Monday, January 9, 2017

Isaiah 49:1-7 God's Swords & Arrows

Isaiah 49:2, 6 He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver... It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."

KEY THOT: The mention of “my servant” in verse 6 is a reference not to Israel, nor to Isaiah but to Christ whom the Lord has called to be “a light for the Gentiles”. And we who are one with Christ and in Christ share the same purpose and destiny, viz., to bring back "those of Israel I have kept" and "my salvation to the ends of the earth.” We should not spend our lives in vain pursuits: "I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing." Instead, we are to should become like "polished arrows" in God's quiver so that our lives may be align to His purpose in Christ. For our ultimate destiny and reward is in his hands: "Yet what is due me is in the Lord's hands, and my reward is with my God" (v.4). So as Christ's body, we share the same goal as Christ, the Head--to bring God's salvation to the ends of the earth. This salvation we bring is both spiritual and social. It is focused on individual and societal transformation. 

We are not called in Christ to be "blessed" but to be a blessing.

God has made our mouth to be like a "sharpened sword", always speaking God's word, the sword of the Spirit. He has also made us like arrows concealed in his quiver to shoot down and "demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and... take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5). The moment we are baptized into Christ, we are enlisted into His army to engage in spiritual warfare with the powers of darkness. We are not called to enjoy the "Good Life" (defined by 5 C's of career, cash, car, condo and club) but to engage in promoting the God-life defined by only 1 C: submission to Christ as Lord!

May we be God's swords and arrows in this new year, bringing salvation to everyone we know who have yet to know Christ. Use every occasion we have to invite someone to the next Alpha course so that they may have the opportunity to explore the meaning of life offered by God in Jesus Christ. Our spiritual ambition in this life is to facilitate the rescue of the lost from the kingdom of darkness into Christ's kingdom of light through the Gospel.

Father God, open our eyes to see the spiritual warfare that is now being waged around us, and against us. May we be Your swords and arrows in this spiritual battle against the enemy. Amen.

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