Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Listen To God
“Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.” (Isaiah 50:10-11)
While they don’t know the future, people who have put their trust in God and listen to those he has sent can move confidently through life as long as they continue to follow him. Those who try to define their own way, producing their own forms of light based on other things will ultimately wind up at the place that approach leads to. They will experience the chastening and punishment of god and regret their decisions.
“Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him. For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.” (Isaiah 51:1-3)
People who want to do right, and to follow God need to realistically look back at where they came from. The Jews needed to see that God had taken a man called Abraham, separating him from his people like a rock cut out of a quarry. It was God who shaped and empowered Abraham to become the father of the nation. That same God will comfort and strengthen the Jews, making her land, even the deserts and seemingly useless land productive and valuable, and giving them peace and happiness.
“Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people. My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.” (Isaiah 51:4-6)
God was going to establish a new law or contract like what he had originally given them. He would provide a standard of right as a light to guide them. His plan was already in place and salvation was already planned, that would reach even to the foreign lands and islands that had no contact with Israel. Israel should listen to God and observe what he had done, understanding that he will one day destroy this present earth, and the people who dwell on it, but that his salvation would not end when the earth is destroyed. While the Old Testament Law would remain in effect only as long as the earth remains, the New Testament law will be in place forever, and his promises will never be changed.
“Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation.” (Isaiah 51:7-8)
The people who obey and trust God need not fear those who hate them, nor the things they accuse them of. While they seem powerful at the moment, like a moth eaten piece of wool cloth, the holes in their claims and their weakness will be apparent to all. God’s righteousness will last forever, and his salvation will be effective for generation after generation of people.
“Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon? Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over? Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.” (Isaiah 51:9-11)
The Rahab mentioned here is not the harlot of Jericho but means the proud or boastful one, and refers here to the Egyptian Pharaoh. God delivered his people from them, destroying the Egyptian army and allowing the Hyksos to overrun and humiliate them. He delivered the Jews by drying up a way through the Red Sea. When it moves, that same great power of God will bring back God’s people from the foreign lands, and they will spend eternity rejoicing that he has loved them so much.
“I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; And forgettest the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?” (Isaiah 51:12-13)
It was God who was encouraging them to put their faith in him. Their enemies were just people like themselves, who would die just as easily as they. They had forgotten who God was, the creator of the universe. As a result of forgetting who God was, they had lived in constant fear of the anger and threats of those around them.
“The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail. But I am the LORD thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The LORD of hosts is his name. And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.” (Isaiah 51:14-16)
A captive in another land devotes his effort to trying to escape and to seeing that he doesn’t starve to death. Israel had the same God who divided the Red sea to guide them. He had told them what they were to do and had covered and protected them so they would not be harmed when he rebuilds the earth. At that time, he will renew his commitment to them as we see in Revelation 20.