Monday, June 17, 2013

Isaiah 46-47: True Security is Alignment with God's Purpose

Isa 46:8-47:11 "Remember this, fix it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels. Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do. Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted, you who are far from righteousness. I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion,my splendor to Israel. 

Isa 47:1-11 "Go down, sit in the dust,Virgin Daughter of Babylon; sit on the ground without a throne, Daughter of the Babylonians. No more will you be called tender or delicate.  Take millstones and grind flour; take off your veil. Lift up your skirts, bare your legs, and wade through the streams.  Your nakedness will be exposed and your shame uncovered. I will take vengeance; I will spare no one."  Our Redeemer — the Lord Almighty is his name — is the Holy One of Israel. "Sit in silence, go into darkness, Daughter of the Babylonians; no more will you be called queen of kingdoms.  I was angry with my people and desecrated my inheritance; I gave them into your hand, and you showed them no mercy.Even on the aged you laid a very heavy yoke. You said, 'I will continue forever — the eternal queen!' But you did not consider these things or reflect on what might happen. Now then, listen, you wanton creature, lounging in your security and saying to yourself, 'I am, and there is none besides me. I will never be a widow or suffer the loss of children.'  Both of these will overtake you in a moment, on a single day: loss of children and widowhood. They will come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and all your potent spells.  You have trusted in your wickedness and have said, 'No one sees me.'Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you when you say to yourself, 'I am, and there is none besides me.'  Disaster will come upon you, and you will not know how to conjure it away. A calamity will fall upon you that you cannot ward off with a ransom; a catastrophe you cannot foresee will suddenly come upon you. 

 In these two chapters (46 & 47), we again hear the Lord's declaration that there is none like Him. He is the One who has complete knowledge of the past, present and future. Not only does He knows what has happened and what will happen, He alone makes those things happen: "I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please." God's purpose is irresistible and the only wise thing for us humans to do is alignment, not rebellion.

Rebellion against God's agenda is foolish because when God has spoken it is done. No human wisdom or power can thwart God's might. The daughters of Babylonia thought their empire would never fall: "Now then, listen, you wanton creature, lounging in your security and saying to yourself, 'I am, and there is none besides me. I will never be a widow or suffer the loss of children.'" But God has decreed that Babylon would fall in a single day: "Both of these will overtake you in a moment, on a single day: loss of children and widowhood" (Isa 47:8-9). Despite their confidence in their magical arts and demonic spells, disaster "will come upon you, and you will not know how to conjure it away. A calamity will fall upon you that you cannot ward off with a ransom; a catastrophe you cannot foresee will suddenly come upon you" (47:11). As God has said through Isaiah, the mighty Babylonian empire fell to Darius the Mede in one night: "That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two" (Dan 5:30-31).

God has great patience when we sin against Him because of the weakness of our flesh. But when we refuse to admit our human weaknesses and instead arrogate ourselves against the Lord almighty, we will find ourselves fighting against God--and we cannot win this match. God can forgive our sins and foibles because he has pity upon us and remember we are dust: "As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust." But when man forgets his feeble position as dust and instead rises to challenge his  Creator, then he will experience the full power of God's wrath. Like King Belshazzar who challenged the God of Jacob by desecrating the holy vessels taken from the Temple in Jerusalem at one royal dinner  as drinking vessels, his power was taken away that same night.

We can grieve the Spirit by doing things that are against God's purpose or quench the Spirit by not doing things that will align us with God's purpose. Either way, we will find ourselves out of alignment with God's will. Our greatest security is found in alignment with God's purpose 24x7.

Father, how awesome is  Your power and Your purpose. We cannot oppose and it's folly to do so. The only way we can enjoy the security of  divine favour and blessings is align our lives with Your Kingdom purpose. Amen.

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