Listen to Me!

Isaiah 48:12-13

12 Hearken unto Me, O Jacob and Israel, My called; I am He; I am the First, I also am the Last.

13 Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and My right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.

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Can you hear the pleading in the voice of God?  He shouldn’t have to remind His people over and over again that He is Who He says He is!  He has shown them mercy so many times, and still they are tempted away into worldliness and idolatry. The history of Israel is a recording of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God Who walked them out of bondage in Egypt and preserved them countless times from the hands of their enemies. So many miracles, so many times they returned to Him only to repeat the cycle over and over again.

I particularly love verse 13.  It’s almost as if He were saying,  “Pay attention!  Have you forgotten that I AM has made the foundations of the earth and rolled out the heavens! My creation has not forgotten Me!  When I call on them,  they stand at attention!”

I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll probably say it again and again as we continue through the book of Isaiah:  I am amazed, humbled, and awed at what a mighty God we serve.  This book is so rich in His love and mercy, and even as He promises judgment, He allows for repentance and reconciliation.

We need to pay attention, too.

 

His Glory

Isaiah 48:9-11.

For My Name’s sake will I defer Mine anger, and for My praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off.

10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

11 For Mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should My Name be polluted? and I will not give My glory unto another.Image result for I will not give my glory unto another

I wish I could take the time here to offer you all the differing translations of this passage. They all mean the same thing, but sometimes the wording is different and  changes one’s perspective a bit.

What God is saying is that the only reason He is allowing Israel to survive, and not to be completely destroyed, is for His own sake.  He says He has refined Israel, but has not found silver; He has tried them in the furnace of affliction,  and chosen them in spite of their failures.

Verse 11 wraps it up neatly. God is allowing Israel to survive for His own sake; for the  glory of His Name, so that no false god gets the praise.

We can read, all through the Bible, of the times God preserved Israel in spite of their unbelief and disobedience.  But that’s ancient history, right.  Yes it is, but that makes it no more relevant to this passage.

Word War II may seem like ancient history to some, but most of us have relatives for whom it was a stark reality. Hitler made every effort to annihilate the Jews, but in spite of his best efforts, they survived and even returned to Israel and, with much bloodshed and resistance, established Israel as a nation for the first time since Rome leveled Jerusalem in a.d.70. God continues to protect Israel from its enemies, and they are legion.

He will not give His glory to anyone else.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Discretion

Proverbs 19:11. The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.

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There is no evidence that Mark Twain was a Christian. In fact, He said that if Christ were on earth today, the last thing  He would be is a Christian. So while I don’t believe Mr. Twain had Holy Spirit discretion,  he did have a fund of wry humor and common sense.  I’m using his quote today because it emphasizes  and underlines Proverbs 19:11.

Discretion: the quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid causing offense or revealing private information. Synonyms:  circumspection, carefulness, cautionwariness, chariness, guardedness.

In this verse,  discretion allows a person to let go of anger, or to defer anger to a more appropriate time. When anger is just and righteous,  it still needs to be used wisely and righteously. For example, I have a deep and, I believe, righteous anger about the sexual abuse of children.  However, I do not have the right to deal out justice to pedophiles. That is up to the courts. So I channel my anger into helping the victims, who are usually adults when they finally come seeking help.

In a less toxic situation, when someone has insulted or offended  you, discretion will allow you to “pass over” a transgression.  That is, we can choose not to be offended.  Discretion allows us the wonderful choice of refusing to be insulted or offended. We can choose not to be derailed by anyone else’s effort to cause us to stumble.

It is our glory to overlook an offense.

What a perfect place to leave you with my life verse:  Psalm 119:165, “Great peace have they which love Thy Law, and nothing shall offend them.”  In this context, the word offend means to cause to stumble. 

A person of discretion will be in God’s Word daily, loving God’s Word. When we love God’s Word, we have great peace, and nothing will cause us to stumble off the path upon which God has set us.

 

A Transgressor from the Womb

Isaiah 48: 6-8.

Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it? I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them.

They are created now, and not from the beginning; even before the day when thou heardest them not; lest thou shouldest say, Behold, I knew them.

Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time that thine ear was not opened: for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb.

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In this passage, a continuation  from the previous verses, God emphasizes the stubborn spirit of His people. He has shown His people, Israel, so many things new and hidden from anyone else, and yet they persist in turning to idols they have created with their own hands, giving honor to their idols for things only God could do.

God goes on to say that He will show them new things that they have not heard before, and they will not be able to say, “Oh, well, I knew that!” God knew from the beginning the hardness of their hearts, and their desire to raise themselves in their own eyes

I need to emphasize again that God could just as well have been speaking to us today, using the same words. They are just as applicable in the Church Age as they were under the Law.  We cannot point fingers at others without three fingers pointing back at ourselves.

We Are No Different!

Isaiah 48:3-5.

I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass.

Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass;

I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I shewed it thee: lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them.

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God is omniscient. All-knowing.  He is the only One Who tells the future and Who is right 100% of the time. He points out that He reminds Israel of His omniscience because He knows how stubborn and rebellious they are.

The reason He reminds them that He has told them what will happen  long before it happens, and that His track record is perfect,  is that He knows they would give credit to their images and idols instead of to Him.

Lest we be smug and arrogant, thinking we would never be as sinful as the nation of Israel has been, we need to look at, say, the abortion rate in America; or the number of fatherless homes; or the number of  teens doing drugs, alcohol and sex, just for starters. Then we could talk about the murder rates in our big cities, especially in Chicago. And then we can fall to our knees and beg God to deliver us, because we are not able to deliver ourselves.

My Back, Again!

Some of you may have noticed that my posts are going up later than usual. That’s because  the disease, Old Woman’s Back, has returned with a vengeance.  I’m not sleeping very well, and it has put my whole system off kilter. I’m not working this week, missed two out of my three days last week.

When I called to make an appointment with my pain doctor, I was told they couldn’t get me in until the 20th, this coming Monday.  I asked if the doc would renew my scrips in the meantime, and was told that he would not do that because it’s been so long (over a year) since I’ve needed them.  I have just enough pain pills to get me through to Monday if I take them only once a day, usually before I go to bed.Image result for no medication

So I’m hurting, and my life has once again gone off the rails. I’m sure the doctor will send me for another MRI, since that hasn’t been done in at least two years.

Now, it’s time for me to practice what I preach.  Being thankful is paramount, because if I don’t focus on the things for which I’m thankful, I will be flooded with resentment, anxiety, and fear.  Yes, fear. I don’t like pain, and I know this condition is not going away. The symptoms can be treated, but they cannot be cured.

So.  If you are a praying person, please add me to your prayer list.  Prayer is still the best healer.

God vs. Israel

Isaiah 48: 1-2.

 Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness.

For they call themselves of the holy city, and stay themselves upon the God of Israel; The Lord of hosts is his name.

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In the first part of this chapter, God accuses Israel of hypocrisy and commands them to hear His case  against them.  God says they did call upon the God of Israel, but not in truth or righteousness.  They would come back to God and call upon His Name only in times of trouble and suffering.

The next several verses , God compares His omniscience with Israel’s rebellion.

You would think, wouldn’t you, that after so many times of repeating this cycle of rebellion, suffering, repentance, and restoration, that Israel would finally figure it out, wouldn’t you?  But they didn’t, and neither do we.  We’ve had a lot of years of relative peace and plenty here in America.  There is no guarantee, unless we have a revival here,  and people turn from sin to the Savior.