Thursday, September 15, 2005

God's Promises (Part Three)

This is a continuation from Part Two, in Which God instructed Israel that it was God who raised up Cyrus to rule them, so that he would rebuild God’s Temple, and in Which God warned of the folly of Man’s Hubris (Isaiah 45:9-16)

Part 3: In Which God brings a warning and a promise to His people, that In the Lord Alone Are Righteousness and Strength.

Now God, speaking through Isaiah, speaks directly to His chosen people, the Children of Israel.
17 But Israel shall be saved by the LORD
With an everlasting salvation;
You shall not be ashamed or disgraced
Forever and ever.
18 For thus says the LORD,
Who created the heavens,
Who is God,
Who formed the earth and made it,
Who has established it,
Who did not create it in vain,
Who formed it to be inhabited:
“ I am the LORD, and there is no other.
19 I have not spoken in secret,
In a dark place of the earth;
I did not say to the seed of Jacob,
‘ Seek Me in vain’;
I, the LORD, speak righteousness,
I declare things that are right.
God announces His pre-eminence to His people, people He called out to, people He encouraged to seek Him while He yet may be found. This God, this potter, this Artist but more than an artist who formed and established the earth so that Man might dwell on it. And He called the seed of Jacob as those who would carry His banner on the earth, despite travails and long captivity, despite cruelties and severe indignities, yet God said they would not be ashamed or disgraced forever, but would emerge from the darkness of the host nations to which they were carried.

Through Isaiah, God offers Israel this encouragement:
20 “ Assemble yourselves and come;
Draw near together,
You who have escaped from the nations.
They have no knowledge,
Who carry the wood of their carved image,
And pray to a god that cannot save.
21 Tell and bring forth your case;
Yes, let them take counsel together.
Who has declared this from ancient time?
Who has told it from that time?
Have not I, the LORD?
And there is no other God besides Me,
A just God and a Savior;
There is none besides Me.
God yet again calls Israel out of bondage, out from among the heathen people who craft their own gods and pray to craven images. He fulfills His promise as Savior, and suggests the way of His promise that will be fully fulfilled when His Son would walk the earth as Man, die for the sins of mankind, and be risen triumphant in glory as a resurrected new creation to take His place at the right hand of God.

Isaiah foretells the promise of God’s Messiah:
22 “ Look to Me, and be saved,
All you ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
23 I have sworn by Myself;
The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness,
And shall not return,
That to Me every knee shall bow,
Every tongue shall take an oath.[a]
24 He shall say,
‘ Surely in the LORD I have righteousness and strength.
To Him men shall come,
And all shall be ashamed
Who are incensed against Him.
25 In the LORD all the descendants of Israel
Shall be justified, and shall glory.’”

[a] In Paul’s letter to the Romans, as translated Paul renders this as “And every tongue shall confess to God.”
God promises all the descendants of Israel this inheritance. They may look to Him with assurance, and so may we. God speaks through Isaiah here, declaring the promise of the day when “every knee shall bow and every tongue will cry out His name, repent and affirm His Lordship.

Paul writes, in his letter to the believers in Philippi:
Therefore, God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth. (Philippians 2:9-10)
It starts with the movement of God upon the earth. He rises men and women up as part of His purpose. He rises servants up, to follow Him in obedience, and teach all who would come to Him through the promise of His Son Jesus. And this is His Kingdom established, the Kingdom of God.

God's Hands On (Part One)

Clay Nations (Part Two)


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