Sunday Morning Coffee: Family

I know, I used family in my title yesterday.  Not very original to use it twice in one weekend, but oh, well 🙂

Short and sweet today.  People are starting to move around,  looking for coffee and breakfast.  I’ve pretty much left them on their own to fix cereal or toast or whatever.   I made a pot of coffee for them.   Aside from that, it’s each to his own.  That’s one of the perks of having grown-up grandkids.

Anyway I’ve been thinking a lot about family this week. The importance of it, the pleasure and joy of it. The fact is, God created the family.  He did that for many reasons, I’m sure, but for me one of the best parts of family is the shared history, the recognition of family traits, and the sense of belonging.

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My family is scattered from 15 miles away from us to South Dakota to England to Germany to New Zealand.  We tend to not stay in whatever place we’re born. Not sure why that is.  Maybe we come from a line of nomads 🙂  In any case, having so much distance makes the times we do get together all the sweeter.

I’m enjoying it.  A lot.

Psalm 68:6.  “God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.”

 

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Family Time

My family from Germany is here.  Mike has been working for the American military there for about 20 years. They get  home leave every other year.  The main attraction this summer is that Janan’s parents are celebrating their 50th anniversary in July.

Right now, Janan and Victoria are busy preparing what looks like a feast–a full German breakfast.  I suspect lunch won’t be much of an issue today 🙂  It’s a treat to have them taking over in my kitchen, and they’re enjoying all the renovations that have been made since they were here last.

Connell injured his big toe a couple of weeks ago, a pretty severe cut, but he seems to be doing well.  He went with his grandfather yesterday to mow a friend’s yard.

It’s great to have them, and we’re having a great time catching up.  I’m going to try to maintain my normal blogging schedule, but I’m making no promises.  If I do drop out of sight for a day or two, don’t worry.  I’ll be back 🙂

I, Even I, am He

Isaiah 43: 24-26. Thou hast bought Me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled Me with the fat of thy sacrifices: but thou hast made Me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied Me with thine iniquities. I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Put Me in remembrance; let us plead together; declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.”

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Sweet cane, called sweet calamus, was used in the incense that Israel made for worship. Some was grown in Arabia, and India, and  an inferior quality in Egypt and Syria. The kind used by Israel was brought from afar (Jer. 6:20)

Filling God with the fat of sacrifices simply meant to satisfy Him by meeting His requirements according to the law of Moses .

A paraphrase of verse 25 could be, “Instead of serving Me in holiness and righteousness, and worshiping Me with sacrifices and offerings to atone for sin, you have served in your sins and burdened Me with your iniquities.”

In spite if the sin of His people, God promises that He will indeed forgive them (this promise presupposes a period of their coming to repentance, which will not happen in a national sense until the Millennial reign. The idea of blotting out sins is taken from the custom of keeping accounts and canceling or blotting out the charge when the debt is paid. Thus God  promised to cancel the sins of Israel and blot them all out. When this is done no punishment can be exacted for sins, and the people forgiven must be treated is pardoned friends.

Truly, what a kind and loving God we serve.

Israel’s Failures

Isaiah 43:22-23. “But thou hast not called upon Me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel. Thou has not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offering; neither hast thou honoured me with thy sacrifices. I have not caused thee to serve with an offering, nor wearied thee with incense.”

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The glaring error in this painting is that Jesus was NOT calmly walking, unscathed, through the crowd.  He’s been mocked, scourged,  His beard pulled out, His face marred by fists. But He was indeed rejected by His own people,  not just during the time when Isaiah was a prophet, but during the time He walked on earth, among His own, and His own received Him not.

In Isaiah’s time, the people had turned away from God to worship idols. They were no longer praying to Him. They were not bringing him the lambs for sacrifice. In verse 23, God points out to the people that He was not being unreasonable in the offerings He required, and that they were actually far less than pagan idols  were given.

How can we apply these verses today, in our own treatment of Jesus Christ?  I think that’s pretty easy.  We are becoming more and more secularized as we are drawn to the world’s entertainments and philosophies.  Even though we have the complete Word of God, I sometimes wonder, if Jesus were to appear among  us today, if He wouldn’t receive the same reception now as He did then.

I think His holiness makes us uncomfortable.

A New Thing

Isaiah 43: 18-21. Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth: shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. The beast of the field shall honour Me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My people, My chosen. This people have I formed for Myself; they shall shew forth My praise.”

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“Don’t dwell on the past,” God said. “Pay attention to what I will do! ”

These verses speak of the Millennial reign of Christ. The earth will be more abundant than ever before. The deserts will no longer be vast wastelands. God will create a path that will go through the desert, where He will provide rivers instead of dry sand. Israel will finally come into its own; they will return to God, the Holy One of Israel; even the animals of the desert will honor Jehovah.

 

God’s Reminders to Israel

Isaiah 43:16-17. Thus saith the Lord, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; Which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise: they are extinct, they are quenched as tow.

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God, in His statement to Israel about Who He is, reminded them of how He made a path through the Red Sea, enabling them to walk across on dry land.  Note, DRY land, not muddy or mucky.  A firm path over dry land.

In verse 17, He described how He destroyed the Egyptian army that was trying to recapture Israel. As they followed the Israelites  across the Red Sea, once all the Israelites were safely on the other side, God allowed the waters to come crashing back down over  the Egyptian army, with its horses and chariots,  drowning them all and destroying the might and power of Egypt.

What a dramatic scene!  How horrified the Egyptian army must have been when they realized the error they had made; as their horses foundered in the rush of water, and their chariots got mired in the bottom of the sea.

 

Lord, Redeemer, Holy One, Creator, King

Isaiah 43:14-15. “Thus saith the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: for your sake I have sent to Babylon, and  have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the cities. I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.”

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Here, God reminds Israel of all that He is, and all that He has done to preserve His people.

The mention of Babylon and Chaldea in verse 14 is as yet unfulfilled. These nations will come under judgment for their treatment of Israel and the captivity Israel suffered under their  control.

God calls Himself their Redeemer; the Holy One of Israel, the Lord, the Creator of Israel, their King. These are all significant titles. As Redeemer, He paid the price to ransom Israel from captivity. He also gave His Son’s life to ransom all of us from hell and death.

Our Sunday school teacher emphasized the holiness of God yesterday.  We surely fail to recognize and honor  the holiness of God when so much of Christianity has taken on the appearance and behaviors of the world. Because of His holiness, God was unable to look at His Son when Jesus became sin in our place. As I work through this incredible book, I am convicted over and over about how little I personally consider the importance of the holiness of God.

Not only is God the Creator of Israel, and of all humankind.  He is also, though uncrowned and presently unacknowledged, the King of Israel. Beyond that He is the King of King, and Lord of Lords.

We need to stop and think about Who it is we are dealing with.