I have been singing, “Bless the lord oh my soul – the sun comes up there is a new day dawning”.
“ Ian just stop and reflect on what you have just been singing. You rely on the fact that there will be a new day dawning, the sun will come up. That reflects the rhythm of my creation, my whole creation functions according to a rhythm that I have built into it– everyone accepts it without thinking. But my rhythm is like my heartbeat – it is fixed, it is powerful. Nothing can change it. When there are storms and drought people run around calling out for mercy, but these are only small evidences of what happens when I draw back my rhythm. So be comforted because you are held fast in me, in Jesus within that rhythm. You are not like a small twig in a raging torrent being swept along – you are a son firmly held to my breast – feeling and living out the rhythm of my heart beats for you and for my whole creation.”
We come to an interesting passage today, Isaiah 65:17-25, as we near the end of Isaiah. This passage describing a new creation – new heavens and a new earth resonates with Revelation 21:1 ff. Yet there is a false note. Although people are promised a long life, without the sound of weeping there still appears to be a limit to it.
So I stand back and see 65:23 b, which seems to be the key verse. These people are under God’s blessing, the curse has been removed. So this is a look ahead in prophetic fashion of the Messianic age. An age which was introduced with the death of Jesus when He took the curse upon Himself, but will only be fully realized when He comes again. The prophet has not been shown the dividing line. We have already entered the Messianic age, yet we are mainly experiencing the spiritual aspect of it. We have been blessed because of Jesus taking the curse on our behalf. We have received every spiritual aspect of that blessing (Ephesians 1:3), but we are still living in a fallen world.
What is pictured here in a physical sense still awaits us when we pass over the spiritual Jordan into the final Promised Land. What a prospect and how closely it resonates with the picture in Revelation. In the meantime we should continue to appreciate every aspect of God’s creation as He has given it to us at this time.
One aspect of this Messianic Age which stood out for me is in 63:24, describing the benefit of God’s blessing, “Even before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear”. This is a refreshing reminder of the value and meaning of prayer and has echoes of Matt 6:8, “your father knows what you need before you ask”. It shows that behind the scenes God does not need to be informed of our needs and desires, yet He invites us to engage with Him in a conversation about our lives and what is happening to us. This is the wonder of having a relationship with the Creator of the whole universe who knows everything, including what is still going to happen.
As you speak to Him, no doubt He will be steering your will into line with His. Prov 16:3 says “Commit to the Lord whatever you do (or your way) and your plans will succeed”. Many people think they can plan and just before they go ahead to carry them out they throw out, “I commit this to the Lord” and that means He will see that they succeed. The Hebrew construct of this verse is “if you lay your way alongside the Lord’s way, then your plan will succeed”. Thus while we pray, the Lord helps us to turn our way over to His guiding hand that His way may supplant it. Then it will be that He answers while you are still speaking.
As my prayer life continues to grow, I still find it so easy to fall into habitual patterns and rotes. Repeating in various ways what I have already asked. I need to constantly remind myself that I am having an active interaction with God who invented the idea of conversation, and based His will clearly on paper, in His word.