Monday, August 7, 2017, 5:55 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Oh, To Be Like Thee.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 33 (Select vv. ESV).
A Destroyer (v. 1; cf. Psalm 2:1; Rev. 11:18)
Ah, you destroyer,
who yourself have not been destroyed,
whom none has betrayed!
When you have ceased to destroy,
you will be destroyed;
and when you have finished betraying,
they will betray you.
What comes to mind here is John 10, in particular v. 10, where it says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
So, who are these thieves and robbers, i.e. these destroyers? They are the nations spoken of in Revelation 11:18 and in Psalm 2:1 who rage against Jesus Christ and his gospel of salvation, who persecute and martyr Christ’s followers, who kill innocents, and who overtake kingdoms, confiscate property not their own, and destroy lands and houses. The US government and their political allies are the ones who are doing this today.
Yet, they are also those strangers who have entered the gatherings of the church by a door other than Jesus Christ. They are false shepherds of the people, wolves in sheep’s clothing, and hired hands who care nothing for God’s people, but only for themselves. They have infiltrated the assemblies of the church for the very purpose to deceive, manipulate, lead people astray and to destroy the relationship between the church and their Lord.
Their goal is to pull as many people as possible away from the One and Only True God of the universe, who is the creator of the world and the people who live in it. And, it is to lead them to follow the world, the beast, the culture of society, and their own flesh. It is also to render spiritually powerless Christian men and women and church leaders, and to vilify those who are truly following Jesus Christ in pure devotion and dedication. It is to call evil good and good evil, to put darkness for light and light for darkness, and to put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Is. 5:20).
These destroyers have been working at this for many years, to bring the church down, to emasculate Christian men, in particular, to destroy the gospel by diluting it beyond recognition, and by physically conquering peoples and nations throughout the world. They have reinterpreted key Bible verses to make them not say what they are saying, or they have ignored them and have focused on only a few verses which fit with what they want to believe, which fits with the lifestyles they want to live. As well, they have placed lewd images in grocery store checkout lines, in store windows, on TV, and on general sites on the internet to lure men and women into sexual sin.
They have redefined marriage, have stirred up strife among various people groups, have falsified information, and have persuaded many to believe their lies and deceptions. They also have convinced many to abandon the true faith in Jesus Christ in favor of a more lenient, acceptable and tolerant religion which accepts all religions as viable and sinful lifestyles as standard (customary). And, they have persuaded many to believe that repentance and obedience to Christ are not only not necessary, but not required by God at all, and that God is pleased with them no matter what they do.
Our Stability (vv. 5-6)
The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high;
he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness,
and he will be the stability of your times,
abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge;
the fear of the Lord is Zion’s treasure.
A day is coming when the Lord will put an end to the work of these destroyers and it will be payback time. What goes around comes around. What they have done to others will be done to them. The nations which have destroyed others will be destroyed. God will judge them, and that includes the USA, most especially, for all the evil they have done throughout the world to others, and including within our own nation. And, this includes all these false shepherds of the people, too, who feed only themselves, and whose goal it is to bring down the church and to destroy the gospel.
For, the Lord is exalted, and he will revive his adulterous people and he will bring many to faith in Jesus Christ. Not only will he judge, but he will also save. He will judge not only to punish, but to revive his people. Yet, this judgment will bring hard times on many people. If what our nation has done to other nations is done to us, much of our country could be reduced to rubble, as well as we could suffer much financial loss, loss of liberties, and loss of human lives, too. Yet, our Lord God will be our stability. And, the fear of the Lord will be, if it is not already, our treasured possession.
Who Walk Righteously (vv. 13-16)
Hear, you who are far off, what I have done;
and you who are near, acknowledge my might.
The sinners in Zion are afraid;
trembling has seized the godless:
“Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire?
Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?”
He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly,
who despises the gain of oppressions,
who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe,
who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed
and shuts his eyes from looking on evil,
he will dwell on the heights;
his place of defense will be the fortresses of rocks;
his bread will be given him; his water will be sure.
When judgment comes, which it will, those who are rebelling against God will be afraid, for they will not be able to stand in the judgment (See: Ps. 1:5; Rev. 6:17). Thus, the call of God is that all people would pay attention to what He has done (or will yet do) in judgment, and that they would acknowledge his might (power and authority), that he alone is God, and he alone is to be worshiped, sought after, and honored above all else.
Only those who walk righteously before God will be able to stand. They are those who, by God’s grace, have repented of their sins and are walking in obedience to their Lord, who reject evil, and who pursue what is godly and holy. Only they will be able to dwell in peace with God, who is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:28-29). Only they will be able to withstand the judgment and not lose faith, but will persevere and endure to the end, but only in the strength of the Lord, and empowered by the Spirit of God living within them.
Those who walk righteously, i.e. who conduct our lives according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh, and who prefer what God prefers, will live in God’s continual presence. We have the Lord as our security and as our provider. He will supply all that we need. The fear of the Lord is our treasure. He is our defense and our stronghold (fortress). So, even though the earth gives way, and all hell breaks loose all around us, and even though God visits our nation(s) in judgment, and supplies are scarce, and troubles and hardships are numerous, we can rest in the Lord, believe in his promises, trust in his mercy and compassion, and lean on his strength. He will never leave us or forsake us. He will be our constant in a changing world. And, our desire will be for him, and to be like him.
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Thomas O. Chisholm / W. J. Kirkpatrick
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.