Thursday, April 10, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 65

The Word of God this morning is like an oasis in the desert. Vacations are supposed to be a relaxing time, but this one was a disaster on top of everything else that has happened recently. Still, in the middle of it all, God provided. When we checked into a hotel room that was far from what the ad promised and wasn’t even a safe place to stay, God provided with temporary lodging from a great friend. When one of our travel companions got sick in Key West, God provided with a safe journey back to Miami. When our rental car became damaged in a hit and run, God is currently working on providing for that unexpected expense. When our return flight got delayed and caused us to miss a connection, God provided with safe travel home.

What does all this have to do with Chapter 65 of Isaiah? Well, as I got back into the Word for the first time in a week I saw that today’s message was on judgment and salvation. To me, the trials of the past three weeks have almost been like a judgment. They have been a test to see if I can remain faithful as everything else falls apart around me. Last night as we were in the Detroit airport and we received yet another piece of bad news, our luggage would not be returning with us, I had to burst out laughing. Even then, God still provided, and that is where the salvation aspect comes in. Last night, my salvation was a McDonald’s double cheeseburger. I sat on the plane and enjoyed it simply because it was a small, perfect provision from God.

13 Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says:
"My servants will eat,
but you will go hungry;
my servants will drink,
but you will go thirsty;
my servants will rejoice,
but you will be put to shame.

14 My servants will sing

out of the joy of their hearts,
but you will cry out
from anguish of heart
and wail in brokenness of spirit. – Isaiah 65:13-14

Ultimately, this is what it comes down to when we face judgment. Those that have accepted Christ will receive these blessings, while those that haven’t do not. When we face judgment and can still praise God for even small positives, it means we are far from being broken in spirit. This applies to me right now because I am so broken physically, emotionally, and mentally, but I am still strong in spirit. Even now that I am home I am far from having all the answers, but God has never disappointed me in the past. This period will end, hopefully sooner rather than later.

17 "Behold, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.

18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
and its people a joy.

19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more. – Isaiah 65:17-19

As a Christian, the final result of all of this judgment and the ultimate salvation is, of course, heaven. Here we see Isaiah’s vision of heaven in the penultimate chapter of his book. It is very similar to John the Revelator’s version seen in the book of Revelation. It is generally regarded as a place where even the little worries of life that bog us down and stress us out are washed away easily by our loving creator. Here, heaven is a remade earth wiped clean of sin. It is a place where we will be so separated from our sin that God will hear and answer our prayers before we are done praying them. I recognize that what I have been through has been taxing, but it is minor compared to what others struggle through daily, with no end in sight. For them, this promise is even larger. It is something even more to hope for.


1. Why would those without Christ see judgment differently?
2. Why are we still judged even after accepting Christ?
3. How different is the new earth that Isaiah speaks of late in this chapter compared to our current earth?

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