Isaiah 55-57, Psalm 119: 129-152
When Scripture was originally written there were no chapters or verses. Chapters were added in the 1200’s and verses in the 1500’s. So, when we read these chapters today (55-57), these are not separate thoughts of the prophet, but a flowing response after the amazing truth which was revealed in Isaiah 53. We read in 55:8-9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And my thoughts than your thoughts.” We read in 55:11, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please,”. We read in 55:5, that He will call nations that do not know Him and we read in 56: 3-4, that His love and offer of a relationship extends to the outcasts of society (in this case the foreigner and the eunuch, whom were not allowed to enter the immediate Temple area according to the law).
Each of us have received something that we don’t deserve. By God’s grace and mercy, according to what Jesus has done for us, we are able to come before Him and be in a relationship with Him. Though His ways are higher than our ways, how often do we hear people try to bring Him down to our finite level. People say, “My God would never…”, or “How could God allow…” The truth is we will never completely understand His ways, for they are beyond our comprehension. Many even question the fairness of God when bad things occur in their lives. Thomas Jefferson even edited his own Bible, called it the Jeffersonian Bible by eliminating anything supernatural from Scripture, because he could not personally understand the supernatural. Whenever we feel like we don’t fully understand God, may we respond as Job did in Job 42:1-6, after God revealed the awesomeness of His creation to Job in chapters 38-41. Or may we respond as Paul did in Romans 11:33-36, when he was stunned at the awesomeness of God. There is a wonderful short piece called “The Long Silence” by John Stott, which illustrates the fairness of God and how He understands what we go through.
Realizing the truth of Ephesians 2:8-10, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” God does not need us but once we enter into a relationship he chooses to partner with us. Our works are not done to earn His favor, since He can’t possibly love us any more than He already does. Our works are simply a response to Him whom we love. There is a world who desperately need this relationship. We read in Hebrews 9:27, that after death comes judgment. Who do we know that needs the message of Jesus before it is too late. It is not for us to pick winners and losers. It is not for us to decide which types of people deserve to hear His message. To the Jewish reader of Isaiah, the thought of Gentiles coming to the One True God would have been outlandish, but here we are. The thought of people guilty of heinous acts coming to Christ would seem crazy, but how about the apostle Paul, who was responsible for killing Christians before His encounter with Jesus, or more recently Son of Sam. His Word will not return void. Are we willing to step out in faith, like Isaiah in 6:8, “Here am I! Send me.” Every day we step into our own mission field (our family, friends, workplace, gym, etc), where God sends us countless opportunities to reach others. The only thing which stops us, is us.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: