually judge her. The sin of bold unfaithfulness to the Lord by following after other gods and blaspheming him is the theme of many OT prophets. The actions of the little horn power in Dan 7:25 and beast in Rev 13:1 and 16:11 are both cross-referenced with this verse.

V. 8, However, not all among apostate Israel have followed after other gods. Among the grape harvest (Rev 14:18-19) there are some good, which God will separate out. He will not destroy the righteous with the wicked. God, who is able to read the heart, will divide the good from the bad, as in Jesus’ parable of separating the good fish from the bad in the net and separating the sheep from the goats. In Mt 24:22 Jesus, speaking of the time of Jacob’s trouble, says that he will cut short those days for the sake of the elect.

V. 9-10, As always, God will have a remnant people that he shall bring through the trials and difficulties. His purpose is to bring from humanity a people whom he will call his own children as heirs to his kingdom. That means that God plans for us to inherit the place he has promised us, which, as we have seen before, is heaven itself. We will dwell with God (Rev 21:3) and rule with him (Rev 1:6, 5:10, 20:6) and we and the whole universe will have rest.

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Posted by on June 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 63:13-16

6/19/13 V. 13, We ask where is the one who in the past has led his people through the depths of whatever experience they passed through. Because of his leading they didn’t stumble and fall. They were able to press forward by his strength and guidance.

V. 14, Like cattle in green pastures, without anxieties and worries, the Spirit of the Lord gives his people rest. It’s only when we will not be content with the Lord’s leading and try to make our own way that we end up in trouble. But when we follow where he leads our lives, through whatever kind of experience, are filled with peace. And, again, he does this not only for our sake but for his own, for his reputation, for the vindication of his character.

V. 15, And so, like the saints under the altar in Rev 6:9-10, we call upon our God to look down from heaven and see us. We want to know how long he will wait to avenge our blood. We want to see his compassion for us. We want to see his love and zeal for us exhibited in miracles on our behalf.

V. 16, As a child has a right to expect such compassion and care from his earthly father, so we have the right to expect it from our heavenly Father. We have the right to call out to him in our distress. Even when our earthly fathers or our family or our friends refuse to recognize us, our heavenly Father will always be there to hear and redeem us. Redeemer is his name, redemption is his character.

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 62:6-9

6/13/13 V. 6, God appointed Ezekiel a watchman (Eze 3:17). It’s God’s name for those who speak out to the world, warning others of the consequences of disloyalty to God. Like the four creatures around the throne of God in Rev 4:6-8 they never stop proclaiming the holiness of the Lord.  Also the souls under the altar in Rev 6:10 cry out in a loud voice for God to avenge their blood. And God encourages us to continue to seek him and proclaim him.

V. 7, We are not to rest from this work and neither are we to give him rest from our calling until he accomplishes what he has promised, which is to make his people “a praise in the earth.” In other words, we will be a living memorial, living praise to the character of our God when he finally takes full control over this rebellious planet (Rev 11:15).

V. 8, In the past, due to our unfaithfulness and/or to sin in general, God allowed trials and suffering to come up his people. Our enemies sometimes succeeded in taking that which we worked for, even our food and drink. But God promises that one day such things will never happen again.

V. 9, When we gather our food (probably grapes in this picture) we will get to eat and drink what we have worked for. And we will do so before God with gratitude for his goodness and provision.

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 61:2-3

6/2/13 V. 2, We are also to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, which is reminiscent of the year of jubilee (Lev 25:9-13). The jubilee year was to be a major re-set for God’s people. Everyone who had sold his property and moved away was to return and his property would be returned to him. All debts were to be forgiven. All slaves were released. It was to be a year of vacation without working the fields because it was considered a Sabbath year.

Israel never did celebrate the year of jubilee as a nation, but we will and even are already. Jesus proclaimed the favorable day of the Lord. He is our jubilee. He freed captives, he forgave our debts of sin, he restored us to himself.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised one day to find that the millennium has some jubilee connections as well. When Israel was sent into exile for 70 years the land was given its Sabbaths (2 Chr 36:21). Could it be that the whole earth will receive its Sabbaths during the 1,000 years?

In addition to proclaiming the favorable year of the Lord, Jesus also warned us of the day of vengeance of our God. And we must warn the world as well that we will all be held accountable to God for our lives and the choices we made. Yes, there will be rewards for faithfulness but there will also be consequences for unfaithfulness (e.g. Mt 24:45-51).

We are to comfort those who mourn with the hope that we have in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have been saved, we have hope beyond this life, our mourning will be transformed into joy.

V. 3, We who have suffered for the sake of Christ in this era of sin will be given a glorious crown instead of the ashes that now cover our heads. Ashes on the head was an ANE demonstration of extreme grief. Our mourning will be turned into gladness. Where now we faint with the burdens of sin and its consequences, then we will have spirits filled with praise (Rev 7:9-14).

We will be called “oaks of righteousness.” That must be a picture of strength, which we are anything but. And yet in the strength of our God we are strong though we are weak because the Lord is the one who planted us, so to speak. And he did it for the purpose of glorifying himself. And since God never fails he will be glorified in us.

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 59:18-21

5/25/13 V. 18, As the righteous and holy judge he will repay each of us according to our deeds (Rev 20:12-13). He comes as a conquering king to destroy his enemies and avenge his people (Rev 16:19, 19:15). And the islands, which seem to symbolize his people (cf Is 11:11 and comments on Is 41:1), who are surrounded by the sea, which symbolizes the masses of those in rebellion against God, will receive recompense. In other words, those faithful to God will have judgment in their favor and be repaid for their losses.

V. 19, And so everyone from west to east will fear God’s name (Rev 11:15, 12:10-17). He will come quickly and unexpectedly, like a flash flood driven before the wind of God.

V. 20, When our Lord returns he is coming to redeem his people, those who turn away from transgression (keep his commandments, Rev 12:17). This is our part of keeping the covenant. The next verse makes clear that this is the new covenant to which God is referring because it is the covenant of his Spirit in us (Jer 31:31-34).

V. 21, God’s part of the covenant is that he will put his Spirit within us. We will speak only his words forever and always, and the same with our children and all who come after us. We won’t have to each our neighbors and brothers saying, “Know the Lord,” because all will know him. It’s incredibly significant that God’s law continues to be in force today. The commandments still apply and always will. By them we will be judged.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 58:6-14

5/22/13 V. 6, The kind of fasting God wants is a fasting from selfishness. He wants us to be most concerned about setting people free from the bonds of injustice and wickedness and to work against oppression.

V. 7, He wants us to share our food with the hungry, provide the homeless poor with shelter, to give clothes to those in need of them, and the care for our families. This is true fasting, as far as God is concerned. Going without food is fine insofar as it goes, but that alone is worthless if our fasting from food is divorced from fasting from selfishness.

V. 8, If we will fast like this then spiritual light will fill our hearts and minds. We will recover and be healed from the terrible effects of sin in our lives. People will see our good deeds and we will become known for our love. And the Lord will protect us in all that we do.

V. 9, Also, when we fast from selfishness, God will answer us when we call to him. That means that the opposite is also true. If we do not fast from selfishness God will not answer when we call. But he will hear and answer and be close to us when we are intent on removing from around us oppression, gossip, accusations, and all manner of evil talk.

V. 10, If we spend ourselves in behalf of the hungry, both physically and spiritually hungry, and if we work to satisfy the souls of those oppressed and afflicted by wickedness, then the promise is that the darkness in us and around us will be driven away and will come bright as the noonday sun.

V. 11, Then God will continually guide us. This is one of the Bible’s answers to knowing the will of God. When we upgrade our spiritual lives to the point that we are willing to spend ourselves on behalf of others we are assured of God’s guidance. He will satisfy us even in the desert that is this world. He will give us the strength we need and we will flourish like a watered garden and a full spring flowing with the water of life.

V. 12, We will rebuild ancient ruins, old foundations, repairing breaches in the walls, and restoring the streets and houses of the city. All this seems metaphorical for rebuilding the lives of people, particularly in a spiritual sense. The ancient ways of God have been destroyed by neglect, warfare, and abuse, and we can participate in restoring what has been lost in sin.

V. 13, One of the primary ways we can do this is by honoring the holy Sabbath. God calls this “my holy day.” It’s the one day that he claims for himself. Even general cross references list the connection between this verse and Rev 1:10. The Lord’s Day is the Sabbath.

If we turn away from pursuing our own business, or own desires, our own words, and instead delight in the holiness and separateness of the Sabbath, we will learn what it means to fast from selfishness. The Sabbath is to be about learning to delight in focusing on others and God instead of focusing on ourselves.

V. 14, If we use the Sabbath to learn such fasting we will learn to fast that way all of the time. We will learn to delight in the Lord, which, unfortunately, isn’t the way of our sinful nature. But when we do learn to delight in the Lord he will bless us abundantly. We will ride on the heights of the earth (Rev 11:12), which is to say our lives will be everything we could have ever imagined and more (Rev 3:21, 5:10). God will care for us always. This is his promise.

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 57:17-21

5/20/13 V. 17, It is, among other issues, the greed of his people that leads us to cheating and other methods of enriching ourselves at other’s expense that makes God so angry that he has punished us. His punishment is the hiding of his face, which is to say that he distances himself from us. Separation from God is what brings on the consequences of our path of wickedness.

The problem is that we don’t recognize the problem. We don’t see that our ways are separating us from God. So we keep on turning away from him in our hearts.

V. 18, But in spite of knowing the wickedness of our ways, God, in his great mercy, has plans to heal us (Rev 22:2), to lead us back to himself, to restore the comfort of a close relationship with him. And we will no longer weep (Rev 7:17).

V. 19, Instead, we will praise the goodness of our God. God has ordered peace for his people when he heals us. And healing is what we need, because we have been so damaged by sin.

V. 20, For the wicked who refuse to be healed, because that is an option, they are doomed to continuing to a tempestuous life of stress, anger, hate, immorality, and all manner of spiritual garbage and mud. In the words of Rev 14:11, “they have no rest day or night…”

V. 21, So long as they live the wicked will never have peace. We must understand that if we do not have peace in our hearts it’s precisely because we still have wickedness within us that needs to be healed by God.

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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