Peace Like a River

Isaiah 66: 12-13.

12 For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees.

13 As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

I grew up partly in Minnesota, where the Mississippi River flows from the northern part of the state all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. For the most part, it is a peaceful river, so this picture is very clear to me. There is something comforting and satisfying about a gently flowing, life-giving river.

I am a mother and a grandmother, so I know about giving comfort to a child. Nurturing that child, playing with the child on my lap, holding the child on my hip as I go about my day; being up in the night for a fussing, teething baby or a sick child who needs care. This is the picture God paints for Jerusalem and all who gather there to worship Him in the Millennial Kingdom.

Restoration of Jerusalem

Isaiah 66:10-11.

10 Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her:

11 That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.

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God calls for all who love Jerusalem to rejoice with her because of her deliverance from Antichrist and full restoration under the Messiah. All nations will benefit from and take part in the restoration of Jerusalem, and in return, they will be nourished and satisfied from the spiritual abundance that will flow from Jerusalem under the reign of Messiah, as well as her physical abundance.

It is a very tender picture, really. Jerusalem is seen as a mother whose baby is satisfied and replete from the nourishment she provides. The difference, after Jesus defeats Antichrist, is going to be so incredible. Evil will no longer rule, and everything will be changed.

Deliverance Will Come

Isaiah 66: 7-9.

Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child.

Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.

Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the Lord: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.

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We’re starting in the middle of v. 8 today, where two more questions are asked: “Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion (Israel)travailed, she brought forth her children. “

These questions point to the effect and issue of the travail of the nation. These two questions demand a positive answer, whereas the two preceding ones were asked so as to produce negative answers. Now it is asked, “shall a land be born in one day?” Another translation renders it “shall a land be travailed with for but one day? Shall a nation be brought forth at once?” The positive response, given immediately, is “For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children,” First the birth pangs and then the birth, directly opposite from the earlier circumstances.

The immediate outcome of the great Tribulation will be the issue of God’s earthly people as a nation in peace and joy and righteousness under the mighty hand of its Messiah Deliverer. This nation is not the same as the Man Child in verse 7.

In view of the certainty that His people will be delivered from their time of unprecedented trouble, and that speedily (verse 9), the Lord calls upon all who delight in Him and His purposes, all those who love His earthly people, to rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her.

Birth of Jesus

Isaiah 66: 7-9.

Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child.

Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.

Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the Lord: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.

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Note: This was to have been Monday’s (yesterday’s) post, but after I wrote it, I just wasn’t comfortable with it. So I checked a third source, and scrubbed what I had written. When my two most frequently-used sources disagree, more study is necessary. I’m much happier with this second edition

In the previous post including v. 6, we learned that God would bring recompense to those who stood against Him. It would be not only Jews, but Gentiles as well, who would come under this recompense.

In view of this punishment. v.7 mentions the future time of Jacob’s (Israel’s) trouble and the fact of the Incarnation of Christ: “Before she travailed (before the great Tribulation which the nation is yet to experience at the hands of the Antichrist) she brought forth: before her pain, she was delivered of a man child.” This experience of the nation is contrary to conditions of natural birth. The order is reversed, and this draws forth the surprised questions, “Who hath heard such a thing Who hath seen such a thing?”

There is apparently a connection with Rev. 12:1-6. The woman (nation–Israel) is there spoken of as having brought forth a “man child.” Some regard this as the godly remnant among the Jews in the coming day, but it makes a lot more sense that it refers to Jesus. The Roman power, energized by Satan, fulfilled what is said in Rev. 12:4, “and stood before the woman which was about to be delivered, that when she was delivered he might devour her child.” Herod would have accomplished this had he been able to, but the Man Child was to be “caught up to God and His Throne.” This could scarcely be said of the remnant, who are to enjoy the Millennial reign.

. The birth, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ have already taken place. The Tribulation is yet future. This explains the inversion of the natural order of the circumstances of birth as mentioned in this Isaiah passage.

For the sake of length, we will wait until tomorrow to look at vv. 8-9.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Proverbs 7:1-3

My son, keep My words, and lay up My commandments with thee.

Keep My commandments, and live; and My law as the apple of thine eye.

Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.”

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Over and over, God tells us in His Word that it is to be treasured and held in our hearts. We are to obey it, and it is to be the “apple of our eye.”

I always wondered about that when I was a kid. Some time ago, in preparation for teaching a Bible study class, I researched the term. I won’t give you the entirety of what I learned, but the essence is this: The word “apple” in this usage means the pupil of the eye, or the exact center.

If you look someone right in the eye, and the light is right, you can actually see yourself reflected there.

The pupil is vitally important, and God designed it with plenty of protection. Moisture in the form of tears, to keep it from drying out: bony structure all around to protect it from injury: eyelashes to help keep dust and grit out of our eyes; and the eyelids, to close out light that is too bright, or flying debris.

Look closely at the picture above. Do you see the scroll in the middle of the eye? That’s exactly what God wants us to do–to keep His Word in the center of our vision, to protect and and care for it as something to be treasured.

Don’t you love the depth of meaning in such simple verses? That’s another reason God’s Word is such a treasure. You can study it for a lifetime and never plumb the depths of it. In fact, I believe we will be studying God’s Word for all eternity, and never be finished. It is deep, rich, and wonderful.

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Hypocrisy Recompenced

Isaiah 66:5-6.

Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at His word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for My Name’s sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified: but He shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.

A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the Lord that rendereth recompence to His enemies.

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God addresses the faithful, encouraging them not to lose hope or faith. They had been scorned and cast out by the hypocrites that God rebuked in v. 4. Those hypocrites, even in their evil ways, said “Let the Lord be glorified,” using their outward obedience to God be an excuse to persecute real believers.

God promises true believers that He will appear, and they will be joyful. The hypocrites, however, will receive their just reward. They would be ashamed.

An excuse for refusing to attend church, or even for not coming to Christ, is often that hypocrites go to church. They look all nice and proper in church, but they live out evil. Why, say the unsaved, should we believe in a God Who tolerates hypocrisy?

He will not always abide the sin of hypocrisy. And I’ve never forgotten what some wise soul pointed out to me many years ago: If a hypocrite comes between you and God, the hypocrites is closer to God than you are!

Recompense

Isaiah 66:4.
“I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before Mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.”

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I am also reminded of Galatians 6:7. ” Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. “

If people want to believe a lie, then God will choose the delusions they want to believe, and will allow their worst fears to come upon them.

Why? Because He’s a petty, spiteful God? Absolutely not. His warnings, pleadings, calling to those who will not answer, have been clear for hundreds of years. Eventually, His patience will come to an end.