Thursday, October 21, 2010

Strange Parallels--Part 2

There were a few items that were left out of this letter due to time constraints.  One was that this pronouncement of judgment began and ended with a message of hope.  In the first section of the message about Jerusalem found in Isaiah 2-4, the prophet gives keen insight about our growth as a believer.  

Step one--God is exalted!  Notice the mountain of the Lord's house being lifted high in Isaiah 2:2.  Doesn't that remind you of Jesus statement in John 12:32, " And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me"?  Notice Isaiah's statement that there will be an upward flow toward's God's throne.  Isaiah saw Jesus exalted and the nations flowing to worship Him.  Don't you think that is what we desperately need to do today--to lift Jesus higher so that those snared in sin can find the only available means of escape?  Also, God always wants us to progress higher in Christ and not to stagnate in our relationship with Him.  He wishes us to flow upward towards the express image of our Savior to the glory of Jesus alone!  

Step two, there was a strong desire to learn God's ways found in Isaiah 2:3.  When Christ is preeminent in a church or home, all who come in contact with the glory revealed by those believers will become hungry and thirsty for the knowledge of the Lord.  Why are many starving spiritually?  Maybe because Jesus is not exalted in their midst?

Step three--when we learn the ways of the Lord we naturally want to walk with Him and in His paths as is also found in Isaiah 2:3. When our relationship deepens with God we begin to experience what He desired for Adam--to walk with God daily.  Those who walk close to the Lord never trip nor stumble as He guides their every step.  He leads them in paths that honor Christ continually.  

Finally, step four is a given!  If Christ is exalted in your life, if Christ's word and ways are the intense desire of your heart, if Christ's paths are sought and we are found walking in close fellowship with Him, then it is natural that there should be peace in our lives.  Notice Isaiah 2:4.  They knew that God is peace and the sole desire is to honor that peace.  Don't we all know that Jesus wishes us to have a peace that passes all understanding?  Exalt Him, learn of Him, walk with Him, and you will experience the benefit of His peace.

I guess I will have to point out His message of hope to the remnant in Isaiah 4:2-6 another time.  God Bless!  

I have not posted much news in a while, but it has been relatively quiet in relation to Israel.  There have been some domestic issues of concern, however.  I will post some articles today, but they will not be under any specific headings as usual due to the volume of stories.

Rivlin accuses Carter of supporting Hamas, spurring terror - NPR Fires Juan Williams After O'Reilly Appearance

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Grapes of Wrath

     Isaiah 5 continues with the theme of judgment.  This chapter was a sermon delivered during one of Israel's religious feasts.  Imagine being in attendance and enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of a fair like attitude.  Everyone is happy and joyous, yet while they enjoy the "blessings" of God they are not following God with all their heart.  Furthermore, their heart is far from God.  Their service is based on keeping a few feasts and occasionally going to worship, but it is all an attempt to placate God.  Into this feast steps the emboldened prophet loudly proclaiming the truth, the Word of Almighty God.

   His sermon starts with a parable like story about a vineyard which is found in verses 1-7.  His point is that they are the vineyard of God and that the fruit they bring forth is corrupt in the sight of the Lord of the Harvest.  Fear and foreboding enter the hearts of the once happy feast attendees, but that emotion soon changes to anger as Isaiah declares that they will be destroyed by the Lord of Hosts, Himself for their failure to obey and love God with all their heart.

  Part two of the message specifically names the sins in which they were involved with.  First, there is a sinful desire for earthly gain over spiritual gain which is found in verses 8-10.  Their violation of God's covenant with the land would lead to their being overthrown in verses 9-10.  Next, they are judged for their inordinate lust for pleasure manifested in their drinking and partying.  Even "church" was more about personal entertainment than heartfelt service to the Lord.  This sin carries a pronouncement of slavery.  It will go beyond the slavery of alcohol addiction or today's drug addiction.  The nation will be sold into captivity.

Can you begin to see the parallels to the US again?  It is like Isaiah preached this sermon last Sunday!  God help us!  Help us to turn our hearts towards you!