Thursday, January 9, 2014

"Standing firm in your faith while the battle rages all around you!"

Day #13:  Daily Bible Reading Plan - January 10th

Scripture Reading:  Isaiah 7 - 11 …

Are you part of the "remnant" … those chosen by God to be HIS people?  What was true in the days of Isaiah is true today:  not all those who claim to be God's people ARE His people.  God's Word is filled with promises of hope and deliverance, but only those who know Him, who trust Him and who stand firm in their faith will escape His judgment and experience His deliverance.

In these chapters Isaiah is speaking about two kinds of deliverance:  physical deliverance and spiritual deliverance.  Both come from the Lord, the one and only true God, the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Jerusalem and Judah were facing what appeared to be imminent destruction, but God said, "This is what the Sovereign LORD says, 'It will not take place, it will not happen!'" (7:7).  God says to those who believed in Him, "If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all" (7:9).  And then God promised a sign:  "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel" (7:14).

Throughout the prophets God often spoke of an immediate deliverance and then of a future deliverance.  He is doing so here.  God was sending Assyria against Israel and sparing Judah.  Then He promised to destroy Assyria and its king because of his pride and arrogance (10:12).  Yet even as God brings judgment, He is at work to bring deliverance and salvation to a "remnant."  In the first seven verses of Chapter 9 God points to the One who would be born as a child, but who would reign on David's throne forever.  "The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this" (9:7).

 God's anger and judgment is right.  After this glorious promise God speaks of his anger and four times, from Chapter 9, verse 8 through Chapter 10, verse 4, Isaiah writes, "Yet for all this, His anger is not turned away, His hand is still upraised."  How horrible is the wrath and judgment of God, and there is only one thing that can turn it away:  the suffering and death of God's own Son in the place of sinful mankind.

Isaiah speaks of a remnant of Israel that will be saved (10:20-22), and he points to the "stump of Jesse" 11:1) upon whom the Spirit of the LORD will rest.  By God's set plan and purpose there will come a time when He stands on the earth to judge with righteousness.  "They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.  In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to Him, and His place of rest will be glorious!" (11:9-11).  Then God will gather a remnant from Israel a second time (11:11) and make a highway for them to return to Jerusalem (11:16), where Jesus will reign over the whole earth for a thousand years.

Such a clear picture of God's deliverance for those who are taught by the Spirit of the One who came to be our Savior and Lord!  As you face the physical and spiritual battles of life in this world, do you have One who is fighting for you, who is able to destroy the plans of the wicked and to uphold those who put their trust in Him?  He is the same LORD in whom Isaiah and the remnant trusted long ago and in whom the remnant will trust in the future.

"If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all" (7:9).  I pray that your faith is in the Sovereign LORD who rules over the nations and who delivers those who trust in Him today, just as He did in the days of Isaiah.  If He is with YOU, then the words He commanded Isaiah to speak to Ahaz, the king of Judah, are directed to you today:  "Be careful, keep calm and don't be afraid.  Do not lose heart …"  (7:4).  The great "I AM" is with you!  He WILL deliver you!!

"O Sovereign LORD, the Creator and Sustainer of the earth and everything in it.  No enemy that rises against Your people is more powerful than You!  May those who are part of your "remnant" today by grace through faith rest assured of your deliverance and stand firm in our faith, through Your Son, our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Amen"


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