This past week at Exponential, I was reunited with so many men and women of great faith and deep humility; those who have led literally hundreds to Christ by creating and cultivating environments that were safe to discuss eternal matters. These leaders have names I know well, but you would not recognize from headlines. They truly care nothing about headlines on human tablets for they know their reward comes from Christ, from the Lord of all. Hearing “well done” from Jesus is infinitely greater than any accolade from another human. Some have the opportunity to speak in front of thousands, but even they know this privilege is only meant to point others to Christ.
Hear the words of Isaiah this morning as he speaks timeless wisdom for our ancestors and for us today.
Isaiah 30: Woe to the Obstinate Nation
The Lord of all is ever patient with his wandering flock, rebuking us for transgressions in an effort to keep us on track.
This is what the Sovereign Lord,
the Holy One of Israel, says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!
Isaiah 30:15, 18
The title given for this chapter is a bit deceptive, it’s more about the great things God will do than it is about the “woe” to us as obstinate people.
And you will sing
as on the night you celebrate a holy festival;
your hearts will rejoice
as when people playing pipes go up
to the mountain of the Lord,
to the Rock of Israel.
This is a great chapter to read for encouragement, many quotes worthy of pasting on top of festive photos. Take heart, “Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.” (Isaiah 30:20)
Isaiah 31: Woe to Those Who Rely on Egypt
A great reminder to those of us who rely on our own craftiness and wisdom as our ancestors did with Egypt:
Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
who rely on horses,
who trust in the multitude of their chariots
and in the great strength of their horsemen,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
or seek help from the Lord.
I can’t help but remember the Tozer quote from yesterday, the call to remember God as the Lord Almighty, the powerful Creator of all, as I read this chapter. Not by human hands, but by the might of God himself will we be saved. Let us look to the Holy One and not in the mirror for help. It seems ridiculous to say, but it is so often true as we mislead ourselves and others.
Isaiah 32:1-8: The Kingdom of Righteousness
More words of encouragement to help us in our present struggle:
Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed,
and the ears of those who hear will listen.
The fearful heart will know and understand,
and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear.
No longer will the fool be called noble
nor the scoundrel be highly respected.
Now, Jesus, now! We all want this time to happen now! My impatience is selfishly driven for I know the reward that awaits. Help me to reach out to those who don’t read these words, who don’t understand the eternal decision that awaits them.
Isaiah 32:9-20: The Women of Jerusalem
Isaiah writes specifically to the women of Jerusalem, those who are responsible for so much in their culture, you are not forgotten:
You women who are so complacent,
rise up and listen to me;
you daughters who feel secure,
hear what I have to say!
Now that I have your attention! Here is the promise:
The Lord’s justice will dwell in the desert,
his righteousness live in the fertile field.
The fruit of that righteousness will be peace;
its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.
Today’s reading is full of encouragement for those who know the Lord, who are wrapped in his robe of grace. Lord, help us to invite many more into this relationship with our words, deeds and example of faith in you. Fill us with joy knowing this is to come so soon!
Thoughts about serving others
This link includes a list of posts about Serving the Least, the Lost, and the Lonely.
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Let the Word evoke words. May your life encourage lives.