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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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What God has offered us through the only Mediator, Jesus Christ, is stunning. Just look at what we find in His Presence:

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Though He offers, some will reject it. As we continue in Isaiah, we see the horror that comes from rejecting God’s presence. Once rejected, God mercifully pulls back His provision and protection, lest we imagine they could come from another source, including our own hands. Let’s listen in and ask the Lord to speak to us:

“ 1 For behold, the Lord God of hosts is going to remove from Jerusalem and Judah
Both supply and support, the whole supply of bread
And the whole supply of water;
2 The mighty man and the warrior,
The judge and the prophet,
The diviner and the elder,
3 The captain of fifty and the honorable man,
The counselor and the expert artisan,
And the skillful enchanter.
4 And I will make mere lads their princes,
And capricious children will rule over them,
5 And the people will be oppressed,
Each one by another, and each one by his neighbor;
The youth will storm against the elder
And the inferior against the honorable.”

Let’s not imagine that we can reject God, and remain in protection and provision. Those things are not found apart from Him. Instead we find lack, oppression, disrespect, and hearts growing cold. When leaders act like children, it’s not good for anyone. We need to pray for our leaders, and ask God for mercy and wisdom. We need the Lord.

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hiding

Don’t mistake God’s patience for indifference. He’s watching over His Word to perform it. Isaiah 2:17-18 says,

“The pride of man will be humbled
And the loftiness of men will be abased;
And the Lord alone will be exalted in that day,
But the idols will completely vanish.”

Who will be exalted? The Lord. Through Christ He can be exalted in our lives today. Those things we exalt above God, including ourselves, have no future.

Christ’s return will be wondrous for those who receive His salvation. But for those who insist on the pride of their own way, Isaiah 2:19 -21 says,

“Men will go into caves of the rocks
And into holes of the ground
Before the terror of the Lord
And the splendor of His majesty,
When He arises to make the earth tremble.
In that day men will cast away to the moles and the bats
Their idols of silver and their idols of gold,
Which they made for themselves to worship,
In order to go into the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs
Before the terror of the Lord and the splendor of His majesty,
When He arises to make the earth tremble.”

Glory.

Adam and Eve knew about this when pure fellowship was lost and they hid in the Garden. Then Isaiah 2:22,

“Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils;
For why should he be esteemed?”

Why indeed!

The world is seeking self-esteem and glorifying humans; the Lord reveals that apart from Him, we are not all that. Christ is our shield and in Him we have found our worth. We were created to glorify God. In that is joy, security, and purpose. No more hiding. Bless You, Lord!

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good

Proverbs 9:10 says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. God’s Word is truth, and with it comes glorious warning. Meditate for a minute on Isaiah 2:10,

“Enter the rock and hide in the dust
From the terror of the Lord and from the splendor of His majesty.”

The splendor of His majesty. Be still my heart.

Some are teaching that God is love, so we’re all eternally okay. God’s Word says anything, but that. God is love, so He tells it the way it is. Apart from Christ, we cannot approach the High and Holy One. We don’t have to believe Him, but we won’t be able to say He didn’t tell us. Of the following we can be sure,

“The proud look of man will be abased
And the loftiness of man will be humbled,
And the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.

For the Lord of hosts will have a day of reckoning
Against everyone who is proud and lofty
And against everyone who is lifted up,
That he may be abased.
And it will be against all the cedars of Lebanon that are lofty and lifted up,
Against all the oaks of Bashan,
Against all the lofty mountains,
Against all the hills that are lifted up,
Against every high tower,
Against every fortified wall,
Against all the ships of Tarshish
And against all the beautiful craft.
Isaiah 2:11-16

Because God is good, He is against things that are not. Lord, thank You for telling us. Help us to love what You love, and hate what You hate. Help us to revere You. We won’t rightly love people any other way. You are prefect, and we thank You for offering the invitation of the light of salvation in Christ.

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