Saturday, July 30, 2016

"Do you know THIS God?!"

Day #213

Scripture Reading:  Isaiah 23 - 28 ...

At some point in the near future every person and every nation will be forced to acknowledge that there is one true God and that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God who reveals Himself in His Word, the Bible, and in His Son Jesus Christ.  And when that day comes there will be cries of despair and overwhelming fear and grief coming from all who do not know God as “Abba, Father,” through faith in Jesus.  As Isaiah continues to declare God’s coming judgment against the nations, these words are repeated over and over again:  "Wail!  Be silent!  Be ashamed!  Wail!  Wail!!” That's Isaiah 23, and the reason for their wailing lies in Chapter 24 ..

We have seen that many people want to read these words of Isaiah and the words of the rest of the Bible as symbolism for lessons God wants people to learn.  These do not believe that any of this will really happen and have no explanation of why the prophets wrote these things, but they pick and choose the words they like and arrive at a place where they find comfort in a “god” that doesn’t exist, for they do not know THIS God!!  Listen carefully to some of the things Isaiah says will happen, not by accident, not by “natural causes,” but by the hand of  the Almighty God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth!

All of this is from one chapter in God’s Word, from Isaiah 24:  "The LORD is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it; He will ruin its face and scatter its inhabitants” (vs. 1). ... “Earth's inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left” (vs. 6). ... “ ... all gaiety is banished from the earth. ... So will it be on the earth and among the nations” (vss. 11-13). ... “The floodgates of the heavens are opened, the foundations of the earth shake.  The earth is broken up, the earth is split asunder, the earth is thoroughly shaken ... it falls - never to rise ... In that day the LORD will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below ..." (vss. 18-21).   That's Isaiah 24.  Some might be surprised to read these words here, as they seem to fit in John’s Revelation!  But both are speaking about the same events!!  This is the coming judgment of God upon this planet, and it is REAL!!!

Yet, at the same time, there is hope for those who know God and who worship Him and give thanks to Him for His gift of salvation through the Messiah, the Savior, the Anointed One, Jesus Christ.  Seven hundred years before His birth, Isaiah declares, “From the ends of the earth we hear singing:  ‘Glory to the Righteous One!’” (24:16).  And in verse 23 we read, “for the LORD Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem.”  This is God’s promise to those who know Him and who worship Him. 

Do you know THIS God?  He is the LORD of the heavens and the earth, and His judgment is just and certain upon all who do not know Him.  It is THIS God who is the God of salvation.  It is He who will reign on Mount Zion, His holy place in Jerusalem.  This will happen LITERALLY!   Isaiah goes on in Chapter 25 to say that for those who know Him a glorious future awaits:  "On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples” (for all who believe from every people, tribe, nation and tongue),  ... “On this mountain He will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; He will swallow up death forever.  The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; He will remove the disgrace of HIS people from all the earth" (25:6-8).

What a beautiful picture for those who know this God!  “In that day they will say, ‘Surely this is our God; we trusted in Him, and He saved us.  This is the LORD, we trusted in Him; let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation’” (25:9).  Are you rejoicing in God’s salvation today through faith in Jesus or are you caught up in the things of this world, imagining that all of this is just some religious fairytale that has no chance of coming true?  No wonder that so many live in despair, “without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).

Those who know THIS God find peace and rest as they trust in Him.  “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (26:3).  Those who know this God desire but one thing:  "Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts" (26:8).  To these God says, "Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until His wrath has passed by.  See, the LORD is coming out of His dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins" (26:20-21).

THIS God is still the God of Israel ... those descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Whatever people may think of the political state of Israel, these people, and others of their race around the world, are special to God, and the city of Jerusalem, Mt. Zion, will feel the very feet of the Savior, the eternal Son of God, Jesus Christ.

"In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit" (27:6).  "And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the LORD on the holy mountain in Jerusalem" (27:13).  The temple mount will again be host for the worship of the One, True God.  "In that day the LORD Almighty will be a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath for the remnant of His people" (28:5).

In the midst of God's pronouncements of judgment, He reveals the way for those who are His to come to Him:  "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed" (28:16).  Peter quotes this verse in I Peter 2:6 and points to Jesus as the fulfillment of Isaiah's words.  THIS God has provided a way through the cross of Christ for sinners to escape the coming judgment.

I hope YOU know THIS God!  "Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts!"  (Isaiah 26:8).

"LORD God Almighty, You alone are God.  Your judgments are just and right.  Yet, Your promises are sure and Your salvation delivers those who place their trust in the One Who is the Cornerstone!  Blessed are those who know You, the only true God, for we will be saved on the day of judgment and will feast at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb!  Thank You, LORD, for Your amazing grace, in Jesus' name, Amen"

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