Perfect Provision

“They shall feed along the roads, and their pastures shall be on all desolate heights. They shall neither hunger nor thirst” (Isaiah 49.10).

While in the wilderness, the LORD fed Israel for 40 years with manna from Heaven. When the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus is established on earth, we will enjoy “a feast of choice pieces, a feast of witness on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of well-refined wines on the lees” (Isaiah 25.6). The LORD will prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies (Psalm 23.5). 

Lately, my strength has faltered. I ask that the LORD provide strength for me. I ask others to intercede on my behalf to this end. But the heat and the work prove too much for me. My body breaks down at some point. I struggle to wake and do what needs to be done. I even need the antibodies of others to continue on. While the LORD is good and gracious to keep me going day by day, there is coming a day when I will not be able to continue. There is coming a day when all physical strength will give out, and I will die. However, this is not the end.

There is also coming a Day when my strength will be full. God’s provision for me will be so complete that no task will be too hard for me. No difficulty will be too great. I shall not want for energy and strength. He shall fully provide for me. It is true that the LORD provides strength and sustenance for me now. He is gracious and merciful that way. But in that Day, I shall have a complete, full, and perfect provision to enable me to serve Him.

Standing on the Promises of Christ My King

“Kings will see, princes will stand up, and they will bow down because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel – and he has chosen you” (Isaiah 49.7). 

The Father declares that all will bow down to the Son. Even kings and princes will bow and worship before the Lord Jesus. Now, Jesus is despised. This is particularly true among the so-called wise and powerful of this age. However, “All kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him” (Psalm 72.11). 

Why will this happen? It is because of the LORD, who is faithful. The Father has chosen the Son. “Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion” (Psalm 2.6). “I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return. That to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath” (Isaiah 45.23). 

There has never been a time in world history when all have bowed down to the Son. This will occur when the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and Jesus shall reign forever and ever (Revelation 11.15). The Father proclaims to the Son, “Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession” (Psalm 2.8). 

The Father has chosen the Son. Joy is for those who truly rest in and believe the Son. His promises to the Son are secure and assured. His promises to me are also secure and assured. I may be despised and rejected as a messenger of reconciliation today, but in the age to come I will reign with Christ. “The God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly” (Romans 16.20). God from the beginning chose me for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth (2 Thessalonians 2.13). The hope of eternal life is promised by God before time began (Titus 1.2). He cannot lie. “And this is the promise that He has promised us – eternal life” (1 John 2.25). Since I have the promises of God, I can continue to be the object of scorn and mockery among the ungodly. My hope is not anchored in acceptance from the world around me. My hope is in the Lord Jesus, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12.2). 

“The saying is trustworthy: For if we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2.11). 

Most Despise and Abhor Jesus

“This is what the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, his Holy One, says to one who is despised, to one abhorred by people, to a servant of rulers: ‘Kings will see, princes will stand up, and they will bow down because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel – and he has chosen you” (Isaiah 49.7). 

Jesus was despised and abhorred by the people He came to save over 2,000 years ago. God the Father assures Him in this verse that all will bow down to Him the second time He comes. God’s power and faithfulness in choosing His Son would make the Son’s work prosper and become a mountain that fills the earth. 

How did people view Jesus? They saw Him as not One to be desired, a worm, and a reproach among men. They accused Him of sin and blasphemy. They said He was a gluttonous drunkard and a friend of sinners. He reached out to downtrodden Samaritans only to be accused of being possessed of the devil. He performed miracles and they attributed the power He had to Satan himself. Just before His crucifixion, they dressed Him as a king and mocked Him …spit upon Him …struck Him. Both Jews and Gentiles rejected Him. They crucified Him. Yet “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us” (Galatians 3.13). 

Today, people seem to respect the Lord Jesus. They seem to respect Him and worship Him in Christian churches of all types. But even those who profess to follow Him treat Him no better than He was treated 2,000 years ago. People simply give Jesus a nod today. They remain as self-righteous in religious circles today as the Pharisees were the first time Jesus came. Most religious people do not see righteousness and strength as gifts given because of what Jesus accomplished for them. Instead, they see them as something to be earned. That means they really despise and abhor the character and work of Christ …no matter what they say. Churches that lift high the name of Christ and faithfully preach the Scriptures are viewed as boring and irrelevant. The faithful are the offscouring of all things. 

I must remember that identifying with Jesus often means suffering in the present. However, it also means glory in the future. Father, let me truly take the name of Jesus with me today. Help me to walk with You in joy when I am counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.

Light and Life

“It is not enough for you to be my servant raising up the tribes of Jacob and restoring the protected ones of Israel. I will also make you a light for the nations, to be my salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49.6).

Jesus must be both my light and my salvation. I cannot lean on my own understanding. I cannot save myself. I am not good enough. No one is. Only Jesus. Once saved, I have no power to work out that salvation apart from Jesus. I must have His Spirit …His Word. 

Salvation is impossible apart from illumination. Jesus alone brings me understanding. He will bring it to you as well. He enables you to see the exceeding wickedness of sin and the deceitfulness within your own heart. He also enables you to see the beauty of His holiness and the splendor of His salvation. If you cannot see these things, you are yet in your sins. You are lost and floundering. But Jesus is both your salvation and your light. He is your salvation because He is your light. It is not enough for Him to be Savior; He must also grant light so that you see and understand the need for the salvation He offers. 

A Light for the Nations

“It is not enough for you to be my servant raising up the tribes of Jacob and restoring the protected ones of Israel. I will also make you a light for the nations, to be my salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49.6).

God the Father is speaking in this verse to His Servant, God the Son.The Father would make the Son a light for the nations. He would be His salvation to the ends of the earth. The Lord Jesus is not only a light for Israel, He is a light for all the nations. The Father called the Son before He was born. His name would be called Jesus even while in His mother’s womb. His words are like a sharp sword. The Son is the Father’s servant. He came to do the Father’s will (see Isaiah 49.1-3). When it came to Israel, the Son had labored in vain (v. 4). But the Son would bring Israel back to the Father. Israel, in whom the Father would be glorified. But the Father assured the Son that He would also be a light not only to Israel but for the nations. 

These words cannot refer to Isaiah, a mere prophet. They cannot refer to Israel, a treacherous nation. They refer to the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. Simeon understood this when he saw the Lord Jesus was brought to the temple by Joseph and Mary: “My eyes have seen your (God the Father’s) salvation. You have prepared it in the presence of all peoples – a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory to your people Israel” (Luke 2.30-32). “In Him was life, and the life was the light of me” (John 1.4). Jesus is “the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world” (John 1.9). 

There are many lesser lights in the world. They reveal the word and will of God. Lesser lights like Isaiah, Paul, you , or me. But only Jesus is the Sun of Righteousness, risen with healing in His wings. Only Jesus can open up our understanding. Only Jesus gives the ability to comprehend the Scriptures. Jesus proclaimed, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8.12). Only Jesus brings eternal salvation. It is only by His blood that we have been set free and loosed from our sins. It is only through His perfect righteousness that we are completely righteous before the Father. Jesus is not only the Savior of the world, He is salvation itself. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. All the lost from all the nations.

The Eternal Regret of the Godless

“This what the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says: ‘I am the LORD your God, who teaches you for your benefit, who leads you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands. Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea’” (Isaiah 48.17-18).

What are you left with when you live a self-absorbed godless life? You will look back with great regret in this life or in the life to come …or even both. God regrets: “If only you had paid attention to my commands.” Perhaps you don’t regret. However, there is coming a day when you will say, “If only I had paid attention to God’s commands.” But God will not pay attention to you. His presence and conviction will be gone. This is the part of eternal torment that will deeply pain the ungodly the most. It is true that Hell is forever. It is true that it is a place of agony and torment. But the greatest source of bitterness will come from regret: “If only I had chosen to receive the Lord Jesus and lived for Him when my Creator gave me that opportunity! I ought to have been holy even as God is holy. I lived a miserable, anxious life. I could have had peace like a river. I could have manifest works of righteousness like the waves of the sea, but I would not have it. People warned me to come to Christ, but I didn’t believe them. If only I could access the mercy of God right now, but I cannot.” 

Come to Christ while you draw breath in this life. It is not too late for you. He will save you if only you believe!

The Waves of a Righteous Life

“This what the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says: ‘I am the LORD your God, who teaches you for your benefit, who leads you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands. Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea’” (Isaiah 48.17-18).

If I fervently and passionately serve the LORD, I would have a never ending supply of peace. But also, the righteousness of Christ would benefit me in boundless ways – like the waves of the sea. He would energize my work for Him. That work of righteousness would bring peace. The effect of that work of righteousness would yield quietness and assurance forever (Isaiah 32.17). “Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble” (Psalm 119.165). “In His days the righteous shall flourish, and abundance of peace, until the moon is no more” (Psalm 72.7). Yes, obedience yields great reward. It is what makes me different from others around me who do not believe. I have the comfort of God’s peace. I have the ability to obey my heavenly Father and yield holy works of righteousness. If only I had paid attention to His commands.

Father, help me to see that the small choices I make to obey You yield incomprehensible benefits for Your glory. Be pleased with who I am and what I am doing. Work in and through me. Grant me peace. 

Rivers of Regret

“This what the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says: ‘I am the LORD your God, who teaches you for your benefit, who leads you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands. Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea’” (Isaiah 48.17-18).

If I want peace like a river and waves of righteousness like the waves of the sea, then I must pay attention to the LORD’s commands and follow His lead. Notice the words “If only…” in the text. This means that Israel chose to be inundated with fear and worry. They were overwhelmed by evil. If only. These are the words of regret.

My disobedience and presumption matter. I don’t want God saying of me, “If only Jim had followed Me in the way I planned for Him …if only He had paid attention to My commands.” God wants to do great things in and through me. I must be willing. Jesus said of Jerusalem and her inhabitants when He came to die for our redemption: “If you knew this day what would bring peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19.42). Regret. We have all experienced it. God Himself experiences it. 

God commands me to come near and fellowship with Him on a daily basis. I am to delight myself in Him. But I am very thick-headed. I am redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. I am indwelled with the Holy Spirit. God has given me great gifts and taken good care of me. Yet, I have grieved Him. I have ignored Him. I have provoked Him. I have disobeyed Him. Is it any wonder peace is elusive? Father, forgive my neglect. Strengthen me in Your righteousness. Lead me in the way I should go. Give me wisdom and courage to take the narrow path ahead today.

Rivulets and Rivers

“This what the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says: ‘I am the LORD your God, who teaches you for your benefit, who leads you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands. Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea’” (Isaiah 48.17-18).

Is nothing gained by my obedience? Is nothing lost by my disobedience? Why am I burdened? Why am I anxious or even angry? If I have so much from the Lord Jesus, who do I possess so little of it? When I dig my heels in and do my own thing, God withholds peace and the benefits of a righteousness I possess in Christ. That is, I’m secure in Christ. Heaven is assured. My Father’s love always remains, but my choices have left me twisting in this present darkness. I have peace like a tiny rivulet rather than peace like a river.

The LORD is not only the redeemer of Israel; He is my redeemer as well. He teaches me from His Word for my benefit. He leads me in the way I should go on a daily basis. I know that the Son of God has come and has given me an understanding, that I may know Him who is true; and I am in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life (1 John 5.20). What is eternal life? Jesus tells me in John 17.3: “This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and the one you have sent – Jesus Christ.” Therefore, the LORD my God teaches me for my benefit what really matters. 

The LORD opened my eyes and turned me from darkness to light …from the power of Satan to His power. I have received forgiveness of sins and an inheritance divided among those who are sanctified by faith in Christ (see Acts 26.18). As I obey God and walk in the wake of His Spirit, I find peace and holiness. It floods my soul like a rivulet. This is what it means to be sanctified by faith in Christ. As I disobey, I only have rivulets of anxious sweat on my brow. Obedience and disobedience matter. My freedom to choose either direction matters. 

The Only Message that Matters

“Come near to Me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, I was there. And now the Lord God and His Spirit have sent Me” (Isaiah 48.16).

Now the Lord God and His Spirit have sent Jesus Christ our Savior to preach redemption, to convince us to receive it, and to bring all glory to God.

God is in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing trespasses to them. We carry on the ministry of reconciliation as ambassadors of Christ not denominations or aberrant doctrines. Our message is simple: “Be reconciled to God. For [God the Father] made [God the Son] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5.20-21). 

Receive this reconciliation. We all need it. We are captives to sin …in exile as aliens under the power of the evil one. Houses and lands and jobs won’t bring you happiness. All of that will cease, but the work of the triune God is eternally beneficial for me. 

To God be the glory! Great things He has done! He will not give His glory to another. No other deserves it. We give glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. May God hasten the day when “every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, [say]: ‘Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever” (Revelation 5.13)!