Feeds:
Posts
Comments

global_cross_light
Isaiah has been reminding us of the devastating effects of sin. We rejoice that Jesus would come to set us free from its hold, and cleanse us from its filth. If we’re tempted to think any sin is cute, remember it sent Jesus to the cross. That’s how horrific sin is. It leads to destruction and demands death. Romans 6:23 says,

“For the wages of sin is death,
but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

That is amazing news! Think about that as we read Isaiah 4:4,

“When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion
and purged the bloodshed of Jerusalem from her midst,
by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning,”

How? First, by the spirit of judgment – God is just, and the punishment for sin is death. Jesus died in our place, taking our sin on Himself, so that we could be just before God. Let that soak in as we read Romans 5:8,

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us,
in that while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us.”

That is amazing love. Isaiah 4:4 also says this washing and purging is accomplished by the spirit of burning. The same God who provides warmth of heart and refining for His own, destroys evil. Hebrews 12:28-29 says,

“ 28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken,
let us show gratitude,
by which we may offer to God an acceptable service
with reverence and awe;
29 for our God is a consuming fire.”

Washing. Purging. Paid in full. Free gift. Eternal life. Genuine love. Christ died in our place. Refining fire. An unshakable Kingdom. Let us show gratitude, indeed. Lord, thank You.

Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 5.37.29 PM
Continuing in Isaiah 4, we see Israel’s waywardness. She was unable to save herself or even realize she needed saving. That is our story, too. Unless the Holy Spirit opens our eyes, we cannot see. But for those who receive God’s salvation in Christ,

“It will come about that he who is left in Zion
and remains in Jerusalem
will be called holy—
everyone who is recorded for life in Jerusalem.”
Isaiah 4:3

How could a people full of reproach and arrogance be made holy and recorded for life? By the grace and mercy of God. Jesus is the way.

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21

The women in Isaiah 4:1 offered to wear their own clothes and eat their own bread if they could just have a man’s name to remove their shame. Through salvation, Jesus not only gives us His name, but provides His Beloved with all we need. Our attempts at spiritual provision fall short, but His never do. Revelation 19:8-9 says,

“ 8 It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean;
for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

9 Then he said to me,
‘Write, “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”’
And he said to me,
‘These are true words of God.’”

How’s that for food and clothing! He is our everything, and this promise is sealed and secure. The end of Isaiah 4:3 sounds like Psalm 87:6,

“The Lord will count when He registers the peoples,
‘This one was born there.’ Selah.”

Born into God’s Kingdom through the blood of Christ; recorded forever in the Lamb’s book of Life!  Lord, thank You for salvation, provision, and security.

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 3.50.57 PM

Israel was in terrible shape, choosing her own way over God’s. Isaiah 4:1 sounds strange, but appears to be a turning point,

“For seven women will take hold of one man in that day, saying,
‘We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes,
only let us be called by your name;
take away our reproach!’”

What about remaining single? Are they crazy? Historical and cultural implications aside, this is the Word of God, so let’s dig in.

These women aren’t looking for food or clothing, but a name that removes shame. Above all, we humans need our shame removed. We try to hide our sin, but in truth, it’s still there. We try to convince ourselves it’s not sin; maybe insist others agree. But our reproach isn’t gone, even if the whole world says there is no shame in our sin.

“ 18 For many walk, of whom I often told you,
and now tell you even weeping,
that they are enemies of the cross of Christ,
19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite,
and whose glory is in their shame,
who set their minds on earthly things.”
Philippians 3:18-19

But of the ones desperate for salvation, Isaiah 4:2 says,

“In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious,
and the fruit of the earth will be the pride and the adornment
of the survivors of Israel.”

Jesus is the Branch. He’s the only Man whose name is able to remove shame and is enough for all of us. I think “seven” represents completion – seven women desperate for that name. When the times are complete, the entire Bride of Christ will be gathered to her Groom, named by Him, complete in Him, joyfully free from shame – because their eyes were open to see their need for salvation. Praise Him!

True Beauty is only found in the Lord. We can imagine we’re looking pretty good in our rebellion, but God does not see it as attractive. We’ll allow Isaiah 3:16-26 to reveal what happens when the pride of rebellion bears fruit,

“ 16 Moreover, the Lord said, “Because the daughters of Zion are proud
And walk with heads held high and seductive eyes,
And go along with mincing steps
And tinkle the bangles on their feet,
17 Therefore the Lord will afflict the scalp of the daughters of Zion with scabs,
And the Lord will make their foreheads bare.”
18 In that day the Lord will take away the beauty of their anklets, headbands, crescent ornaments,
19 dangling earrings, bracelets, veils,
20 headdresses, ankle chains, sashes, perfume boxes, amulets,
21 finger rings, nose rings,
22 festal robes, outer tunics, cloaks, money purses,
23 hand mirrors, undergarments, turbans and veils.
24 Now it will come about that instead of sweet perfume there will be putrefaction;
Instead of a belt, a rope;
Instead of well-set hair, a plucked-out scalp;
Instead of fine clothes, a donning of sackcloth;
And branding instead of beauty.
25 Your men will fall by the sword
And your mighty ones in battle.
26 And her gates will lament and mourn,
And deserted she will sit on the ground.

Obviously we should take care of our appearance. But outward beauty doesn’t compare to the eternal beauty of receiving Christ and becoming His bride through His atoning work on the cross. He will present her (men and women) whole without spot or wrinkle; carrying His fragrance rather than putrefaction; receiving freedom instead of bondage; victory instead of defeat; safety in His eternal Kingdom; never alone. The pleasure we find in sin doesn’t hold a candle to that.

Worldly Direction

“O My people! Their oppressors are children,
And women rule over them.
O My people! Those who guide you lead you astray
And confuse the direction of your paths.”
Isaiah 3:12

When women and children can take the ship, weakness abounds. Look what is happening in their rebellion: Where are their guides leading them? Astray. What are they doing to the direction of their paths? Confusing it. That is horrible leadership.

There is much confusion in our world today. God’s Word gives us truth and stability to light our path and show us the right way to go. We want to be sure we don’t fall for some of the current cultural “wisdom” and find we have led others astray or into confusion.

Try to imagine the next scene as God arises to contend, stands to judge, enters, and speaks. Be still my heart. We can be sure He is right and will prevail. Let’s hear Him, and stand in awe of Him,

“ 13 The Lord arises to contend,
And stands to judge the people.
14 The Lord enters into judgment with the elders and princes of His people,
‘It is you who have devoured the vineyard;
The plunder of the poor is in your houses.
Isaiah 3:13-14

Us? Let’s be sure we are walking humbly with God; not in rebellion to His Word.

“‘ 15 What do you mean by crushing My people
And grinding the face of the poor?’
Declares the Lord God of hosts.”
Isaiah 3:15

Oh, He is good. He will not tolerate leaders harming the sheep. He is making clear that our own ways won’t work, and the result will be harm. But if we will humbly believe His truth, guard and stand in it, then true help and refreshment can come.

Fruit

Judah was in the wrong, and Isaiah 3:8 explains why,

“For Jerusalem has stumbled and Judah has fallen,
Because their speech and their actions are against the Lord,
To rebel against His glorious presence.”

Such audacity. Rather than rejoicing in God’s glorious presence, they rebelled. Yet this can be more subtle than we might think. When a nation has known God’s Word and passes legislation that is in opposition to that wisdom, it really is just rebellion. And with that can come a hardening that gives us a dangerous confidence that proclaims our ways are just as good or better than God’s. We see this in Isaiah 3:9,

“The expression of their faces bears witness against them,
And they display their sin like Sodom;
They do not even conceal it.
Woe to them!
For they have brought evil on themselves.”

Rather than being ashamed, they pranced sin into the light – not to be forgiven, but to brazenly present it as acceptable. As an example, the Scriptures tell us gossip is sin. We know how hurtful and harmful it can be. Yet some love it, gather for it with no shame, and even put it up in lights on TV! Let’s see what God has to say in Isaiah 3:10,

“Say to the righteous that it will go well with them,
For they will eat the fruit of their actions.”

Precious relief. By continuing in the righteousness that Christ affords, we can be pleasing to God, enjoying His presence; redemption rather than what we deserve. But there’s a warning in Isaiah 3:11,

“Woe to the wicked! It will go badly with him,
For what he deserves will be done to him.”

Jesus came to save us from what we deserved, and we cannot thank Him enough.

yet

Sometimes after an election, bumperstickers appear concerning the one leaving office saying, “Do You Miss Me Yet?” Some do; some don’t. But when God pulls out, His provision and protection are terribly missed. Whether people acknowledge His hand or not, we can be sure that there are eternal provisions, pleasures, and fullness of joy nowhere else. We are reading of God pulling back His provision as Judah rejected Him in Isaiah 3:6-7,

“ 6 When a man lays hold of his brother in his father’s house, saying,
‘You have a cloak, you shall be our ruler,
And these ruins will be under your charge,’
7 He will protest on that day, saying,
‘I will not be your healer,
For in my house there is neither bread nor cloak;
You should not appoint me ruler of the people.’”

Amen to that. The answer is not in man. Only the Lord can heal, provide, restore the ruins, and rule well.

It’s not unheard of for a person to seek power when something is in it for them. Here, we see a big “no thank you” when there is not much to rule, and nothing in it for them. Whether your nation is enjoying righteous rule or not, as believers we can pray and look forward to the Day of Christ’s return and a Kingdom beyond our imagination. With relief and joy we can join together in the words of Revelation 11:17,

“saying, ‘We give you thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty,
who are and who were,
because You have taken Your great power
and have begun to reign.”

No more lack; or ISIS; or corrupt politicians; or gossip; or cold hearts; or injustice; or division; or deception; or any other sin; or death. Lord, please reign in our hearts today!

%d bloggers like this: