Arise and shine

Arise! Shine! For your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. Isaiah 60:1

For several years I read through Oswald Chambers’s devotional book, My Utmost for His Highest, and greatly benefited from it. Times are, however, he goes badly wrong, and his comment on this verse is one example of that. He begins by writing,

We have to take the first step as though there were no God. It is no use to wait for God to help us, He will not; but immediately we arise we find He is there.

Chambers quoted only the first two words of this verse in his devotional thought. The rest of the verse is necessary to understand the imperatives given to Israel. Man is able to arise and shine because the light of God has already come to him and the divine splendor has risen like the sun to illuminate his day.

The first command to arise calls Israel to rouse herself from her stupor. This third section of Isaiah, 56-66, sees beyond the exile to the restoration, to a people returned to a devastated country, a destroyed temple, a world in shambles. To a broken spirit. Their return may be dulled by the reality of their situation.

But, no! Isaiah will not have it. God’s glory is focused on them. It is not time for mourning, but shining. The shining of the city (metaphor for the people) is to serve the nations who come to the light. It is the light of salvation. The people of God are called to shine forth as God’s beacon.

My mind ties this verse together with Matthew 5:16, “In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven” (NET).

At the top of the list of good deeds is the proclamation of the gospel, just as Jesus was doing during that moment of teaching on the mount.

The verse has inspired a number of hymns, among them, “All Ye Gentile Lands Awake.” Here’s the first stanza:

All ye Gentile lands awake!
Thou, O Salem, rise and shine!
See the day-spring o’er you break,
Heralding a morn divine,
Telling, God hath called to mind
Those who long in darkness pined.

#gods-glory, #isaiah, #light

Isaiah 9:6 "For unto us a Child is born,…

Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a Child is born,  Unto us a Son is given;  And the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called  Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,  Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

This is a verse that sadly, even  many Chrisistians only look at or refer to at Christmas time when peoples thoughts are  about  Jesus and  His birth.  I know that He was not   born on Dec. 25th but  we need to  use that  opportunity to reach  folks who at  other times  would not  be  as responsive.

But the  main  thrust of this short  passage to me is that at  all time  of the  year and  forever it gives  us a picture of  the Lord Jesus and  who He was, is and  is to come.  Thanks be to  the  heavenly Father  that we have a  Savior who  is called ” Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,  Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Theses traits that He has help us  understand  just  how  much the Godhead loves us!   We  can  rest  assured  that the Lord Jesus will always be there  for  His people showing the  example we  need to   be fruitful, productive  members of  His Church who are always ready to reach the  lost and strengthen the saved.  So, when you  hear these words in Is. 6:9, and  I  hope that it  is not  just at Christmas, share them with others  and  stop to praise our “Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ!”

#isaiah, #mighty-god, #savior

Isaiah 66:1, 2 There are so many special…

Isaiah 66:1, 2
There are so many special and meaningful passages in Isaiah, but this is the one I choose. Where does God reside? “On Him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.”

Many years ago I met a lady who was abrasive and unfriendly the first few times I visited her (her mother was a member and shut-in). But finally she agreed to study with me. We had a simple open Bible study and as we neared the end of our study, she was literally and visibly trembling. I suggested we go and she be baptized and she immediately agreed and was.

A couple of months later I had a study with another lady about the same age. We went through the same process and just as before, this lady visibly trembled at the Word. I suggested that we go and she be baptized. She paused, offered a couple of excuses and declined. I couldn’t persuade her. She never allowed me to study with her again.

The ability to tremble at the Word of God is a wonderful thing. Ezra witnessed its power (9:4, 10:3). But it is only one virtue among many and can be tragically lost if it is not accompanied with obedience.

#isaiah, #tremble

Isaiah 55:8,9

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8,9).

Since God’s ways & thoughts are so far above ours, what right do we have to question God or His word? None whatsoever. We have no right to object to ANYTHING He might ask of us through His word. Everything He commands and asks is right and proper—whether we agree or understand why is beside the point! We have as much right to object to the instruction and correction of our heavenly Father as a toddler does to object to the instruction and correction of his earthly father! He’s the potter, we’re the clay; He’s the shepherd, we’re the sheep; He’s the master, we’re the servants! Friends, we must exercise faith, submission, & humility before God. Why? Because His thoughts & ways are above ours in every way (cf. Job 42:1-6). May we reflect on this great truth regularly.

#isaiah, #nudge

Thoughts on Isaiah 2:6-11

As Isaiah preaches, he forthrightly declares what God will not do; it is a petition stated in a declarative way: “Therefore, do not forgive them!” The NET reads, “Don’t spare them!”

Israel (man), in all his wisdom, is going to be humbled and the Lord will be exalted! It was man’s pride that brought all these vices into the land of Israel and corrupted it (and them). Can man hide from God? Not a chance! There is not a place man can know or go that God doesn’t know or is already there. But, with man’s inclination of self-preservation, he seeks to hide in the rocks from the terror of the Lord; as he exalts himself the only real result will be haughtiness humbled.

#isaiah

Lasting value

After not paying attention to this little service for some time, I opened it up this morning and was encouraged by this:

Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” Isaiah 6:8, NLT

The more clearly Isaiah saw God, the more aware Isaiah became of his own powerlessness and inadequacy to do anything of lasting value without God. But he was willing to be God’s spokesman.

When God calls, will you also say, “Send me”?

This from the Life Application Devo. Besides the obviously missionary theme, the phrase about doing something of last value caught my eye.

#devotional, #isaiah, #value