Shabbat Shalom. Peace.

“Shabbat Shalom!” This is the greeting each Friday evening by Jewish people everywhere. May the peace of the Sabbath be yours. Maybe tonight, it’s more of a virtual salutation.

Peace. Rest.

There are two candles lighted at the beginning of the Shabbat celebration each Friday evening. Tradition holds that the first is called the Creation candle. The second light is the Redemption candle. Everything God creates, He has a plan for redemption. We can rejoice in His plan of redemption for us all.

May you find His true peace and rest during this very trying season. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27, NIV)

And one of the key blessings of Shabbat: “May the LORD bless you and keep you. May the LORD make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the LORD turn His face towards you and give you His (eternal, loving and grace-filled) peace.” (Numbers 2:24-26, NIV).

Indeed. Let’s pause tonight, open your hands and your heart and find His peace.


(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.