Doom to Bloom, God’s desired way for Us

The book of Isaiah is filled with prophesies pointing the people of Judah to their near future along with the distant future. The amazing thing about these is we can see many of them already fulfilled in their history and in Christ’s coming. Along with these are prophesies that are still future to us. We can see God keeps His promises, and we can look forward with hope to the future outlined for us in scripture.

In today’s passage from Isaiah 5 we have a series of ‘Woes’ delivered by Isaiah to the people of Israel. He gives God’s the charges against them and the result of their disobedience. The Message translation uses the word doom which I think aptly describes their problems.

5:8 Doom to you who buy up all the houses
    and grab all the land for yourselves—
Evicting the old owners,
    posting no trespassing signs,

5:11 Doom to those who get up early
    and start drinking booze before breakfast,
Who stay up all hours of the night
    drinking themselves into a stupor.

5:18 Doom to you who use lies to sell evil,

5:20 Doom to you who call evil good
    and good evil,
Who put darkness in place of light
    and light in place of darkness,
Who substitute bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter!

5:21 Doom to you who think you’re so smart,
    who hold such a high opinion of yourselves!

These warnings were given about 100 years before the destruction of Jerusalem and the deportation of the Jews to Babylon. If we look at each one- these same accusations could be leveled against people in our day. Sin is sin – it has not changed over the centuries. What has changed is the ‘fix’ for our sinful condition. Jesus came to bring light, hope and redemption for our sin sick souls. We do not have to settle for treating others poorly, being addicted, wallowing in evil and lies, doing evil instead of good and over thinking ourselves! Jesus came to save us from our sins and call us to repentance. He came to provide a way for us to rid ourselves of these sinful habits and replace them with justice, mercy and hope. Christ is the Holy one, the Only one, who can Save us. Cling to that truth and place your hope in Him. God keeps His promises and we’ll see his plan of redemption unfold in the next chapters as we receive prophesy after prophecy about Messiah, our Savior.

I love the words of Micah 6:8 which stand in contrast to these woes in Isaiah 5. “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
  And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
 and to walk humbly with your God.”
These words and actions lead to life, hope and blessings from God. God wants so much more for us than the Woe’s of the world.

Linda

Exodus, The Power of the Lamb

And the journey continues….Exodus. This lengthy book, #2 in the Old Testament, tells the story of the saving and calling of Moses, the rescue of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt , and their daring escape into the Sinai dessert as God leads the way! It is filled with amazing feats by God including the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, the destruction of the Egyptian army, and the delivery of the 10 Commandments. The portion I find most meaningful is when God sent the 10th plague and killed all the first born children and animals in all the homes not marked with the blood of the lamb. This is incredibly significant as it pointed to the perfect lamb of God, Jesus, who came to save all from the death brought on by sin.

Exodus gives detailed directions for the preparation of the Passover lamb, the baking of unleavened bread, and the wearing of traveling clothes. God knew just what they would need as they were going the have to leave in a hurry when commanded to GO by Pharaoh. Exodus 12:6-8, 11-13 “Take special care of this chosen animal until the evening of the fourteenth day of this first month. Then the whole assembly of the community of Israel must slaughter their lamb or young goat at twilight. They are to take some of the blood and smear it on the sides and top of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the animal. That same night they must roast the meat over a fire and eat it along with bitter salad greens and bread made without yeast. 11 “These are your instructions for eating this meal: Be fully dressed, wear your sandals, and carry your walking stick in your hand. Eat the meal with urgency, for this is the Lord’s Passover. 12 On that night I will pass through the land of Egypt and strike down every firstborn son and firstborn male animal in the land of Egypt. I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt, for I am the Lord! 13 But the blood on your doorposts will serve as a sign, marking the houses where you are staying. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. This plague of death will not touch you when I strike the land of Egypt.

Here is what happened after this terrible event and what Pharaoh said, Exodus 12:31-33 31 Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron during the night. “Get out!” he ordered. “Leave my people—and take the rest of the Israelites with you! Go and worship the Lord as you have requested. 32 Take your flocks and herds, as you said, and be gone. Go, but bless me as you leave.” 33 All the Egyptians urged the people of Israel to get out of the land as quickly as possible, for they thought, “We will all die!”

What can we take away from this ancient story? God is omniscient and knows what will happen and when. He knows the rulers of each country and they will bow to His will; He cannot be thwarted. God’s plans are meticulous and totally complete. No Israelite family that followed His directions and were in house covered by the blood of the lamb were killed. Likewise, no person who trusts in Jesus, believes He died on the cross and rose from the dead will be lost. Romans 10:13 “For “Everyone who callon the name of the Lord will be saved.” God plans and provides for our good. He knew they would need to leave in haste and had them prepared. He has good plans for you and me and His provisions will always be enough. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Philippians 4:19 “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Lastly, God cannot be thwarted by evil. Pharaoh repeatedly promised to let the Israelites go and then changed his mind. The 9 plagues God sent hardened Pharaoh’s heart against Him, and he set himself against God by refusing to let His people go. God punishment may seem harsh but also showed His mercy. He showed that those belonging to Him would be saved.

Remember John the Baptist’s exclamation in John 1:29 “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” May you see Jesus as your lamb of protection leading you to a life freed from the power and curse of sin. May you look to our great promise keeping God knowing He can and will provide for every detail you need. We have all we need in Jesus. Trust in Him!

Linda

Thankfulness Day 8: He’s rejoicing over me!

Today’s verse comes from Zephaniah 3:17. “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness;  he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

Zephaniah was a prophet to the nation of Israel in approximately 700 B.C. who had a message of repentance. He warned of coming judgement if they did not turn from their worship of idols. He also focused on the coming day of the Lord and the rejoicing that would bring. He proclaims that God is in our midst, He will save and that He loves and rejoices over each of us with singing. What a wonderful message of hope and reassurance for today. We know Jesus came showing that He saves, loves, cares, protects, holds us in His hands and rejoices over us with gladness. Let His gladness and love sink into your soul, filling you with thanksgiving and hope. Knowing that God rejoices and sings over me, a sinner, gives me great hope and creates in me a thankful heart. Knowing He alone will quiet my heart gives me peace.

Be filled with thanksgiving in knowing you are loved and that your Savior, Jesus, is rejoicing over you today!

Linda