Listen and Remember

Idol Worship
Isaiah 46:1-2 ESV

“Bel bows down; Nebo stoops;
their idols are on beasts and livestock;
these things you carry are borne
as burdens on weary beasts.
They stoop; they bow down together;
they cannot save the burden,
but themselves go into captivity.”

An idol is not just a wood, silver, or gold carving of a particular god which is worshipped by people, but an idol is anything we worship and which we place ahead of or in place of the One and Only True God – Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit. It is whatever we give our loyalty, devotion, time, passion, and desire to above loyalty and devotion to God.

An idol, therefore, can be a career, a house, an automobile, any physical possessions, pride, sin, a particular sinful addiction, self, entertainment, intelligence, knowledge, talent, skill, money, other people, government leaders, famous people, entertainers, sports figures, friends, family, health, unhealthy practices, preachers, and physical nations (national pride), etc.

We are not meant to bear the burden of idols (idolatry) for Jesus Christ set us free from enslavement to sin and from our old self, and he set us free to worship him only, and to bow down to him only as our only God. We are to have no other gods before him, nothing which takes his rightful place in our hearts as our first love.

For nothing and no one can save us from what ails us but God. No government, no military, no medical treatments, no drugs, no amount of money, no miracle cures, no one, nothing! For what ails us is sin, and only God can save us from sin. Only God can rescue us and deliver us and give us true hope, healing, and purpose for living.

Listen to the Lord
Isaiah 46:3-4 ESV

“Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
all the remnant of the house of Israel,
who have been borne by me from before your birth,
carried from the womb;
even to your old age I am he,
and to gray hairs I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear;
I will carry and will save.”

We who believe in Jesus Christ are Israel, the Israel of God, the children of Promise, the inheritors of eternal life with God. We are God’s people, the sheep of his pasture, whether Jew or Gentile by physical birth. We are one in Christ by faith in Jesus Christ. We are the children of Abraham, not those who are physical descendants of Abraham alone.

[Gal 3:16, 26-29; Rom 9:4-8; Gal 4:22-31; Eph 2:14-18; 1 Jn 2:22]

When our Lord speaks, we need to listen to what he has to say to us. We need to accept both words of encouragement and words of rebuke from him, when necessary. We need to accept his counsel, his correction, his guidance, his direction, his wisdom, and his discernment, and we need to not rely on our own reasoning or on worldly counsel.

Also, we need to be those who test everything we hear or read or see or think we see, and we need to not just buy into everything that sounds good, or that comes from our government or the news media or from people holding positions of pastor or elder in the church, or who hold prominent positions in the community or in any particular area of specialty.

Human beings are human. We don’t know everything. We are subject to fail. Many human beings are liars and deceivers. Many are tricksters and manipulators. We can’t put our trust in other humans, not in the way we would trust God, not with full confidence that they won’t lie to us, for there are many liars out there. So, let God be your only God.

Remember This
Isaiah 46:8-10 ESV

“Remember this and stand firm,
recall it to mind, you transgressors,
remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose’.”

Many people who are professing faith in Jesus Christ are still living in sin, doing what their flesh desires without regard for what God wants for them and for what he requires of them. And many who have had genuine faith have wandered from their pure devotion to the Lord and they are being led astray by liars and deceivers who tell them what they want to hear.

So, this is a reminder from God. This is a strong encouragement to bring to remembrance what our salvation from sin is all about, and what the Christian life is to be in practice, and it is a reminder of what the Scriptures teach with regard to holy living, and with regard to those who make sin their practice, for if sin is what we practice, we will not inherit eternal life.

God is a God of his word. What he says he will do he will do. When he says if we continue in deliberate and habitual sin against him that we will die in our sins, and that we will not inherit eternal life with God, he means it. He isn’t saying it just to try to scare us into obedience. Many are going to stand before God on that day and will hear, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”

And who is he talking about? He is talking about those who profess faith in Jesus Christ, who claim to be followers of Jesus, and who claim that what they are doing they are doing for God and in the name of Jesus, but it is lip service only, for they do not submit to God. They do not obey him. And they do not forsake their sins to follow Jesus where he leads them (Mtt 7:21-23).

You Stubborn of Heart
Isaiah 46:12-13 ESV

“Listen to me, you stubborn of heart,
you who are far from righteousness:
I bring near my righteousness; it is not far off,
and my salvation will not delay;
I will put salvation in Zion,
for Israel my glory.”

There are perhaps many professers of faith in Jesus Christ who are stubborn of heart, who are willfully defiant to the Lord, and who refuse to bow the knee to him and to obey his commands. They want to control their own lives, for they take pride in their own accomplishments. They even want to control their relationships with God (with Jesus Christ).

So, they establish their own relationships with God based on what they are willing and not willing to do and based on their own flesh and what their flesh is willing or not willing to accept. They create their own god in their own minds in their own image who does what they want him to do, and who does not frown at them when they willfully defy him and do what is evil.

Therefore, they also create their own gospel which fits their own lifestyles and purposes, a gospel which makes no demands on them whatsoever, and which teaches tolerance of sin, and freedom for lasciviousness, and no requirements for submission to God, for obedience to his commands, and for forsaking our sins in repentance and in true humility.

Therefore, they don’t really believe that God is going to judge them. They don’t really believe that he will send them to hell. But God will do as he said. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction, not life. But if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life. For God will judge us by our works. Count on it!

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10]

He is Exalted

By Twila Paris

He is exalted, the King is exalted on High
I will praise Him
He is exalted, forever exalted
And I will praise His name

He is the Lord
Forever His truth shall reign
Heaven and earth
Rejoice in His holy name
He is exalted, the King is exalted on high

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