Isaiah 65. Blessings Abound for the Chosen — Us!

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 65.

Bad news for the sinner — that’s us.

Good news for the chosen ones — that’s us too!

“I, the LORD, will make them pay for their sins and for those of their ancestors… they have disgraced me by burning incense (to idols) on mountains.” (v7, CEV). God calls out those who do religious things just to be religious. For those sins they will have to pay. And, we’re in that category, too, right? Because as Paul notes: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). And that’s precisely why Jesus had to come and had to pay the price for everyone’s sin. Even those whom God is addressing here in Isaiah 65.

But, good news! “I won’t destroy everyone.” (v8, CEV).

“I am God! I can be trusted. Your past troubles are gone; I no longer think of them. I am creating new heavens and a new earth. Everything of the past will be forgotten.” (v16-17, CEV).

God CAN be trusted. I love that He, infinite God that He is, forgets our past when we confess our sin and trust in Jesus. And, even though He forgets our past, He doesn’t forget the pain we may have suffered or the heart-ache we might have endured. His love and grace wrap around us like a comfortable blanket.

Look how Paul says the same thing: “Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.” (1 Cor. 5:17, CEV). We are chosen because Jesus went to the Cross, and rose again, on our behalf.

Isaiah concludes this chapter with blessings that abound for the chosen ones:

“My people will live long lives and in their own homes.”

“My people will harvest and enjoy their own crops.”

“Your work won’t be wasted.”

“Your children and grandchildren will be blessed.”

“I will answer their prayers before they finish praying.” (parts of v21-24, CEV).

Don’t you just love that? He will answer our prayers even before we finish offering them! What great promises are in store for us, because we are chosen! We are chosen only because of the grace and love of Jesus:

But God was merciful! We were dead because of our sins, but God loved us so much that he made us alive with Christ, and God’s wonderful kindness is what saves you. God raised us from death to life with Christ Jesus, and he has given us a place beside Christ in heaven.  God did this so that in the future world he could show how truly good and kind He is to us because of what Christ Jesus has done. You were saved by faith in God, who treats us much better than we deserve. This is God’s gift to you, and not anything you have done on your own.” (Ephesians 2:4-8, CEV).

Can we thank Him for His good gifts to us… the blessings we are promised in Isaiah and receive through Jesus, the Messiah?

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

Isaiah 38. Changing God’s Direction? Yes.

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 38.

What an interesting and encouraging story! We can change God’s direction through our prayer!

This chapter opens with our friend Hezekiah gravely ill. In fact, he is told to put the affairs of his house in order for he will surely die soon. He begs God: “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” (v3, (NIV). He weeps before God as the prophet ponders that his work on earth might be finished.

The Lord’s answer? “I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life.” (v5, NIV). And the sunlight went back 15 steps on the stairway!

About his near-death illness, he says: “Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.” (v17, NIV).

“In your love…”

Can I tell you dear child, how much God loves you? How much He loves us all? Yes, He does things that we don’t understand, but they are for our benefit. Our gratefulness for those things is a blessing for our future.

It is up to us to share what God has done with our children: “Only the living can thank you, as I am doing today. Each generation tells the next about your faithfulness.” (v19, CEV).

“The Lord will save me, and we will sing with stringed instruments all the days of our lives in the temple of the Lord.” (v20, NIV).

Worship Him with Hezekiah… today and every day! And tell your kids about God’s trustworthiness. For He has saved you in His great love!

 

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

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Advent Day 25, the Gift of Prayer

December 25, 2011

The Gift of Prayer

 

This Advent Daily Devotional is focusing on the gifts God gives us, as uncovered in the book of Ephesians. 

Paul’s final gift for us this Advent is the Gift of Prayer.   Ephesians 6: 18 says, “pray at all times in the Spirit” and Verse 19 “pray for me.”

Pray at all times.  Sounds remarkably like 1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing” Doesn’t it?

Pray in the Spirit.  That sounds a lot like Romans 8:26, which says that when we don’t know how to pray or what to pray, the Spirit helps us in our weakness and prays for us with groaning too deep for words.

Is there any greater gift to open on this Christmas Day, other than gift of the Christ-child Himself, than the ability to be able to connect with Holy God in prayer? 

And it’s a gift to be able to offer prayers on behalf of others.

Continue reading “Advent Day 25, the Gift of Prayer”