Isaiah 51:1-53:12; Ephesians 5:1-33;
Psalm 69:19-36; Proverbs 24:7
Today, the Lord is simultaneously warning the nation of Israel that they are going to endure generations of suffering because of their rebellion against God and encouraging the nation of Israel because through them God intends to bring salvation not only to the Israelites, but to the whole world.
God literally tells Israel that her salvation is coming! God's salvation lasts forever, unlike the heavens and earth, which are described as the skies disappearing like smoke and the earth wearing out like a piece of clothing (vs. 5-6). One theme stressed in the Bible is that only God's Spirit is what lasts forever. This is why it is crucial for believers that God's Holy Spirit come to earth and indwell believers. This is the key to why we can live forever. The only way we can live forever is to have God's Spirit inside of us. His Spirit is the key to living forever. We receive His Spirit through faith in Christ.
Beautiful language is used to encourage Israel that she will not always live in fear of human oppression. She will not always drink of the cup of God's wrath. The cup of wrath will be taken from Israel's hands and put into the hands of her oppressors. In the book of Revelation we see the imagery of the cup of God's wrath poured out on the enemies of God in the Great Tribulation. This ties back to these prophesies in Isaiah.
Israel was subjected to slavery in Egypt. Next, Assyria takes the Northern Kingdom captive. Babylon will take the Southern Kingdom captive. Persia, Greece, and Rome will oppress Israel. Even in modern times the Jews have endured the Holocaust. In the future Israel will continue to fear oppressors. Why? God is orchestrating history. We see this explained in Isaiah. God's story is the story of Israel's suffering and redemption. Israel is a representation of man. Mankind fell in the Garden, but God chooses to love, overcome sin, and save mankind. This is why Israel has endured all of this suffering. They are a living illustration. We learned in the book of Job that God controls all things and we are to trust His power, love, goodness, and sovereignty. Remember that we are unable to even create one flower. The pot must not dare to challenge the potter. This is also a constant theme in the Bible. We have two choices...get on board with God's plan and experience eternity with Him or rebel against the Creator and be doomed.
In chapter 52 God declares that people who bring good news have beautiful feet. The news that the God of Israel reigns and will one day bring peace and salvation to the earth is certainly good news. All the ends of the earth will see the redemption of Israel and will experience God's grace.
- He will be beaten and bloodied and so disfigured that he is unrecognizable as a person. Vs. 13-14
- He will startle many nations, and kings will stand speechless in his presence (with his resurrection, I presume). Vs. 15
- He grows up like a tender shoot in the dry and sterile ground (a reference to no children of God until the Messiah accomplishes his mission). Vs. 2
- He was not beautiful or majestic and nothing would physically attract us to him. Vs. 2
- He was despised and rejected,-a man of sorrows who is acquainted with bitter grief. People will turn their backs on him in his grief and look the other way. Vs. 3
- It is the world's weaknesses that he is carrying and it is our sorrows that are weighing him down. His troubles are misinterpreted as being because God is punishing him for his own sins. Vs. 4
- He is wounded for our sins and bruised for our iniquities. He is beaten so we will have peace. He is whipped and we are healed. Vs. 5
- God lays the guilt of all of us on him. Even though we are the sheep that have strayed, yet he is the lamb that takes away the sin. Vs. 6
- He was oppressed and treated harshly, but does not say a word (like a lamb being led to slaughter). Vs. 7
- Sheep are silent when they are sheared and the Messiah is silent when led to his death. Vs. 8
- The people will not realize that he is dying for their sins. Vs. 9
- He will die having never sinned. He will be buried like a criminal in a rich man's grave. Vs. 9
- It is God's good plan to crush him and fill him with grief because this offering for sin produces many children and heirs. Vs. 10 (No longer a dry and infertile ground)
- He will live a long life (resurrected) and will prosper. Vs. 10
- His anguish will have accomplished God's will and this will satisfy the Messiah. He will be happy after his suffering. Vs. 11
- His actions will make it possible for many to become righteous, because he will bear all of their sins. Vs. 11
- He bore the sins of many and interceded for sinners, so he will be given the place of great honor. Vs. 12
What do you think of this? God is proving that idols are worthless and that He has always controlled history. Do you believe this? How does this change things for you?
Paul is entreating the Ephesians to behave in such a way as to imitate Christ. Isaiah just gave us a view of the Messiah as self-sacrificing, humble, and meek. Paul is asking the Ephesians to be this way also.
Obscene stories, foolish talk, course language, and immorality are to have no place in the Christian's life. Greed is really idolatry. We are not to fool ourselves into thinking that the love of money is not idolatry. It is. We are to figure out what is pleasing to the Lord and do those things. That would not be getting drunk all the time. We are to be controlled by the Holy Spirit.
This will lead to transformed marital relations with the wife submitting to her husband and allowing him to lead in the family. It will cause the husband to love his wife like she is his own body. Giving sacrificially to her and putting her first. Paul refers to marriage as an illustration of Christ and his Church. They are one in intimacy. Christ is sacrificial towards the Church and puts her first in his death. The Church is to love and follow Christ. Allowing him to lead. Marriage is to be a living illustration of this.
What do you think of Paul's admonitions?
Here is a psalm that describes David's dealing with enemies, but could also represent Israel's problems with enemies and Jesus' problems with enemies.
Fools are overwhelmed by wisdom. Have you ever noticed this. It's true.
What did you see, today?