Click here for today’s reading http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah%2054-58&version=NIV
In our small group bible study that we have in our home on Wednesday evenings, we were discussing this last week. We were talking about all the LOVE we would KNOW, NO FEAR, no pain, no suffering, NOTHING but WORSHIPING GOD for all HE is!! We talked about the song: “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me” (incase you want to hear it click here http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0xwzItqYmII
CHAPTER 54 –Now, here we are in Isaiah. We read about HEAVEN!! Most High God of all the earth…. what an awesome picture you have blessed us with in Isaiah!! Turquoise….sapphires, rubies, crystals, and all precious stones….what a sight it will be to behold!!! Before we got to the heaven description we saw HIS unfailing love for us, HIS covenant of Peace, and HIS compassion…..and you KNOW ALL that is going to be in heaven too right?? HIS presence, HIS peace, HIS love, HIS character is what will make is shinier than a new penny….and then whatever shape our bodies take on….they will be FILLED with HIM for all to see. I know this song I am about to mention is not a “church” song….but I can just IMAGINE…the trees, the grass, the oceans, the winds, the flowers, the animals….all singing “CELLLLLLLEBRATE OUR GOD…COME ON.” The original song (not the same words) was performed by KC and the Sunshine Band back in the 70s……but can’t you just imagine ALLLLLLLL creation SINGING that TO HIM…trees already have their “arms” lifted to HIM and they’d be swaying as they praised HIM as would ALLLLLL creation. OK…enough….but I have to tell you my mind can see it so clearly as such a joyous, Spirit filled, love and joy and peace filled time. All the “free love” in the 60s can’t fill a thimble (and all the earthly “free love” and “free choice” and “sexual freedom” of the 60s to this day was NOT nor will they ever be free) just compare it to GOD’s unconditional FOREVER love. STILL… with my vivid imagination….it is hard to imagine how I will react when I am standing in HIS presence (like the “I Can Only Imagine” song describes).
I loved verse 17 as well: “…no weapon formed against you will prevail. and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.”
In this chapter, Israel is compared to a Baron woman. In these days, this was a disgrace. Children were the only way for a family to continue and survive. He promises to restore them and redeem them, and compares that promise to the promise He made Noah. We know that every promise God makes is bound forever, never to be broken. So we know that everything in Chapter 53 WILL happen.
CHAPTER 55 — We begin this chapter with “Come ALL you who are thirsty, come to the waters, and you who have no money come, buy, and eat….” Verse 6 says ” ….Seek The Lord while he may be found, call on him while HE is near.” BOTH of those are words for us TODAY. Then we have verse 8 & 9 — “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways declares The Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” So HOW do we become made more in HIS image, take a look at Romans 12:1-2…. we get rid of “all of our junk” by replacing it with HIS WORD. Romans calls this being TRANSFORMED!! And verse 11–God promises us that HIS Words never return void!! This last verse is yet another reminder to speak, sing, sign, clap or shout HIS Words. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17. HOW do we hear the Word of God, without someone SPEAKING them, or us reading them out loud, or listening to them on a recording, or if you are hearing impaired….through signing them, if you are vocally impaired you can listen and clap to the Words, right? Bottom line…God KNOWS our hearts and our desires and KNOWS what is best for us and WANTS the best for us. Bottom line in being made more in HIS image….we have to CHOSE to let go of the old junk that does not have any place with Christ to die….let it go and FILL the VOID with the Words of God. As we get rid of “each layer of the onion” with the old stuff, the old motives, thoughts, desires, habits, then it leaves room for God to FILL us with HIS good stuff…like joy, peace, comfort, and love.
CHAPTER 56. Salvation is for ALL the nations! See once again we see that the GENTILES were included for salvation from the beginning!! WE are ALL going to be in “HIS HOUSE OF PRAYER.” That just floats my boat!! God addresses the accusations of the wicked. Wicked through the lens of God, in this sense it not like what we tend to think about when we think about Halloween. The wicked God is referring to are the people who plan and scheme to get all they can WITHOUT ANY FOCUS on the ONE TRUE GOD. These people may be known as self reliant, self centered, selfish, self sustaining, “I can do it all….MY WAY,” loving money, loving power, loving things of this world, not caring if the poor get poorer go unfed or need clothing and housing, etc. There is a WHOLE LOT of that going on in our world today, wouldn’t you say? Makes me even more aware of why Jesus tells each of us to “Go” and tell others about HIM. HE IS THE ONLY WAY.
CHAPTER 57 –An awesomely comforting Scripture starts this chapter that will often be needed to answer a HARD WHY question…
Good people pass away;
the godly often die before their time.
But no one seems to care or wonder why.
No one seems to understand
that God is protecting them from the evil to come.
FOR THOSE WHO FOLLOW GODLY PATHS
WILL REST IN PEACE WHEN THEY DIE.(Verse 1-2, NLT)
This chapter also discusses rebels, idols, idol worship, ….FORSAKING HIM…and the consequences of those sins
CHAPTER 58 — This chapter dealt a LOT with fasting. NOTICE the IF and the THENS. Isaiah talks about what fasting is NOT and what it IS plus content is given on “If you do this”…”Then this will happen”. SO as you read it, if you want to have the “Thens” jot down the “Ifs”. But don’t expect one without the other!
Isaiah 58:6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter —
when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear;then your righteousness will go before you, AND THE GLORY OF THE LORD WILL BE YOUR REAR GUARD. 9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I…. ‘
We end the chapter with IF you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger, and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed THEN your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The LORD WILL GUIDE YOU ALWAYS…..
Sharing HIS love,