Isaiah 65:1-16 – God’s Decision Not Ours

Read Isaiah 65:1-16

quote: you're always one decision away from a totally different life
What kind of life do you want to be living?

Our opening line makes me think God in a marketing sense. “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’” In our marketing classes, we tell our students to be looking for those people who are looking for them. That’s the whole idea of attraction marketing. You want to be attractive and provide the goods or services to those who need them and want them. The image of God I have here is that he is waving his hands trying to get our attention.

How frustrating it must be for God to have given us the keys to the kingdom (in Jesus) only for us to leave them sitting on the table. It’s not just us. These prophetic words were originally directed to the Israelites, a people who was lost. That is, they were separated from God. What do we know of them? They rebelled. They were selfish. They followed other gods. Hmmm. That could be our society.

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Isaiah 64:1-12 – Falling Short

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potter molding clay

I have been known to say something very similar to the opening line of our reading today. “Oh, that you would burst from the heavens and come down!” I am especially passionate about this when the world around me looks chaotic or dreary. Jesus is definitely the answer for me! Now, of course, Isaiah’s first audience had yet to meet Jesus or know that he promised to return. When they make reference to God coming down long ago, it was the remembrance of Mount Sinai in Exodus 19.

Since we don’t know when God plans to send Jesus back to earth, we can wait with joyful anticipation. Maybe it will be today! When it does happen, it will be a spectacle beyond our comprehension. When I look around, I see a world that is broken and hurting, definitely in need of a Savior.

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Psalm 91 – Trust God

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Just trust me - signed God

This psalm represents, for me, the epitome of trusting in God. The promise of protection and provision to those who trust Him is strong and assuring. Especially in these uncertain times, the reminder that God is our refuge is huge! Take a moment to just stop, close your eyes and imagine God doing this. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” I am so overcome by this. What peace knowing I have a protector.

What really screamed to me were all the references to a “deadly disease.” In my translation it was a “plague.” At the time I’m writing this, we are seeing a pandemic killing so many people around the world. There is death and fear running rampant. The vaccine can’t come soon enough for many of us who have not left our homes in months. And then I read these words, “For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.” Brought me to tears.

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Psalm 25 – Teach Me, Oh Lord

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“O Lord, I give my life to you.  I trust in you, my God!” Have you ever given your life to God? I mean really given it? It’s a scary thing to do. Give control away, that is. Yet, giving my life to God was one of the best things I ever did. I struggle at times with taking it back thinking I know best. Sometimes I get anxious for things to happen and force things before it’s time.

When we truly let go and let God, it is then we can feel peace. The next line about being disgraced was curious to me at first. Don’t we all have fears of looking bad or being judged? It makes sense that the psalmist would add this in so quickly. We may know a bit of what it feels like to be shamed or disgraced because of our faithfulness. If we stay true to God, we will never be disgraced in his eyes, no matter what the world may tell us.

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Psalm 149 – Sing for Joy

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So much praising going on. It is such a delight to picture faithful ones singing and dancing while giving glory to God. Why is it that we don’t see more of that in our culture today? I’m not saying it’s not there at all. We’ve all seen how some groups and churches go all out with dancing, praise banners, and musical instruments.

What does your praise look like behind closed doors? Do you have a tambourine hidden in your closet for those moments when you go all out? “Let the faithful rejoice that he honors them. Let them sing for joy as they lie on their beds.” God honors the faithful. That is certainly something to put joy on our lips!

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