Friday, October 6, 2017, 6:27 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Our God.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 26 (Select vv. ESV).
A Strong City (vv. 1-2)
In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
“We have a strong city;
he sets up salvation
as walls and bulwarks.
Open the gates,
that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in.”
The City of God used to be a physical city with physical walls, but now it is a spiritual city with God’s salvation as our protective barrier (walls). What this means, for one, is that the physical city of Jerusalem is no longer the Holy City of God (See: Gal. 4:22-31). The church, the body of Christ, is now God’s Holy City, heavenly Jerusalem, and our salvation is our defense and shield against Satan, sin and (spiritual) death. And, when I say “church,” I don’t mean physical buildings called “church,” or denominations, or human-based organizations and businesses also called “church.” God does not dwell in buildings built by human hands, but he dwells in the hearts of those who have trusted in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, and we, the people, are the church. We, the people of God, are the City of God, which is a strong city, because our salvation is our shield against all enemy forces.
We, the people of God, via faith in Jesus Christ, are also a holy nation. True Israel, that is of God, is not a physical nation, but a spiritual nation. And, it is believers in Jesus Christ who make up this nation (1 Pet. 2:9). But, it is not merely those who profess the name of Jesus, or who say they believe in him, that comprise this holy nation, but it is those who keep the faith and who are righteous, not merely positionally, but in practice. For, if we walk (in practice) in sin, we do not have the hope of eternal life with God, but a fearful expectation of judgment. But, if we walk in the light, according to the Spirit, and by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, then we will live forever with Christ (See: Lu. 9:23-26; Ro. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:6).
Perfect Peace (vv. 3-4)
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.”
So many people are teaching salvation as though it is a once in a lifetime experience, then you have your ticket into heaven, and now you can live however you want, and one day you get to go be with Jesus. But, that is not what scripture teaches! Scripture teaches that we are saved (past), we are being saved (present) and that we will be saved (future) when Jesus Christ returns. It teaches us that we must walk in the Spirit and no longer live to gratify the sinful cravings of our flesh, if we want the righteous requirement of the law to be fulfilled in us. It teaches us, too, that God’s grace is not carte blanche to continue in sin, but that his grace instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions (lusts) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return. We have to continue in Christ and in His Word and be keeping (in practice) his Word, and not be those who make a practice of sin, if we want to have eternal life with God.
The Christian life is to be lived to God, not to ourselves. Jesus is to be Lord (owner-master) of our lives, but not in name only. We are to be surrendered to our Lord, to walk in his ways, and in his truth, and to not have divided hearts of loyalty to “other gods” of this world, which could be our jobs, houses, entertainment, TV, sports, possessions, money, politicians, political platforms, famous people, traditions, culture and prestige, etc. We have to have minds which are stayed on (settled, remained, continued in) Jesus Christ. We can’t do this, though, if our minds are being bombarded with sensuality, seductiveness, immorality, lies, cheating, stealing and killing as a form of entertainment, especially on a daily or consistent basis. We need to be filling our minds, hearts and lives with what is godly, holy, righteous, moral, pure and good, and then we will know this perfect peace.
The Righteous Path (vv. 7-9a)
The path of the righteous is level;
you make level the way of the righteous.
In the path of your judgments,
O Lord, we wait for you;
your name and remembrance
are the desire of our soul.
My soul yearns for you in the night;
my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.
The path (way) of the righteous (godly) is level (straight, upright, unmixed), not crooked (dishonest, corrupt, perverse). So, why do so many Christians (or professing Christians) live like this is not true? Why do so many live as though Jesus did not cleanse them and deliver them from sin? I believe partly it is because they are deceived into believing that faith in Jesus Christ does not have to impact their daily lives. They have been told that a mere prayer or a mere acknowledgment of what Christ did for them in dying for their sins is enough to secure them heaven for eternity, and that nothing they do from this point forward can change that. Partly, too, this has been modeled to them by their parents, their church leaders, and their peers. And, growing up on TV, as we did in the 1950s and 1960s, had an enormous influence on what we considered as acceptable behavior vs. unacceptable.
So, how many of us truly desire after God with all our hearts? How many of wake in the morning hearing him speak his words to our hearts, and think about him in the stillness of the night, and even in the middle of the night? And, how many of us inquire of him throughout the day, seeking his wisdom and counsel for what we are to do and what we are to say and how we are to live? And, if we do, how many of us then follow our Lord in obedience and surrender to his will for our lives consistently, but not necessarily perfectly? Were we taught this by our leaders? Was it modeled to us? Or did we have to learn this on our own with our Lord only as our teacher? Or, is worldliness what has been our model, instead, yet mixed with religious practice?
We Learn Righteousness (vv. 9b-11a)
For when your judgments are in the earth,
the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
If favor is shown to the wicked,
he does not learn righteousness;
in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly
and does not see the majesty of the Lord.
O Lord, your hand is lifted up,
but they do not see it.
Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed.
If we did not learn righteousness from our leaders, and if we did not learn it on our own (without godly human leadership) by seeking God with all our hearts, then we may have to learn it the hard way. We may have to face some divine correction, rebuke and discipline in order to learn what we need to learn concerning God’s righteous requirements for the lives of those who choose to follow him. Yet, even if we were taught what was right, and even if righteousness was modeled to us, but we, instead of following it, went our own way, and we did what we wanted, instead of what God wants for us, and if we have not repented of our sin, then we, too, may have to face some divine chastisement in order that we might humble ourselves before God in true repentance and faith (or renewed faith) in Jesus Christ. For, our God is holy and righteous, and he has called us to be holy and righteous, too.
Our God / Chris Tomlin / Jesse Reeves
Jonas Myrin / Matt Redman
Our God is greater; our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God
And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?