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whirledpeas

You’ve probably seen the Whirled Peas bumper stickers, making a play on World Peace. We should want peace, of course! But humans need to know their limits. We may be able to accomplish whirled peas, but not world peace. So where is the hope? In Christ alone!

“And He will judge between the nations,
And will render decisions for many peoples;
And they will hammer their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they learn war.
Isaiah 2:4

Trying to gain world peace apart from Christ is futile. He is the Prince of Peace; the only Mediator between God and man. He alone can restore relationships and bridge gaps between people, families, and nations. Christ alone can take our warring hearts and transform them into hearts at peace with God; hearts that share peace with other people. He alone can transform vessels of enmity into useful, fruit bearing vessels!

When Jesus returns, He’ll pour out the wrath of God and cleanse the world of evil. Until evil is removed, peace cannot happen. Who would want to make peace with evil? Yet it’s so subtle that some are doing it today, rather than fighting the good fight. Look at James 4:4,

“You adulteresses,
do you not know that friendship with the world
is hostility toward God?
Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world
makes himself an enemy of God.”

Let’s be vessels of Christ’s peace, not error. Trying to make peace in our own power, will not birth fruitful things. Let’s stream to Him and learn from Him through Bible reading and prayer; growing in our relationship with Him; doing things His way. Let’s ask God for hearts that desire His will and His return.

10

Do you remember, as a kid, asking your parents (or anyone who would watch) to judge your dive, or your flip, or whatever you might be performing? It’s like we’re born seeking a rating; we’re born seeking that perfect 10. Mom’s don’t always use an accurate rating scale around the pool, because they’re usually more concerned with our hearts than our performance. And while a handful actually do make it to the olympics, most of our Mom’s weren’t holding their breath on that one. As we think about judging, look at what’s going on in Isaiah 2:4a,

“And He will judge between the nations,
And will render decisions for many peoples…”

It sounds like Psalm 67:4,

“Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth. Selah” ESV

Oh, He is gracious to do that. But why would we rejoice at a holy, perfect God judging us? We can be thankful that, unlike appearing before a dishonest judge, God is honest, cannot make a wrong decision, and will not take a bribe. He will only judge rightly. Yet we already know we fall short before Him! So He has offered the way to gain that perfect score. Not by ignoring our flaws, but by redeeming us to be flawless through the Spotless Lamb, Jesus. For those who receive Christ as Savior, His blood atones, and we are therefore found blameless! That perfect score we’ve all been after is only found in Christ, because He purchased it for us on the cross.

No wonder Isaiah saw the nations streaming to God’s salvation. How amazing that Jesus offers to transform us, so that we share His perfect score through salvation. Only Him. There is no greater love.

Is 2

As we learned from Isaiah 1, we need a Savior! There is everything to gain in Christ, and everything to lose without Him. God’s Way is the only way. God’s Way is Jesus. Look at what Christ’s coming brought about, as we read this prophecy.

“The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw
concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

Now it will come about that
In the last days
The mountain of the house of the Lord
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And will be raised above the hills;
And all the nations will stream to it.”
Isaiah 2:1-2

Zion has been established through the finished work of the cross. God’s Kingdom has always been sovereign over all.  Yet on that Day yet to come, Christ will return and every knee and every nation will fall before Him.

“And many peoples will come and say,
‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
That He may teach us concerning His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.’
For the law will go forth from Zion
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”
Isaiah 2:3

What an invitation! One day all will know that Jesus is Lord. Those cleansed by His blood will live in the eternal city. Even today we see this prophecy being fulfilled. Since Jesus’ death and resurrection, the good news of His Gospel has spread. Many are streaming to Him to know Him and know His ways. Persecution of Christians is growing globally, and the world tries to lure souls away, but God’s mission cannot be stopped.  Glory to the King!

Screen Shot 2017-05-19 at 12.46.28 PM

We finished yesterday by seeing that God must be glorified; the point of our very existence. When we desire our strength to be seen, we are actually fragile and futile. Isaiah 1:31 says,

“The strong man will become tinder,
His work also a spark.
Thus they shall both burn together
And there will be none to quench them.”

Our God is a consuming fire. He will ultimately cleanse and bring to an end all things that are evil and futile. But those works that are eternal and glorify God will stand. Are we living to make a name for ourselves? The very works that were for self all along – those works one might take pride in or want pats on the back for – will be the spark that lights the whole thing up to end in futility. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 teaches us,

“For no man can lay a foundation
other than the one which is laid,
which is Jesus Christ.
Now if any man builds on the foundation
with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
each man’s work will become evident;
for the day will show it
because it is to be revealed with fire,
and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.
If any man’s work which he has built on it remains,
he will receive a reward.
If any man’s work is burned up,
he will suffer loss;
but he himself will be saved,
yet so as through fire.”

Our retreat speaker, Toria Peterson, recently taught us that wood, hay, and straw can’t reflect light. Yet gold, silver, and precious stones do! Our works should always reflect the light of the Lord, not soak the glory in for ourselves. Prosperity or success in life is glorifying God.

dry

“For you will be like an oak whose leaf fades away
Or as a garden that has no water.”
Isaiah 1:30

What a travesty, when one could have been a strong, well-watered tree planted by the Lord for His glory! Psalm 1:1-3 says,

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.”

Jesus is the living water.

There’s a stunning moment recorded in Luke 4 when Jesus stood up and read prophecy of Himself from this very book of Isaiah. We will read a bit further than He did that day as we think of what oak, or strength, we want our lives to reveal,

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners;
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To grant those who mourn in Zion,
Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
Isaiah 61:1-3

We were created to glorify God, but sin caused us to be oaks with fading leaves and dry gardens. Then Jesus came! And we were offered continual living water by the only One who can restore us to our original purpose; revealing His wonder by cleansing us, saving us, setting us free, helping us, healing us, guiding us, and walking with us. Glory to the Lord!

oak

oak

God makes the good news of salvation in Christ so clear. Those who refuse Him will wish they had not. Isaiah 1:29 starts with,

“Surely you will be ashamed of the oaks which you have desired…”

The Hebrew translated “oaks” can mean ram or mighty tree, representing strength. What do we desire as our strength, and why? Are we seeking our own glory or that of our Creator and Savior? Are we seeking security in anything other than God? Jeremiah 9:23-24 says,

“Thus says the Lord,
“Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom,
and let not the mighty man boast of his might,
let not a rich man boast of his riches;
but let him who boasts boast of this,
that he understands and knows Me,
that I am the Lord who exercises
lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth;
for I delight in these things,”
declares the Lord.”

Isaiah 1:29 continues,

“And you will be embarrassed at the gardens which you have chosen.”

In the Garden of Eden (meaning delight or pleasure), men walked with God. What garden are we after? When we think of things Satan has seduced us to delight in outside of God’s will, it really is embarrassing. Yet, in Christ, our shame can be washed away. Revelation 6:16-17 says,

“…and they said to the mountains and to the rocks,
‘Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne,
and from the wrath of the Lamb;
for the great day of their wrath has come,
and who is able to stand?’”

Who, indeed? Those who believe in and receive Christ as their strength and salvation; who delight in walking with Jesus over all the pleasures of this world. He is worthy and nothing compares to Him. Amazing grace.

1

The Lord teaches with such clarity. The night and day comparisons of life with the Lord versus life without Him are set out in Scripture for us to plainly see. Through Christ, we are offered repentance, cleansing, and the ability to live in His wondrous ways by His grace. We see it as He continues to record Israel’s condition and their only Hope. Isaiah 1:27 says,

“Zion will be redeemed with justice
And her repentant ones with righteousness.”

The invitation to repentance is such good news! And then to be sure we’re clear, Isaiah 1:28 goes on to say,

“But transgressors and sinners will be crushed together,
And those who forsake the Lord will come to an end.”

He does not want us to miss that; He does not want us left in our sin. False teaching seeks to get the attention off of Jesus, and onto self. It seeks to get attention off of the need for repentance and restoration, by assuring you you’re just fine the way you are. No one is fine left in sin. We all need a Savior. And Jesus is the only One. Those who forsake the Lord will be crushed and come to an end. But for those who believe and receive Him, they will be redeemed, made just and right through the blood of Christ, to live eternally with the Lord.

“And the testimony is this,
that God has given us eternal life,
and this life is in His Son.”
1 John 5:11

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