Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Word for ... Uhhhh, Thursday, Again

Yes, never mind my excuses. Even I am tired of my excuses. Much better to spend a little time in Isaiah chapter 55, which is joy unmixed with any sorrow:
"Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters;
And you who have no money come, buy and eat.
Come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without cost.
Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And delight yourself in abundance.
Incline your ear and come to Me.
Listen, that you may live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
According to the faithful mercies shown to David.
Behold, I have made him a faithful witness to the peoples,
A leader and a commander for the peoples.
Behold, you will call a nation you do not know,
And a nation who knows you not will run to you,
Because of the Lord your God, even the Holy One of Israel;
For He has glorified you."

Seek the Lord while He may be found;
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
And let him return to the Lord,
And He will have compassion on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Neither are My ways your ways," declares the Lord.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth,
And making it bear and sprout,
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
For you will go out with joy,
And be led forth with peace;
The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you,
And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up;
And instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up;
And it will be a memorial to the Lord,
For an everlasting sign which will not be cut off."
What I take from this is that right desires are fulfilled in the will of God without question -- almost automatically, as it were. How few of our desires, in our corrupt and fallen state, are right ones! Left to our own devices, everything that we want (or that advertising convinces us that we want) costs money, and plenty of it. And indeed it does not satisfy; to the contrary, I think what it mostly does is to perpetuate itself, virus-style, sowing the seeds of still more futile wantings. All that is needed is to repent our evil and stupidity and come to the God Who is ready to abundantly pardon (His ways and thoughts differing radically from ours) and give us what is good and does satisfy and does give life.

Somewhat less cheerfully, I also hear a "future echo" here of Jesus, in the final days before His death, saying (Matthew 23:37 -39): "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you shall not see Me until you say, 'Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord!' "

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2 comments:

akaGaGa said...

I think you're right about our stupidity and evil. Over and over again, from Genesis to Revelation, God tells us what's good for us - and we continue to do it our own way. Now, that's stupid.

And Jesus' words "Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!" is another way of saying "The ark is missing and the box is empty in America."

Will we ever learn?

Rebecca said...

I love this section:
Seek the Lord while He may be found;
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
And let him return to the Lord,
And He will have compassion on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.

I once read a sermon by John Wesley, who was trying to convince his parishoners that Christians CAN and are EXPECTED to be holy even as God is holy. Wesley explained that if we have our eyes on ourselves, we cannot help but beat our chest and lament "My sins! My sins!" But we are not supposed to do that-- we are supposed to be looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, and cry out, "My God! My God!" It is there, in that place, where holiness begins.

If we are always looking at ourselves and our foibles and sins, we will never attain. But we are to look to Him and be consumed by Him, and He will transform us. It can be a somewhat slow process (so it seems), but at least it is progression. He is good and patient and so longsuffering!!