He Always Will 

It’s taken me 2.5 years to wade through Isaiah’s 66 chapters, but I don’t regret it nor the “detours” that helped it take that long. They were what I needed, and I found that every time I came back to Isaiah my marker was right where I needed it then, too. 

I’ve been reviewing what I learned from this book and I’m left with four thoughts. 

1.) We are broken, but God wants to heal. He gave promise after promise to an apostate nation, He gives promise after promise to me. The difference: they received not the fulfillment but if I obey than the fulfillment is mine. 

2.) When God transforms He completely transforms, but it doesn’t stop there. I am redeemed so that I may serve: feed the hungry, seek justice for the oppressed, etc. It’s a beautiful way for His love to touch the world. 

3.) God is just but He is also merciful. He makes no secrets about what happens if I persist in sin but He also bears long. When I run away, He comes after. When I sin, He is ready to forgive. He bore long with a nation that would not listen, and He bears long with me. 

4.) Lastly, but certainly not least, God is love. It is Love that the rescues the straying, Love that touches the filthy and transforms, and Love that gives every chance possible for me to turn to Him and love Him back. It is Love that has chosen me, love that waits so He can be gracious and forgive. Love builds no barriers and He offers me this chance, this gift, to love as He does, even though I’m broken…. Perhaps because I’m broken. It is love that heals, after all. 

Today I have just one question and it’s not a question of whether or not God loves me or has chosen me or wants me to be with Him forever. He does. He always will. But have I chosen Him?

He is everything I need and He is enough for me. 

  

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No Fear (promise of God)

(Thoughts on Isaiah 41, from various translations)

I have seized you from the ends of the earth.
I have called you.
I have said unto you, ‘You are My servant. I have chosen you, and not cast you away.
Fear not. I am with you. Do not be dismayed and look elsewhere for help.
I am your God. I will strengthen you. You will be courageous.
I will help you, protect you, give you relief.
I will uphold you, sustain you, with the right hand of My righteousness.’

Best reason not to fear right here. God has chosen me, He is with me, He is my God. He supplies everything I lack.

But, there’s more.

All those who are angry at you will be ashamed and confounded. They shall be as nothing. If they strive with you they will perish.
You will look for them and will not find them.

I, the Lord thy God, will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. I will strengthen you to live for me.

Just like a daddy does his child: takes him by the hand; listens to his fears; then helps him stand—courageous. Only this is almighty God and little me.

He comes, this gracious God. He takes my trembling hand in His strong one, “My child, what troubles you?” He knows, of course, but He asks just so I can tell Him myself.

And so I do, trembling and ashamed. Half-afraid He’ll turn away and leave me there alone. But He doesn’t. He simply says: “Do not fear. I am here.”

So we stand together: Me, barely released from the grip of fear and Him in whom no fear is. My enemies—they flee from the face of Love and all that remains is Grace unending.

Amazing Love. Amazing Grace.

Unshaken Confidence

He knew he would not be ashamed and so had set his face like a flint.

There would be no turning back, no turning aside. No believing anything other than what God had told him.

He was confident in this because God was near to Him. Because God had promised to help him, he knew that he would not be confounded.

He knew Truth. And Truth kept him steadfast.

And even though at times all around was confusion, he believed God and remained unswayed.

His face was set. There would be nothing else.  Nothing but God’s truth.

In this a challenge rings true.

Do I trust God this much?

Do I believe that what He has said He will do?

Is my face set like a flint, so that the confusing thoughts Satan throws at me will serve not to confuse but to strengthen Truth in my life.

God’s promises are new every morning.

They never fail, and they never run out.

And that’s because the God who made the promise never fails and never runs out.

The promises aren’t what we trust, it’s the God behind those promises.

He promises:

And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.  (John 8:32)

My grace is sufficient for you for My strength is made perfect in weakness.  (2 Corinthians 12:9)

I will never leave you or forsake you.  (Hebrews 13:5)

God is faithful. Isaiah knew this and he would not be dismayed.  

We can know this too.

And in this God  I, too, can find the confidence that will never be shaken.

(Isaiah 50)

Saved. Commissioned.

God saves us, sets us free, helps us.
But not only so that we can be free; but so that we can help others.*

Free the prisoners.
Show those in darkness the way.
Lead them to the Bread of Life.

God never saves without giving a commission.
He never sets a soul free from bondage without giving them the responsibility to work for the freedom of others.

Every disciple is a missionary.
Each has a task to do.

But we’re not called to do it alone–far from it.
He has promised to always be with us.
To give us the words we need when we need them.
To shine His love through us.

This is all I need. I go. His Promises shine true.

 

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Thus saith the LORD, In an 
acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.

Isaiah 49:8, 9

*Seek Judgment

Far, yet near.

Hearken unto me, ye stouthearted, that are far from righteousness: I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory. (Isaiah 46:12, 13)

God makes salvation as easy as possible.

When we are far from righteousness, He brings His righteousness near to us.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock….” (Revelation 3:20)

God does everything He can.
Brings His white raiment to me.
Stands and knocks on the door of my heart.
Longs for me to accept His raiment in place of my dirty rags.

The Infinite is so desirous of my salvation that He takes no chances that I may miss His gifts.

And then He waits.
Ultimately, it’s up to me to accept or not.

But when I do accept His grace He does not tarry.
One word and all springs into action.
Transformation. Joy unknown.

God waits to be gracious.*
We may be far from righteousness, but God’s righteousness is not far from us.
May He not wait in vain.

*Isaiah 30:18

Chosen

It’s just one word but it has me in utter wonder.

You know, how just one moment can hold you there in silence; how just one thought can change the course of your life; how just one word can rivet you?

I just finished studying Isaiah 43. There is just so much beauty, so much depth, so much promise in that chapter.

And out of it all I’m left with one simple word: “chosen”.

Think about it for a moment.
What does chosen mean to you?

What does it mean to you when it says that God—the almighty, infinite, perfectly holy, yet tender Father—has chosen you?

Not until last fall did I really begin to understand what being chosen was.
She was just a little girl, but arguably one of the sweetest and cutest around. (Yes, I’m biased!)
Yet, she didn’t want anything to do with me. She loved her family, but I was a stranger and so she didn’t know or trust me. If I walked near, she cried.
That all changed when I spent a weekend at her home. Suddenly, she brought me books to read, fell asleep on top of me.
I guess I had to get into her comfort zone for her to decide she liked me.

It didn’t change after that. Every time I saw her she’d come running with a smile, a book, a toy.

But it wasn’t until we were all gathered together, the YD family that is, and she stood in the middle of the room full of her loved ones, her flesh and blood, and looked around, deciding where to go—and decided to come running to me…

It wasn’t until then that I understood what being chosen was.

And now, to think, that God has chosen me.
That He chooses to spend time with me when He doesn’t have to.
That He chooses to love me even though I’ve hurt Him over and over again.

This moves me.

Because this is so incredibly more significant than my little friend choosing me.

He’s the King of the Universe.
He knows the number of the stars, He knows the number of grains of sand on the seashore.
And I’m just a tiny speck on this planet I call home.

But He’s also a personal God. One who takes an interest in every moment of my day; One who knows me by name. A Faithful Father, Enduring Friend….

But I’m not a speck to Him.
I belong to Him, and He has chosen me.

Gracious God

The Lord will wait that He may be gracious unto you.

This amazes me.

The people?
They’ve despised God’s Word.
They’ve told His prophets to leave them alone, that they only want to hear smooth things.
They’ve trusted in oppression and perverseness.
They’ve even refused to trust in the Lord.

And yet, despite all this, God still waits for His people to repent, turn to Him, and realize they need Him?

He waits so He can be gracious.

And the Hebrew word means more than to simply to bestow favor.
It means to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior.

I find it hard to wrap my mind around this concept.

An infinite God, waiting to bestow gracious forgiveness and love upon those who’ve rejected Him.
An almighty God, waiting to take their sorrow and captivity and turn it into joy and freedom.
A God, who waits even when His people are running straight the other way.

And to think: He still waits for His people today….

Amazing love.

(Isaiah 30:18)