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A Rebellious People

Go now, write it before them on a tablet, and inscribe it in a book, so that it may be for the time to come as a witness forever. For they are a rebellious people, faithless children, children who will not hear the instruction of the Lord; who say to the seers, “Do not see”; and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.” Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel: Because you reject this word, and put your trust in oppression and deceit, and rely on them; therefore this iniquity shall become for you like a break in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse, whose crash comes suddenly, in an instant; its breaking is like that of a potter’s vessel that is smashed so ruthlessly that among its fragments not a sherd is found for taking fire from the hearth, or dipping water out of the cistern. For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. But you refused and said, “No! We will flee upon horses”— therefore you shall flee! and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”— therefore your pursuers shall be swift! A thousand shall flee at the threat of one, at the threat of five you shall flee, until you are left like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain, like a signal on a hill. (Isaiah 30:8-17, NRSV)

They don’t want to hear what is right. They want to hear what makes them feel good.

Their sin shall overtake them and they shall be destroyed by it.

Sound familiar? I think we can point to any time in history and see a group that fits this mold.

In fact, all of us are really this way when push comes to shove. We don’t want to hear what we are doing is wrong or upsetting someone. We want to live in the fantasy that everything is great and we are ok.

But God is telling us to listen up and to follow after Him.

To not be rebellious and go our own way, but to follow His path.

Can we?

Will we?

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Israel’s Redemption

On that day the Lord with his cruel and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will kill the dragon that is in the sea. On that day: A pleasant vineyard, sing about it! I, the Lord, am its keeper; every moment I water it. I guard it night and day so that no one can harm it; I have no wrath. If it gives me thorns and briers, I will march to battle against it. I will burn it up. Or else let it cling to me for protection, let it make peace with me, let it make peace with me. In days to come Jacob shall take root, Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots, and fill the whole world with fruit. Has he struck them down as he struck down those who struck them? Or have they been killed as their killers were killed? By expulsion, by exile you struggled against them; with his fierce blast he removed them in the day of the east wind. Therefore by this the guilt of Jacob will be expiated, and this will be the full fruit of the removal of his sin: when he makes all the stones of the altars like chalkstones crushed to pieces, no sacred poles or incense altars will remain standing. For the fortified city is solitary, a habitation deserted and forsaken, like the wilderness; the calves graze there, there they lie down, and strip its branches. When its boughs are dry, they are broken; women come and make a fire of them. For this is a people without understanding; therefore he that made them will not have compassion on them, he that formed them will show them no favor. (Isaiah 27:1-11, NRSV)

The Lord is the keeper of the Vineyard, a pleasant vineyard, that He waters and guards night and day.

This vineyard is Israel and it will bloom and take over the whole world filling it with succulent fruit.

God will fill His people with good things and will have them overrun the earth.

Are you ready to be fruit for the kingdom?

 

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Praise for Deliverance from Oppression

Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you, I will praise your name; for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. For you have made the city a heap, the fortified city a ruin; the palace of aliens is a city no more, it will never be rebuilt. Therefore strong peoples will glorify you; cities of ruthless nations will fear you. For you have been a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in their distress, a shelter from the rainstorm and a shade from the heat. When the blast of the ruthless was like a winter rainstorm, the noise of aliens like heat in a dry place, you subdued the heat with the shade of clouds; the song of the ruthless was stilled. On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear. And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; he will swallow up death forever. Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. It will be said on that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation. For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain. The Moabites shall be trodden down in their place as straw is trodden down in a dung-pit. Though they spread out their hands in the midst of it, as swimmers spread out their hands to swim, their pride will be laid low despite the struggle of their hands. The high fortifications of his walls will be brought down, laid low, cast to the ground, even to the dust. (Isaiah 25:1-12, NRSV)

No matter what is happening in your life, God is always there.

And everything that has come crashing down around you will be built back up by God.

God will provide a feast of rich food and well-aged wines. God will only give us the best.

For even in the valleys, God is with us, and God will always make things right.

So praise the Lord!

God will always deliver His people!

 

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A Warning of Destruction of Jerusalem

The oracle concerning the valley of vision. What do you mean that you have gone up, all of you, to the housetops, you that are full of shoutings, tumultuous city, exultant town? Your slain are not slain by the sword, nor are they dead in battle. Your rulers have all fled together; they were captured without the use of a bow. All of you who were found were captured, though they had fled far away. Therefore I said: Look away from me, let me weep bitter tears; do not try to comfort me for the destruction of my beloved people. For the Lord God of hosts has a day of tumult and trampling and confusion in the valley of vision, a battering down of walls and a cry for help to the mountains. Elam bore the quiver with chariots and cavalry, and Kir uncovered the shield. Your choicest valleys were full of chariots, and the cavalry took their stand at the gates. He has taken away the covering of Judah. On that day you looked to the weapons of the House of the Forest, and you saw that there were many breaches in the city of David, and you collected the waters of the lower pool. You counted the houses of Jerusalem, and you broke down the houses to fortify the wall. You made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to him who did it, or have regard for him who planned it long ago. In that day the Lord God of hosts called to weeping and mourning, to baldness and putting on sackcloth; but instead there was joy and festivity, killing oxen and slaughtering sheep, eating meat and drinking wine. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” The Lord of hosts has revealed himself in my ears: Surely this iniquity will not be forgiven you until you die, says the Lord God of hosts. (Isaiah 22:1-14, NRSV)

We didn’t do anything wrong.

It is someone else’s fault.

Why did the Lord let this happen?

We are good at throwing off blame, the only problem with that is, well one of the problems with that is, that if you always blame someone else, there is no room fro you to change anything about the situation. If you have nothing to do with it then anything you do will not change the situation.

God will not allow His people to blame others, or to live in lives that seem to be perfect.

I have a book on my shelf in my office called No Perfect People Allowed. It is a great book about a messed up church and that is us.

We need to allow God to work in and through our lives. Not to make us perfect, but to allow His perfect love to shine through us.

Don’t go down for the fall and destruction, but allow God to love you and shine through you.

 

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The Peaceful Kingdom

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins. The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:1-9, NRSV)

Where is hope?

The shoot that will come from Jesse, the father of David, who is to be on the throne forever.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see or his hears hear but by the judgment that comes from the Lord.

In His kingdom, the wolf and lamb will lie down together. The leopard and the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling, and all will be led by a child. A child born to us to be a king…

So hope in the Messiah and follow His lead.

Share His peace with everyone.

 

 

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Isaiah: A Child is Born

But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:1-7, NRSV)

On those who walk in darkness…

Have you ever walked in a dark place you don’t know? Or maybe even one you did know?

It is scary to not be able to see. But one little light dispels the darkness and seems to take over the space. This happened to me a few weeks ago when some glow sticks were left on a dresser in my bedroom. I awoke in the middle of the night to a weird light where there should be darkness. Now the room was not all lite up, but the light allowed me to see better than I should have been able to see at that time of night.

God came into this world and dispelled the darkness. He gave His light to you.

Now He wants you to go into your corner of the world and dispel the darkness.

You have gifts to use in His kingdom, for His mission and ministry.

 

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Happy National Toilet Day

 
 

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