10 “Rejoice with Jerusalem,
And be glad with her, all you who love her;
Rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn for her;
11 That you may feed and be satisfied
With the consolation of her bosom,
That you may drink deeply and be delighted
With the abundance of her glory.”
12 For thus says the Lord:
“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
And the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream.
Then you shall feed;
On her sides shall you be carried,
And be dandled on her knees.
13 As one whom his mother comforts,
So I will comfort you;
And you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”
As I read through the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel I see a very sad picture of a nation loved by God yet under the severe hand of God’s chastening. For centuries the nation of Israel, as a whole, had ignored the messengers God sent, they had ignored the written Scriptures left by Moses, and they refused to listen, submit to, and obey the very voice and will of God Almighty. After repeated warnings to them, up until the very time of their city’s destruction, God sent foreign kings and their armies to destroy Jerusalem, break down the Temple built by Solomon, and either kill the people or take them captive. It was the darkest day of their history.
For the people in captivity to read Isaiah 66, for they were in captivity according to God’s plan for 70 years, they would either sigh in disbelief or they would rejoice in hope. God used the illustration of a healthy mother caring for and feeding her loved child to help them picture themselves back in their beloved city being cared for by God. This is a very specific prophecy sent to a very defeated and discouraged people.
What has sin continued to do? Any of you could answer this question for in our own lifetime, as well as for the last 2,000 years, mankind has rejected the word of God, rebelled against the will of God, and has faced the wrath of God. Those who refuse the prophets of God and won’t listen to their messages blame God for their troubles. Those of us who study the Bible and seek to understand God’s messages can clearly see His hand of judgment and mercy at His will. (Read Daniel 9)
My friends, the glory of the Christian life is yet to be fulfilled. We have seal of God within us in the person of the Holy Spirit. God has given us the earnest of heaven in our souls but we know we are not in heaven yet. We glorify God for saving us and giving us peace in a troubled world while we look forward to our heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, where we will dwell eternally with our Lord Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Do not miss the message of Isaiah 66. God has a future promised for all of His chosen of whom we are also partakers.
Do not get discouraged in the length of our time in faith. Very soon our faith will be sight and we will be forever with our wonderful Savior in His wonderful place that He has gone to prepare for us.
Tomorrow morning at 7:30 we will have our monthly prayer breakfast at Denny’s near New York St and Route 59. We study God’s word, pray, and eat breakfast together. If this has not been your habit, join us for a day and you might just want to make it your new habit.
Sunday morning I will be looking again at 2 Corinthians 13:5. There was a bit of conversation after last week’s message on testing and examining ourselves to see if we are in the faith. I am going to look at that proposition and action again in hopes of bringing greater clarity to our church. If you know someone struggling with their faith this would be a good message to invite them to hear.
Have a great day in the Lord,