Daily Reflections May 24, 2017
Chapters 24 to 27 are the resounding climax to the judgement oracles that began in chapter 13. In the earlier oracles, individual nations that existed in Isaiah’s day were listed and their incoming judgement was announced. In chapter 24, there is a strong shift to a final, culminating judgement that will fall on the world. The holiness, the righteous indignation, and the wrath of God are all on full display. One of the key themes we must acknowledge in the judgement oracles is that wicked people will be completely and utterly destroyed.
In today’s chapter, another key theme stemming from these oracles is put forward: God is merciful. Isaiah is overwhelmed by the mercy that he perceives in God’s coming judgement, and in chapter 25 he breaks into praise. It is worth reflecting on the themes that stir up Isaiah’s delight.
1. Isaiah praises God for His faithfulness (v.1). Everything God says that He will do, He does. Every word that God speaks stands true. Let that spur you on as you study His Word today. The Bible is not filled with empty promises or man-made attempts at understanding God. It is God’s Word that He Himself has spoken, and He does not lie. This truth provided boldness for Isaiah, even as a mighty Assyrian army prepared to attack his rebellious people.
2. Isaiah praises God for His justice (v.2-5, 10-12). The world powers that prop themselves up in prideful opposition to God are ultimately brought low. Those who profit from oppressing the poor and needy are destroyed, and the weak are lifted up. The destruction of Moab is mentioned in verses 10-12 to represent the incoming demise of the enemies of God’s people. Every injustice under the sun is seen and accounted for by God and every single wrong will be righted.
3. Isaiah praises God for destroying our final enemy (v.8). Our final enemy is death. Death came into the world when Adam and Eve sinned. It exists here now as a foreigner, bringing grief and sorrow wherever it is found. Everyone who encounters death senses within their soul that it does not belong. That sense is correct. There will come a day when God’s people will live under His perfect rule and reign, and on that day, there will be no grief or tears. In the day of judgement, God will swallow up death forever.
4. Finally, Isaiah bursts forth in praise because one day we will be in the presence of God (v.9-10)! On that day, we will celebrate all that God has done. We will rejoice in His faithfulness towards us, His justice towards His foes and His victory over death, and we will never run out of acts to recount. But ultimately, on that day we will delight in Him for who He is. We will behold our God, and we will never tire of enjoying and worshiping Him.
“It will be said on that day,
“Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”” (Isaiah 25:9 ESV)
Pastor Levi denBok
1 John 3
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (1 John 3:1 ESV)
Through God’s love and the working of Christ we have been made beloved children of God! Incredible. Christ infinitely loves us and nothing will ever change that. This reality will affect how we live in the world, deal with our flesh and resist the works of the devil. We are rejected by the world, assaulted by our flesh and tempted by the devil, but Jesus came into the world in order to do away with sin and destroy the devil. As God’s children, we are overcomers!
As a result, beloved, we are certain of our eternity and the glorious transformation that awaits us when our blessed hope Jesus appears (see Philippians 3:21). At that moment we will be changed. This is our certain hope.
Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1 John 3:2-3 ESV)
As such, we are to live in light of our identity, and live in light of the adopting grace of the Father. The New Testament speaks of living as children of the light (see Ephesians 5:8). We are to be holy as God is holy (see 1 Peter 1:16). As children of God, we are being made like Christ. If we are in Christ we must turn from sin and continually turn to Christ. We cannot serve two masters! Christ came to abolish the works of the devil and we must declare ourselves servants of Christ or servants of the devil.
Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. (1 John 3:8-9 ESV)
We who know the redeeming love of Christ, shown at cross (verse 16), are to love God and show that by a life of obedience. Holiness and love for one another are seen here as two characteristics of a believer. But how do we walk in righteousness and in love? It is only by the abiding presence and power of the Holy Spirit (see verse 24). Love and holiness are not something we are capable of apart from what the Holy Spirit works in our lives.
We need to engage in some self-reflection: is there evidence in our lives that we are changed and being progressively made like Jesus? Do we see evidence of love and the desire for righteousness? If so, we can be assured that we are abiding in the love of God and that we are truly saved.
If, as you examine your life, though you might be a church attender, these qualities are noticeably absent, then come to the end of your self-righteousness. If there is little or no evidence of real salvation, there is an advocate with the Father who will extend grace, mercy and forgiveness to those who call on him.
Associate Pastor Jody Cross