“Weary” the word comes to me several times.
“There are times when the traveler becomes weary, but be careful that you do not allow your mind to slip into a sort of self-pity, where you keep reminding yourself about how weary you are. I have promised that when you are weary and heavy laden – you can come to Me and I will bear that burden with you and lift it. But when you find yourself saying how weary you are – remind yourself that I have already told you that I will lift your burdens and grasp that reality – that Presence and believe and trust in it. I have also said, ‘If you hope in the Lord you will rise up with wings as an eagle’. Turn your mind, therefore away from your weariness and look to Me and receive My joy. Live in My joy and My hope and the weariness will slip away. But remember also, that I am always here so that when you are genuinely weary from pain, whether physical or emotional, from disappointments, separation etc – I am here and I hear you and you can bring that to Me as many times as you wish.”
As we continue reading Isaiah into chps, 47 and 48, we see once again, the strong element of judgement, which has lain heavily throughout Isaiah. In ch 47 God returns to His judgement on Babylon, with powerful words of warning that it is exactly the things they feel secure against cf vs 7 ff, that are going to be the areas where disaster will strike them. As I look at these descriptions I see so many of those attitudes around me today, in the secular world. Especially here where we live in Helderberg Village. However the main thrust of God’s anger seems to lie in the accusation in vs 6 that God had handed His people over to the Babylonians, to be chastised. They had however, been more ruthless and cruel than ever was necessary.
Ultimately he ends the chapter with the statement which echoes with Romans 3. “Each wanders his own way” and then the rider, “no one can save you”. To understand this alarming statement it is necessary to see that the first step to salvation is a realization that you are following your own way. In other words one has to understand how lost you are, to want to be saved. Even the “good” people are following their own way. God’s judgement, however, has always had the purpose of bringing people back to Him.
In ch 48 The word of judgement turns towards Israel, God’s own people. Here we need to sit up and take notice. The nation of Israel in the Old Testament represents the “visible” church of the New Testament. Note, NOT the real church, which is limited to believers. Look at some of God’s statements. Vs 1, they are not focused on the truth and righteousness. Vs 4Their necks are like iron, demonstrating their stubbornness. V 8 They have not been listening.
So He turns that around and has something important to say to His people. First note, however how He keeps repeating the word or concept of listening from vs 12, “Listen to Me oh Jacob”; vs 14 “Come together and listen”, vss15,16; “I, the Lord have spoken…. Come near to Me and listen to this”; vs 17 b “I am the Lord who teaches you……who directs you in the way to go”. vs 18, “If only you had paid attention…..” The underlying cause of their troubles is directly related to their stiff necks and foreheads like bronze. vs 4. They have heard these things… yet not paid attention.
The nation of Israel is in deep trouble. The underlying reason for that is their stubbornness which is reflected in their inability or unwillingness to listen. They hear the Lord speaking, yet don’t act on it. It is as if He has not spoken at all. How much of the huge troubles that pervade the visible church today are due to them bashing along, doing their own thing. Involved in peripheral issues and neglecting the precious gospel message.
To-day however, we must look inward. I must look at myself and say “How well am I listening to Jesus?” In 48:11 God says “for My own sake, I do these things….I will not yield my glory to another”. All God’s actions are ultimately there to give Himself glory and to take us to a place where we can live to His glory. What do you hear Him saying to you today? Is your life and your attitude towards life glorifying God? Are you complaining, deep inside your heart about issues? I have to ask myself that continually, when events are not working out exactly as I would like them to.
- God's Purpose for His People.
- God is love.
- Future Grace, Living a Life that gives God All the Glory.
- God is with Us.
- Wisdom expressed in Perseverance and Hope.
- God's Swears to Keep the Promise, for Our Assurance.
- Yahweh, the only Living God.
- God's Majesty meets our Humanity.
- Turning God's Wrath Away.
- More on Listening and Love.