Saturday, March 25, 2017, 10:32 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Seek the Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 35 (NASB).
From Darkness to Light (vv. 1-2)
The wilderness and the desert will be glad,
And the Arabah will rejoice and blossom;
Like the crocus
It will blossom profusely
And rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
The majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They will see the glory of the Lord,
The majesty of our God.
Do you ever get heavy of heart over this sin-sick world? I do! I especially get burdened for my nation, the USA, and for the church here in America. I grieve and mourn over the spiritual condition of the church, overall, though not necessarily representative of all gatherings of the church in America.
Our nation is an affluent nation. Even some of the poorest of people here have cable TV in their houses, and not only do many of the adults in the household have smart phones, but many of the children do, too. People living on welfare or living in government subsidized housing often seem to be better off than those working for minimum wage. I think the vast majority of Americans have cell phones and cable TV. At least, it seems that way. And, many of them plan their lives around their TV shows, too. And, it seems most people have private (unrestricted) internet connection, too.
Now, I am not against these things, except for in the hands of young children who are being unsupervised by adults, or in the hands of those who are not mature enough or self-disciplined enough to choose good from bad. Yet, I can see where TV, movies, the internet, and private internet access via tablets (I Pads) and smart phones have been a great source of deception, mind control, and of spiritual decline of the church here in America. These devices have sucked in so many Christians and have captivated them to the point to where they take over their lives, and God has often been pushed into a corner and barely noticed. Yet, this is just a small picture of the spiritual wilderness that exists here in America.
Still, the Lord has been encouraging me that he has a plan of action in mind which will deliver his people out of this spiritual wilderness, and which will bring them into a time of great joy and of blossoming spiritually.
Take Courage (vv. 3-4)
Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble.
Say to those with anxious heart,
“Take courage, fear not.
Behold, your God will come with vengeance;
The recompense of God will come,
But He will save you.”
Sometimes, when I see all the evil going on all around me, and all the Christians (or professing Christians) living not much different at all from the people of the world, I get disheartened. When I see so much of the church embracing the world of sin in order to connect with the world, and seemingly so few truly seeking after God with all their hearts, it saddens me greatly. When I know that the Word of Truth is going out to the people, and that many are hearing the truth, though many are not, yet they seem to let the truth just go in one ear and out the other, so that they can continue on the same course they have been on, it tears at my heart, and I cry. And, when Christians see Christian fellowship as merely a church social where they eat and play games with each other, I groan inwardly to have true fellowship.
I am torn in my emotions because I want to see the church awakened to all the lies they have been buying into, and I want to see them walking in truth and purity, and serving the Lord with great zeal. But, from what I read in scripture, it does not appear that this is going to happen unless we, as the church in this nation, are put through some enormous time of suffering and great trials. It isn’t as though I long for this time, though, but what I hunger for is to see the church in America revived, and God’s people set on fire for him, and the Word of Truth going out from the revived church to the people in their communities, and people flocking to Jesus Christ (See: Isaiah 2). And, so I need to be reminded to “take courage,” and to trust the Lord, and to believe him to change people’s hearts, all in his perfect timing.
New Birth (vv. 5-7)
Then the eyes of the blind will be opened
And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.
Then the lame will leap like a deer,
And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy.
For waters will break forth in the wilderness
And streams in the Arabah.
The scorched land will become a pool
And the thirsty ground springs of water;
In the haunt of jackals, its resting place,
Grass becomes reeds and rushes.
The Bible teaches us that God disciplines us for our good that we may share in his holiness, and that for those of us who have been trained by it, it will yield a harvest of righteousness in our lives. But, this isn’t light stuff here. He uses the terms “scourges” and “reproves,” and he says that the discipline is painful and not pleasant, but it is for our good. Sometimes when things are going too well for us in this life we can lose sight of eternity and we can end up focusing our time and attention on the things of this world rather than on the things that matter for eternity. We end up spending our time on what is going to pass away and on what has no eternal value whatsoever. And, so God has to discipline us in order to refocus our attention on what really matters, and so he can purify us and make us holy unto him.
So, there are times when we need this wake-up call in order to have our blinded eyes (or deceived minds) opened to the truth, so that we do follow the truth and we don’t follow after lies. And, when the church is awakened spiritually, they will be that light of the world and the salt of the earth. They will be sharing the gospel, so that the people of this sinful world will have their spiritually blinded eyes opened, too. Thus, they will be born again of the Spirit of God and be given new lives in Christ Jesus to be lived to him and to his righteousness. Where they were once in a spiritual wilderness (desert), now they have springs of living water flowing from within them. They have the Holy Spirit living within them empowering, encouraging, comforting, teaching, strengthening and guiding them into all truth. Amen!
Highway of Holiness (vv. 8-10)
A highway will be there, a roadway,
And it will be called the Highway of Holiness.
The unclean will not travel on it,
But it will be for him who walks that way,
And fools will not wander on it.
No lion will be there,
Nor will any vicious beast go up on it;
These will not be found there.
But the redeemed will walk there,
And the ransomed of the Lord will return
And come with joyful shouting to Zion,
With everlasting joy upon their heads.
They will find gladness and joy,
And sorrow and sighing will flee away.
By God’s grace, through God-given faith, we can be saved from our sins and have eternal life with God. This God-given faith, though, is not like human faith. It is divinely convinced (persuaded) as to God’s will for our lives, and so it submits to Jesus Christ, and it chooses to walk in obedience to our Lord and to forsake the old (former) way of living to sin and self. When we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives with this kind of faith, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, “created to be like him in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Eph. 4:17-24; Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14; Lu. 9:23-25).
The lives we live, we no longer live according to our sinful flesh, but according to the Spirit of God who now lives within us, and who empowers us to live such godly lives. We walk by faith and not by sight. We live to please God in all that we do, or we should. Yet, if we continue living in sin, we don’t know God. If we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), yet we claim to have fellowship with God, we are liars. If we hold on to our old lives of living for sin and self, and if we walk (conduct our lives) according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. But, if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity.
So, if you want to be on this Highway of Holiness, which leads to eternal life with God, then you need to believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith which yields to Jesus as our Lord, and which submits to his will for our lives, and which cooperates with his work of grace in our lives. While it is true that we do nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation, and that our salvation is a free gift of God’s grace, that gift means we die with Christ to sin so that we are “born again” of the Spirit of God to live lives no longer for ourselves, but for the one who gave his life up for us. In other words, Jesus didn’t die just so we could escape hell and go to heaven when we die. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died, not just to forgive us our sins, but to free us from slavery (addiction) to sin.
Seek the Lord / An Original Work / July 20, 2012
Based off Isaiah 55
“Come to Me all you who thirst; come to waters.
Listen to Me, and eat what’s good today,
And your soul will delight in richest of fare.
Give ear to Me, and you will live.
I have made an eternal covenant with you.
Wash in the blood of the Lamb.”
Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him.
Let the wicked forsake his way, in truth.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will receive mercy.
Freely, God pardons him.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord, our God.
“My word that goes out of My mouth is truthful.
It will not return to Me unfulfilled.
My word will accomplish all that I desire,
And achieve the goal I intend.
You will go in joy, and be led forth in peace.
The mountains will burst into song… before you,
And all of the trees clap their hands.”