Saturday, September 24, 2011

September 24- God's Secret Plan Reveals His Wisdom

September 24, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Isaiah 43:14-45:10; Ephesians 3:1-21;
Psalm 68:1-18; Proverbs 24:1-2

Isaiah 43:14-45:10

Are you surprised as you read the Bible how much focus God has on the nation of Israel?  We are spending many chapters reading about the ups and downs of the tenuous relationship between this chosen people group and their God.  The book of Isaiah is a mini-bible that sums up the broader story that we see in the larger Bible.  Isaiah helps us to realize that God's story for mankind is centered around this small people group who are a representation of mankind.  They are the group through which God makes Himself known in the Scriptures.  They are the people group who bring us the man-child Messiah who will redeem the world through his death. And yet, they are a people group who endure more suffering than any other group on earth.  They bring this judgment onto themselves because of their rebellion against their Creator. 

It is easy to shake your head as you watch the Jews turn to stone and wooden idols for worship.  It seems so idiotic, but they are merely an illustration of what all people on this earth do in their lives.  Today, I am going to list the actions that God promises to take in this world and with regards to Israel.  Notice that mankind is only capable of a fallen and imperfect existence.  It is God that makes all things right and redeems the fallen nature found on our planet.  Here is a list of the "I will's" that God speaks of in our reading today:
  • I will make a path for my people to come home.  (Israel will return in unity to God one day.) Vs. 19
  • I will make springs in the desert to refresh my people.  (This is spiritual and physical promise) Vs. 20
  • I made Israel for myself, and someday, they will honor me before the whole world. (This happens in the end times). Vs. 21
  • I will blot out sins for my own sake and I will never think of them again.  (This is why God forgives sins). Vs. 25
  • I will pour out my Spirit and my blessings on your children. (This was accomplished at Pentecost and will also be seen in the end times). Chapter 44:3
  • God reminds everyone that He is able to tell what will happen in the future. He is the First and the Last.  May I add that He is everything in between, too! Vs. 6-8
  • I will not forget to help Israel. Vs. 21
  • I have paid the price to set you free. (This was done on the cross by Jesus Christ). Vs. 22
  • The Lord has redeemed Israel and has been glorified. (Accomplished by Jesus). Vs. 23
  • I am the Lord who made all things. Vs. 24
  • I alone stretched out the heavens. Vs. 24
  • By myself, I made the earth and everything in it. Vs. 24
The next portion of our reading contains a prophecy of King Cyrus of Persia.  It is amazing that Isaiah is able to name this great leader and world conqueror of the future.  It is Cyrus who will overthrow the Babylonian Empire, which will hold Judah in captivity, and it is Cyrus who is inspired by God to send a remnant of Jews back to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and the temple.

In chapter 45, God calls Cyrus his chosen instrument.  God shows us that He has chosen Cyrus for the sake of Jacob/Israel, His chosen people.  It is Cyrus who will be used by God to send the Jews back to their homeland. God declares that calling Cyrus, even though Cyrus did not previously know God, was a means through which God could glorify Himself throughout the earth. God is the author of salvation and righteousness.  This passage implies that God intends to spread salvation and righteousness widely throughout the earth.  Israel must exist for this to happen because God intends to send the Messiah to earth through this group of people. Cyrus is a tool in the hands of a purposeful God.

There is a warning that people who argue with their Creator will be destroyed.  Complete destruction is their fate.  We once again have the illustration of the potter and the clay.  God is the potter and we are the clay.  We are not to argue with the one who is shaping us.  We are not to question why we are made this way.  God is sovereign.  We are to acknowledge this.

Do you argue in your heart with the way God is running this universe?  How do you feel about the truths that are being revealed in Scripture?  How do you fit in this story?

Ephesians 3:1-21

Now we see God's story unfold further as the Apostle Paul is called to preach the truth about God to the Gentile nations and bring God's chosen individuals to salvation from the Gentiles into God's family.  Here is what Paul has to say about this in vs. 5-7,
"God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now he has revealed it by the Holy Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets. And this is the secret plan: The Gentiles have an equal share with the Jews in all the riches inherited by God's children. Both groups have believed the Good News, and both are part of the same body and enjoy together the promise of blessings through Christ Jesus. By God's special favor and mighty power, I have been given the wonderful privilege of serving him by spreading the Good News."
Paul is humbled and amazed that he was chosen to explain this secret plan to the whole world.  He explains that he was chosen by God to share something that was kept secret since the foundation of the world.  Jesus has made it possible for the whole world to be reconciled to each other through His Church.  We can also approach God without fear.  This means that Jesus has also reconciled us to God the Father.

Paul is amazed at the wisdom and scope of God's plan.  Isaiah was revealing it through a mist. The Apostle Paul, through the work of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, is able to more fully explain God's plan, which was partially revealed in Isaiah. Progressive revelation is what we are seeing here.

God's love, which is so deep and wide, has accomplished this.  Do you acknowledge that it was always God's will to draw all men to Himself?  Do you acknowledge that God has used the Jewish nation in a special role as part of this plan?  Do you feel the potter is doing a fine job?  Do you trust Him?

Psalm 68:1-18

Arise, O God, and let your enemies be scattered!  This psalm predicts Jesus' resurrection and ascension into heaven, which also led the captive believers who were in the grave at the time of Jesus' death and resurrection out of the grave and into God's presence.  Vs. 18 says, "When you ascended to the heights, you led a crowd of captives."  Praise God!

Proverbs 24:1-2

Don't envy evil people.  They just stir up trouble.

What did you notice as you read today?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton


  1. I like the imagery of making an idol, crafting it, carving, having to nail it down so it'll stand up, and how silly it is that half of the block of wood used for the idol was used for the cooking fire! Yet the idol makers are blind to this, just as we are blind to the idols in our lives. What might be the equivalent of crafting idols in the 21st century?

  2. Crafting a 401k account and believing that it will secure your future.