The Promise of a New Creation (Isaiah 63-66)

Book of Isaiah

Sorry it’s been so long and unpredictable when I’m going to blog. I’ve been going through a pretty rough time in my life. Today I finally feel renewed and feel that it’s time for me to get back into this blog. So hold on tight. We are going to finish the Book of Isaiah today! Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but if we’re all here there will be another post!

As we finish the book of Isaiah, we start with a depiction of God coming in wrath among the nations of the world. He is covered in a red garment. He is asked why, and God explains that it is the blood of those who do not follow Him. Calling forward to the future crucifixion, God is pictured in blood, suffering in order to save His people, and dying for people of all nations. “In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, …” (63:9, NASB). In verse 16 we see a glimpse at the future struggle of Gentile Christians. “For You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us and Israel does not recognize us. You, O Lord, are our Father, Our Redeemer from of old is Your name.” (63:16, NASB).

God’s people, Jews and Gentiles, offer up a prayer of mercy and help. They recognize that God is angry because of their sin. They have all chosen to go against God. Now, they have realized the error in their ways, and are asking Him to give them mercy. “You meet him who rejoices in doing righteousness, who remembers You in Your ways. Behold, You were angry, for we sinned, we continued in them a log time; and shall we be saved? (64:5, NASB). They now submit themselves for God to make them as He thinks is right “we are the clay, and You our potter;” (64:8, NASB). They recognize that they need His mercy in order to become the people that He wants them to be. Their heart’s cry is to simply be made new. For God to destroy their old selves, and make them new.

The nation of Israel had long been a people who knew about God. God calls the a rebellious people. They constantly turn away from Him, and do the things He has asked them not to. So God tells His people that He has chosen a new people that will obey Him. He says, “I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me; I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me. I said ‘Here am I, here am I,’ to a nation which did not call on My name. I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, and an heir of My mountains from Judah; even My chosen ones shall inherit it, and my servants will dwell there.” (65:1 & 9, NASB). “Behold, My servants will eat, but you will be hungry. Behold, My servants will drink, but you will be thirsty…” (65:13, NSAB). God is telling the people of Israel that because they are unfaithful, He will take care of those who obey Him before them. They will find themselves in need, and God won’t help them until they seek Him. Then God promises a new creation. He will remake Jerusalem, and the earth, into a place that knows and follows God through the people who obey Him today.

God does make one final warning to His people before the new Creation. It is not simply good enough to say and do the correct things. They have to actually do them and follow God, because they know it is right in their hearts. Hypocrisy has no place in God’s new Creation. God’s new Creation will see an end to all evil, and people who actively work against Him. “Then they will go forth and look on the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm will not die and their fire will not be quenched; and they will be an abhorrence to all mankind” (66:24, NASB).

We live in some crazy times. We hear people all the time denouncing God. There are Muslim extremist groups who’s sole purpose is to destroy either the US or Israel. This something easy for us to remember as our nation remembers the events of 13 years ago today. We see and hear about despicable acts towards women and children, simply because its a lucrative business and makes someone lots of money. We live in a world full of evil, but there is hope. We have hope because of Christ. We find our salvation in him, so our souls are good. But what about this world that we all must live in until it is time for us to go home?

God promises a new creation for the people who follow Him. All evil will be eradicated from this world, and God will set a new world with Himself and Christ at the center.  If you’d like to read more about that I’d suggest reading the event in the Book of Revelation.

For us today though, as we live our day in/day out lives, God’s promise is still there for us. God will never leave or forsake you, so long as you believe in His Son. Jesus is the way that we can have hope in a world full of evil. Christ came, and died for our sins so that we can have God’s promises. We just have to make a stand and follow Christ, no matter what the world tells us.

I’ll end here with a verse that has been my prayer today, and I hope it becomes yours.

“Establish my footsteps in Your word, and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me.” –Psalm 119:133, NASB

 

Psalms to Pray: Psalm 119

Also in this Series

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A Popular Misunderstanding

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LOVE the book of Colossians. It is most certainly one of my favorite books in the whole Bible. I would recommend reading it, if you haven’t, and do some good study on it. I may do a study on it soon here on The Heart Man. But my love of Colossians is not what I’m wanting to talk about today, I just wanted to lead with it (you’ll see why in a moment).

I overheard a conversation going on today (about politics) and there was a statement made that went something like this, “This is really a religious issue. I don’t see why they are letting their faith interfere with making law. The separation of Church and State forbids that kind of behavior.” (This isn’t exactly what was said, but it still gets the point across.) Statements like this get me upset, not because of disagreements on politics, but because it represents the idea that my faith belongs at Church on Sunday morning and nowhere else.

Paul writes in his letter to the Colossians about becoming a new person in Christ. “So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you…”(Colossians 3:5, NLT). Paul is saying to us, “Remember all those things you used to do before you encountered Christ? They made you dead, and Christ made you alive. Stop doing those things and focus on what God want you to do.” He even writes earlier, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” (Colossians 3:1, NASB). We are new! We are not the same as we were before, and we cannot go back!

The thing that bugs me the most is a misunderstanding over the separation of powers. I believe that people are well-intentioned, but have a problem understanding historical context. Historical context is when we read something from a different time, and try to understand what the text is saying within that time period, not ours. This is something we have to do constantly when studying the Bible, which is why there are misunderstandings on Scripture as well. But back to government! The separation of powers came up from two things. First, the thirteen colonies were seeking to break away from England. At the time, the King was not only the head of government, but also the head of the State Church. This lead to much religious persecution, which is why many of the colonist came to the “New World” in the first place. The second misunderstanding is that the first amendment gives freedom of religion. Many of the colonies (future states) had established a certain denomination as their State Church. However, the view was that this was inappropriate for a land to have religious freedom.

So a separation of powers, does not mean that we cannot vote based on religious beliefs. Based on Paul’s writing, that’s exactly how we should be voting. Christ has made us new, so before voting we should have a little WWJD moment. The other problem that arises during these types of discussions is that the people who oppose us, we mistreat because we disagree.

Paul urges the Church to “…put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;… Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” (Colossians 3:12, 15, NASB). Paul is speaking to the Church about other church members, but I feel that this could be simply applied to our relation with people of other faiths. Show everyone compassion despite disagreements. We must treat others like they are people, just as we would want them to treat us. Pushing the Bible on people, who don’t want it, only drive them away from the Gospel. Instead we should live our lives as God commands us, and let that be our testament to Jesus Christ.

I disagree with several things going on in the world. But I will never condemn someone simply for believing differently than I do. We will never have problems, until you start having a problem with me believing the way I do. That’s the way we are called to live. Live as Christ taught us to live. Love everyone, even the people we disagree with. Let love overflow your heart, just as Christ did. That’s the call of a Christian lifestyle. We must keep true to our beliefs, we cannot compromise them. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t love those we disagree with. The call of the world to keep our faith to Sunday mornings is exactly what the Enemy wants. He doesn’t want God’s people living like God’s people, because it hurts his cause.

So stand up for your beliefs. Don’t ever let someone tell you that your Christian life should stay at Church. Christ made you new! We are no longer dead in our sin, but we are alive in Christ. Do you know who can change this world? People who are alive, not dead. And the Enemy does not want to see that change, because then he loses.

 

Psalms to Pray: Psalm 2

 

PS I’m very sorry if this makes no sense. I’m really scatterbrained at the moment. Plus I was super excited to open up Colossians today. Please forgive me if you can’t follow this post.