Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Isaiah 48: God is Doing a New Thing

Isa 48:6-13, 16-19 "From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you. They are created now, and not long ago; you have not heard of them before today. So you cannot say, 'Yes, I knew of them.'  You have neither heard nor understood; from of old your ear has not been open. Well do I know how treacherous you are; you were called a rebel from birth.  For my own name's sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to cut you off.  See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.  For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.  Listen to me, O Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I am he; I am the first and I am the last.  My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they all stand up together... 
Come near me and listen to this: From the first announcement I have not spoken in secret; at the time it happens, I am there. And now the Sovereign Lord has sent me,with his Spirit. This is what the Lord says — your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the Lord your God,who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.  If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.  Your descendants would have been like the sand, your children like its numberless grains; their name would never be cut off nor destroyed from before me." 

God will confide His plans with His people before He carries them out, so that we will not be surprised and that we will not attribute the events to other causes: "From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you. They are created now, and not long ago; you have not heard of them before today. So you cannot say, 'Yes, I knew of them'" (Isa 48:6-7). As His people, God wants us to know what He is presently doing and also what He is going to do in the future.

For this to take place, we must recognize that the Lord is the eternal God -- the First and Last, the Alpha and the Omega:  "Listen to me, O Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I am he; I am the first and I am the last.  My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they all stand up together" (48:12-13). He was at the beginning when the Universe was created and He would at the end when the Universe is being renewed in a new Heaven and a new Earth.

Because our God knows the end from the beginning, it makes sense for us to listen to His instructions regarding what we should do and where we should go because He knows what is best for us: "I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go" (48:17). When we are fully committed to listening to Him and obeying His commandments, we ourselves and our children will receive divine favour and blessings: "If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea. Your descendants would have been like the sand, your children like its numberless grains; their name would never be cut off nor destroyed from before me" (8:18-19).

The God who knows the end from the beginning has given us His commandments to guide us in the way we should go. The more we study His Word, the more we understand His overall plan and the more we are able to align ourselves and our children with God's agenda. And we will experience peace like a river and righteousness like the waves of the sea.

Father, teach us to acknowledge You as the First and Last, the Alpha and Omega. For You know the end from the beginning and will direct us into the paths of peace and righteousness. Amen.

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