Saturday, October 1, 2011

October 1- Good Grapes In The Cluster

October 1, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Isaiah 62:6-65:25; Philippians 2:19-3:3;
Psalm 73:1-28; Proverbs 24:13-14

Isaiah 62:6-65:25

Don't you hate it when you go and buy a cluster of grapes and then you get them home only to realize that almost the whole bunch of the grapes is overripe?  They are mushy and useless.  More than likely, you don't throw out the whole cluster because mingled in the bad bunch of fruit are some good grapes.  Today's reading shows us that God's people are the same way.  The nation of Israel and the physical Church of Christ are clusters of bad grapes that have good grapes (a remnant) among them.  Only Jesus is able to pick out the good grapes from the bad.  He shows us this in the wheat and tares parable.

As chapter 62 ends, we see watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem looking for the Lord to come down and fulfill His promises about the city of Jerusalem.  When the roads are made smooth and the Savior comes, he will bring his reward with him. This is a vision of Jesus' second coming to earth.  This is the vision of when the nation of Israel will accept her Messiah. No longer will Jerusalem be a forsaken place.  It will be desirable.

Chapter 63 shows us a picture of Jesus as the one who is in Edom (representing the flesh and the world) and is among the world to judge the world.  He is covered in blood.  This is not his own blood from the cross.  This is the blood of the wicked on earth who have been killed in judgment.  his day of grace is with us right now upon the earth, but this prophecy shows us that the day of grace will end and will be followed by a terrible time of judgment on the earth.  We see in these verses that Jesus had to save the world and redeem it without anyone else's help.  He also has to judge the world and punish it without anyone else's help.  This is part of the story.  God accomplishes all of the work without our help. He will crush the ungodly nations and cause them to stagger.

Right after this description, we switch to the picture of Jesus being the gracious Savior to Israel. Verse 10 speaks of how Israel rebelled against her Savior and this is why he fought against them throughout history. But the same God who blessed Israel with deliverance through Moses will once again deliver his chosen people. Isaiah is projecting into the future during the Great Tribulation when Jesus is judging the world and the nation of Israel is crying out for her Savior to come to earth and deliver her as in the days of old.  It will take the tremendous trials of the Tribulation to bring about this universal cry for Christ to come.

Chapter 64 begins with this statement, "Oh, that you would burst from the heavens and come down!"  This is the voice of the people of Israel enduring suffering during the end times.  Christ came the first time as a baby to a people who would reject him.  The second time he comes to earth his people are crying out for him.  His coming is not missed by anyone on earth.  His deliverance is dramatic and sure. Ancient promises are about to be fulfilled. The people of Jerusalem are wondering when their punishment and suffering will end.

Chapter 65 begins with the Lord recognizing that the people who used to not seek him are now looking for him.  He states that he is here for them!  Then there is a recounting of why there was ever separation and punishment for the nation of Israel.  God recounts that they rebelled and sought other gods. They worshiped idols and did not seek God's face.  Here is where God compares the nation of Israel to a cluster of grapes.  He notes that there is a small remnant of good grapes within this bad cluster. Even though there are so many unfaithful Israelites, God promises to not destroy the whole nation of Israel.  He will save the believing remnant. He will choose who will serve him and live in the land in order to fulfill His promise to Abraham and to David. Those who have chosen to worship Fate and Destiny rather than God will be executed.

While the wicked are starving, God's servants will eat.  While the evil are thirsty, God's righteous ones will have their thirst satisfied.  Eventually, no one will remember the evil anymore.  Why?

Because God will create a new heaven and a new earth for those He has chosen and loved. We learn that the new heaven and earth are so wonderful that no one even remembers the old heaven and earth. There will be a New Jerusalem in this new creation. People will live forever.  Work will be prosperous.  Animals will not be part of the food chain, but will exist in harmony.  Sounds like paradise restored to me.

Are you encouraged by the image of the new heaven and the new earth?  Are you ready to inherit these blessings? Are you surprised at how God spells out the future for us?  Spoiler alert...

Philippians 2:19-3:3

Paul is sending both Timothy and Epaphroditus back to Philippi.  Timothy is Paul's spiritual son and great helper in his ministry.  Epaphroditus was mercifully saved from an illness that almost killed him.  Paul entreats the Philippians to ignore the false teachers who act as if circumcision is necessary for salvation.  He reminds them that human effort does not save, only the work of Jesus Christ can save a person.

Do you trust in your own good works to save you?

Psalm 73:1-28

The psalmist is honest in his prayer.  He realizes that he often envies the wealthy.  He has become bitter at their prosperity and his suffering.  He reminds himself of the truth.  God will destroy the wicked, but He will be a strength to those who trust Him.

Proverbs 24:13-14

Wisdom is like honey.  Sweet to the soul.  Wisdom is found in God alone.

What did you learn today?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton