Monday, May 11, 2015

Israel will Ultimately Be Saved

Isaiah 49:1-26

“Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.  And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me; And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. ” (Isaiah 49:1-3)

Isaiah describes what God has given him to do.  He was chosen to tell people about God even before he was born.  God has refined his speech and message like a warrior sharpening his sword to make it the most effective possible.   He has prepared Isaiah for his mission like an archer straightening and polishing an arrow, placing It in his quiver so it will be protected but ready to use so God will be glorified in what happens in Israel.

“Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God.” (Isaiah 49:4)

Israel had rejected much of what Isaiah prophesied, turning away from God during the reigns of Jotham and Ahaz.  Even while Hezekiah was king, many of the people rejected God’s word, turning completely away as soon as Hezekiah died.  To Isaiah it looked like he was a complete failure and had wasted all his effort.  He was counting on God to recognize how hard he had worked and reward him in spite of his lack of success. 

“And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength.  And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.  Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.  (Isaiah 49:5-7)

The same God that called Isaiah to turn Israel back to God tells him that he will be rewarded and glorified even though Israel refused to hear his message.  Isaiah’s message will not only impact Israel, but also the rest of the earth.  Though he was despised by the Jews, his message will bring salvation to the Gentiles, with the result that kings and political leaders will worship God.  While the prophecy is about Isaiah, and Israel,  there are definite Messianic overtones. 

“Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.  They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.  And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted.

Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.  Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.” (Isaiah 49:8-13)

At the proper time, God will answer his prayers preserving the message as a covenant with the people like the covenant with Abraham to establish a permanent earth.  He will free those who have been enslaved so that they are no longer afraid to be seen and will experience an abundance of riches and they have never had, never suffering from hunger or thirst or being too hot or cold.  They will come from distant lands such as Sinim, a distant unspecified Oriental country.  All will rejoice and sing that God comforts his people as described in Revelation 5:13.  “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.”

“But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.  Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.  Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.  Thy children shall make haste; thy destroyers and they that made thee waste shall go forth of thee.” (Isaiah 49:14-17)

In their trouble, Israel believed God had forsaken them and forgotten his promise.  Most mothers will give even their life to protect their children but occasionally one will turn against them, or desert them.  God will never forget Israel.  It is like he has had their name tattooed on the palms of his hands as a constant reminder and everywhere he looks he sees reminders of them.  Their enemies will be driven out ahd their children will be free to run like children playing.   

“Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold: all these gather themselves together, and come to thee.  As I live, saith the LORD, thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on thee, as a bride doeth.  For thy waste and thy desolate places, and the land of thy destruction, shall even now be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants, and they that swallowed thee up shall be far away.  The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other, shall say again in thine ears, The place is too strait for me: give place to me that I may dwell.  Then shalt thou say in thine heart, Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children, and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? and who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been?” (Isaiah 49:18-21)

As the Gentiles flock to Israel in that day, they will fill the land so that there is not room for everyone.  Where thy have been saddened by the huge numbers of Jews that have been killed, feeling alone and unwanted, they will find everyone wanting to be part of them.  They will wonder where they all came from. 

“Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.  And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.” (Isaiah 49:22-23)

In that day, the nations that once attacked Israel will do everything they can to protect those who have turned to God, much like a doting grandfather or grandmother who though they are a king o queen will stop to care for their grandchild.  They will treat Israel like the grandparents treat the mother of their newest grandchild. Proud to be part of God’s family. 

“Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?  But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.  And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.” (Isaiah 49:24-26)

Most of the nations that attacked Israel were larger and more powerful and one would not expect to be able to take back their captives or what they had taken away, but God will fight for Israel and will regain what they have taken.  He will restore things to their proper owners and the captives to their own families.  Those that have hated and tried to destroy God’s people will themselves be destroyed as if they were doing it to themselves.  All the world will know who God is, and that he is their savior.  

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