Isaiah 55. Go with Joy!

Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah.  Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.

Isaiah 55.

Eight wonderful, somewhat separate, thoughts in this 13 verse chapter.

Each one is a powerful reminder to us of God’s greatness and glory!

1. All who are thirsty, come. (v1).  See also Matt 5:4, John 4:14, John 7:37 and Rev 22:17.

2. Life-giving words: I’m making a lasting, covenant commitment with you: solid, enduring love. (v3)

3. Nations will run to you. You have what they want. (v5).

4. Seek after God while He is here to be found (v6).

5. Come back to our God who is lavish with forgiveness (v7).

6. The way God thinks and acts is way above the way we think and act (v8).

7. God’s words, even these words, will not come back empty. They will do the work God assigns (v11).

8. Go with joy! The mountains sing! The trees clap their hands. The giant sequoia trees are monuments to God, lasting and living evidence of God! (v12-13).

These are all things we can be joyful about! That’s who our great God is!

I’m so thankful for these life-giving words.

 

If you’re new to this journey through Isaiah, you can start here.
(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Isaiah 54. God Is Always Kind and Merciful.

Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah.  Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.

Isaiah 54.

The glory of Zion is at hand. Get ready for a blessing from God.

“Make your tents larger! Spread out the tent pegs; fasten them firmly.” (v2, CEV).

Can I tell you how much God loves you? First, there was the promise to Noah. Now, there is a promise for the people of Israel — a promise for you and me as well.  “For even if the mountains walk away and the hills fall to pieces, my love won’t walk away from you, my covenant commitment of peace won’t fall apart.” The God who has compassion on you says so.”” (v10, MSG). “I will always be kind and merciful to you.” (v10, CEV). 

Even when all seems hopeless… “for those who are childless (v1), for those who are widowed (v4).” Even in the worst of times, God will take care of you, of us.

I’m reminded of the encouraging words of Jesus, spoken on a hillside along the Sea of Galilee. “Do not worry about your life…” (Matthew 6:25, NIV). The Master continues, “But more than anything else put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.” (Matthew 6:33, CEV).

Don’t worry about what you’ll wear or what you’ll eat. Or about those who attack you or say mean things about you. When we fully submit to God, He watches over us. His opinion of us is the only one that matters. He has sent His Holy Spirit to comfort us and to be with us.

Isaiah concludes with this reassuring word: “Weapons made to attack you won’t be successful; words spoken against you won’t hurt at all. My servants, Jerusalem is yours! I, the Lord, promise to bless you with victory.” (v17, CEV).

The Message says it this way: “I’ll see to it that everything works out for the best.” (v17).

Here’s how Paul articulates this in his letter to the church in Rome: “We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him. They are the ones God has chosen for his purpose.” (Romans 8:28, CEV).

I’m thankful my future is not completely in my own ability or skills or even “luck.” No, our confidence, our trust, and our future is in God’s hands! He’s got this! He’s got you! He will always be kind and merciful to those who love Him.

 

If you’re new to this journey through Isaiah, you can start here.
(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Isaiah 53. Creation and Redemption.

Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah.  Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.

Isaiah 53.

How can one read this and not see that this is Jesus, our Messiah?

“He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. The fact is, it was our pains he carried,  our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. It was our sins. He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises, we get healed. We have all done our own thing, gone our own way, and God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong. On him. On him.” (parts of vs 2-6, MSG).

God had to come up with a plan for our redemption. For you and me. And Jesus followed the plan faithfully… humbly… because of His great love for us.

“Still, it’s what God had in mind all along, to crush him with pain. The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life. And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him.” (v10, MSG).

“Life. Life. And more life.” Where else do we see that phrase? Jesus says: “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” (John 10:10, MSG). That’s “life, life, and more life!”

And the reward for Jesus?

“Out of that terrible travail of soul, he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it. Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant, will make many “righteous ones,” as he himself carries the burden of their sins. Therefore I’ll reward him extravagantly— the best of everything, the highest honors— Because he looked death in the face and didn’t flinch; because he embraced the company of the lowest. He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many, he took up the cause of all the black sheep.” (v10-12, MSG).

We are righteous because of what Jesus did… for us! It was God’s plan! Everything God creates He has a plan to redeem. For centuries, every Friday night Jewish people light two candles as they celebrate the Sabbath. The first is called the Creation candle. The second is called the Redemption candle. God created us and He has redeemed us because Jesus faithfully executed the plan. I’m so thankful for that! That plan IS Shabbat Shalom, the peace of the Sabbath.

Jesus did that for us… and that was 2000+ years ago. I wonder what are we doing for people even two years from now? 20 years from now? 200 years from now? We have been so blessed. How can we bless others? Is there any way we love others the way Jesus loved us?

If you’re new to this journey through Isaiah, you can start here.

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

 

Isaiah 52. How Lovely on the Mountains…

Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah.  Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.

Isaiah 52.

It has all come down to this! Today is the day!

“Now it’s time that my people will know who I am, what I’m made of. Yes, that I have something to say. Here I am!” (v6, MSG).

Here it is. Now is the time. How exciting! Can you imagine waiting for years and years for something to happen? Have you ever planned a big event then had to wait until the great reveal, the graduation, the wedding, the new job, the finished home? We all have, right? To the people of Israel God says, “Now is the time!”

What is it?

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger bringing good news. Breaking news that all is well, proclaiming good times. Announcing SALVATION, telling Zion “YOUR GOD REIGNS!” (v7, MSG).

The Lord had redeemed His people. He is redeeming His people still! Including you and me!

He leads us at the front of the line and protects us from the back as well… our leader and our rear guard! (v12).

And then the culmination of this good news? The servant, His servant will suffer… suffer so badly that “he no longer looked human.” (v14, CEV).

But then… then… here it is… here’s the good news: “The nations will be amazed at Him… King’s will bow in wonder! They will see and they will finally understand! (v15).

Yes, we who are fortunate to live during the post-resurrection time period understand! Jesus is the One who suffered. He is the One who redeems! He is the One who rose from the dead!

He brings the Good News. He is the Good News. He is our Good News!

 

If you’re new to this journey through Isaiah, you can start here.

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Isaiah 51. God Will Turn Deserts into a Lush Garden.

Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah.  Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.

Isaiah 51.

Again, words of comfort and the assurance that God will set things right for those who obey Him. The people of Israel, and us by way of Jesus, are chips off the block of Abraham. Just like the great Jewish patriarch, we can also be called a “friend of God” as we remember our roots (see Isaiah 41:8).

“Listen to me, all you who are serious about right living and committed to seeking God. Ponder the rock from which you were cut, the quarry from which you were dug. Yes, ponder Abraham, your father, and Sarah, who bore you. Think about it! One solitary man when I called him, but once I blessed him, he multiplied. Likewise I, God, will comfort Zion, comfort all her mounds of ruins. I’ll transform her dead ground into Eden, her moonscape into the garden of God, A place filled with exuberance and laughter, thankful voices and melodic songs.” (v1-3, MSG).

Who wants a home filled with exuberance, laughter, thankful voices and singing? I do! Isaiah reminds us, that we can be transformed! If you’ve traveled to Israel you might recall the moonscape of the lands around Masada. Those will be reborn into lush gardens. He did it. He does it. He will continue to do it.

“My salvation will last forever, my setting things right will never be obsolete… Pay no attention to insults and when mocked don’t let it get you down. Those insults and mockeries are moth-eaten, from brains that are termite-ridden. But my setting things right lasts! My salvation goes on and on and on!” (v6-8, MSG).

This echoes what the Psalmist says: “When I was really hurting, I prayed to the Lord. He answered my prayer and took my worries away. The Lord is on my side, and I am not afraid of what others can do to me.” (Psalm 118:5‭-‬6, CEV).

We can trust completely in the delight of God. This is a promise the people of Israel hold on to every day. It is a promise we can cling to as well!

Be comforted today in the beautiful transformational work God is doing in you, in each of us! You may feel like a wasteland or a desert. But God sees you as the Garden of Eden! Hear the singing and laughter. Experience His joy!

I love the word picture described here: “On that day the announcement to Jerusalem will be, “Cheer up, Zion! Don’t be afraid! For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”(Zephaniah 3:16-17, NLT).

If you’re new to this journey through Isaiah, you can start here.

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Isaiah 50. God is our Champion.

As certain as Spring follows Winter…

Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah.  Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.

Isaiah 50.

This is the beginning of some of the prophecies of Jesus as “the suffering servant.” Verse 6 is fulfilled in Matthew 26 and Mark 14.

“I let them beat my back and pull out my beard. I didn’t turn aside when they insulted me and spit in my face.” (v6, CEV).

Then: “I refuse to give up because I know God will never let me down.” (v7, CEV). Certainly, our Messiah had to be thinking this on the day He went to the cross.  God didn’t let Jesus down even though He had to suffer. And for those who repent, He will never let us down either!

Having faith that God is with us, we can boldly take on His daily assignments, as Jesus did: “Therefore I set my face like flint, confident that I’ll never regret this. My champion is right here. Let’s take our stand together!” (v7, MSG).

God IS our champion! Look at the attitude of the Apostle Paul in the New Testament. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, despite trials and persecutions, he pressed on daily, knowing that God was with him.

“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” (Philippians 3:12-14, MSG).

Jesus, our suffering servant, while on the cross kept His eye on His ultimate destination by way of the empty tomb.

Isaiah’s words today end with a stern warning, though, for those who choose to not repent.

However, can we continue to choose obedience and trust? Onward, with our face towards the LORD? Just like we can be confident that Spring arrives after Winter and the sunrise dawns each new day, we will see God’s blessings flow from Heaven. Because He is our champion. He will never let us down!

If you’re new to this journey through Isaiah, you can start here.

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Isaiah 49. Our Light. Our Hope in the Darkness.

Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah. Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.

Isaiah 49.

We often played games with our children that involved flashlights in the dark. We hunted for wild (stuffed) animals hidden in the recesses of the Family Room furniture. We played flashlight tag. They performed skits using flashlights for stage lights.

It is always amazing to me the way a tiny beam of light, or the flicker of a candle, radically changes a dark place. The darkness can never overtake even the smallest of lights. When light breaks into the darkness it often evokes feelings of great joy and relief.

God has a specific calling for His people. “I have placed you here as a light for other nations; you must take my saving power to everyone on earth.” (v6, CEV). The Jewish people will be that luminescence. Sometimes it is just a glowing ember. Other times it will be a beacon that shines so bright it causes us to squint. Either way, the light of God illuminates our path so we can walk in safety.

I believe Isaiah is foretelling the coming of the Messiah. Look at this:

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”” (John 8:12, NIV).

Jesus is the One who is the light for the Gentiles and the Jews! He alone provides a light in the darkest night. He alone is our salvation. He alone is our hope.

Again, Isaiah shares a direct thought from God. The Lord will send His son, who will save us all:

“Israel, I am the holy Lord God, the one who rescues you… You can trust me! I am your Lord, the holy God of Israel, and you are my chosen ones. This is what the Lord says: I will answer your prayers because I have set a time when I will help by coming to save you. I have chosen you to take my promise of hope to other nations.” (V7‭-‬8, CEV).

Jesus is our promise of hope! The light from Jerusalem will shine throughout the four corners of the world! The brightness from the tomb on the morning of Jesus’ resurrection still shines in every dark corner of the world!

You may be going through a challenging time. You may feel surrounded by the darkness. Take courage. God knows our seasons of suffering. You can trust Him. The LORD asks the prophet: “Could a mother forget a child who nurses at her breast? Could she fail to love an infant who came from her own body? Even if a mother could forget, I will never forget you.” (v 15, CEV).

God will never forget you or your situation. Jesus is our hope! Let His light shine in the dark places of your life to bring comfort, safety, and joy.

If you’re new to this journey through Isaiah, you can start here.

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.