Isaiah 65-66, Psalm 121
In the final 2 chapters of Isaiah, the prophet repeats a warning to the Jewish people, “Because, when I called, no one answered, When I spoke they did not hear; But they did evil before My eyes, And chose that in which I do not delight.” (Isaiah 66:4, 65:12). Though people love to play the victim, often our situation is a result of our choices, both here on earth and for eternity. In response to this , in Isaiah 65:1, it says, “I was sought by those who did not ask for Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am,’ To a nation that was not called by My name.” This verse is quoted in reference to us Gentiles by Paul in Romans 9 and 10. In fact God clarifies what He is searching for, “…But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.” (Isaiah 66:2) One of my favorite verses by Jesus reiterates this, in John 8:31-32, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
It’s interesting that pride invades everything, and we know that God hates pride (Proverbs 6:16-17, “These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look…”.). Pride was responsible for the fall from heaven by Lucifer and a third of the angelic group that chose to follow Satan. Interestingly, in both Ephesians 3:10, “to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,” and 1 Peter 1:12, “To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven-things which angels desire to look into.”, part of our (human) role is a result of those angels who rejected God. We are serving as a lesson for them. As we move forward, many of God’s chosen or elect (the Jewish people) rejected God. We, the Gentiles, serve as a lesson for them. In fact, Paul says, in Romans 9:19 (also Deuteronomy 32:21 by Moses), “…I will provoke you to jealousy by those who are not a nation, I will move you to anger by a foolish nation.” Whether it be the angels, the Jewish people, us Christians, or even our nation (how often do we hear the term American exceptionalism), we all somehow started thinking too highly of ourselves rather than as undeserving sinners blessed purely by His grace and mercy. So often, I hear of people talk about how they want to feel more from the Holy Spirit, or as in Jesus’ day, people want to see a sign. Think of the pride in this question. The Holy Spirit, God, uses us, we don’t use Him. As we read yesterday, we are the clay, He is the potter. I believe that part of the reason we don’t encounter more from the Holy Spirit, is our lack of submission. Would we, like Peter, walk on water, or would we suffer the paralysis of analysis. If we were asked or prompted by the Holy Spirit to move out of our comfort zone, would we? The Holy Spirit never changes, He is immutable. Revival is desperately needed, Jesus said if we have faith as small as a mustard seed, we could move mountains (Matthew 17:20). In fact when we read Philippians 2:5-11, we realize that we have the same power that resided in Jesus Himself. The difference is Jesus was a completely willing vessel, we are not. How I pray, as we conclude Isaiah, that we will respond to God’s calling as Isaiah did, “Here am I! Send me” (Isaiah 6:8).
The conclusion of the book is so appropriate, contrasting the beauty of the New Earth and the New Jerusalem which is described in detail in Revelation 21, with the horror of Hell (Isaiah 66:24). Jesus uses this same description of Hell three times in Mark 9:44-48. Just as fulfilled prophecy has proven itself to be 100% accurate, future events can be trusted to be just as factual. As we pray for the return of King Jesus, may we open ourselves to be moved by the Holy Spirit while there is still time to those around us who do not share our hope.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: