Watching the singing of “Jesus I give you thanks”,I am struck by the many beautiful faces, hairstyles, clothes, glitz and glamour – and I find myself comparing them with the simple band of disciples who followed Jesus – not always clean, home spun clothes – such a contrast.
“ Yes there is a huge outward contrast – but they were just as human as the singers and everyone around you. They had the same desires for making a name for themselves, for entitlement and self-centredness as you have and everyone in my creation. That is why I came – I came to rescue them, to rescue you and all mankind from their sinful, selfish desires. Your position has nothing to do with your worth. I create people for different purposes and put them into the places I will use them for my kingdoms sake. All of them have this in common – I am rescuing them and changing them and you Romans 8:28. All things work together for the good of them that love me and are called by my name, but to make sure I’m not talking about giving just good things I remind the reader shortly after that, that I am good! Why? It is because it is easy to misinterpret that passage and think I’m handing out worldly goods – instead the greatest blessings you may experience come during the most difficult of times – and in the midst of that you need to remember– I am good and my intentions are for your good – to grow you to be more like me. Prince and pauper – the beautiful singers – their reality is deep down the same as the shack dweller – I have come to rescue all – no one is more valuable than the rest!
Coming now to Isaiah chapter 54, the writer continues to put the events of the previous chapter into the perspective of Israelites.They are depicted as a barren woman and compared with the new covenant which is now being introduced as a mother of a great and growing family.This family will not be confined to the people of Israel but will spread across all the nations of the world.
The certainty of the fulfilment of this prophecy is depicted by the husband of the woman who is actually Yahweh himself. The future relationship with God will be as close as a marriage.
In verse 10 the love of God in the new covenant will not be removed from Israel, but will continue and be greater than his wrath. Verses 13 and 14 God promises prosperity but that should not be confused with physical prosperity it will be a spiritual prosperity.
So we come to chapter 55 which opens with this wonderful invitation to come and partake of the benefits of this new covenant. I suggest that you read chapter 55 and consider the application of what is written there in terms of understanding what that reveals about the new covenant and how that relates to us. Then we can revisit that chapter on Monday and discover what we have been shown. Don’t hesitate to share your discoveries. That’s how we can teach each other.
In the meantime what has Jesus been saying to me from our reading today? The clearest word from him is that it’s not just good enough to know the truth of chapter 53 but that one must actually receive it for yourself. You must apply it to your heart.