June 7 – 14
Isaiah 12:2 “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”
Lone voices amid a haughty nation, Isaiah and Micah lament Israel’s ambivalent disregard for the Lord. The descriptions of what happened sound very much like our country today. We claim to be a people of God, but freedom of religion has become freedom from religion. We worship many idols of success and worldly pleasure; we ignore abominable sins and say live and let live. I am afraid what consequences our country must endure to return to the Lord. He will not be mocked or take anything less than our full attention, we learned this week, and we also saw how loving He was even to His children He had to set aright. . Micah 1:9 speaks of Israel’s destruction, “For her wound is incurable; it has come to Judah. It has reached the very gate of my people, even to Jerusalem itself.” Just as Judah’s sin ran deep, our own country’s sin is not superficial. Our own sin runs deep to the heart. Our own personal sin isn’t just about doing the wrong things, but our deepest heart attitudes.
Micah 2:3 Because of Israel’s sin, God warns: “Therefore, the Lord says: “I am planning disaster against this people, from which you cannot save yourselves. You will no longer walk proudly, for it will be a time of calamity.”
Salvation is promised to the remnant. Yet even amid sure and impending disaster, God promises a ray of hope in a remnant He reserves. Micah 2: 12-13 “I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob; I will surely bring together the remnant of Israel. I will bring them together like sheep in a pen, like a flock in its pasture; the place will throng with people. One who breaks open the way will go up before them; they will break through the gate and go out. Their king will pass through before them, the Lord at their head.”
Micah 5:4-5 – prophesy of Christ as our peace. “He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace.
And in Isaiah 11:1 “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit…” In a dark world of sin and shame and little hope, a prophesy is told of the greatest Hope of all—a Savior who will bring peace. As we read the readings this week, it became clearer to me why there really was no other way than for God to allow His Son to die. The world had become so decrepit and evil, only a perfect One could come and offer any hope at all for redemption. But not just any old hope, or even a small ray of hope. . .an almighty Redeemer who would bring peace was promised.
My Hope Micah 7:7-9, 18-19 But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the Lord’s wrath, until he pleads my case and establishes my right. He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness. . .Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” Who else is like our God? Who else offers this hope, this unending love? Though our nation is not right with God, though our own hearts sin against Him, we still remain steadfast in our hope in Him. Though I fall down, I’m about to get up! I will suffer consequences of my sin, but He will set me back up to see His righteousness. Both personally and corporately, our hope is in the Name of the Lord, our Righteousness.
Hezekiah’s Prayer 2 Kings 19:14-19 – Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “O Lord, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God. “It is true, O Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by men’s hands. Now, O Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O Lord, are God.” You know, you have to love Hezekiah’s prayer the way he lays everything out before the Lord, and says, You alone are God and you made all of this; Deliver us, so all will know that you are the one true God. But the best part for me comes next in God’s quick answer to him, using the enemy, Sennacherib’s words (‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says… 2 Kings 18:19)and twisting them to be victory words, in 2 Kings 19:20. “THIS is what the Lord says, the God of Israel…” I love it when God takes what the enemy means for harm and fear, and turns it into something to His glory and for our good. He is the God of paradox and immutable goodness. He hears and answers so mightily and with an uncanny ability to turn things upside down and set them right again.
A Journey into His Heart Isaiah 1:18 “Come now; let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” I cannot let this verse escape note without mentioning my own journey in this verse in particular. He gives us a brain and a heart to seek Him with Him to guide and take us straight to Him. I love that God (1) is a God of reason and makes sense of so many things that I cannot. (2) takes us by the hand and wants to walk together with us toward understanding His ways. (3) and by doing so, purifies us white as snow, as we walk together deeper into His heart. This Book unlocks every secret to finding the Lord. He is revealed on each page, and His heart becomes even more beautiful as we see Him in clearer and clearer Light.
And I may never understand why He is so good to me, not giving up but promising again and again, as in Isaiah 30:18 “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” Blessed indeed are we whose Lord’s never ending love awaits our return to Him. May we wait on Him alone and, in so doing, know the fullness of His promised blessing. Until next week, be blessed in your wait, and take your unreasonable worries to Him who promises to sort them out with you and make some sense out of things. He knows your heavy heart and longs to be gracious and compassionate to you—yes, to you. Take it personally.
Walk with us through His Word each week with Bev and Cover to Cover. It will bless you richly.